TheJay no longer posts here, but you can find his current musings here:
For all those who enjoyed this site, I say you have unimpeachable taste, and I thank you…
In Santa Barbara, in a car with a Country music loving lady friend, my Risky Business sunglasses on blast and the windows rolled down like whoa, the radio set to Top 40 pop per my request (natch) (obvs). And this song comes on:
Friend: Man, Rihanna does, like, EVERY song now! What’s that about?
The Jay: Now that Beyonce has transcended this plane of existence, and only resides in one of those of those futuristic life bubbles Hugh Jackman did yoga in from The Fountain, Rihanna is the go to hot girl singer for hooky-pop choruses. But also, and more importantly, this isn’t Rihanna.
Friend: It’s not?!
The Jay: No, it’s Fergie. This is the Black Eyed Peas.
Friend: Hold hold hold hold hold up, check it out. Like, Fergie Ferg?
The Jay: As in Fergalicious.
Friend: Up in the gym, just workin on her fitness?
The Jay: But with a methed up tranny manface, yeah.
Friend: Why does she sound like Rihanna?
The Jay: As opposed to all her other songs, where she sounds like a dying smelly cat version of Madonna, Britney, Missy Elliot, Xtina and/or Nicki Minaj, where approps, but with more wicked oblique muscles?
The Jay: It’s a mystery!
Friend: That makes me kinda hate Rihanna.
The Jay: Makes me kinda hate my oblique muscles.
/listening to the song
/singing along to the Fergie part
BOTH OF US: Boy, I think about it every night and day…
Friend: …I’m addicted, wanna germ you like a bug.
The Jay: …I’m addicted, wanna jam it up with love.
Friend: Jam it up with love? That’s not what she’s saying!
The Jay: Why would she be trying to germ you up like a bug?
Friend: Who can ever know what these idiots are saying!
The Jay: True. Most of the time I just hear the bleep bloop sounds of IBM computer keys getting clicked and low-fi ADR of knock off 80’s robot voices.
Friend: Fucking, Rihanna. This song sucks!
The Jay: I know. I love it, too.
(Follow me on Twitter @jasonamatthews.)
Wondering why I haven’t been blogging lately? It’s not cause the celebrities have been on their best behavior (ahem, CHRIS KLEIN!) I’ve been busy producing my debut feature-length play, Four Night Stand!
No, it’s not about the microscopically short box office run of Ashton and Heigl’s True Lies rip-off Killers, it’s actually a fun new comedy about one nights stands, and all the shenanigans that surround having them. Here’s the synopsis:
Uptight Danielle and freewheeling Sam meet at a party. They talk, they laugh, they dance, they drink, they drink some more, and they unexpectedly go home together. The harsh morning light of regret shines hard on Danielle who wants nothing more to do with her surprise one night stand. But Sam has other plans. With the help of Danielle’s mischievous sister Michelle, and Michelle’s simple boyfriend Steve, Sam and Danielle try to navigate the tricky waters of turning a night of passion into years of happiness.
Is it pretty much a loose “adaptation” of the Monica and Chandler relationship? Um, yes. So: is it pretty much the thing you always want to be watching, all the time? Um, hell yes.
Also? Everyone in it is really pretty. Like: Minka Kelly and Tim Riggins getting down in an airsteam trailer, post Saracen funeral-level pretty. And there isn’t a more pretty than that pretty. #fact
The play is being produced here: http://www.ruskingrouptheater.com.
If you’d like to come see the show, we have a few weeks left in the run. Here are the details:
Ruskin Group Theatre – Studio Space
3000 Airport Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Fri & Sat: 8pm (thru June 26th)
For more info, click HERE.
See you at the theater!
This is a list of the 40 movies of the last ten years that affected me the most. They aren’t the “best” movies by any stretch of the imagination (Even the stubborn narcissist in me can’t call movies 22, 23 or 27 “good”), just the ones that moved me, entertained me, and enlightened me. They are the 40 movies I will remember, and care about, from the 2000’s.
The hope is that reading this list will help you to learn more about Jason Matthews (aka “The Jay’). It shouldn’t be an exercise in bashing my taste. Cause we all like some really bad pop culture (hey Keanu!), and no one should be judged by their guilty pleasures. The idea is not for me to tell you what to like or what you should think. I’m not making a case that my list is any better or valid than any of the other indulgent Best Of The Decade lists (which all suck) that are overloading the Internet right now. I didn’t pick these movies to make you think I’m some cool, with it know-it-all. Frankly, all that doesn’t matter to me.
