The Boner Factor and Wet Panty Effect

I like movies, different movies for different times, like different foods for different moods. I admit that I like watching crappy movies sometimes. I once watched Gigli twice on cable – I think my wife was out of town and I was feeling all self destructive, forgive me I was weak. I used to teach, digital editing, and my students would rave about Rollerball. Great movie, Rollerball – With James Caan, Maud Adams, John Houseman, commentary on society, where it is (or was back then) and where it was heading – surprise we’re here.

No, no, no, my students meant the newer one, with L.L. Cool J, and some John Cusack lookie like.

I try not to slam other people’s work. It’s a smallish industry, everyone knows each other, getting a script written is hard enough, but getting it made into a movie, and making the movie. That’s hard work. They can’t all be winners, but what the hell, Once at some film group meetup, I was discussing the problems I had with the Dark Knight and the film The Watchmen, apparently he was an executive producer on those films. Gee, no reason to wonder why he ain’t calling to hire me. Still, if you’re going to open your mouth, you better have something to say.

So screw it, let’s go to town.

Let me write this again to be clear, sometimes I like crappy films. I like chocolate, Ring Dings, ice cream, popcorn, etc. Can’t live off that stuff, but once in a while, that’s okay. Look I don’t need everything to be Brazil, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, La Jetée or 12 Fricking Monkeys, I love Crazy Stupid Love, silly and funny and so entertaining. So even from the crappy films I do watch, I just want them to be worth my time, Don’t loose me in the first 5 minutes, be well thought out, instead of some dumb ass cookie cutter approach, like oh, we need a piece of drama here, some Tits and Ass there, betrayal over here, the hero’s friend sacrifices themselves there, Hero wins, and oh look the friend survived, we are all happy ever after.

Rollerball, I’m watching this movie and I’m not even 3 minutes in, and I’m lost, and it isn’t that I don’t care yet, I don’t want to care because I don’t understand any of it. Then the Black guy shows up driving the Porsche delivering exposition. ??????????????
Look, why is the nice black man there? No I don’t mean why is he in the movie, we know why, L.L.Cool J. is a box office draw, expands the marketing of the movie, although I do think he is a talented actor (he must be, look he managed to be in this and keep a straight face.) But our Dumb ass goofy looking White Boy hero (who at this point doesn’t have a name, but is only called “Kid”) doesn’t even wonder why his friend shows up. The hero of the movie is evading cops on his Street Luge board, trying not to get killed, and his friend, that he has not seen in years, just happens to show up to save him??? Did they plan it? We find out later LL Cool J was sent to get him to join the Rollerball league (I wonder who was sent to get LL Cool J in this movie – maybe they aren’t friends anymore?), but seriously. How dumb is the audience expected to be.

You got me, for another 15 maybe 20 seconds as they great each other and then cut to some location so they can have a heart to heart and we hear how they planned it, or how LL Cool J heard about this stunt, and just wanted to be there to pull his dumb as farm boy looking friend’s ass out of the fire AGAIN. BUT No, we don’t get that.

Wait REWIND.

Why is Captain Stupid (well we find out he’s named Jonathon, but I like Captain Stupid), street racing through San Francisco? To get to the Golden Gate Bridge? I don’t think you can get to the bridge from within San Fran, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to San Francisco, (she was very cool, it was great – but that was a lifetime ago), and besides I hate that kind of crap, like putting the toll booths from the Battery Tunnel at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in Hudson Hawk – another winner of a movie. So forget the stupid explainer of where the race is going, What the hell is Captain Stupid doing there?

He starts off in a van, and we hear that it pays photographers $250, he thought it paid $400. But he’s in anyway. Then the race starts – Is he a photographer? Everyone else is shooting pics of the other guy, the guy in the racing gear, not Captain Stupid in his uniform of the slacker generation (what is with that haircut anyway? A Face Frame Hair Do is for Girls.) So I don’t get the point, I’m confused as to the purpose of this race and I don’t know who this guy is and WHY I AM SUPPOSED TO CARE ABOUT HIM. How about some shots of him growing up, maybe losing his family, maybe failing at sports try outs, turning down the good jobs because he’s an UN-focussed moron and this movie will be about him getting his act together? No, No, SOMETHING, ANYTHING?

No,instead he’s told photographers are getting paid less than he thought they were and now he is street lugeing with a pro, maybe he is a photographer getting that really neat angle???? Oh wait, he’s not carrying a camera? WHAT the hell is going on. 1 minute in, I’m lost and all the stunt work in the world doesn’t get my heart pounding about someone I haven’t even had the chance to care about.

Lets call it the Boner Factor shall we, or the Wet Panty Effect. When I’m with a woman, and we are interested in each other – these things happen seemingly by themselves. Sure sure, we can just get to the physical kissing and touching and things happen, but when the Boner Factor, or the Wet Panty Effect are there without any physical stimulation, just the concept of talking with that someone special well then, Sky Rockets in Flight for the sex. Same with movies. IF I have an opportunity to care about the characters, Been giving something that attracts me to them, or at least intrigues me, you got me, I’m in for the ride. I don’t know, something as stupid as making fists with my bare feet in a carpet to get over my fear of flying. Something, anything. Hey Angelina, that’s great that you are showering in Tomb Raider, but watching you shower isn’t connecting you to my emotional side, really it is doing the opposite – objectifying you, which makes it even more difficult to get emotionally involved. I’d like to avoid the whole question of which is more complicated the Male or Female sex drive by saying that the topic deserves more study.

So we are at 6 minutes in to this movie, we don’t care about the Captain Stupid, know next to nothing about him except that he is waiting on NHL tryouts (however all we know is that he takes pictures without using a camera, and likes to street luge, but doesn’t even wear the jersey of his favorite hockey team), we also find out that the cops somehow know where he lives because they are outside the building where he lives. I guess they are looking for him because nobody else lives in that huge building. Next we are in Central Asia and at minute 24 of the movie and we have reached the climax of the movie. We see Captain Stupid is reckless, and are told he isn’t a team player, and see that he just cares about himself. Then the BIG dumb white guy gets hurt, and NOW Captain Stupid (the smaller dumb white guy) gets serious. He signals the band to start playing some theme music, and now his teammates follow him. 5 minutes or less to wrap up the details, ride out the resolution of the plot/theme and enjoy the afterglow.  The next 70 minutes are unnecessary, the movie is over.

Sure, sure – there is more stuff, expansion on how the sport is all about money and that the athletes are really slaves, and oh guess the veil of ignorance being pulled away, but movie is over at minute 24, because the guy we don’t care about has suddenly had to grow up, and he does, and avenges his fallen friend. All the rest is just like sex without the the Boner Factor or Wet Panty Effect. Yes, yes, yes. It is sweaty, and tiring, and we’ve done this before, so just get it over with.

Finally, I can only suggest to the Writer and to the Director of this version of Rollerball, that they go watch a couple of well written and well made movies – such as Die Hard and The Hunt For Red October.

Okay, so thanks for reading, and please feel free to keep reading, share this with others, subscribe to the blog. Comments are welcome.

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One Response to The Boner Factor and Wet Panty Effect

  1. michelle April 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    You TELL ’em!

    …but, at least, did they blow up a bunch of cars?

    🙂

    Michelle

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