Johnny be Good [so-so 80’s flick]

For the sake of Robert Downey Jr. and nothing else, I’ve subjected myself to many a movie from my favorite decade as far as pop culture goes.
I can honestly say that I’m not overwhelmed by the results… not really pleased. Though there are minor implications of brilliance.

Yesterday felt like one of the longest days of my life. The 2nd longest compared to this was more or less a Monday night. I sat and agonized through three hours of TV before I could go upstairs to get my nightly YouTube fix (I know, pretty sadistic, huh?)… I believe it was the Monday following that momentous/life-changing Friday @ midnight. I believe I was watching House, Being Human and Castle. And only during some parts of Castle did I feel alive again (again, pretty sad).

I sat through four movies yesterday, two of which weren’t quite as what I expected them to be.
Just because of Kat Dennings (aka Susan Gardner of “Charlie Bartlett”), I wanted to see that underground “classic” “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”
Not really my type of movie, per se. Sure, I love the chemistry between Kat and Michael Cera. On most days, though, I’m not too found of this guy. I don’t care if he’s part of this pop culture/movie phenomenon that ranges from Juno (it was on par with this) to SuperBad (I have yet to see and am planning on it, actually, it was a favorite of people who went to my school), Year One and Scott Pilgrim vs. the world (which looks incredibly lame as well… not really into that sort of thing)

The storyline was kind of cute, but some of the characters got on my nerves a little bit. It wasn’t the other members of Nick’s band. I believe they’re called the Jerk-offs but they keep trying to figure out a better name… they’re all gay, but incredibly sweet. In no ways a turn-off.
Nick burned many a mix for his ex-girlfriend Trish and somehow Norah was getting a hold of all of them, really digging the same type of music. They meet one night when his band is playing and she asks him if he could be her boyfriend for five minutes just to flip off Trish (they go to the same school and can’t stand each other), not knowing that was her ex.
Meanwhile, Nick’s band, Norah and her friend Caroline are off in search of underground group “Where’s Fluffy”… never know where they’re gonna pop up. Jealous, Trish stalks Nick for a lot of the movie and when she asks him to drive her home, he ends up leaving her on the edge of a highway.

Norah also has problems with her “friend with benefits” Tal, played by an unusually jerky Jay Baruchel. I’m sure this was before Tropic Thunder, but damn, he’s a jerk in this movie. No wait, the word I’m searching for is “ass-hole.” Mainly because he’s drunk during all of his scenes.

Speaking of drunk, Norah’s friend Caroline hit a little too close to home for me. She’s such a sob that Norah is always having to take care of her. While Nick & Norah search for “Fluffy,” the band offers to take her home. And when they stop for dinner or something, she escapes and is seen in a couple of scenes disoriented and completely plastered.
The biggest turn-off that almost ruined the movie for me… she pukes into a toilet, not the actual puking, but when Norah calls her, she not only drops the phone in the toilet, but she also drops her gum… and fishes out the gum and puts it back in her mouth.

This offers the questions: why does it hit close to home?
And why should I be so shocked, necessarily? I mean, Julian’s withdrawal was pretty horrific and I couldn’t help but feel horrible for the guy… kinda helps that I’m crushing on the actor, whatever.
Somehow, Caroline’s antics were a tad more disturbing (yeah, as if puking and being completely drunk is worse than withdrawing/overdosing on cocaine) because one of my roommates in college had that kind of trouble with alcohol. A lot of it was in response to her, I believe to be abusive, relationship with her boyfriend. I was kept awake one night hearing her moan and groan and sob and her sorority friends telling her how she’s too good for him, all that crap. Caroline reminded me so much of her that it wasn’t even funny. (aw hell, what would it be funny in the first place, another odd saying that makes no sense… i guess that’s why its a paradox, something or other).

When I’m depressed, I consider the possibilities of drinking too much, taking too many pills or whatever… but in the back of my mind, I don’t want to have to deal with the consequences. Addiction for one thing terrifies me… and I wouldn’t want to end up giving myself cancer in my attempts to numb the pain.

Sure, I have no right to complain. My life is all cushy and such… not having worry about paying bills or insurance, whatever… my unhappiness stems from my indecision in my life, not knowing where I’m going with it… what’s the point of it? My surroundings are more than anyone can ask, and I’d hate to be put on the spot (and I have been) by people asking me why I’m so miserable with my life.
Even the most popular people can have everything and have something in their lives that make them unhappy.

