Know what your problem is, Shapiro? It’s that you just have this really shitty way of looking at things, ya know? I don’t have that problem. I just look at the dopeness. But you, it’s like you just look at the wackness, ya know?
We watched The Wackness the other night. This is an odd little movie that I had been interested in seeing for a while after hearing a bit about it on the internets… mostly to do with Mary-Kate Olsen. I find Mary-Kate fascinating for some reason I cannot readily explain. Perhaps it is her ‘wackness,’ because I do think she is completely insane. None the less, she piques my interest every time I hear news about her. She also has this bizarre thing about her, which is that the amount of press she gets for her roles in movies and television shows (like Weeds, which I love – I never watched Full House) is astronomically out of proportion for the amount of actual screen time she ever has (again, I am talking about movies I would actually watch here.. not all that twin-crap she made with her sister.) In a way it is like an unbelievably economic way to self promote, because people end up watching a movie just to see her and then, she has this little bit part… but there you go, watching the whole movie. I am not sure that it is a bad thing that she has so little screen time, she can’t ever really fuck anything up that badly and she maintains the curiosity factor.
And now this blog has done just what the studios do and digressed completely into an M-K diatribe, when the point was completely something else.
So, aside from the M-K factor, what did The Wackness have to offer? A good cast that included Gandhi and a Bond girl, an examination of one of life’s most familiar transitions – from high school to college – and an AMAZING soundtrack.
But more than that, the movie told a kind of familiar story in a really sweet way. The reviews were very mixed, there seemed to be a general Indie-film masturbatory response.. “Oh man, it’s brilliant!” Which in turn brought out the vitriol of the More-Indie-than-Indie crowd… “Oh, god, people just throw the word ‘brilliant’ around these days…” It is somewhere between the two. [And did win the Audience Award at Sundance in 2008.] It is a snapshot of a summer with pop-culture references that were not lost on me, because I was actually hip in 1994, and interesting characters that may seem far-fetched or cartoonish to some. They did not seem cartoonish to me, in fact I think I probably know some of those characters personally.
It was cool to see the street scenes in New York and the summer heat was palpable. M-K spinning in the park was perfect and Luke’s daydreams perfectly predictable. Kingsley as a jaded shrink is hilarious and M-K spacing out on mushrooms certainly seems to indicate that she is a method actor. The movie is more like a voyeurs view of a few weeks in the life of Luke Shapiro – but that works for me… because I am a voyeur. My friend Karine was not sure she liked the movie, because “not much happened.” And this is tru, there is not a lot of resolution. But that makes the movie all the more appropriate for what I think it is trying to do; after all, I can count the times I have achieved resolution in my life… and I do not need to use both hands. Some of the reviews said Luke was unlikeable, but that was not the point. I can name a good chunk of years where I was unlikable…how can you be likable when you are going though shit? You just go through it. It is wack.
And if you are lucky there is a good soundtrack to get you through.