Douchebag Cinema: The Revival

Sunday, September 25, 2011 9:35 AM By Simon

Recently, I stuck my head out of Justice League International Vol. 1, ostensibly to blink out the pretty colors, and I looked around. I looked at all the DVDs I had stacked about my room, unwatched and dusting. I looked at my Netflix Queue, having barely noticed that it would soon be outsourced to some spelling-abomination called Qwikster. I looked at my local listings, realizing with some dismay that I missed the theatre run of Another Earth. I had, ladies and gentlefolk, not seen a movie properly in weeks.

So I busied myself on the internet, catching up with TIFF screenings and whatnot, combing through the backends of movie news sites, punching myself in the face for missing Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Columbiana (though, admittedly, that was more Irene's fault, that scheming bitch). I played catchup like nobody's business, my knowing compadres.

But something ate at me. Something at the back of my underdeveloped brain. Something blocked from full consciousness by internal speakers on constant replay of Amanda Palmer and David Bowie and Janelle Monae and all them bitches (my, I love name-checking). One day, when my internet was temporarily down because fuck you, internet, I sat to ponder this gnawing notion.

It had been triggered by the sudden intake of cinematic panic, surely? I went back to the print listings. I tried to place the inception (boom) of my ill-defined woes.

And then the magazines started screaming. It hit me like a pimp hand hits a ho.


Douchebags everywhere.

And no, my smutty beloveds, not in the literal sense. In the holy-shit-there's-a-guy-in-a-goatee-and-he's-looking-right-at-me sense. Gentle readers, our movie screens have been overrun by smug.

Take Crazy Stupid Love. The main characters pick up chicks in an upscale bar with wall-sized windows and a special on appletinis. They define cool as layers of overpriced scarfs and man-rings. Sure, they go all itmeansnothingwithoutemotionalconnectionwaa at the end, but guys. The damage is done.

Which brings me to Ryan Gosling. Now, he's always struck me as douchey in a good way. Confident, but not offensively so. The douchebag you'd marry because, underneath it all, he really is kind of awesome. But he is, nonetheless, reeking of douchebaggery.

(note: this is based solely, nothing)

From what I can tell of Drive, he spends the entire time in a Member's Only jacket, which, I don't care what nostalgia demands, is never good for anything or anybody, and can only bring sorrow to the world.

It's been a long time coming. One of my first posts was about how Iron Man was the new Scarface (blatant self-promotion, we meet again), and even before then (as in, my magnificent arrival on the blogosphere, because you know that's how you tell time, anyway), douchebag movies haven't exactly come and gone from the public consciousness. The Transformers movies have gone from innoffensive geek-wank to the ludicrous plotlines of 'which Victoria's Secret model will I devote the most time to?' to the part of Shia LaBeefz, who I refuse to take seriously because, come on, Even Stevens.

The arthouse, while always dominated by NYU grads with a tad too much money when it wasn't overun with The Foreigners, has recently seen a boom in post-collegiate mope-a-thons and rogueish anti-heroes, from Tiny Furniture and the entire mumblecore movement (although we must stop and acknowledge the gift it's given us in the form of Greta Gerwig) to the sustained popularity of George Clooney and Brad Pitt (I'm sorry, but the commercials for The Ideas of March and Moneyball make me want to blackmail those two into a fight to the death). Superhero movies have been overrun by the smug charisma of Chris Reynolds and Ryan Pine and...Jesus Christ, they all the look the same, don't they?

Even the Big Issue movies, like The Blind Side (I know, duh) reek of patronising Hollywood Liberals (forgive the Fox News slang) clucking their tongues at people who have yet to reach their superior, tofu-yoga-tea-orphans existences.

(The evolution of this post somehow went from regular douchebags to hipster douchebags, and for that I apologize. We will now wind back around to guys who fancy themselves nerds with inexplicably hot girlfriends)

Don't you miss the days when they were sidelined to Direct-to-DVD wastebins and mid-afternoon Comedy Central reruns? I do.

We must watch where we're going, future directors of the world. Everytime you wake up at night with a brilliant script idea, just remember: nobody cares about your painful breakup, and they certainly don't want to watch you contemplate it while staring out a rain-bombarded train window.

And already-established Hollywood bigwigs: no more cocky bastards who inexplicably succeed. No Entourage movie.

Good talk.

I'll be over here.

(if anyone would care to address this Serious Issue in a way that's not the shit of the land, be my guest)


John said...

You absolutely hit this out of the park.

September 25, 2011 at 11:30 AM
"Yojimbo_5" said...

Nah. You're wrong. The "douchebaggery" is a symptom of the problem, not the problem. "Shallowness" is the problem. And distinguishing "love" from "I'm stupidly happy all the time" to "this is tough work if you don't bring your emotional A-game" is the point. And, it's funny. AND it doesn't have the de rigeur "It all works out-let's sing" rom-com finale bullshit. Yeah, these are the guys who wrote Cats and Dogs, but they also did I Love You, Phillip Morris. I hope they don't flame-out.

September 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Nick Prigge said...

Thank you. That was glorious.

When did overpriced scarves become so hip? Everywhere I go in Chicago I see women in fashionable, overpriced scarves. And guys, too! Scarves as far as the eye can see! I can only pull off a scarf when it's below 30 degrees. And even then I'm pretty sure I'm not wearing it right.

September 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM
Colin Biggs said...

You're right. Ryan Gosling was so good he had me believe that his character wasn't a douchebag. But you're absolutely right.

September 26, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Simon said...

John: Why, thank you.

Yojimbo: Flaming out doesn't erase the movies that made us love them, dear. It'll all work out.

Nick: It's an artform the likes of which our simple, middle-of-the-hipster road can hardly comprehend. Like irony.

Fitz: Hear that, mother? I'm not a failure! The internet said so! Ahem.

September 29, 2011 at 6:39 PM
Aaron said...

You hit the nail on the head!

American films have become nearly meaningless, and the portrayal of men has shown how deliberately depressing American manhood has become.

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