Monday, June 01, 2009

Pop Goes The Culture (Movie Night Part I)

As we ebb towards the flow of pop culture and miscellany which increasingly seems to occupy our inexorably faster-paced existence, there seems to be something which wakes us from the otherwise autopilot-guided existence and forces to take notice.

The movie "Fanboys" isn't necessarily it, but it is definitely worth considering for that "wake up out of your stupor" trance that the balance of pop culture and worthless information brings. There will always be a full plate of things to distract us from our daily lives, and there will always be more and more information that we need to process -- whether for personal or professional reasons -- but inevitably, we must pick and choose from them, and in doing so we can determine, by which items and/or crap stays with us long thereafter, which things were worthwhile and which should have remained in the "crap" bin for posterity.

The movie "Fanboys" is something of an anomaly. It's a stocked cabinet filled with Star Wars geek humor, the celebration of all things Nerd, and -- if that wasn't sufficient -- a full-on variety of how to make an entertaining -- if relatively stupid and low-brow -- film.

This particular film's cast is a veritable who's-who of Judd Apatow alums as well as a smattering of otherwise perfectly-cast plug-ins, all of which works perfectly. Assuming you've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Clerks, and managed a viewing of the HBO Series "Eastbound and Down" (Danny McBride) you'll be perfectly-equipped to view this film with "I know that guy!" left and right.

That's not necessarily the sign of a good film, mind you, but when a film manages this many "that guy was in X or Y," that in and of itself will be an interesting side dish to the otherwise main entree, which is the film itself.

In any event, moving on to the film itself, the plot centers on a group of five friends. The main character works in the "real" world as a car salesman with his brother and father, and his friends have spent their post-adolescence fawning over the cult of Star Wars. The film is set about a year prior to the release of The Phantom Menace, the first of the second trio of Star Wars films, and the friends decide to take a trip to George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch in San Fran to score a print of the movie prior to its release.

I could go further into detail, but there's really nothing you need to know other than it's about geeks and Star Wars. I could list the actors that participated in this film in large, small and ridiculously funny ways, but the real point of this is to insure that you, the reader, are able to enjoy the film with the same uninformed, "I know this will be good but I don't know much about it" sort of way.

The plot is relatively simple, but the entirety of the film is solid, entertaining and will land among other niche comedy 'classics' like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Office Space," "Superbad" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." This is one of those films that captures its genre and its subject perfectly. And frankly, part of why this film works on so many levels is its cast is dead-on perfect (here's the film's profile at

The names Sam Huntington, Dan Fogler, Chris Marquette and Jay Baruchel shouldn't be too much of a draw. Kristen Bell, however, is, especially given the target audience of Olivia Munn fan club members. Add to that a variety of cameos and great inclusions -- especially Seth Rogen in three different roles -- and this is really a "perfect little film."

As summer approaches, the new Terminator and Star Trek films are definitely worth seeing on 40-foot screens with 50-channel THX-certified ultra-powerful sound systems. But I am glad I managed to view this film (in Blu-Ray, natch) and don't feel so badly missing the aforementioned summer blockbusters. And frankly, Fanboys rips into everything that those two movies hold sacred with hilarious results.

One final note, before you're commanded to go forth and buy/rent/steal a copy of Fanboys for your own personal viewing: you should keep in mind that you will need a quasi-working knowledge of the Star Wars and Star Trek films/shows/etc., and further, you should also be prepared with a decent working knowledge of Rush, pop culture, geeks, and in a final touch, in the film's final scene, a modernized ode to Rocky Horror.

Now go and get a copy and thank me later.


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