The next movie was MegaMind, one of the best upsides of the entire day. Also we played a few rounds of pool and considering my being out of practice, I did all right 😎
Yeah, it’s quite the interesting movie because you don’t know what’s going to happen next and the ending may just surprise. Every once in a while, it’s nice to see something that dwells outside the typical point a to point b formual.

Then there was a long period of nothingness that lasted from 5 to 8. Three hours… what to do with three hours? I found things to do, but I wasn’t satisfied with the mere waiting time. I also kept myself away from YouTube because I knew I’d more than get my fix tonight.

Out of curiosity, mainly from a comment my mom made, I checked out all three of these RDJ movies from the 80’s (that were in the schedule for the next couple days and see how many stars they got)… 
It’s one thing that The Pick-up Artist, Charlie Bartlett (which wasnt even in the 80s but it was a movie of his), and Johnny be good were given 2.5 stars…. but it’s quite another that Less than Zero was only given 2.

Sure, RDJ can be over the top with some things… but goddammit, the guy died for these ratings…
And even though Less than Zero isn’t the greatest 80’s flick, I think I got a lot more out of it than the other two combined.

The Pick-up Artist verged on unwatchable and almost excuriating for the first half hour, if my memory serves me. Simply because it didn’t look too promising and Jack Jericho was over the top, full of himself… maybe because I was wise to his jack of trades, but I just didn’t find myself too impressed with this gigalo. He was nothing but a pretty face (regrettably I found that debatable in those scenes where he’s in front of the mirror rehearsing) and one-liners.

That is, in comparsion to say, the likes of Christopher Tracy. Who’s multi-talented and a smooth talker… let’s see, a little math here. Prince was at least 27-28 while portraying that role… RDJ was 21.
I guess 6-7 years makes a great deal of difference. And like I said previously, I felt like he still had to grow into his skin a bit… voice didn’t quite match the face.

And in all seriousness, I gotta ask, why are his lips so red in a lot of scenes in these two 80’s movies?

Yikes, saying that I’m into older men is probably an gross understatement now.
The ending was predictable in The Pick-up Artist. Despite all their differences, Jack Jericho and Randy ended up together in the end… and it probably was his first lead role in any movie… a few factors could come into play between the time elapsed, his singing, his passionate rant… he won me over by the end of the movie. Genuinely liked him a lot,  much more than at the beginning.

Johnny be good, on the other hand, is kind of a hard movie to judge purely on RDJ. Mainly because he probably only has fewer screentime in Weird Science (I’ll get back on this topic when I come across that movie again) compared to this…

The entire movie was centered around Anthony Michael Hall… which I must say is a first… wait, scratch that, Weird Science was his first leading role. But in Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, he was 2nd/3rd peg to a few other actors (including Molly Ringwald).
He’s a football quarterback on the market, which is really hot.

Immediately, I knew something was array in Hollywood with this one. It is in no ways believable that a football player would be so influential that people would get to his family and friends in order to get to him. And the coaches were stalking him all over town. It makes a little more sense when Downey Sr. comes to the surface as an NCAA investigator.
The recruitment was way over the top, even for a movie.

I found it strange that some dude’s wife from Ol Texas wanted to sleep with him and the coach offered to buy 10,000 of his grandpa’s lures if he went to that school.
Even stranger that Paul Gleason (aka Richard Vernon from The Breakfast Club) wanted him to go to Piermont cuz it meant a new coaching job for him… and he even concocted a scheme really out there to con him into signing up with Piermont… involved framing him for rape and prostitution.
UCC proved to be the strangest yet. Made me think of “The Ohio State” the way they have people taking drug tests for their players, only focusing on the football, and even performace-enchancing steriods.

Oh yeah, and they bought Leo a shiny new Jeep if he could get Johnny to go to their school (plus there was a free ride for him as well)…
Leo shared one thing in common with Julian and it was the fact he didn’t get along with his family so he always ate dinner at Johnny’s.

