Sunday, January 08, 2006


Funniest Movie Of The Year?? Grandma's Boy??

I wanted to go see Hostel, but I knew Miss Tori wouldn't go for it. I wanted to see it for the lamest of all reasons. I saw an ad warning me that paramedics have been called to test screenings, apparently to assist traumatized audience members. And I'm falling for it. I want to see this movie just so I can prove that that ad was total BS.

Miss Tori is not a fan of these sorts of movies. Give her nightmares. Of course, it's rated R. I don't usually notice the rationale included with the rating, but this time I did:
R for brutal scenes of torture and violence, strong sexual content, language and drug use.

I'll have to see it myself soon. In the meantime, we went to see another R-rated movie. The rationale for this one:
R for drug use, strong language throughout, strong crude and sexual humor, and nudity.

That sort of rating she can deal with. It was the only other movie at that theater I thought I wouldn't hate. I could not recall a single TV ad about this movie.* Guy living with grandma was as much as I could summon up. And I knew it was associated with Adam Sandler somehow, toward whom I am not negatively predisposed. Why not? Could have a couple of laughs. We saw Grandma's Boy.

Grandma's Boy is what I would call a pure comedy. A comedy in which laughs are paramount. Romantic comedies are all well and good, and seem to be the most common type of comedy movie, but they're too often heavy on the sweetness and light on the comedy. Just because a movie has a couple of laughs doesn't make it a comedy. That doesn't make it a bad movie, it just means that it isn't a comedy. A comedy devotes the vast majority of its efforts to making you laugh as much and as often as possible. A good comedy pulls it off. Grandma's Boy is a good comedy.

Every January, there's a moment when I pause and wonder to myself which new movie will be declared the _________-est movie of the year, and how soon it will happen. Because I often ask myself where the arrogance comes from that allows someone to claim that a movie is the funniest or scareist movie of the year any time before . . . well, let's say September, at the earliest. You see my dilemma. Can I really call this the funniest movie of the year?

Last summer, Miss Tori and I went to see The Wedding Crashers. I laughed a lot during that movie. We both did. I couldn't remember the last time I had laughed so hard in a theater. Now I have another touchstone against which I can measure other comedies. "Yeah, but did I laugh this much when I saw Grandma's Boy?"

It was almost hysterical. My skills are not sufficient to explain how it felt to be watching this movie. Even when I wasn't laughing out loud, I was in a warm comedy glow. If laughing out loud is the orgasm of comedy, now I know how women feel when they talk about multiples.

Alex is a mid-thirties video game tester living the dream career of anyone who's ever played a video game: 1. Get stoned. 2. Play video games. Repeat. Alex's roommate spent the rent money on massage parlor girls, and Alex is out on the street. He ends up at Grandma's house. The movies follows Alex's encounters with Grandma and her two roommates, and his adventures with the people at work.

There isn't much of a plot. Imagine a recording of a week or two of your life. Would you find a clear beginning and end, or would you find a series of events? Only minimal attention is paid to a plot in this movie. I didn't care because I was laughing so hard.

The movie looked fine to me. The actors did a nice job and none of them seemed unfit for their characters. Most of the movie is related to video games and pot smoking. The movie does not have an overabundance of redeeming social value. This film is not great art.

I think most viewers will either love it, or hate it. I loved it. I'm going to tell everyone I know that they should see it. That includes you guys. Look for me. I'll be the one seeing it again next week.

* This movie may do terribly at the box office. It has not gotten much ad support that I have seen. The screening I saw Saturday afternoon had few people. I predict that this movie will find an audience on cable and dvd, and people will look back and wonder how they missed it.

Actual Update: I think I will go ahead and call this the funniest movie of the year. Even if I'm wrong, if another movie comes out this year that's even funnier, I'll still consider myself a winner.
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