Thursday, April 23, 2009

I can see Russia from my house!

I've been watching Saturday Night Live for about 25 years. Yeah, since I was 5. I created a theory about the show while watching Zac Efron the other week. The theory is as follows...

If the host plays him or herself in that night's episode, that host is as not as talented an actor as someone who does not play him or herself.

I haven't seen any of the High School Musical franchise, so I am not very familiar with Zac's work. But I'd say I was pleasantly surprised by his performance. One of my favorite sketches was the one where he played Kathy Lee Gifford's son.

Contrast this with Seth Rogen. I've actually seen several of the movies that he has been in. I think it just took me awhile to figure out that he is just not that good at what he does. This was confirmed after watching him host SNL--he was just wasn't very funny.

But I noticed that he played himself, and SNL often has athletes and other non-actor types play themselves in sketches. If you think about it, they've got 90 minutes to fill. It would make sense for five or so minutes of that time to have a mediocre host play himself, because really--how hard is that to screw up?

Sidenote: There are exceptions to every rule. Neil Patrick Harris played himself, and we all know he is an acting dynamo. When is he going to get his own show? That's what I want to know.

Ok, back to Seth. Seth has a new movie out called Observe and Report . It's about a mall cop. How they got two mall cop movies out within months of each other is beyond me. I want you to watch the trailer below, and play close attention to the relationship between the main character and the blonde woman. Be warned that this is the restricted trailer, so it has bad words in it. You should also not watch it if you are under 17, unless you are being accompanied on the computer by an adult.

First off, let me say that this looks like one of the funnier movies Seth has been in. I tend to be a fan of darker comedies, and this seems to be more in that vein.

There was a fair amount of controversy though, about the scene where he is in bed with his date near the end of the trailer. What were your thoughts after watching it?

This is what I think...

Do I think this scene is supposed to be a joke? Yes.
Do I think Seth Rogen has ever date raped anyone? Probably not.
Do I think that scenes like this one, combined with other messages that we receive in popular culture contribute to a climate where some guys think it's okay to have sexual contact with semi-conscious/unconscious women? Most definitely.

I read an interview with Rogen about the scene and he said something like what "made it ok" is the part where she says, "Why are you stopping?" because that qualifies as consent. I have to say I just chuckled while writing that. I really don't think that would qualify, because we can see that this chick is totally wasted.

Should she have gotten so hammered since she knows that would make her more vulnerable? No.

But that's like seeing a drunk person passed out on the street and reaching into his jacket and stealing his wallet. Would you do that? I would hope not.

Do I think they should cut the scene from the movie?
Not if the director doesn't want to, because it's his artistic vision.

Will this scene being in the movie make me boycott it?
No, I don't think so. If there is any reason for me not to go see it, it's because of my bad history with Mr. Rogen. It's like George W. says, "Fool me twice--something or other."

But do I think that the scene is questionable enough that we should all think critically about it and what it means for our society?

You betcha.

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