Sunday, August 19, 2007

Surprised by 'Superbad' (no spoilers)

I was prepared to HATE Superbad.

After I ordered tickets a few days beforehand for Friday's (opening night) 8:30 pm show, I immediately had buyer's remorse. I spent a lot of time reading movie reviews (once again, after we bought the tickets) and determined that the situation was going to be pretty grim, and I forewarned my husband that I thought we had made a bad choice. All we knew of the movie was a really funny clip (supposedly the only safe-for-TV part of the movie) on The Daily Show a few weeks ago, and then the trailer, which I had to jump through hoops to see because it was so foul (the Internet Police REALLY wanted to ensure I was over 18). My husband and I looked at each other after the trailer was done with that 'Hmmm-I'm-not-so-sure-about-THIS-one' look. But, the tickets were purchased - we were going.

When we got to the theater, the employee checking tickets at the door was this little teeny kid, and he was fighting with someone because they didn't have ID with them to prove they were 18. WHAT?!?! They still actually check for ID?!!? This was going to be hard-core! I got really nervous at that point. (As a side note, do you remember the first R-rated movie you ever saw? I do. Mine was A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon in 1988. I wasn't 18 yet and I don't know if my friends and I beat our parents into submission about it or had a friend's older sister get us tickets or what... all I remember is that we HAD TO SEE IT because River Phoenix was in it.)

Back to Superbad... The show was sold-out and as the lights went down and the preview trailers lit up the screen, I knew we had a good crowd (the main reason why, as I've said many times, I try to go to movies only on opening nights) because everyone started cheering and clapping. The first preview was for The Dark Knight, which has been filming here in Chicago on and off for months, so of course everyone went crazy for that one. But then it became this running joke over the next seven or so trailers, no matter how bad they were, to keep up the clapping. I was happy that we had a fun theater. But then I braced myself as the main feature started...

I'm not going to talk about anything that happens in the movie, so don't worry about spoilers if you intend to see it. What I will say is that the reason I thought I was going to hate it is that I did not like The 40-Year-Old Virgin because I thought the language in it was awful and gratuitous and just total overkill. I like Steve Carell and all of the parts with him in it were OK, but his appliance store friends I just couldn't take. Most people I know liked that movie a lot (and they aren't all guys), so I figured I had a lower tolerance for bawdiness and left it at that. I didn't see Knocked Up because I don't like Seth Rogen, I don't watch Grey's Anatomy and therefore don't care about Katherine Heigl, I have been known to faint when anyone even talks about giving birth (much less having to watch it), and I knew that Seth Rogen's character was a big pothead and I never found any of that type of humor funny. So when going into the theater for Superbad, I came to the realization that I am more of a Old School/Wedding Crashers/Office Space kind of girl. I didn't think the new breed of comedies helmed by Judd Apatow was for me (the lone exception being Talladega Nights, which I liked).

I will start with the good news first - I did enjoy the movie. My expectations were set so low that I was pleasantly surprised. The two main characters were perfectly cast and are great actors and I suspect they will be leading the next wave of comedies for a long time. All of the supporting characters were impressive as well, so absolutely no one can claim that the acting was amateur in this movie. As far as the bad language went... well... it was bad. It was way worse than anything in any movie I've seen, but for some reason it didn't bother me. All I can figure is that even though it was really filthy, it was spoken by these high schoolers who you knew were just trying to be cool, and therefore it wasn't really as disturbing as in The 40-YOV when it was grown men talking like that. Furthermore, the characters in Superbad were "good guys" at their very core, and as much as they liked to talk tough, when it came right down to it, they were very innocent. This movie was more a movie about friendship than anything else. And no matter what you were like in high school or how long ago you went to high school, there is some part of the movie that you can relate to - they did an excellent job of having it be true-to-life in that sense. While I still don't like Seth Rogen and he had a small part in the movie, he was bearable.

My prediction is that this movie will become one of the younger generation's classics. It is one that will still be funny if you watch it again... and if you go see it, you will probably need to watch it again because half of the time people were laughing so hard that you couldn't hear what was going on. It is a movie that I wouldn't want to recommend to anyone because I would be scared that they would think I was a freak if they went and were subsequently appalled by it. It had a good opening night, so I am interested to see if it gains steam or withers away into cult favorite-dom. If nothing else, this movie has left the world one of the best characters of all time: McLovin. And if you want to know what that means or who he is, then you need to see it for yourself!

- e

2 comments:

dy said...

Ok, it is funny that you mention the first R-rated movie you ever saw. Was I with you for 'ANITL of Jimmy Reardon'? I don't think I was. I always remembered the first R-rated movie I saw as being 'When Harry Met Sally', and I'm 99% sure I was with you, and that we somehow just went up to the counter and bought tickets. Maybe they did not care, because how many 13 year olds were trying to see When Harry Met Sally??!! Or perhaps we pulled the ol'-switcheroo. Remember this trick? We'd just buy a ticket to whatever other movie started at the same time, and then go into the R-rated one. I think that worked most of the time. Though you and I didn't do it often since we were not superbad. Please respond to this because now I must have answers about my early teen memories!! Ah, back in the day... Friday nights at Winchester Mall...

e said...

Unfortunately, my memory of any events before 9 am this morning only comes in bits and spurts... so I do not remember anything other than the fact that ANITLOJR was my first R-rated movie, and that it was at Winchester Mall. I have no idea who was with me except that I think SD was. As far as WHMS goes... I highly doubt I was with you for that one... I think the first time I saw that was actually not in the theater, I didn't see if for a while after it came out. The quest to remember things continues...