One, my palate has been irretrievably vitiated by a constant diet of trashy teen pix, romcom, bromance, vilely stupid adventure flicks, indie gay comedy, and B-minus monster movies dated pre-1977. This means I fall asleep after ten minutes of Babette’s Feast, and I have a perfect 0 for 0 record at having seen the Oscar nominees in any year before the ceremony.
Two, I’m a huge wuss. I wake up screaming at “the least little thing,” or so I’m told, by friends who have urged me to watch one film or another and had me come back to them later, reproachfully: “I asked you if there were mean people in this and you said no.” What they actually answered when I asked that question was, “It’s a really good movie.” Or maybe, “[Lead actor] is amazing in this.” Or possibly, “The cinematography is incredible.”
Okay, I would see through that. Michael Phillips, who for some unimaginable reason is still allowed to review movies that are not about men massacreing women, always praises such efforts for “great cinematography.” This is his code for, “The woman gets it with a chainsaw.” So in a weird way I know I can trust Phillips, if invariably to try to steer me wrong. Now and then, however, a friend will manage to sidestep the all-important mean-people question and I won’t catch them at it, and then I wake up screaming, which is unfair to my husband.
Hence my terrible palate.
This is how I wind up buying my husband an array of used DVDs for Christmas and birthdays, which I am careful to screen beforehand in case they’re a) too terrible even for us or b) cinema.
Typical titles include Accepted, Role Models, House Bunny, Women In Trouble, Out at the Wedding, Modesty Blaise, I Love You, Man, I Spy (the Eddie Murphy & Owen Wilson version), Bridesmaids, Shooting Fish, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Metrosexuality, Sugar and Spice, For A Good Time Call, Balls of Fury, D.E.B.S. Man of the House, Starsky and Hutch (Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson again), Mothra vs. Godzilla, and the Jackie Chan-Owen Wilson cowboy collaborations.
One of the fun things about watching juvenile, stupid, or wildly indie flicks is the extra materials. Lots of times filmmakers blow you off with a lame slideshow listing the cast’s filmographies, or a series of talking heads saying how nice the director is to work with, which proves only that actors really do lie for a living. But once in a while something tasty comes along.
For example, the fake interview between a young fan podcaster and the two actresses who play the adult film stars in Women In Trouble. He’s a hilarious hosehead and the ladies are all class.
Or the way the entire cast and most of the credited production staff of Accepted skewers Adam Herschman and his character Glen, in between bits where Herschman, 122% in character, fully justifies their remarks.
Or director Lee Friedlander’s wildly inappropriate interviews with the cast, apparently shot in her garage, after Out at the Wedding.
Or Justin Long’s “gay porn star boyfriend of Miri’s high school crush” ad libs for Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Or footage of the screenwriter-director-star’s mom following Metrosexuality. (Mom kicks ass. She should have been in the movie.)
Or director Angela Robinson’s saga of how D.E.B.S. came to be.
Or the video about the actresses learning how to be cheerleaders from Man of the House.
Or Jackie Chan’s unbelievable stunt footage dissecting action scenes from Shanghai Knights.
When have you been pleasantly surprised by Special Features slash Deleted Scenes slash Blooper Reels?