I’m simply saying, for me, these were the ones that mattered. For whatever it’s worth.
40 – Mean Girls
Was the catalyst for the rise (and fall) of Lindsey Lohan: failed actress, successful tabloid whore, ginger person; introduced the world to Rachel McAdams; tried to make “fetch” happen. This movie had a lot going on.
39 – Collateral
Tom Cruise is more fun to watch as a villain. Consider: Magnolia, Interview with a Vampire, Tropic Thunder, Vanilla Sky. Wait, he wasn’t the villain in Vanilla Sky? But then why was he trying to eat my soul with his mis-aligned upper teeth, serial killer mask and frightening intensity?
38 – High Fidelity
Lloyd Dobler grew up, got way into music and became a manic-depressive. A happy ending? Not quite. But it did result in a smart, hyper-literal movie with Tim Robbins getting a long-deserved beat down, totes supes CZJ side boob, Lisa Bonet singfucking us some Peter Frampton, Jack Black being actually funny instead of the not funny he’s become, the obliges John Cusack standing forlornly in the rain shot and maybe the hottest sex scene of the 2000’s (starring, shocker, Tim Robbins).
37 – Juno
Is it obnoxious writing? Yes. (I considered writing ‘honest to blog there, but didn’t really want to throw up on my keyboard, so you know.) Is Ellen Page too precocious by half? Correct. Is what the movie has to say kinda offensive? Pretty much. But I can’t take away the amazing work done by Jason Bateman, Jen Garner (her scene in the mall is a killer) and Allison Janney. And any movie that makes its male lead a Cross Country and Track star is all right by me.
36 – Old School
“He’s gonna do one!” Nuff said.
35 – Unbreakable
The best comic book origin movie that you didn’t realize was actually a comic book origin movie ever. I miss M. Night’s fastball.
34 – Atonement
If only for the score, the library sex scene and BRIIIIOOOOONNNNYYY! Also? Everything else about this movie.
33 – Moulin Rouge!
I can sing both parts of Elephant Love Medley by heart, nine years later. That has to count for something.
32 – Sideways
I hated this movie for a long, long time. And I can’t forgive the movie for causing a fungal rash of sad bastard men movies to be made (mostly all starring Paul Giamatti or PSH, obvs). But the movie got people into wine, my favorite hobby, and shined a light on Santa Barbara Wine Country, my favorite place in the world. And despite my issues with the story, THIS is amazing writing:
“I like to think about the life of wine. How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline. …And it tastes so fucking good.”
31 – The Queen
A stunning picture, credits to credits. Gets extra credit for making me want to do to horrifyingly sexual things to a septuagenarian. (What? Helen Mirren is HOT. #fact)
30 – The Bourne Ultimatum
For the Waterloo Station sequence alone.
29 – Mission Impossible 3
Secretly the best action movie of the decade. And easily one of the best action movie teasers of all-time.
28 – Pride and Prejudice
The film that made me turn the corner on Keira Knightley. It’s a beautiful adaptation, has the most sweeping camera work, and the ensemble brings it with powerful yet subtle acting. Loved this movie.
27 – The Perfect Score
A perfect 80’s teen movie, twenty years too late.
26 – The Blind Side
The best movie of 2009. And it’s not even close. Saw it in theaters twice, cried both times. The best work Sandy has ever done, and she’s done a lot of great work. Hollywood doesn’t make movies like this anymore, but they should.
25 – Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Shane Black at his sardonic, quippy, violent action best, RoDoJu bringing the funny, Val tapping into his Real Genius performance, AND Michelle Monaghan topless? How was this movie not a GIANT success?
24 – Zoolander
The movie I have quoted the most this decade. It isn’t a particularly good movie, but there’s not a person I know who doesn’t, every so often, cough lightly in public and say “I have the black lung, pop”.
23 – Taken
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”*
*Gets extra credit for being the only time I went to the Bridge Cinema and didn’t have the worst movie-going experience in my life. What is WRONG with those people? Take your idiot conversations, text messaging and general hooliganery OUT of the theater. There are people trying to watch Liam Neeson kill foreigners here!
22 – The Core
Quite possibly the dumbest disaster movie Hollywood has ever put out, and that includes the one where Dennis Quaid runs away from weather, but I can’t help but love something that knows how stupid it actually is. And I can’t help but be charmed by a movie that has its hero pitch a full-on temper tantrum AT his love interest. That takes balls.