I swear to god, though, that he did the weirdest things I’d ever seen him do in this movie. Something about exclaiming with a goofy grin when he and Johnny decided to ransack Paul Gleason’s house with 2 dozen pizzas, dancers and a chinese circus… putting a plastic gun down his throat to convince Johnny to at least check out UCC… strange and stranger.
Dare to ask why he was only wearing boxers, socks and sneakers in that prison cell when he and Johnny were put up for those charges they were framed for…

There’s a scene where three girls randomly drive up to them and say they’re new in town and never had sex before. Leo is on the bed talking all kinds of crap to two of the girls and when they try to put hands on him, he slaps them away. The scene progresses as the camera goes back and forth between him and Johnny. Each time they pan back to him, he loses an article of clothing unless he has a girl in a half-nelson hold and his shirt & pants are gone… what is that, man? Seriously…

Yeah, there’s his kind of ridiculous and there’s the storyline’s ridiculous. The ending made the most sense of anything else in the movie… Johnny decides to go to the state school, the same coach who told him academics are more important than cutting a deal with a school to play for them.
His sheningans get so out of hand that he returns from UCC wearing purple & gold. Leo makes a comment that he looks like a combination between Liberace and Prince’s mom… lol
Another pop culture reference that’s somewhat foreshadowing: there’s a poster of Chaplin behind Johnny’s drum set.

What happened in The Blind Side was nothing compared to this: an investigation was being conducted because the NCAA believed Michael’s adopted family set him up to play football specificially for Ole Miss because they were alums and gave many a donation to the school.
No athlete is so hot that it warrants cutting deals with friends and family AND coaches stalking you in your own neighborhood.

If you were to ask me last night, I would honestly have said I was more disappointed in RDJ’s lack of screen time than I was in the storyline of this ridiculous movie.
Both of which I don’t intend to see again unless I’m really in the mood to watch something almost god awful.

When push comes to shove, I’m sure that RDJ would advocate and defend Weird Science more than both these movies combined… Less than Zero is borderline, not sure if he could condone his own behavior during and resulting from it, but he probably thinks its a powerful movie for its time.

I got to wondering moments ago why it is we go to movies. Escapism is one.
Another is because they want to reflect on life in general. You see things in movies you don’t dare to go into because you’re afraid of it and you see things you never thought possible.

Like one interviewer asked “when was the last time you supported the drug dealer?”
To which, RDJ retorts “Johnny Depp in ‘Blow.'” Gotta admit, the dude knows his movies quite well.

And yeah, it turns out that those three RDJ movies were playing one after the other for a reason beyond coincidence. They called it “The Robert Downey Jr. retrospective”

One thing I can promise. Unless I’m really bored or suddenly have a taste for REALLY old things, I’m not going to have any interest in seeing him in any of his historical/periodic roles.
I thought about this last night and realized right away I had to make a distinction: not interested in saying any of his movies that takes place prior to the 19th century. I had to remember that Sherlock Holmes took place in the late 1800’s.

That’s why I won’t ever see Richard III or Restoration. He’s not the kind of guy who can pull off one of those old 1600’s wigs and wear these articulate robes.
For crying out loud, leave that to Prince and the Shakespearan type actors

Richard III was following Charlie Bartlett so I knew immediately I’d have to stop then and there.
Even though I had seen it this previous Monday, I am not quite sick of the movie just yet.

Just you wait. 10-20 years from now, “Charlie Bartlett” will be hailed as a classic of this generation.
It offers yet another interesting take on the realm of high school. It and Easy A are alike in that respect. Issues are brought up that you don’t usually think about, but they have social relevence to the time they were made.
Charlie Bartlett speaks to the latest generation of drug addiction: prescription drug abuse. Thankfully nothing quite as graphic as Less than Zero, but it is pretty heavy in the one scene that counts, Kip Cromwell’s overdose. It’s made light of because Kip is saved and he gets to have his time to shine when his play debuts on the school stage.

My mom came into the room to watch it just as it was starting and she asked me what it was about. Clearly wasn’t feeling it just yet.
By the time it finished, she said that she actually thought it was good. “He grows on you. It’s like it was written just for him.”
Anton Yelchin was of high school age when he started in it and yes, absolutely yes.

Of course there’s hilarity on my part, all within the corridors of my mind, when she says how nice it is to see RDJ play a normal role.
This was maybe 10 minutes before the scene where he chooses to vent with booze and a revolver, so I was nearly choking on laughter to keep it from escaping. Yeah, he’s normal until he has that meltdown. Kinda funny that I should notice this time around that his hair is completely flat and unkempt during this scene and it was well-groomed in all other previous ones.
OMG, in the first scene I was nearly falling out of my chair laughing when I reeked the benefits of HDTV. “Is that a gray hair?”
Holy crap, Robert Downey has gray hair! lmao… well this was the first time I saw this in higher resolution (opposed to a computer screen and YouTube upload).

