martin mull in the houuuuuuuuuuuuuuse
Set It Up (2018) - this is an extremely exhausting movie which may well have secretly been made as some kind of searing polemical indictment of the class society, there are two whitecollar servile toadies who each work for a different horrible boss, hassling service workers over minor requests on their behalf and staying late each night, despite not seeming to actually need money for anything but that’s an old romcom staple so we’ll let that slide, they decide to hook their respective bosses up with each other so that they’ll be more satisfied and hence nicer to everyone (??) and then fall in love themselves and etc. i guess it creeped me out in part because i really do work with people sometimes in real life who take some kind of weird masochistic pleasure in how much hassle and unpaid overtime they put up with and spread to others in the course of jobs that ultimately don’t mean shit or do shit, like that’s a badge of honour, “If you sleep 3 hours a night and eat coffee beans and adderall for breakfast then you MIGHT be a Do-er” etc, so having the film frame that stuff as aggravating but ultimately cute, relateable, personally rewarding and so forth felt a little gruesome. it’s maybe worth noting this is a netflix original which is something i maybe unfairly associate with always-hustling digerati types but i do feel the hallmark movies would take a slightly more skeptical approach towards this kind of thing! even if one of the bosses is lucy liu.
there’s an extremely weird section where they’re stuck in an elevator with an obese, claustrophobic mailman who immediately takes off all his clothes and starts peeing into cups as soon as the lift stops working! nothing else in the film is like this at all. it’s like a zooey descanel movie suddenly featured a cameo by ma klump. very mysterious.
at the end the two personal assistants have a crisis of conscience and realize that it’s wrong to manipulate two huge pieces of shit into getting married for the sake of a few days of vacation time. which personally I feel is more of an open question. interestingly the movie also goes some lengths to repeatedly tell us the lucy liu boss really is in fact a strong, important female leader as well as a piece of shit, and it IS lucy liu, but also, the very structure and plot of the film depend on that strong female leader treating her subordinates identically to how the idiot fratboy investment banker does, so make your own conclusions I guess.
The United States Marines have never rendered so sacrificial a service
New Year’s Eve (2011) - as they say i had to do it to em, this is one of the american Love Actually knockoffs mentioned by Sleazy earlier in the thread, and the very concept of that being a genre has been on my mind ever since. it’s actually quite strange watching this not being that familiar with this era of american movies / tv! i mean i’m not that familiar with british stuff either but that’s just the same 50 people every time. whereas in this one i had to stop and check imdb every time it seemed like i was meant to be recognising who this weird looking bit actor who the camera seemed unusually focused on was and then half the time it turned out their previous big role was as the dad in the wild thornberrys or something. which was sort of a pleasant way to watch honestly.
since it was mostly set around times square in new york i had fun looking at all the billboards to remember what was going on at the time. there’s a big sign for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark!! also, an advertisement for Epic Mickey. at one point during the closing scene of the new year’s ball and fireworks etc i was distracted because the entire left fifth of the screen was robert downey jr’s face from a giant billboard of Sherlock Holmes.
mayor bloomberg makes a cameo and also the festivities seem to be sponsored by nivea, everyone’s wearing nivea hats and shit, there are multiple scenes of the nivea logo. please stay moisturized on new year’s eve.
robert de niro pops up every 20 minutes to play an old man dying alone in a hospital which sort of kills the mood when the other plots are on the level of “two couples compete to win the cash prize for having the first new year’s baby”(?) and “zac efron is hired by a lonely secretary to help complete all her new year’s resolutions in one day”. but he does it by cheating! like, she lists “travel the world” so he drives her on his motorbike in a circle around a giant metal globe. she lists going to bali so he takes her to a balinese spa which is inexplicably hidden inside a totally unmarked warehouse in some kind of industrial port and concealed behind a big rusted metal door. gentrification i guess… anyway i like the sort of cross-genre pollination where this depressed lady’s requests are treated like some kind of mythological creature’s riddles which you have to solve by cunning and trickery.
i forget which resolution it was but for one of them he takes her inside a big music hall and she gets to swing around on a bunch of wires from the sky. is she reliving the spider-man turn off the dark extravaganza??
here are some other things in the film
ludacris is in it as a police man and gives some of the most depressed sounding line readings i’ve ever heard in a movie, including the single most depressed one of “happy new year”. the combination of this with a very straight-backed posture makes it look like they had to prop him up with a broom.
there’s a very weird, out of nowhere scene where they find a lost child at times square who asks them to locate his mom in an absolutely sidequest-in-an-open-world-videogame voice. the way they do it is by hoisting him up onto the crowd so he can crowdsurf over to her!
