Friday, December 4, 2009

THE CROWNING JEWEL OF THE JUDD APATOW CANON AND THE REKINDLING OF JOHN HUGHES' TORCH


this film has come to me on skyscraper high recommendations from nearly every angle of my community. still, and somehow, i have only just now gotten around to seeing this film last night. it's silly and preposterous that i have waited this long, and i walked away from the film wondering what good i have accomplished with my life, and what other great jewels i've deprived myself of, these past few years.

i'm with myles: judd apatow delivers the hits. and, ironically, even though his movies have the expected apatow crassness and blushing humor, they also tackle unique struggles in my generation's need for maturity. 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN taunted our obsession with sexuality. SUPERBAD grabbed high school by the poop-mouth dirty tongue and jangled our notions of identity. PINEAPPLE EXPRESS smoked our dependencies on medication while also defining solid friendships. and TALLEDEGA NIGHTS (which apatow produced) reminded us that applebee's is a 5 star joint if you live a 2 star existence.

it's easy to dismiss apatow's movies as nothing more than filthy bathroom and boy humor, never realizing that, despite the necessary hollywood hyperboles that overgeneralize gender and age stereotypes in apatow's films, the man has diligently catalouged a faithful history of our current generation. it's as if apatow picked up where john hughes left off, fast forwarding suburban white culture from the 80s and turning the camera on us again in the new millenium. in that sense, we could feasibly celebrate both filmmakers for their anthropological achievements alone.

not to mention the ways hughes and apatow both taught me to cuss and banter better.

with that said, KNOCKED-UP, in my opinion, is the crowning jewel of the apatow canon. as myles already beautifully stated, everything that apatow does well finds it's apex in KNOCKED-UP. the overly exaggerated boy humor and girl fretting. the blinding addiction to self. the adult bodies trapped in middle school mindsets. the larger than life crisis that forces everyone in the film to re-evaluate their own lives and their need for others. these are signature apatow moves just as much, if not more, than the autoerotic jokes and dookie references.

i do think KNOCKED UP is the funniest film in the bunch, far exceeding some of the cheaper laughs in SUPERBAD (i also peed a little in that one) and the dirty-for-dirtiness sake of 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN ("you know how i know you're gay?"); however, it's the film's heart and tenderness that stood out most to me.

for instance, i was completely taken off guard when we learn that pete's (paul rudd) actual infidelity with debbie (leslie mann) was a fantasy baseball league and solitary film nights. after the film, i told latonya that i believe the wayward desire in most married men is not for a bimbo as much as for a little return on that long lost bachelor freedom. in the film, pete did love his wife. he loved his kids. but there was that aching wanderlust that needed other men and some solitude from time to time. of course, the message here is that pete and debbie had dissolved into a place where pete's request for such personal time would translate to debbie as a call for divorce. we see this in her immediate assumption that pete's having an affair. debbie jumped to the conclusion that pete no longer wanted her, not even considering for a moment that maybe pete just wanted a bit more pete. i thought this scene was brilliant, and i tip my hat to apatow for not relying on the typical man-wants-other-woman scenario. it's moments like this (and there were several in KNOCKED UP) that illustrate apatow's ability to abuse and transcend his own signature stereotypes.

all in all, this is a great film. it's funny and warm and, like the great john hughes' films of yore, it reminds us that we all have a little growing up to do. as with myles, i cannot recommend KNOCKED UP highly enough. it definitely deserves 5 googled murder searches out of 5.

11 comments:

MM said...

How can we go from this major win for Apatow to the very unfunny Sarah Marshall?

the hamster said...

ain't seen it. but it's on the queue.

MM said...

Be prepared for Jason Segel's wang. A lot.

myleswerntz said...

what is up, Matt Moser????? Another lurker shows their face.

I've been told exactly the opposite about Sarah Marshall, so it's the next one in my queue. 'Queue', btw, is a overly ridiculous word. How about 'line', Anglophiles? How about "I'm lining up", because, let's face it, you're standing a linear sequential order.

zenner's said...

Sarah Marshall is watchable if you go in with low expectations. I went in thinking 2 and it was about a 6 which made it feel like a 8.333333.

Tiffani R said...

Aside from the persistent nudity, my parents thought Sarah Marshall was sweet. I have not seen it yet, because when you live alone, male nudity in your queue just feels wrong.

Kev: my comments on Myles KU post would be superfluous if repeated here, but suffice it to say, I liked this movie, too... despite my already stated misgivings.

Also, you know what other movie I felt like "grew up" with me? Gross Pointe Blank - which for some reason really did feel like the sequel to Say Anything even if competely unrelated.

myleswerntz said...

You know what movie has funny wang? SIDEWAYS. The scene when the naked guy throws himself on the side of the car window had me on the floor crying.

Tim Harrell said...

Gross Pointe Blank is always a top recommendation for anyone "just looking for something to watch"! True Favorite.

Knocked Up. WOW. so funny, so vile. hard to recommend to my parents, but would definitely tell everyone else that I'd head to Vegas with a bag of 'shrooms to see it.

Sarah Marshall. Funny. vile. more vile than funny. Not as sweet as it is vile. But I think that's my fuddy-dud tendencies taking over.

Bethany said...

ohhhh. this makes me want to see this movie again. I was laughing so hard tears were rolling and muscles aching when the guys answered the door with poop-particled, pink eyes. and again with the reference, "now THAT'S how you get pink eye." classic. I'm glad you loved it (and finally watched it).

wonderstuff said...

Good to read about this movie twice in two days ... you reminded me how much I liked it as well. However, new question for a newer Apatow movie: Have any of you seen FUNNY PEOPLE yet, which was Apatow's latest that came out this past summer - somewhat of a dramedy. I have mixed feelings about it, but I'd like to know what you guys think. Is it in the Red Box yet over there in the States?

John Barber said...

I just put FUNNY PEOPLE at the top of my Netflix queue. Hopefully I can review it soon.