As much time as I’d spent with his 80’s movies this week, it was almost surreal to see him as he looks now. Older, wiser in several aspects… a little tanning of the skin did him good too.
Not until near the end did I actually see a little bit of Jack Jericho and Leo still in him somewhere. Now that was surreal. Ah, he spoils me so with so many movies he’s been in in recent years.

 

Yikes… and I came to the realization (yet again) today that I really have trouble focusing and following completely through with an idea… I’ve been battling ideas back and forth in my head about what I’m going to do with myself.
One I’m working on currently and actually did some time with was maybe plan a trip down to the shorehouse this weekend to pay my friends a visit… and I actually got a hold of Kirby and we had a record 47 min 15 second conversation… though that’s a record for one sitting. I believe between two phone calls one Friday night, we talked for over an hour. I may/may not be crazy in love with this guy, but sometimes he can just be so easy to talk to. With time apart and me thinking too much, I often forget that. I don’t worry so much about what feelings I may have for him, and its easier to relax, I guess. He has a bit more focus in life than I do at this current moment and just to hear his voice helped me feel grounded for a little bit.
Biggest downside: he has another girlfriend, so if I use this visit to “out myself” it might be a little bit awkward… considering he’s currently attached. I’d been through this drill before, but this one might be a little different… she’s actually helping to keep him on top of his studies, something I never succeeded in doing. It’s not like I can do the leg work being 3-hours away and such… I never stop believing and he may very well graduate this fall, supposing he does well with his 19 credits and finishes that summer course.
I might not get the permission to make the trip on the grounds that I should be focusing on the job hunt than spending time with my friends… but maybe that little comment about “if it works out with your company, might be the last time I get to see them in a long time” will impose a guilt trip. Also isn’t like I’d taken any initiative to make such a journey before. 3 hour drive, 2hr 40 with no traffic.
So it may happen, but how well that time is spent might depend on Kirby’s availability… which is, no surprise, sketchy at best… darn details

 

There was also something else I’d been mulling over this weekend. And as far as ideas I’ve had inspired by movies goes, it’s probably the most far-fetch’d yet.
I thought of maybe starting a charity aptly called “Saving Julian”
and the proceeds will go to help at-risk youths and young adults to help them cope with addictions and hopefully be able to get them the help they need.

I came up with the idea either Friday or Saturday. And the details are sketchy at best. How does one go about starting a charity, for starters? What kind of events could I set it, how would I set them up, and more importantly, defining the goal of the resulting proceeds. What do I want to accomplish with the money raised?

The only thing I sort of have to go on is that Julian was a poor kid living in Los Angeles and/or Palm Springs, California.
I thought at first that the money could go towards research… research for what? The effect narcotics have on people? Methods that help young adults conquer their habits?

If the parents can’t afford it, maybe the money can help these families get help for their children… pay for rehabiliation, therapy sessions…
Now that I think about it, some money could go to police departments that deal in this particular area. So the departments will be able to afford the resources to not only hire more staff, but also to follow through with investigations of drug dealers, bringing those scumbags to justice.

Yeah, it seems like a ridiculously ambitious project. I realize Julian dies at the end of the movie and nothing could have been done for him. I will forever dwell on the what-if and how. What if he could have been gotten to sooner? How could he have been helped to kick the habit?
In his case, the money from the charity would go to the police force so they have the power to take his drug dealer off the street… maybe negiotiate community service for him to work off his debt, and the rest of the funds would go towards family therapy sessions from him and his dad as well as his own rehabiliation.

It’s a project too big for one person. But two obstacles come to mind:
a) my folks would think I was completely nuts because I’m so hung up on this one movie
b) how long would I be willing to dedicate myself to this? I’ve had interest and lost interest in things before, how long will I have interest in this endevour?

Ah, life’s full of unanswered questions. That’s why tomorrow is a mystery.
No plans after The Celebrity Apprentice set in stone…

but there’s a very special birthday tomorrow I definitely gotta do a few things to celebrate
hopefully I won’t knock myself out too much even though this is Robert Downey Jr. we’re talking about. I’ve already kinda been on this road for 2 months now. How much more damage could I possibly do?

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