the most demoralizing subplot involved a guy who looked like mattel tried to make a doll version of keanu reeves but couldn’t get the rights, it turns out that’s ashton kutcher. he plays the sort of steve zahn preset character of the cynical gen-x type who always goes on tears about how fake the holidays are and etc, and his story arc is being trapped in an elevator with one of the singers from Glee. he looks like one of those youtube guys who record a hundred videos about all the cinema sins of how to train your dragon. anyway there’s a scene where she’s singing along to a musical number happening at a different location in the movie while he just kind of ignores her (oneperfectshot):
i think my favourite thing about these movies, or at least this one and love actually, is when they have like a side-character with no arc who doesn’t really have anything to do, so they just sort of throw in a single piece of additional information about the character’s life to sort of have done with it and so we don’t feel they were purely a placeholder. and it’s always kind of delivered like it’s this twilight zone twist ending even when it’s kind of just… random lore. the recurring taxi driver guy - - is waiting to meet with his estranged sister!! the office lady - - is looking after a relative with dementia! in this one halle berry is a nurse and then she goes home in a fancy dress but actually it turns out she’s just skyping with her bf who is a Troop in undisclosed location. i guess it was a deliberate attempt to show that there was still war going on outside the confines of these movies but due to the power of movie magic it comes off more like suddenly recieving a transmission from the phantom zone. he spends the whole chat sitting with his hands clasped and then at the end the screen dissolves to static (on a webcam!) and cuts off without him actually getting up or touching anything. did he die??
medical staff deal with a lot of shit in this movie in general. at one point an obstetrician has to explain to the viewpoint characters of one scene that she’s not willing to suddenly schedule a c-section for that very night just so that they can win the $25k first baby award. but, like, doesn’t imply that it’s a crazy thing to ask for just a same-day no-notice c-section a la carte on new year’s eve.
at the end of the movie the old man dies and they immediately start playing “what a wonderful world” and show you a baby simultaneously being born… makes ya think
there’s a blooper reel and in one of them it shows the obstretician character pulling out a pair of all-new shrinkwrapped DVD copies of garry marshall’s previous movie “valentines day” from a woman’s womb. imo this should have been the real ending to the film.
Failure To Launch (2006) - about some parents hiring a lady to seduce away their stay-at-home son. But the son is Matthew McConaughey! So he’s already the most active and amiable presence in the movie and it makes no sense when the plot is centered around this character’s passivity…
Oh shit, I looked it up and on IMDB it says the role was originally written for Zach Braff!! Imagine seeing a Zach Braff movie that starred Matthew McConaughey instead. No wonder this felt sort of inexplicable.
Anyway, the launch lady is played by Sarah Jessica Parker but I didn’t remember anything abt her performance because I think I was still distracted from seeing her again after she’d appeared as a final-act cameo in New Year’s Eve last week. Zooey Deschanel is in this and plays a sort of prototype Aubrey Plaza role.
Easily the most bizarre part of this film is when MMcC and bros take a break to go mountain biking in the forest and it suddenly cuts to this fast-paced frenzied biking camerawork, set to pop punk, and then they crash and find a CGI chipmunk, and befriend it, and then it savagely attacks McConaughey. This is actually a recurring sequence in the film and every 30 minutes the bros will all go into nature and MMcC will be attacked by a different CGI animal (dolphin, reptile etc). It becomes a plot point at the end with the argument that the friendly animals attack him because his lifestyle is “fundamentally at odds with the natural world” to the point where nature itself rejects him.
“Man committed a sin… disturbing the life cycle of nature. The original sin that man is responsible to.” - Goldman, House Of The Dead 2
It turns out this theory is correct because at the end he falls off a boat, and the dolphin reappears, but is friendly this time. There’s another plotline where the Zooey Deschanel character has to kill a specific loud bird, but in this case animosity towards nature is actually what allows her to find love with a nerd guy who gives her his BB gun.
Come to think of it, finding love through shooting at things is another theme, the main characters bond at one point by having an exuberant paintball match against a villainous paintball team known as the “Devil Babies”(!). So it’s a dense web of meanings.
I like the part where the dolphin attacks him and swims away pulling him beneath the water, while his friend just dispassionately states that “he’s their passenger now”.
At the end they tie him to a chair and lock him and her in a house, filled with 17 surveillance cameras, and the friend group watch them fight/reconcile through a laptop connected to the camera feeds in a restaurant. And everyone else at the restaurant slowly gathers around and gets really into the movie, screaming and crying etc. I feel like I’ve seen multiple romcoms that do this by this point, like, showing the audience’s own intended reaction to what’s happening via other characters watching the same thing? In this case it’s even more bizarre because within the restaurant they end up hooking the feed to some kind of futuristic bank of television monitors, that apparently cover one whole wall, and which didn’t appear in the film before now.
Matthew McConaughey’s dad is played by Terry Bradshaw, who I guess is an american football guy but who at first I seriously thought might have been some kind of CGI effect where MMcC’s face was sort of digitally projected and rendered onto a buff computer body, like the Hulk.
