New York – After attending a private screening followed by a Q & A with director Rob Reiner for his new movie, Flipped, the best thing I can report is that there was free coffee and a breakfast buffet.
Also in attendance were a class of 10 year old Reiner’s little urban achievers, yes, and proud we are of all of them. But by credits they were more concerned with their bladder rather than Rob Reiner’s shit sandwich. I really wanted to ask “if there was a burning building and you could rush in and you could save only one thing: either the last known copy of Flipped or some anonymous human being, what would you do?” Instead we had the usual lobbing softball questions about how it was working with young actors and old folks’ comments like “this really reminds me of when I was raising my kids.”
At least Reiner admits to producing this flipping love/hate relationship themed film before like, When Harry met Sally and The Princess Bride. Furthermore, passing this off by setting it in the wonder years 1963, he rehires cinematographer Thomas Del Ruth to re-bank off his Stand by Me success – presenting it as a “companion piece” and a second tale of coming of age. It’s such a fine line between stupid, and clever…or in this case pointless and retarded. Flipped, a young romantic comedy, narrated verbatim from the novel by Wendelin Van Draanen, recounts first love through both perspectives of Juli Baker (Madeline Caroll) and Bryce Loski (Callan Mcauliffe) from Grade School to Junior High. Blahhhh. “If it weren’t for love and my Wife,” Reiner said, “I’d just be sitting on the couch like this-” clicks an invisible remote- “seriously just like this…with no remote.”
But in the end who cares about these kids, I’ve got real troubles. And while 1963 didn’t have the distractions of cell phones and TV, at least TV was free back then and they didn’t have to worry about paying their cable bill. And half the time I can’t find the fucking remote anyway, “I mean, when you’ve loved and lost the way Frank has, then you, uh, you know what life’s about.”
“Ramona come closer shut softly your watery eyes. The pangs of your sadness shall pass as your senses will rise. The flowers of the city though breathlike get deathlike at times. And there’s no use in tryin’ t’ deal with the dyin’ though I cannot explain that in lines.”-Bob Dylan
Mario, Donkey Kong, and just about every other video game has provided geeks the virtual dream of being “the Hero,” needing only their thumbs to Kick Ass and save the girl. Only in Scott Pilgrim the girl is not exactly a damsel in distress but a total skank. Set in bleak present day Toronto, a snow globe world (that even the late Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland would find dismal and mundane) of gently falling flakes and pop up captions against wood wall paneling, cheap carpets, futon beds, and Charlie Brown clothing, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), has left a carnage of seven deadly disgruntled and jealous ex-boyfriends against our posterboy hero, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera). Encouraged by his gay roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), not only to find his own bed but also to save himself from being just another 22 year old slacker bassist in a Breakfast Club garage band, who still dates a high school girl, Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and to instead suck it up and defeat in Mortal Combat the League of Evil Exes.
While Cera continues to portray his typecast to a T, with his band mates equally sharing the spotlight, and Jason Schwartzman continues to ham it up for his Hipster fans, it’s essentially due to modern day and ultimate spoof Director Edgar Wright and The Matrix cinematographer Bill Pope and their attention to detail of this mundacity with it’s Speed Racer like and elliptical cuts and it’s whimsical innocence of arrested development non-pot smoking cast of characters that lift it from it’s graphic comic book origins and video gaming to perhaps actually resonate to the 20 something generation.
But since the Baby Boomers left us with no values and out resourced our jobs who wouldn’t look to an alternative gaming life or start a Ponzi scheme. Instead we have turned pussy whipped into thinking that true love is a milestone to live and die for and in the in term are busy updating our facebook status and cyber-sexing. But then again Joesph Campbell nor Arnold van Gennep never played the bass let alone would ever be associated with a group called the Sex Bob-Omb. I only mention it “‘Cause sometimes there’s a man…I won’t say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero?…but sometimes there’s a man…”
“Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.” -Woody Allen