Zack And Miri Made a Porno. Kevin Smith Made Me Angry (Again).

I hate Kevin Smith with a passion. The guy makes male fantasy movies that are dumb (Chasing Amy), have potential (I'll give him Zack And Miri Make a Porno) but suck anyway, pointless (Clerks II), or just... head scratchers, as in "How the hell could anyone fund, let alone agree to make, let alone be a part of, this fucking pile of stank ass garbage?" kinda head scratching (Jersey Girl). I do not admit my familiarity with Smith's catalog with pride. Unlike most I know, I was never a fan of the guy. At one point I did like Chasing Amy (fine, some parts of Mallrats too), but that was before I became more mature than Kevin Smith (dayyyumn!).

I gave Zack and Miri a shot solely due to Seth Rogen, who along with Judd Apatow, revamped the guys-with-feelings genre (a.k.a. the bromantic comedy) into something slightly less naive than Smith's schlock. Where Apatow's guys are just dumb (and stoned) lovable losers, Smith's guys are socially inept and pugnacious when it comes to Star Wars or anything nerdy. Zack and Miri Make a Porno sounded like something Judd Apatow made, especially once I saw Rogen's bearded mug on the poster. I was intrigued, but Kevin Smith likes to shit on good ideas (remember Dogma? Come on, it was a good idea...).

So anyhow, meet Zack and Miri: heterosexual "platonic" roommates who walk in on each other taking shits (commencing bad dialogue before anyone thinks or mentions to close the door). Some foul-mouthed perverts - err, scratch foul-mouthed. Everyone in Smith's movies have unnecessarily foul mouths... Some perverts shoot a video on their phone of Miri changing clothes, exposing her granny panties (FUCKING HYSTERICAL, RIGHT???!!!) before Rogen interrupts the video with his bare (and presumably shaved) ass. Said video goes on the internet, and Ms. Granny Panties is famous. Famous enough, at least, for Zack to suggest making a porno on the heels of her Granny Panty fame so they can pay their rent and utilities (they thought of other solutions, but the porno turned out to be the most logical.). "Hilarity" ensues. Oh, then they fall in love after they already had known each other for 20 years, 'cause this is the dumbest movie ever.

It woulda taken me all day to watch this movie, take notes, and assail it as hard as it deserves. And ya know, fuck that. So let's test my dubious memory here, and I'm sure one of my millions of readers can do the proper fact-checking, so here goes...

Now, I like women, actually, as they are. Make no mistake - I like their hair, smell, boobs, butts and va-jay-jays and I like talking about those things, too. But aside from that, I like women as human beings who have helped me grow as a person more than a lot of my guy friends have over the years, just by taking the time to impart their wisdom onto me. Ya know, to name one thing. Kevin Smith and Co. made it clear that the boobs, butts and va-jay-jays outweigh the importance of treating women like human beings in his movies. To illustrate this (skip this part, fact-checkers - I just reviewed this monologue to quote perfectly), when Zack professed his love to Miri, it went a little something like this:

"Ya know what? If you were any other bitch I didn't give a rat's ass about I would tell you to go FUCK yourself right now because I, fuckin, HATE, this game-playing SHIT, but you mean more to me than that...We tried to fuck, and instead, we wound up making love. So if this is what you need to hear in order to keep you from fucking Lester, if this is what you need, then fine. Here it is. I'm gonna say it. [Pause] I love you, Miri. [Pause] Happy?"
How sweet. But why was he so upset? Oh, right. After they had sex and they both 'felt' love and not just fucking, Miri 'tested' Zack by allowing him the opportunity to sleep with one of their porn star costars. Prolly to see if Zack had 'felt' it, too. No matter though. According to Smith, who thinks his men are like every man, it's all a fucking bullshit game chicks play to fuck with us and they're fucking bitches for it. Well, at the very least, they're evil women for the sake of being evil. No real motive or anything. Just evil. And in Kevin Smith's world, resolving such evil requires the woman to stop being such a fucking bitch, then see how sensitive and hurt the guy really is (in spite of his bitch-hating exterior), and finally laud the embarrassment of a man that he is.

Now, compare this Rogen with Apatow's Rogen in, say, Knocked-Up. For starters, he was likable. Also, he acknowledged how ridiculously out of his league Katherine Heigl was (Miri? Elizabeth Banks? Also ridiculously out of his league, but you'd never guess it in Zack and Miri if you were blind.). In Knocked Up, he was still a loser, but he tried to stop being a loser.

Loser-hood was a-okay for both Zack and Miri. And I'd like to tell you Miri could do better, but Smith really didn't tell me enough about Miri to judge. Just: her flashing smiles, saying the word fuck, acting in a porno, not really having an option to fuck anyone but Zack despite being single and in a fucking porno (she pines for him!), and making earth-shaking love atop a bag of coffee beans in front of a camera crew. Ya know. Just like real a woman would. (Bitch? Ugh. I'm confusing myself with all this casual misogyny...)

