my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   The Wackness
Director:   Jonathan Levine
Year:   2008
Genre:   Youth Angst in Suburban Hell
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   03.08.08

Other Movies Seen By This Director (2)
- 50/50
- All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
03.08.08Alamo South Lamar Secret midnight show. Everybody seemed to know it was The Wackness. I'm sort of glad I got there early as many people did show up (more about that below). I knew next to nothing about this movie, except that Jarrette and Eric both really liked it at Sundance.

I guess I'll split this up into good and bad.

The Good
-Ben Kingsley was great in this, obviously trying to make it a good time for people watching.

-It had good music.

-it looked ok.

-the director made a kind of funny joke about daylight savings time (pretty hard to do). He said that the movie's only 95 minutes long but we'd be stuck there for two and a half hours. Of course this became even funnier when the movie started (again, more on this below).


The Bad
-I didn't like the main actor at all. I spent the whole movie wishing he'd stop breathing through his mouth. I guess maybe he was playing that up in order to be a drug dealer that's actually a dork and doesn't get any girls but whatever. It made it hard for me to look at the screen.

-It feels pretty needlessly autobiographical. I got severe reminiscences of 5-25-77 from this, especially when I'm watching him getting it on for the first time and leaving voicemails afterward. It may be alright if I haven't already seen 16 movies about this exact same thing.

-The same goes for Kingsley's character. He was good in it but it's a shame his character is so familiar.

-It felt too long. That may have been my fatigue since I'm old now and staying up till 2 makes me tired.

-I was pretty bored by the end. Why cant the whole movie be like the first five minutes when his voice-over was much more stream of conscioussness and it cut to his daydreams. By the end it was just another mopey drama with everybody sad but ok with it and blah blah blah. Where's the fun that a movie like Rushmore has? or even Charlie Bartlett...

oh well. Lesson learned. I found this to be about as overhyped as the director's previous film Mandy Lane.


The Ugly
-I think it deserves a special note that this was easily one of, if not the most FUBAR'd crowd control experience I've had at an Alamo. I know it's south by but come on.

I get there at 10:20 for the midnight show (early as noted above) and the ticket guy, only vaguely aware that this screening exists, tells me there's no line for it yet and just to hang out. I see a friend at the top of some other line (filled with badgeholders - not knowing the schedule this year I assume there's a midnight show here), I start talking to him; ask him what he's seeing. He says the scret screening. Gee, there's like 20 people in line already. So I get in line and nobody understands the two randomly placed line ropes so it snakes around the corner and clogs the door. An employee asks the people to slide forward, in essence making two lines and the first one would empty out then the second would go. I ask him why they don't snake it around as a single line and he says they need to keep the center hallway clear. So I readjust to a safer spot in line but nobody else moves. Some minutes later, the same guy asks the next people to snake around. They ask if they can just walk forward to form the head of a second line and the guy says no, they need to snake. But he doesn't close off the heads of the aisles so now there's three lines that are snaked by the honor system. More minutes pass. Now all three lines are moving forward into the theater at the same time. Instead of being at the 33% mark we are at whatever-we-can-push-forward-to%. The line is nil. Everybody crowds into a newly-arranged more-or-less single file line to get into the theater but, what's this? a house full of other people are trying to leave at the same time that we're trying to get in. The forward momentum stops and now I'm being physically pushed back by cattle cars of people shifting in the limited space. They emptied the line too early; we can't get into the theater yet. They ask everybody to return to the lobby. I am now at the head of the second line, presumably behind a host of people from the back of the original line now queued in the first line. More minutes pass. The first line empties again but now the second line snakes instead of waits for the first line to empty; we go anyway. We get in the theater and four full rows are reserved. Scrambling ensues. Everyone seats; its now past midnight. Slight introduction from filmmaker (see joke above), the lights go down the film starts playing. No sound. Lights go back up, more minutes pass. Eventually (at maybe 1am) the movie actually starts. So in essence, even though the movie was only 95 minutes long, we DID have to sit there for two and a half hours. It let out at about 3:30am.

Now, I realize that this may sound petty when you read it. Yeah yeah what's the difference you still got in and saw the movie before it comes out in July. I'd probably say the same thing if I wasn't there. But the truth is, as humans conditioned to stand in many many lines in our lives, a certain sanctity develops. Some people cut in front of other people, most people hate that whn it happens to them but don't hate it so much when they are the ones cutting. There's a belief that waiting in line entitles you to your spot and shows everyone behind you that you are more committed to whatever it is that you're waiting for. IT's the supposed American ideal that if you work hard you succeed, if you put in the time and pay your dues, you reap the rewards. it's only fair. Translate this to a lobby full of film geeks high on a festival opening weekend and you get a bunch of rabid dogs snapping and snarling. To wait an hour longer than the guy who sneaks in front of you at the last moment stirs outrage. Having to wait an hour and a half to get into a 95-minute movie stirs outrage. Especially if the movie's not that good. So anyway, I'm just saying that, in the moment, it was notable. Especially since I've been in so many Alamo lines and they've been doing this long enough that it really shouldn't be an issue. They should know how to orchestrate a bunch of people in their lobby by now.

Extra points go to the director who got everybody's beers for having to wait while the sound issues were figured out.
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