Friday, July 2, 2010

Off Topic: Why I f-in HATED 'The Hangover'

I like to think of myself as a reasonable person. I'm pro-homo without being anti-hetero. I'm a leftie, but don't always disagree with my Republican friends about everything. I'm an athiest, but support Christian organizations that do things that I am unwilling or unable to do -- like feed the poor in Africa.

So when I find myself in a minority opinion, it rarely is anything that would dip below the 35% of polled Americans rate. Not to say that this is a good thing, but it is generally true.

Well, The Hangover changed that. With its Certified Fresh rating from, fawning reviews, and gonzo box office, I can neither deny nor fathom its popularity.

I loathed this movie so deeply and completely that I felt sort of like I did after the 2004 elections. I had a sense that the world had gone mad. Like the Presidential debates that year, I just kept wondering if I was watching the same show as everyone else.

And it isn't just that I'm simply too gay to get the rowdy hetero bromance aspect of the script. I really liked director Todd Phillips' first effort Old School (despite the over-the-top gay blow job instructor). I think he's a good director. Like that film, this one is expertly shot and the performances are all solid.

My problem is in the script by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore ... specifically the theme of the story.

Whether you like it or not, all movies are morality tales. No matter how awful the behavior of our protagonists, they are our avatars. They get to do the things that we can't (or at least shouldn't). We are able to experience their misadventures without the repercussions.

But the protagonists MUST experience the repercussions. Whether their flawed humanity is played for humor, horror, or drama, they either learn the lesson and triumph or they don't and suffer.

But in The Hangover, we are forced on a road trip with four douchebags who act like utter turds AND DON'T LEARN A FUCKING THING.

It all starts out with a promising comedy setup, mind you. The four protagonists get fucked up in Vegas during a rowdy bachelor party. They wake up with broken furniture, broken bones, a tiger, a chicken, a baby etc. The plot revolves around figuring out what happened and getting the groom to the wedding.

As the movie progressed, I was surprised to discover that the comedy smash of 2009 was not making me laugh. The comedy was lost on me. I just kept thinking what fucking assholes these guys were. Zack Galifianakis is a seriously disturbed whack-job who drugs his friends and is also a pedophile who ends up in charge of the baby (COMEDY!). Bradley Cooper plays a narcissistic douche who puts them all in constant danger for some pathetic shot at recapturing his youth. Ed Helms plays a henpecked nerd who can't stand up to his wife.

Among our antagonists is Mr. Chow, a lisping Asian stereotype that plays like a live-action re-enactment of Mr. Magoo's sidekick Charley. He spouts inspired lines like "What you talking about Willis?" (AUTHOR!). And of course we have comic genius Mike Tyson playing himself.

I hated all of them -- protagonists and antagonists alike. I was hoping that I would at least get the satisfaction of watching them suffer consequences and grow up a bit. But that was not to come. I was about to learn that in the moral universe of The Hangover, things are a little different.

In every movie, there is a theme. Even in an immoral universe, there is a theme. For instance in The Godfather, the theme would be "Family first." Most films, at some point, will explicitly state the theme. This is where we learn what the moral center of the story is.

In The Hangover, the theme is (appropriately?) stated my Mike Tyson. Yes, it's the morally grounded Mike Tyson (who bit off a man's ear and beat his wife) who shrugs off our douche-tagonists' shenanigans and states the theme:

"We all do dumb shit when we're fucked up."

That's it! Not, "Hey you middle-aged assholes are in need of serious self-examination, perhaps a twelve-step program or (in Zack's case) medication."

"We all do dumb shit when we're fucked up."

Like a Douche ex Machina, Mr. Tyson solves everyone's problem by telling them that they aren't the problem. Apparently causing thousands of dollars in property damage and putting your friends and a baby in mortal danger for no frickin' reason is cool ... as long as you are drunk.

drunk guy totally passed out"We all do dumb shit when we're fucked up."

Take that Mothers Against Drunk Driving!

"We all do dumb shit when we're fucked up."

If douchebaggery ever needed a statement of principle, they now have it.

"We all do dumb shit when we're fucked up."

It's at this point in the movie that I started actively rooting for the protagonists to die.

And don't even get me started on the three female characters, of which there are three types: (1) Shrew (too hard), (2) Hooker/Stripper (too soft), (3) Overly understanding fiance with "boys will be boys" attitude (just right!).

So everything sort of works out for our unlikeable protagonists. Bradley Cooper is off the hook for instigating the whole nightmare. Ed Helms dumps his wife for the stripper/hooker (WIN!). The groom somehow forgives all of his friends by the time his wedding starts, so he's as dubious as the rest of them. Zack Galifianakis, I assume, lives to molest again (HILARIOUS SEQUEL POTENTIAL!).

So there it is. Why I hate this movie. It's now off my chest. I'm among a small minority, but I won't be quiet any longer. And if you don't like it, talk to my Grandma...


  1. Loved the movie, but this was a great post. Kudos

  2. I agreed with you on My New Plaid Pants and I'm testifyin' here as well. Awesome takedown (so true) and I really like your site as well. What is with all these smart, well-written good gay horror sites all of a sudden? Color me surprisedly impressed.

  3. yeah. I felt the same way about Marriage Retreat. I mean, I had such high hopes, i mean, it was made by the guys who made swingers.

    seriously though, thumbs fricking down. I think it lacks subtlety, craftmanship and spends WAY TOO LONG on unfunny jokes.

    Oddly enough . . HOT TUB TIME MACHINE . . rocked it just right! (weird, I know!!) :)

    happy forth btw!! :)

  4. Ooh. Hot Tub Time Machine. I wanted to see that. Netflix queue. Happy 4th to you. :)

  5. Amen. Was such a let down (considering the ridiculous amount of praise it received). Like most of what we hear in the news- Idiotic and pointless.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. I only went to see Bradley Cooper shirtless, that's it! I laughed a few times, but had low expectations - I was in it for the man meat (Bradley Cooper). Love the post though, very intelligent, and makes me feel like I should work harder to watch a movie. :( I'm sad now ...

    Oh well, Hot Tub Time Machine was fun!! Aside from the movie's simple plot, it was the sound track that helped evoke my own personal memories from that troubled time period of my youth, but still satisfying to know that I hadn't completely barricaded Memory Lane, and was still able to reminisce. Look forward to your review of Hot Tub T.M.

  7. Right on man, The Hangover was painful to watch.

  8. You have no sense of humor and you`re out of touch.

  9. Oh, ever-fickle Anonymous. You loved my humorless out-of-touch blog entry on September 22nd. What has happened in the intervening 2-1/2 months to sour you so?