Aside from my issues with how Smith depicted genders, his movie plain sucked my balls. He fought with the MPAA to get an R-rating instead of NC-17 for Zack and Miri, and a movie called Zack and Miri Make a Porno had controversy written all over it. In fact, the poster with Rogen's bearded mug was banned in the U.S. (look at the head at the bottom facing the crotch implying *gasp* ORAL SEX!), replaced by a stick-figure-drawing-poster claiming the movie was too 'titillating' to show any other image. But this movie was tame - might have raised an eyebrow ten years ago (when people still gave a fuck about Kevin Smith). Let's see... saw some silicone boobs, a quick flash of some chick's beav, uhh... granny panties, fuckin.... dudes' asses and Jason Mewes's (Jay as in Jay & Silent Bob ) dong. Uhh... handful of pelvic thrusts, ya know... nothing I haven't seen in R-rated movies many times before (save Jay's dong). Oh! There was the one gross part where a dude had diarrhea sprayed all over his face...

Now that was gross, but little else. It didn't make any sense. This siliconed Stacey gal told Zack she'd been really constipated, but anal sex opened her right up, as it were. So - where does diarrhea enter this equation? Oh, right. It doesn't. And it prolly woulda been funnier if the dude filming the anal scene from the floor up toward the gyrating crotches had a giant turd just bounce off his face after the guy pulled out from the anal...love-ma...fucking? Sex?

You mean, coitus?

So like the rest of Zack and Miri, this scene was adolescent, pointless, not well conceived, and not rooted in reality. Kevin Smith: washed up shock jockey who offends others - or tries to, anyway - for the sake of offending others. Like I said - I'm way more mature than Kevin Smith. Fuck that guy.


Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler: Not As Stupid As It Sounds

When I first heard that Mickey Rourke's "comeback movie" was called The Wrestler, in which he played a ridiculous pro-wrestler down on his luck, I giggled. Pro-wrestling evokes a strong reaction from lots of people, and it's usually negative. Even though I figured I'd dig this movie (I did, for the record), I didn't expect it to be like, all deeper than that and shit.

Pro-wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) looked like a truck had run over his face. Several times. For someone in a "fake" profession, Randy had enough facial craters to frighten a puppy. His fake persona as The Ram preceded him, but his grunts and moans and coughs reminded us, as the camera followed him and obscured his face, that his pain was actually quite real.

Like a comic book movie montage, The Wrestler opened with loud 80s hair metal and an abundance of promo posters from Randy's wrestling matches back when he was a star. Twenty years later, the hair metal still roared - his cheesy, long, bleached blond mane to match - but time had left him behind. Instead, VFW halls and high school gymnasiums, holding a handful of fans who remembered him, became his wrestling arenas. Half of those fans had become fellow wrestlers who fawned in his presence, or at the opportunity to "lose" a match against him. As a fan favorite, The Ram didn't "lose," and only "heels," or bad guy wrestlers, wrestled him.

The matches got pretty brutal. Aronofsky took a close look at what we accept as fake and exposed how real it can feel. We felt the pain of the fork scraped against The Ram's forehead and the glass shards and thumb tacks pulled from his back. Did our squirming and cringing in response make it real, or just impressive showmanship?

As is The Wrestler's point, it's hard to tell. Randy's heart attack forced his retirement, rendering The Ram meaningless, rendering Randy's life meaningless. He went from the stage to behind a deli counter with a name tag that said "Robin," and he couldn't get it changed to Randy (Randy The Ram Robinson, aka Robin Ramzinksi, his real name that he always corrected by saying "Just call me Randy"). Turning to his one companion, Cassidy the stripper (Marisa Tomei), Randy sought real comfort. Unfortunately, Cassidy's profession left her battling the line between reality and her job as well. Though she could let Randy say her real name, Pam, and tell him she's a mother, she could not hold the hand of a 'customer.' Regardless, Pam encouraged Randy to visit his estranged daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) and helped him buy a gift for her. He temporarily won Stephanie's affection, confessing his paternal faults were his own and unrelated to her. Maintaining this new reality with real relationships and real emotions proved more difficult.

The only indisputable realness in the film was Rourke himself. Rourke never asked for our sympathy, and he often refused it. His rugged face often sat still like stone unless he exited reality for the ring, where pain left him and a smirk emerged. Nonetheless, he embodied a harsh reality that most care to laugh at, and Rourke allowed the audience to laugh too. Randy was drunk and unreliable and infuriating as a father, but Rourke somehow gave him some charm. After this performance, Rourke has a better shot than Randy ever did at making his comeback.

Pro-wrestling seems really stupid. Yes, the matches are fixed and a winner predetermined. But they fly all over the fucking place, off ring posts, off ladders, through tables (on fire), through announcer booths, onto metal steps, into metal poles, onto the thin mat atop the concrete floor outside the ring. There are tricks to making such moves less devastating to the body, but in the long run, this kind of shit is devastating to the body. Some wrestlers sustain year-long injury, others paralysis. Some have died. The fake spectacle in professional wrestling undercuts the passion of these performers and the life they might eventually sacrifice to do it. All wrestlers who appeared in this film are amateur pro-wrestlers in real life, trying to make a name for themselves and barely making money. Perhaps it seems stupid, but that shit is real, yo.