Monday, March 22, 2010

Movie #25: Humpday

I've now seen 25 2009 films, so here's a new ranking:
Adding to 1 Up in the Air, 2 Inglroius Basterds, 3 Soloist, 4 Star Trek, 5 In the Loop, 6 Up, 7 District 9, 8 Funny People, 9 Hangover, 10 Extract, 11 Angels and Demons 12 Invention of Lying 13 Night at the Miseum 2 14 Julie and Julia 15 Whip It 16 Invictus 17 Humpday 18 2012 19 Sunshine Cleaning 20 Brothers Bloom 21 Proposal 22 Wolverine 23 Julia 24 Land of the Lost 25 Bruno:

My review/thoughts on humpday.

Humpday is a film about two straight guys who get caught up in a dare to have sex with each other on tape for an amutuer porn competition. Intrigued yet? The will they/won't they angle on this is certainly amplified quite a bit from the typical straight couple romantic film.

The film had its weaknesses. At times, the dialogue wasn't that strong and it meandered a bit too much en route to the climactic finale. Perhaps, that's a defining trait of indie films: with no studio pushing them to be ecnomical, there's no urgent need to make the movie minute-by-minute interesting. I think the audience just suffers here.

The film, though, really passed the main test that I generally use to determine what I thought of a film right as the end credits are rolling by. After I think about it a while, I might have a fully formed opinion but my initial reaction over whether I was satisfied with how I spent the past two hours is based on two things:
1. Right before the film's ending, If I was invested enough in the characters to want to know how the film would end and how anxious I was for that ending
2. What I thought of the ending.

A very good film, of course, is one that has me anticipating an ending that would be plain wrong outside of the movie-going experience.

One really good example of this was my experience watching the 1915 film Birth of a Nation: This film, is pretty much the first full-length movie epic and introduced many innovations into the art of making movies. The one catch about this film (it's noted for its technical achievements but certainly not its misguided sense of history) is that it glorifies the KKK. The film is so effective, even with the technology available in 1915, that I actually found myself rooting for the KKK before doing a double-take and thinking about how messed up that was.

In this film, what I wanted to happen for the characters (to have sex with each other) and what the protagonists wanted to happen themselves was completely devoid of reason ordinarily but it made complete sense within the context of the film. Because you see: This wasn't a film about having sex, it was a film about searching for something we don't know how to define but we know how to define it against. One character is newly married and uncomfortable with the new impositions of his life. In wanting to produce a sex tape with his male friend, he is acting out of a desperation to retain some part of his identity that doesn't have to do with being married. Both characters also want to establish themselves as people with artistic credibility: Neither of them are artists or define themselves as artists but they enter into a world of bohemian free-living people and want to feel like they belong in that community. These two friends are reuniting and want to show that they still have some of their wild youth in them.

So off they go on this truly misguided journey before it hits them (I won't reveal exactly how far they go, how much they get away with) that this very thing they want that will satisfy their identities might be a very unpleasant thing after all. Not the best film I've seen this year but one of the most memorable


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skyhay said...
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