Tuesday, February 3, 2015

That's such a Boromir thing to say.

Her name was Bri.

It was early in my teaching career, and yet again, I was dying a slow death in the front of the room. I don't remember fully losing it, but I recall, in that moment, feeling like saying f--k this and walking out. Bri, sitting to my left, motioned me over. Mr. Brown, come here. As I got to her, she raised her right hand and extended her index finger to the ringleader of the chaos on the other side of the room. Matter-of-factly, though with a hint of discernible disappointment, she said (and I'll never forget this):

You're letting that upset you?

Like essentially everyone I know offline, I dove in to The Interview the moment it hit Netflix. And while I certainly knew enough about the 'national incident' the film had become, honestly? I expected something more.

As they have proven over a couple of films together, James Franco and Seth Rogen stick to a simple, and in my opinion - proven, formula. Rogen plays the thankless straight man dealing with Franco's unrelenting ridiculousness. But before, no one really cared in the least. I guess third-rate pot dealers and self-absorbed celebrities are a lot harder to offend than foreign dictators, huh?

I feel like I'd be insulting you, further anyway, if I detailed the plot even for a second. The real question you should concern yourself with, is is this movie funny? The simple answer is yes, even though The Interview is lighter on laughs than either Pineapple Express or This is the End [review]. That said, it still cracked me up enough to recommend it.

Speaking of being light on laughs, here are the Yays and Boos. I was originally going to release them on Christmas Day, but decided against it. Oh, and I hadn't seen the movie yet...so they were really going to suck balls.

  • That opening song was pretty funny. May your women be raped by beasts of the jungle.
  • As much as I thought Eminem coming out was worth a laugh, the fact that Gay Twitter is blowing up! damn near killed me.
  • Even though I can't imagine Dave Skylark watching a minute of the original trilogy, I dug all the Lord of the Rings references.
  • Speaking of Skylark, just about everything Franco says is borderline hysterical. For time's sake, let me try to boil it down to a top 5.
    • #5. Fake glasses?
    • #4. Don't shoot. I have a puppy!
    • #3. It's pronounced STALLONE.
    • #2. Cunt punt that f--king bitch!
    • #1. Yo, my dick stinks!
  • It's 900% absurd, but the running joke about Kim not having a butthole routinely killed me.
  • As did any mention or explanation of honeydicking.
  • The absurd level of violence was totally welcome. Though, I'm usually good with one finger being bitten off. Fine, two. But that's my limit.
  • The soundtrack. I think Rogen and crew are like f--king Jedi's when it comes to finding a tasty jam, as almost every selected song absolutely nails it. I'm Afraid of Americans being a particular stand-out. Wind of Change, too.
  • And finally, the scene where Dave insists on shooting Kim on camera. His porno analogy makes me laugh every single time I think about it. Potentially even funnier (though infinitely more awkward)? Watching that scene a second time...with my mom.

  • Matthew McConaughey could do better than a goat. Perhaps a dolphin?
  • It's not cool to make fun of someone who enjoys the occasional Katy Perry song. Or ten. Screw you guys.
  • Does Rogen always get laid in these movies? And is the girl always pretty hot, right? What the shit is this?
  • Is Lizzy Caplan hot? I can't decide. I hate that.
  • And finally, even though I liked the movie, there was a part of me, that as the credits rolled, couldn't help but think that's it? The President addressed THIS?
In school, my students and I have just completed reading Animal Farm. And the following Monday after The Interview hit Netflix, at least five hands went up in each period, mid chapter!, where someone would ask if I'd seen this movie. I'd begrudgingly say yes, assuming they had made the connection between the oppression forced by a tyrannical leader in each work. But when I pressed, they had no clue what I was talking about in the least. Almost a month spent talking about communism, and not a single student picked that up from The Interview. 

Surprised? Sure. But upset? 

Not even a little bit.


  1. BAHAHAHA, McCon and a dolphin! I love you, bro.

    I laughed A LOT during this, and while I agree that it could have done more...like...it gave me exactly what I was expecting, and that was to be funny. Really funny.

    Neighbors was better, overall, but this was pretty great.

    1. Dude, that dolphin thing changed my life. And I haven't even seen it. Or watched the preview.

      I would agree with that assessment entirely. It's certainly funny, but Neighbors was better. But, for me, it's not even a fair fight. You can't compete with Byrne. Especially Byrne....being milked.

  2. I thought it was pretty damn funny. You're right, not as good as Pineapple Express or This Is The End, but still not nearly as bad as some people were saying.

    And yes, Lizzy Caplan is extremely hot.

    1. I definitely laughed out loud, I was just hoping for more. And as much as I love Franco in these movies, it's hard to top what he did in either Pineapple Express or This is The End. That said, Skylark was the best part about this movie - easily.

      Okay, sold. Lizzy Caplan is hot. (I just needed a little guidance there)

  3. Oh dear god ... your goat vs. dolphin comment! You went there?!? :-)

    I haven't seen this, and it's unlikely that I will, but your review is fantastic. And I am glad your students are watching films of questionable quality and making connections with their literature assignments. For some reason. that kind of thing makes me absurdly happy.

    1. I went there. But I didn't go there. And hey, don't blame me - Fisti started it.

      Thanks for the compliment, but I'm curious, why wouldn't you see this? I mean, not that it's required viewing by any stretch...just not your thing?

      I wish they made better connections...but, shoot, I'm ecstatic just to see a hand go up. Even if it's typically to ask, "Can I go to the bathroom?" [sometimes, I'll anticipate this question, and they'll look offended. I'll apologize, and they'll say something like, "No, no. I was wondering when this class is over."]


