Even in this year of years, dedicated to vision-broadening and mind-opening, I’m falling behind on my moviegoing. It cannot be helped when you have a small child — when you add the babysitting surcharge to most movies, they become indefensible. Perhaps “Thirteen” is worth $16 or so for two people to see, but is it worth $35, the cost when you throw in three hours of babysitting? No. And so, when my screenwriting prof opens class, as he usually does, by asking, “What did everyone see this week?” I have to answer, in a small voice, “Something on video.”
I’m dedicated to changing this, but it’s only October and already I’m behind on “American Splendor” and “Lost in Translation,” and holy Toledo, but “Kill Bill” opens this weekend, too. But I’m fortunate to have the resources of the many U of M libraries as close as my M-Card, so today I took advantage of a long lunch break to take in “Series 7,” an indie production from 2001 so obscure it didn’t even play the art-house circuit.
It’s a ultra-low-budget, ultra-high-satire take on reality TV, and had the good fortune of debuting a few weeks ahead of the first “Survivor,” so somehow the idea of a show where real people have to kill one another on camera didn’t seem quite so outrageous. It was a pretty thin joke, though, and I have to say, it was probably lost in the crowd for a reason. Mike Myers can make one joke last 90 minutes, but he’s a professional.
This weekend, up north, we watched “American Beauty,” which we’re using in my screenwriting class. That one I did see in theatrical release, and liked it less this time. Why is satirizing American suburbia considered this huge, insightful accomplishment? The Marine is a secret queer? You don’t say?!? I mean, talk about a fish, a barrel and a smoking gun, you know? But it’s a lovely movie, and Kevin Spacey rocks the llama’s ass.
The point of all this is, former Fellow Ron and I want to write a screenplay together from the ultra-high-satire perspective, so I thought “Series 7” might be useful. And it is. In its own way.