Saturday, March 12, 2011

Superbad

(Movie Review)

I guess this film is a bit of a cult classic. I missed out on it because I was in Japan. (The big budget Hollywood action flicks usually do pretty well in Japan, but humor doesn't always translate, and especially films with kind of quirky humor like this do not get big releases in Japan, and they can easily fly under my radar.)

But a friend loaned me this movie the other day, and I enjoyed it. I mentioned the movie to a couple people, and they immediately responded, "Ah, Mclovin!"

Even people who hadn't even seen the movie seemed to know about Mclovin. One friend told me, "a couple years ago that scene was always on TV back in the US."

It's amazing how much mileage this movie gets out of that one joke--the fact that a nerdy high school kid picked a ridiculous name for his fake ID. As the police officers repeatedly shout out his name, this gag alone probably accounts for about half the movie's humor right there.
And yet, it had me chuckling. [Mclovin! (Chortle) ahh, Mclovin. You crazy kids.]

This is the kind of film where the humor sort of grows on you. At least for me. I wasn't laughing very hard while I was actually watching it, but there were a number of things that stuck in my mind, and had me quietly laughing to myself the next couple days. (For example Jonah Hill being so upset that he didn't have a partner in Home Ec, or Michael Cera singing "These Eyes.")

Judged in an absolute sense, this may not be the best movie ever. But film review is always comparative. And as high school comedies go, I think this is near the top of my list.
I was talking with a friend who complained, "When I was in high school, we had 'American Pie.' What a terrible movie that was! I would have loved to have had 'Superbad' back then instead."

He was a couple years younger than me. I was in college when 'American Pie' came out. But his general point was well taken. There's a real quirky humor to this film that is a lot of fun. Also it manages to capture the awkwardness of high school without veering into sentimentality, so it gets another point.

I wasn't sure the police officers entirely fit into this film. There completely moronic banter was so different from the conversation of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera that they seemed to have been lifted out of another film entirely. At first I was worried they were going to ruin the whole film, but by they grew on me as well. By the end of the film I thought they had justified their existence.

Also a great soundtrack.

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky: “This is the Most Remarkable Regional Uprising that I Can Remember”

Also--more music on youtube. possibly the best version of "Masters of War" that I've heard yet.

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