    2. Hey ... I'm not dissing your students. I've been reading a lot about teen brain development lately, because my 16-year-old son has been puzzling the crap out of me. The short version of the story seems to be that with all the neural rewiring and pruning going on, it's a miracle these guys are able to function at all on a daily basis. Especially boys. Apparently male brain maturation is a much rockier path than female brain maturation. Who knew, eh? And yes, that was a MAJOR digression, even by my standards.

      About the movie, I'm not dead set against watching it. It just isn't really something I'm excited about. I wasn't crazy about This is the End, and my kids assure me that Pineapple Express wouldn't be my cup of tea. I'm not highbrow about humor or anything, this just doesn't seem to be my thing. And with so many movies and books I'm trying to find time for, I doubt I'll get to this one, since it's low priority. I wouldn't rule it out though. I mean, who knows?

    3. Believe me, that's not a diss by any means. Very interesting what you're saying about brain development. And as a former teenage boy, I stand by your points fully. My students are 13...so, you can probably imagine. Putting a dozen of them in a room, with another 10 females. Yeesh. Not exactly lighting the educational world on fire sometimes, you know?

      'MAJOR digression'? That was my backup title for this blog.

      I gotcha about the movie. I was just wondering if it was something a little deeper, maybe even political or something. My movie and book list is so incredibly long, half the time I watch something stupid out of some kind of misguided protest. But as for this, no rush. Not only is it kind of my thing (I'm all about the lowbrow), but my overwhelming curiosity routinely gets the best of me.

      So...about that Dolphin documentary...

    4. No ... nothing political. I am not a bit concerned about Hollywood offending a dictator's dignity. And it's especially ridiculous considering the way American citizens trash our own leaders, even those we personally voted for.

      And yup ... you *need* to review that dolphin documentary! That will be a banner day on TDC.

    5. That's a good point. Do any other countries ever consider the source of the mockery? It's kind our thing, no?

      While we were writing back and forth, i was actually sitting, bored out of my skull, at parent-teacher conferences ('twas a meager turnout). Anyway, as we wrapped, I decided to unleash news of the dolphin-love doc on my co-workers. Pretty much everyone agreed: WE HAVE TO SEE THIS/Can't imagine watching it. So...yeah, I'm on it.

      A banner day indeed!

    6. About your first paragraph ... exactly! My mom was a college English teacher, and she had loads of foreign exchange students. Even those from countries where free speech was well accepted were baffled by our attitude toward our duly elected public servants.

      About the second paragraph ... and while we were commenting back and forth, *I* was working on evaluating student papers and, I'm ashamed to admit, kind of bored and looking for excuses to do other stuff. Like chatting about movies and dolphin-loving perverts, apparently. My students are doing good work and are in no way to blame for this.

      Even though many of us work odd hours and life happens, it's kind sad that so many parents don't turn up for your conferences. When my kids were in school, I dreaded those meetings -- you'd be amazed at the stuff my daughter's teachers reported to me about what she said and did in class :-/ -- but I always showed up. When my son started school, teachers would tell us how invariably sweet and perfectly behaved he was. We were sure they had him mixed up with someone else's kid.

      Now I've been a homeschooler for 11 years. So when I need a parent-teacher conference, I lock myself in the bathroom with a glass of wine and talk to myself. Does it get any better than that?

  4. This whole fiasco with Sony and then Pres. Obama having to say something was just stupid. Btw, I love Animal Farm and not surprised in the least that your students made no connection. K
    If there's not an app for it, these kids don't understand it. Climbing down from my old man soap box I'll just say the dolphin reference made me giddy and gave me chills at the same time.

    1. Look, old man or not, you look around at some of these kids and you can't help but think that we're doomed. All of us. My daughter is one and a half, and I'm pretty sure she can navigate an iPhone better than I can. No bullshit.

      Anyway, it's completely ridiculous that this movie took any kind of heat, and that the President would even bother to comment one way or the other. But, I guess, it's not just the kids that are likely going to doom us. The adults aren't much better.

      You know, I'm pretty sure I HAVE TO SEE that dolphin-love movie. I mean...c'mon. The guy says his dolphin sex was 'consensual'. Read that again. The dolphin gave its consent.

    2. I actually got into a discussion about this with our science teacher. His point: If an animal didn't want it...it wouldn't happen.

      So weird that that makes sense. But I guess...it does?

  5. I for one think it's awesome that the President addressed this because a beautiful and such rare thing in films happens here.


    And not only that he is protected at all times. Loved that.

    As for Rogen getting laid, you know what, if he is as nice and sweet as his characters, I'd bang him too. Nice guy in real world is rarer than non-dead dog in films.

    1. I had my fingers crossed for you with the dog. I totally thought he was gonna get it.

      You'd bang Rogen? Interesting. Though...what the Hell. I probably would, too. He seems likable enough.

  6. I wasn't crazy about This is The End or even Neighbors (though I did find it remotely funny), and I vaguely enjoyed Pineapple Express. This movie however got way too much political attention that I simply don't want to see it. Based on your review, I don't think I'm missing much.

    1. Wow. If you didn't like This is the End, you should probably stay the Hell away from this one. Neighbors almost killed me it was so funny! Pineapple Express, too.

      As for the attention the film got, I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. I generally want to see for myself, even if I think I won't like it. Kind of like what I saw on Valentine's Day, for example....

      (more on that later)