1. Observe And Report. Perhaps its proximity to Paul Blart: Mall Cop tagged it with the stank of lo-calorie laffs and Wal-Mart level quality. Or perhaps it was the ad campaign which pitched it as the kind of wild, madcap romp that makes me want to eat glass. Either way, I’ll admit: I prejudged it as below me [hand gesture which waves away fart smell]. However, it was recently recommended to me by a new man-friend, so last night I figured I’d watch it as a referendum on whether I should move him up to solid-dude status. Result? It’s on.
While the mall cop premise seems custom-made for the kind of budget comedy that passes through you like Olestra, Observe And Report takes it to the weird side fast. All I needed to hear was that it was written and directed by Jody Hill, one of the redneck geniuses behind “Eastbound and Down,” and I was sold. Seth Rogen plays Ronnie Barnhardt, a loser with dangerous delusions of awesomeness who has somehow ascended to become head of mall security. As he pursues an elusive flasher, grasping at his nonexistent authority, the cracks in his sanity begin to show. What oozes out is dark, surreal comedy with disturbing twists.
Some mixed feelings though:
* Just as the “indie movie” style has become annoyingly played out (seemingly all you need to make one is a ukulele and some tracing paper), it seems the over-the-top dark comedy while still devilishly enjoyable (see: the also-awesome World’s Greatest Dad) has started to become its own too-predictable genre: the revenge fantasies of a delusional underdog set to music video montage, the jarring inclusion of taboo sexual subject matter, the sudden bending of reality which puts you into magical realism territory, etc.
* and, in a related thought: the increasing ubiquity of song scoring (licensing a handful of songs to essentially be your soundtrack) has led to some lazy filmmaking. I’m torn, because Observe and Report has a killer soundtrack, as does “Eastbound and Down.” But ever since Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson beat it to death, it seems almost compulsory nowadays that the audience, the action of the movie, and the film’s score composer are all held hostage to the Music Supervisor’s supercool mix tape.
2. Maybe I’m late to the soapbox with this one, but if The Huffington Post is supposed to be some liberal standard bearer, would it kill them to lose some of the internet flotsam they’re constantly pimping? It always seems odd that you have blogging from some pretty heavy names rubbing right up alongside stories like (actual sampling from this hour): Man With World’s Biggest Penis Unemployed; Terri Hatcher Strips, Feels Boob; Ashley Greene Naked & Body Painted For Sobe. I mean, really? There are other blogs for that kind of shit, like The Onion.
3. Sometimes one can find oneself wondering in adult life if they were aesthetically duped as a kid. Luckily, one trip to the laundromat can confirm that “Africa” and “Rosanna” by Toto are indeed solid jams.