Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Love Letter from a Fanboy

Sometimes classic films have to percolate a bit. You see it in the theater, you love it, it's a great movie, but it's not that big of a deal. Then, they start showing it on cable every day and you watch it over and over and it becomes a part of the culture (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is the perfect example). Then there's the classic movie that you see once and you just know. It's like love at first sight. You know that this one is a staple from now on. You're gonna buy it on DVD as soon as you can. You know this is one of those defining movies that you're going to recommend over and over - but only to a select group, because you know that not just anybody is going to like it like you do. It's a movie that resonates with some part of you - even if you're the only one in the room that feels that way. That's FANBOYS.

Remember my reaction to BENJAMIN BUTTON? Ok, turn that on its head and you get FANBOYS. If ever a movie was gush-worthy, I'm gonna gush about FANBOYS.

Quick plot summary. It's 1998 and four Star Wars geeks have waited their whole lives for a new Star Wars movie. They hatch a plan to break in to George Lucas' house in California to steal an early print of Episode 1. Hilarity ensues.

The more I think about FANBOYS, the more I realize that it's not a film for everyone. If you're not a dork like me, you might want to stay away. I mean, I'm sure you're a nice person, but you're just not going to get the jokes. You'll do that thing where you roll your eyes and say, "Um, yeah, it was... funny," just to placate me. And that's ok. This movie isn't for you anyway. There's tons of geek humor - note the fantastic convo between Linus and Bottler about whether it was weird or not for Luke and Leia to have kissed.

This is a road trip movie and a buddy movie. It's a teenage, John Hughes kind of movie with formulaic plot lines, which doesn't matter because that's not the point. There's a love story, but it involves Jay Baruchel, so it doesn't count. There's lots of wonderful cameos - I won't ruin them for you, except for one. Seth Rogen is so funny in FANBOYS that I can't stand it.

This is a movie that made me like watching movies. It never felt like work (again, BENJAMIN BUTTON). It's the movie that you pull out at midnight when your buddies are over and you need some laughs. It revels in its geekiness and lets the viewer know that it's ok that he still has his original Millenium Falcon. If you watch the little behind-the-scenes doc that's on the DVD, the cast and director say over and over that this movie is a love letter to Star Wars. And that's exactly what it is - a self-aware homage to something that we insensibly, irrationally love.

And so FANBOYS gets 5 insensible, irrational, loving Windows out of 5.

A quick note about the anti-Trek sentiments in the movie. They are done in love - and if you can't poke a little bit of fun at the insanity of it all, then suck on your inhaler and move out of your parents' garage (or carriage house).


Janna Barber said...

Yes. The millenium is here in our house. Quite worn by lots of love over the years, but still holding up enough for a good battle scene.

the hamster said...

john - this is great, and it comes after several thumbs-down reviews. i love how you do not merely refuse to apologize for your geekiness, but you wallow in it like CP-30 in ewok worship. i'm taking your advice on this one. thumbs-down to the thumbs-down: if john barber says it's a nerf-hurder nerdfest then i'm there.

ps. please remain this industrious in your viewing, wallowing and reviewing. myles may soon be a bit too preoccupied to play with us.