Hey, whore, how's
the whoring? This week, the honor goes to:
Sara Edwards of NBC Boston
In Ali "Will
Smith is the greatest... surely an Oscar is waiting in his corner!"
Oh, that's disgusting whoring.
In Orange County
"The next generation of stars will win you over!"
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"They're getting lazier!"
I grew up in Huntington Beach, the "Surf Capital of the
World," or so said some wall down by the pier. As a kid,
that wall was as trustworthy a source of data as the Guinness
Book of World Records. Up until I was about 18, I thought all
I needed to know was that we were the Surf Capital and that Benny
and Billy McGuire were the fattest twins in the world, and that
they had bitchin' mini-bikes, and if I wanted a mini-bike I better
get fat quick. It wasn't until I was an adult and I should have
known better that I fucked up my life, alienated my friends,
fucked things up even worse, blamed the friends I had already
alienated, and had to leave Orange County.
Huntington Beach is in Orange County. It, along with a lot
of other variables and mixed drinks, made me the puckered asshole
I am, and for that I am forever grateful. Not to the place or
people depicted by the lazy fuckers behind Orange County
the movie, because whatever the hell place they're talking about
doesn't exist except in the minds of the grassfuckers who maybe
drove through once on their way to La Jolla.
The movie's Orange County is the product of insular elitist
Hollywood thinking. It's folks who never leave L.A. but feel
wholly qualified to condemn the suburbs as soulless, dull and
cliched. The thing that fucking pisses me off is that, those
fucking assholes live in the biggest suburb in the world, with
more shopping malls than free clinics, more coffee houses than
fire hydrants and the most trend-obsessed people in the world.
Just like O.C., L.A. has its corners of interesting stuff, but
it sure as hell isn't in the overpriced canyons and gated drives
where the moviemakers live. The bastards only think they're urban
because sometimes the streets are dirty. And they hear about
crime in some other, foreign part of the spawling mess they're
convinced is better than O.C.'s sprawling mess because they live
Like L.A. and just about every county in Southern California,
O.C. is a county in a constant battle between cultural revolution
and homogeneity. It could be very funny to satirize it in a movie,
but Orange County doesn't have the have the brains or
guts to do that. Nobody thought to actually research the subject,
and that might be the attitude that gets you through a Cal State
or the L.A. Unified School District, but it don't wash with me.
It's too bad, too, because the movie has some laughs in it, and
some good scenes buried underneath all the indifferent filmmaking.
In the movie, Orange County is a generic place full
of stoner surfers and wealth. The kids are, apparently, really
happy, really well-off and a little bored. They are all white,
the same and live near the beach. Colin Hanks is the only one
different because he wants to be a writer. Why? We have no fucking
clue. The story never even really tells us what story he wants
to tell or that he has one, just that he wants to be a writer
. Holy shit, what do I care what some jerkoff wants to be unless
I believe it's something deeper than finding a book and going
:"hey, I want to do that too!" Hell, if that's all
the motivation you need, they should make a movie about how I
decide every Friday night when I'm drunk and burning my hands
with matches that I want to be an accountant by taking correspondence
courses from the place on the matchbook. It looks like a good
Hanks doesn't even do any writing that we see. He's already
written a novella that we don't see and he ain't bothering to
write anything else. But to be a writer, he feels he must go
to Stanford where his favorite author teaches. This is Kevin
Kline playing an English professor who has time to read unsolicited
manuscripts with shitty cover letters sent in by teenagers. Never
mind that the University of California in Irvine right there
in Orange County has one of the best creative writing programs
in the country, because that would mean writer Mike White would
have to actually investigate his subject. Hanks wants to go up
north. His transcripts get mixed up with another student's and
gets rejected by his dream school, prompting a series of wacky
mishaps. First his dysfunctional family spills urine on a member
of Stanford's Board, then Hanks and his slobby, druggie brother
(Jack Black) drive to the school to plead with the dean of admissions.
They make the trip there, attend parties, start fires, drugs
the dean, Hanks breaks up and makes up with his girl (Schuyler
Fisk), he meets with Kline--who is not supposed to be a pedophile
but gives the high school senior white wine and lavishes him
with praisehmmm--and they drive back. That's all in one night.
My ass. Maybe if they were using Santa's sled.
Of course, Hanks must learn some valuable lesson through all
this, and he does. Kline's words of wisdom and wine convince
him to stay in Orange County, and continue to be bored. It'll
make him a better writer. Horse shit.
Orange County actually has a string of sharp barbs
and funny jokes in it. Some are obvious, but every now and then,
the potential slips through and you laugh. Mainly, Jack Black
is finally funny in something. No, the stoner he plays isn't
original, and the drug jokes get thicker than the floor of a
County Fair porta-john. But, he's got energy and bristles like
your average stoner who thinks the world's unjustly holding him
back from his fortunes.
But Black and some good jokes are buried under so much cheapness
and shoddiness. Of course, the setting is a fucking joke; it's
not Orange County, it's a cheap stereotype. But, what's worse
than it being cheap is they don't even fucking make a good stab
at recreating the stereotype they're going after. It mostly just
looks like it was shot in your neighbor's driveway. Director
Jake Kasdan's scenes that look flat and cheap. The colors are
washed and the characters (except for Black) are almost always
static. It's looks more like a TV drama with a limited budget
The plot is also cheap and shoddy. It's one of those hack
jobs where characters always happen to run into just the right
person at just the crucial moment. After Fisk and Hanks break
up, they somehow both manage to end up at the same off-campus
party in a city they've never been to, so Hanks can eavesdrop.
Just when Hanks is at his emotional low-point, whammo! He runs
into his favorite author and gets free wine. This sort of shit
piles up after a while, and then it starts to stink. Plus, there's
a hell of a whole lot of suspension of belief required to think
you can drive 800 miles and get up to all sorts of trouble in
a single night. That's the level of laziness in this script and
production. Worse is the scene where, on the drive home, Hanks
and Fisk are making out, Black is asleep in the back seat, and
the truck's being driven by some sort of ghost. Or did the young
lovers stop on the way home, just so they could do the bone pony
in front of Black?
Hanks is terrible. He's a crooked-faced little rich kid who
whines his way through the script with little variation. Jesus
Christ, give the kid some fucking Prozac or stuff him in a drain
pipe somewhere. Anything to keep him from being so fucking miserable
with his mediocrity. Of course, he got the job because he's Tom
Hanks' son, and that's just what Hollywood needs to make its
movies better: nepotism. Fisk is a moon-faced dullard, all smiles
and no soul. And the string of cameos, including Harold Ramis,
Ben Stiller and Lily Tomlin, are mostly wasted.
It's a fucking shame, really, that the good jokes had to get
swallowed by bad moviemaking. A cheap and lazy Two Fingers.
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to tell Filthy something?