Hostage Week Episode 3: Revenge of the Cox

Good day all,

So good to be back with you folks and I hope you’ve had a chance to check out some Marx Brothers and Serenity if you hadn’t before. Tonight I’m pulling out a much maligned and under-appreciated gem called Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Now I have, used to have, a lot of friends that hated this movie. The guys at work were all “there’s dick everywhere” (and there is) and I was like “yeah, but when they do it it’s really, really funny” (see Forgetting Sarah Marshall). One guy said he hated it so much he wanted to scrub his looking balls with lye to remove the memory (I’m paraphrasing). I felt like that poor, sad kid at the edge of the field holding his glove waiting for someone to invite him to play (poor little bastard), when all of my friends hated this thing I loved (I understand Goth kids now). The key is that this flick is a perfect example of unapologetic. absurdist comedy that skewers music/biopics perfectly. To better explain catch me on camera three so I can explain my thoughts about every biopic you’ve ever seen:

Ahhh, good to be back on camera 3 (big ups to Jon Stewart). Okay, so every music biopic has some standard qualities that you can check off a list like the vampire and werewolf rules broken in a Twilight book. Sidebar: wouldn’t you love to see Angelus, evil Spike, Dru and Darla annnnnd, let’s say “The Mayor” dropped into the next Twilight movie? Pause, savour the deliciousness of that scene, sparkly corpses everywhere. Sorry, that was a little slice of heaven. Anyway, every music biopic has the drug and alcohol problems, the rise to the top and tragic crumble, the recognition later in life/after a young death, the one woman that never gives up on him/can’t save him from himself/contributes to his crash (I used the “his” because it’s just too many slashes otherwise, sorry ladies). You get the point, they’re formulaic. The real pisser is the Academy loves them and they win a ton of awards (excluding Jamie Fox, that was a ridiculous performance). Some actors, like the aforementioned Fox, do great things in the roles, but they are really impersonations. I accept the hate of those who disagree, it’s just an opinion, but we have a guy in Canada called Marc-Phillipe Gagnon, and the dude’s incredible, but does he deserve an Oscar? I recognize the quality of some, I just don’t like the genre.

Thanks for that. And just as those films have the cliches this movie does a great job of nailing them on every one in hilarious ways.

This film is very similar to Black Dynamite (among the greatest films ever) in that there is a deep knowledge and love of these films and their flaws. I don’t think this is insulting the originals in any way, they just make sure they don’t take themselves or their bullshit too seriously. It has about four or five running gags going at the same time, without overlapping or coming too soon (hee hee) that rank with the all-time greats like “two dollars” from Better Off Dead and the chihuahua from Hotshots. I mean, they play the songwriting joke to have him miss writing Lou Reed by one word in 1966. The cameos are hilarious, especially the entire Beatles bit with every English accent possible, and it never gives itself time to take itself seriously. The songs are catchy and brilliantly laced with dirty intentions (see “Let’s Duet”), and there are an unrelenting number of subtle dick jokes using his name.  I mean the guy acknowledges how dark his dark period is in the dark period montage (take that Cruella, I know fancy terms too).  I can’t believe this movie got the mediocre reviews it did (Metacritic 62, and a friggin’ bone and a half on Videohound).  It reminds me of the initial response to The Big Lebowski, and before your head assplodes I am not saying this is in the realm of that classic, it just hasn’t got the credit it deserves (no respect).

On a final note I would like to explain a term I threw out earlier. If I come across as douchey or know-it-all-ish I apologize, trust me, I get that from her majesty all the time. The term is absurdist comedy (should those be capitalized, your majesty?) and it means that it doesn’t have to be realistic. In fact it celebrates the fact that it isn’t realistic to create what I like to call a chuckle. Those of you who know Harpo get the model (and he is the model). The Zucker/Abrahams movies are the best example, especially when all three are involved (the first Naked Gun and Top Secret are my faves, but they’re all great). Basically it’s rapid-fire, stupid jokes brilliantly pieced together by brilliant writers; imagine if Family Guy had South Park‘s writers (and watch “Cartoon Wars” to boot). I love these comedies like my chillins, if I had any (and, honestly, I might), and this is a great one. It’s a great film term to throw at snooty folks when they start talking about Fellini, Bergman, Kurosawa and Boll (psych!).

Until the next time remember, freedom is a metaphor, which is a secret, that’s what a metaphor means, it means it’s a secret,

The Hostage

P.S. John C. Reilly is awesome, admit it.

~ by stew37 on March 27, 2011.

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