Just My Luck (2006) - a spooky movie about the implacable hand of Fortune within human affairs. Lindsey Lohan is “lucky” which in this context means in addition to being wealthy and successful she also keeps finding extra money on the street, wins lottery tickets, gets given free luxury dresses etc. At a certain point in the movie her status realigns to “unlucky” and within 24 hours she has become unemployed, homeless, lost all her possessions, been beaten up in jail, and contracted pinkeye from dropping her contact lens into some cat litter and then immediately putting it back in her eye again (in fairness that last one is maybe on her).
Meanwhile Chris Pines is an extremely “unlucky” guy who manages the rock band, McFly (played by rock band, McFly). His status changes to lucky, but he still has to manage McFly.
Since this is in part a McFly vehicle I enjoyed the music-themed background information. We learn McFly are “the hottest band in New York City” and sound like “early Beatles meets Blink-182”. A plot point is that they get to trade upwards from a gig at the Knitting Factory to playing the Hard Rock Cafe(??). At one point Chris Pines is given a free apartment by the record label and it has lots of sort of ikea-stock-photo dadrock iconography around, a Doors picture and woodstock poster and a big Yes logo etc. But then in one scene he stands in we see there are small posters for both George Clinton and the Tragically Hip on the same wall! Something for everyone.
His apartment also has this unexplained thing in it:
At one point we see a poster for the fictitious record label in the movie. I didn’t recognise most of the bands but was interested to see they did apparently sign Robyn Hitchcock.
Also, I feel it’s worth pointing out that the big pitch the Lindsey Lohan character makes to win the record company contract at the start is this poster:
the idea is that it combines a masked ball with a circus theming, including waiters going around on stilts. I would personally feel a bit nervous combining those particular elements but I guess they’re the professionals.
Something I thought was funny: at one point the band tell C Pines “you discovered us”. But at this point they only have one song and are playing the same bowling alley over and over! What does “discovered” mean in this context? Like, from where, under a rock? They also make fun of “the backup drummer for Whitesnake” which I frankly feel is unearned.
Towards the end there’s a dramatic part where the manager’s bad luck reasserts, and McFly are all suddenly struck with different catastrophies right before they’re due to go onstage: the guitarist hurts his eye with a snapped string, the bassist and singer start projectile vomiting, the drummer gets locked in some kind of subterranean basement area… I enjoyed this greatly and wished that they had developed this theme to the obvious next step of imprisoning one inside the Springfield Mystery Spot.
(Also, not to dwell on this aspect of the movie too much but by the end I kept feeling bad for any real teenage McFly fans who watched this one. The band apparently did a whole soundtrack album but only play about three songs (one of them three times, however). But every time they start playing, after about 10 seconds the camera would shift to other characters talking over the song! I didn’t mind this personally but I was a little haunted by the idea of some poor kid with terminal McFly Fever having to sit through People In Front Of You Talk Loudly Through The Whole Concert: The Movie.)
Anyway it was weird watching this, a goofy movie about luck and McFly that due to comedic exaggeration accidentally conjured up a truly terrifying universe split between the doomed and the elect, between those blandly falling down the gravity well of success as a given and the others condemned to die like dogs. At the end of the movie Lindsey Lohan and Chris Pines pass on the magical luck to a little girl and decide to be unlucky together. But given the great and vindictive power of fate within this movie (able to crash cars, strike lightning, give and take both basic necessities of life and personal relationships) the sight of them walking off without it feels very ominous. It’s like the ending to It Follows, or like if the characters from Sullivan’s Travels never went back home.
Oh yeah: at one point the little girl gets a Mega Man X toy glued to her face! IDK why they had to give her extra luck as that seems pretty lucky already.
I love this thread more than I can express
like if I ever wanted to show someone my forum I would go no farther than recommending they look at the thread “romm comm tuum” by the user “the catamites”
every part of it is tremendous
this thread’s revelation of how much weird supernatural shit is in romcoms has been like a personal rosetta stone for normal person ideology for me
Is this romantic comedy Calvinist?
all Americans are Protestant
…but only the Grade AAA+ True Protestants are Calvinists.
I mean honestly membership of the preterite seems in flux throughout the film so I would maybe class it as a fear-and-trembling deal where the most we can hope for is an infinite resignation towards the terrifying and unknowable whims of god.
Do not despair, for one of the leads was saved; do not presume, for two of the leads were damned.
I think the single biggest thing that stood out to me was just how many of these movies included a car chase or other stunts.
Was trying to think of a film that melded all prominent pulp genres, the science-horrormantic dramedy mystery
and realized… Her exists…
need to lie down
I mean The Fly is pretty charming as a romcom honestly but I’ve tried and so far have had no luck with this argument
the goldblum / davis chemistry is real! The Fly is so good
Have you ever watched any Bollywood movies
yeah isnt that like the definition of a Masala film
we cannot compete with an industry that has normalized 3+ hour movies