Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Many Faces of Seth Rogen . . .

I like Seth Rogen. I like him, even in spite of the mondo overexposure. Well, I don't like the way he overexposes himself in that way, since he could really use a trainer, but I like him. I've liked him (and James Franco and the gang) ever since Freaks and Geeks. And don't even get me started on how the crew at ER has gone out of their way to ruin Linda Cardellini's good looks.

So being a parent with three young kids, who hasn't seen a movie in the theater since Thomas Edison was making them, that means I recently had a chance to catch up with Seth's movies from last fall on DVD. No spoiler alerts here, buster. I mean, my grandma has even seen these dusties.

The movies that Mike and I watched this week were Pineapple Express and Zach and Miri Make A Porno. Yeah, they were entertaining. Yeah, Seth Rogen busted up the place with his usual shtick.

But I kinda had a problem with both movies. The same problem, even though the movies came from different directors. And maybe the problem isn't so much the actors's, or the writers's, or the directors's. Maybe it's our problem.

Basically, you have one movie about making porn movies, and another about dealing drugs. So there's this "countercultural" angle (boy, do I sound like a Nixonian press secretary, or what?) to both movies. But what bugged me about both of them was that there was still this whole relative morality thing going on with both movies.

So in Pineapple Express, there're a lot of pot jokes, and we're all supposed to laugh at them, 'cause we're in on the jokes. But the really bad guys in the movie deal in harder drugs, and they're the ones that the movie judges with its peculiar morality. So basically, pot's cool, but everything else is way bad.

Which I hate. Not because I'm against drugs - I've done them on more than one occasion in my life. And I'm kind of a Libertarian, so whatever people do with their bodies, I don't really care. But please, Mr. Moviemaker, don't get all moral about the relative merits of various drugs. Because if you want to be honest, there has been plenty of collateral damage from the pot trade. So it's okay to say, yeah, let's legalize it, but let's not pretend that plenty of people haven't been hurt by the pot trade.

Same goes for Zach and Miri. Not in the sense that the porn trade is illegal. But again, there was this relative morality laced through the movie, and it felt like it was aimed right at middle America. Basically, Zach and Miri have this unrequited love for each other. But they want to make this porno, so they hire some porn actors to star alongside them in this venture. So while they're making this porn movie, the other actors, the sluts of the movie, have sex with all of the other actors in the movie. But after a bit of did-she/he-sleep-with-someone-else misdirection, Zach and Miri break the rules for making the porno, and they only have sex with each other. Yeah - monogamous pornography.

And what really irritated me was that at the end of the movie, Zach and Miri are rewarded with true love for their monogamy. And all the other characters in the movie are left to drift along from pointless sexual relationship to pointless sexual relationship. Just because they're the sluts.

In other words - sluts are bad, but monogamous people are good. And as a once and future slut, I resent that I'm not allowed by Kevin Smith to feel love. And I know that these movies come together through test screenings and focus groups, and all that, but really, Mr. Director: if you want to pose as an "indie" or "hip" or whatever, please have some balls and take a really controversial position, and not some studio sanctioned version of potheads or porn stars. Give me the likeable heroin addicts from Drugstore Cowboy and Trainspotting. Let me fall in love with Ron Jeremy and have his grandkids. And enough with spoonfeeding us what you think middle America will respond to, okay?

And as the late, great Paul Harvey would say, "Goooood Day!"


Anonymous said...

I think you've pretty much nailed why most movies suck: They're made to confirm people's beliefs about themselves.

So if I want to know what the conventional morality in our society is, I can go to a movie. For something more challenging, your blog works much better.

Anonymous said...

2.5 kids, marriage, monogamy, and an SUV = the only truth worth knowing in this country.

Which is odd because just about all of those are in decline. I guess that's why they are selling it so hard.

vsk witness said...

Bang on girl. This is right on the money. Which is why these movies have their middle america cores: to get middle america money.

Love all the posts I read today. You really write well and you are a nasty girl. Perfect!