This weekend, it being lovely and all, why not go to the movies and see OBSERVE AND REPORT? The film needs money. Writer-director Jody Hill is getting a drubbing apparently, and he’s one of the true great satirists of America; he is what Terry Zwigoff, Kevin Smith, Todd Solondz and Neil La Bute try to be, but they’re all scared to let go of the hand rail. Not Jody Hill. He lets go big time, and that’s why when you laugh at OBSERVE AND REPORT the laughter feels different, a little liberating.. you know, subversive, rather than just that poseur brand of subversive, crude.
Seth Rogen’s presence in the film shouldn’t give expectations that this film’s got a heart of gold either; no sudden nice guy quick-change placebo we’ve been status quaffing for so long that we no longer recognize that it’s just the same old trap in a new wrapper. Instead, even with the occasional delusional happy ending, Hill’s movies still cut through the crap with a samurai quickness, they say what we’re thinking but would never dream of saying, or admitting we even wanted to say: that happy endings are only possible once you abandon all connections with reality. He is conscious, even as his characters aren’t. His characters are Americans at both their best (unpretentious, tenacious, oddly nurturing) and worse (depressed, obese, violent, ignorant), we’re all guilty of being this ugly and can’t admit it. Hill allows us to confront the things about ourselves we’re forever trying to bleach out. He makes it possible because it’s just too hilarious to resist.
I’ve written a hell of a lot more on this over at Acidemic, but the real stuff to read is by the fearless Kim Morgan, who praises the film on her Sunset Gun site (here) and also interviews Jody Hill himself (here). Here’s what he says about the film’s dark tone:
“I like making movies about outsiders. Not like James Dean outsiders, outsiders who are just … weirdos. I wanted to drive my character crazy. Maybe because I feel like everybody has a part where they think they’re a star to their own movie. There’s not too much of a voice for people in the middle, characters who are frustrated. I feel like we’re living in times where everyone’s so f—ing jaded that it’s hard to do anything different. Even in the movies, there’s not much to get excited about.”
Damn right, Mr. Hill. That’s why I’m writing this, because I’m finally not jaded after OBSERVE burnt some of the crud off me. “Hopefully, Kim notes, “Observe and Report will be a huge hit, revealing how much we underestimate the intelligence of the masses.” Oh if only you were right, Kim, and it’s too bad it’s not as successful as it should be, as Hill’s the real thing and if OBSERVE doesn’t make some money (and/or EASTBOUND & DOWN doesn’t get renewed for another season), Hollywood will presume that they were very very wrong to deviate from their low opinion of the masses’ intelligence.
In other words, if you don’t see it, you will have betrayed the cause of art! When you are buried deep in CGI animated puppies and talking babies, don’t come crying back to Hill. It will be too late. And P.S. if you do go see it, the best place to see it is at a shopping mall cineplex; let the heavy meta flow!
Read more here