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Awkward movies

I just watched Superbad for the first time, and while I thought it was decent, and pretty funny in the final analysis, it was hard work to get through.  I struggle with awkward and embarrassing movies, especially of the Judd Apatow formula: completely charmless, pathetic male protagonists that bumble through the movie making complete asses out of themselves.  Or, at least, a movie like that has to be leavened with a great deal of silliness for me to be able to enjoy it (like the police sub-plot in Superbad).  I thought Talladega Nights struck a good balance in this regard.

I'm not sure exactly why it is I have such a reaction to such movies, but it's an extraordinarily powerful one.  It's a visceral physical discomfort.  If the movie is sufficiently awkward, I literally cannot watch.  I had to turn off Old School.  The idea behind that kind of humor seems to be a kind of release from fear—watching someone else humiliate himself as a celebration of freedom from such humiliation (at that moment, anyway).  My taste leans more toward the absurd (like Monty Python), where the jokes have no victim; or satire, where the victims genuinely deserve to be humiliated.  Perhaps as a somewhat awkward person myself I too easily sympathize with Apatow's protagonists.  Watching such movies, I am certainly reminded of my own numerous abject failures.

But it's more than that, I suspect.  Though I'm no social savant, I am not quite fit to star in an Apatow film.  High school was not a particularly hard time for me.  I was never bullied, had plenty of friends, and reasonable success with girls.  It might just be too much sympathy for the underdog.  Whatever the reason, it's got a strong grip.

Comments

  1. I cringe when i watch these kinds of movies, too. I just thought it was because they sucked.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, perhaps so, but these movies get pretty good reviews for the most part. Clearly there's some kind of perceptive difference there.

    ReplyDelete

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