They look like me! And you! And everyone we know!

I saw “Me and You and Everyone We Know” this weekend. I liked it for a bunch of different reasons, but one of the best things about it was that the characters actually looked like real people. You could imagine them walking down streets in your neighborhood, or working in the cubicle opposite yours, or helping you try on shoes in a department store. None of them could double as underwear models and get away with it. Does that ever happen anymore, even in independent films?

For whatever reason, there’s no room left in movies for average looking main characters. Of course, non-models were always exceedingly underrepresented in Hollywood, it’s not like flicks from the fifties and sixties were filled with a bunch of ugos after all, but can you imagine a major studio releasing a movie today in which someone resembling Billy Crystal plays the romantic lead? What about a young Jack Lemmon? No way. Those guys are now condemned to the sidekick rolls, or, even worse, the guy the woman leaves for her really cute best friend who also happens to be “the one.”

Plus, the younger the characters get, the better looking they have to be. Think about teen movies from the last teen years and teen movies from the seventies and eighties. If someone made a remake of “Stand by Me” or “Breaking Away” do you think those kids would look like they did in the originals? No way. They’d look like the kids from Harry Potter, so sweet and precious and perfect that their agents would be in constant negotiations to make them the next spokesman for the Gap.

I like to thing these things come in waves, that the pendulum will eventually swing the other way, again populating movies with people who look like they spend as much of their time eating as they do working out, but I can’t see it happening anytime soon. For now we’ll have to content ourselves with the occasional crack in the ice like “Me and You.” Otherwise, we’ll have to muddle through while staring at Jessica Simpson’s ass in the big screen adaptation of "The Dukes of Hazard." I know it’s going to be rough, but what other choice do we have?


Mike said...

If I wanted to see ugly people, I'd just go to my local bar. Actually, Joe, I do agree with you. The worst offenders are those teen movies where the supposedly nerdy girl gets made over into prom queen, or becomes the unlikely girlfriend of the popular jock. The nerdy girl is of course easily identified by her bookish glasses, or slightly odd clothing, and no one seems to notice that she's totally hot.

But don't insult Jessica Simpson's ass. Any other part of her: fine, fair game. But the ass is her one redeeming quality, as far as I can tell.

aaron said...

Give credit to "Not Another Teen Movie" for spoofing those things you mentioned, Mike. My favorite in that gag-a-minute-throw-it-all-at-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks movie is the plaque in the high school cafeteria that reads "Anthony Michael Dining Hall."

I must disagree with you about J. Simpson's ass..."it" is not as impressive as "them."

I've got high expectations, actually, for the Dukes of Hazzard remake as the Broken Lizard dudes are writing/directing it. "Super Troopers" is one of my all time favorite comedies, along with 4/5 of "Major Payne."