21 – Iron Man
The most fun of any blockbuster in the last ten years. Gets props for casting RoDoJu right off of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, when no one thought he had a Franchise in him. Made Gwyneth Paltrow fun again (no easy feat). And the scene of Stark testing out the flying mechanism in his workshop is an underrated special effects stunner.
20 – Minority Report
If for this scene alone:
You may weep now.
19 – The Aviator
As someone who has fought (and occasionally won) the battle of obsessive-compulsive disorder, I can relate to this film on a molecular level. And I could watch Leonardo dress down Cate Blanchett every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
“Don’t you ever talk talk down to me! You’re a movie star, nothing more!”
18 – No Country For Old Men
Was the Best Picture in the best year for Best Pictures of the decade. And putting this here means I get to link to my Javier Bardem Oscar post, one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. Done!
17 – Ocean’s Eleven
A compulsively watchable flick, the best star cast of the decade, an instant TNT New Classic and just plain, good old-fashioned fun. Brad Pitt eating in every scene, the wink wink lame ‘happily ever after’ kiss at the end, Julia emailing in her performance, “Whisky and a whisky”, the all of the everything that is Topher Grace and Matt Damon FINALLY making me like him (if not so much his pig nose).
16 – Catch Me If You Can
Some of the best work Spielberg has done in two decades, and it all feels tossed off, making me love it all the more. Haunting, genuine work by Christopher Walken (not easy at this point, if you think about it), the best knock knock joke ever, a game Tom Hanks, my favorite opening credits of the decade and Leo being Leo. There’s something about D-Cap’s work in the 2000’s that hit me hard. He played guys missing answers and trying desperately to find them, which I heart. You’ll notice that starts to be a recurring theme from here on out.
15 – Punch Drunk Love
A mesmerizing movie, if only for the pillow talk.
14 – Mr. & Mrs. Smith
The schadenfreude alone qualifies the movie for Best Ever status. Smith has no business being good, considering its troubled production, and the fact that the movie could have just put a close up on Brangelina’s faces for two hours and called it a day and we would have ate it up, and yet it is. Very good, in fact. The Brad on Angelina fight was fantastic, the freeway gunfight with Truths Revealed sequence was electrifying (“Art?” “History! It’s reputable.”), Vince Vaughn was stellar, Adam Brody got beat up (counts for a LOT), and I can’t get enough of Brad telling Angelina she “looked like Christmas morning”. I’m on Team Aniston, for the real, but this movie almost makes up for her trauma.
13 – Bring It On
The Citizen Kane of cheerleader movies. Also, the only movie Kirsten Dunst has EVER been likable in. And, um, hello, Eliza Dushku in a bikini, washing cars. My work here is done.
12 – Kill Bill ½
Part 1 is ultra-badass, Part 2 is exhilarating filmmaking. Would rank higher if QT had taken out the anime sequence (not interested, thanks), reduced the time Uma was trapped in a coffin (my greatest fear), and eased back on the foot fetish. We get it, Uma has great toes! Can we get back to the swords and exploitation now?
11 – The Notebook
I get that I’m a guy and therefore shouldn’t have this on my list. But you can’t tell me this wasn’t a seminal movie of the decade. That it didn’t change things. You can’t. Gosling and McAdams were the most watchable lovers in any movie of the last ten years. Period. I loved this movie the first time I saw it, and when I rewatched it again for this list, you know what I found out about my love for it? It wasn’t over. It’s still not over!
/makes out with this movie in the rain
10 – X-Men
I saw this movie in theaters five times, maybe the most I have ever seen any movie in the theaters. The movie is not without issues: the ending is small, Halle Berry is atrocious, Anna Paquin makes me Ralph and the pace is like an injured turtle. But man alive, Hugh Jackman’s arms. Hugh freaking Jackman’s. Arms.
Please excuse me while I go do 150 push-ups.
9 – Garden State
I make no apologies for this movie. It’s trendy to bash Garden State because of the weak, cliché writing, but you know what all you people? Go fuck yourself. This movie is GREAT. The Coldplay, the slow motion zooms, the WIDE establishing shots, the Natalie Portman, what’s not to like? Guys ding this movie unfairly because they are jealous Zach Braff got to make out with Natalie Portman in the rain, which is (not so) secretly our greatest wish in life. But we need to get over ourselves. And wannabe filmmakers hate this movie because they believe they could do it better. But if they could, they would, and they haven’t. Braff may be a King Douche, but he gets credit for doing it. And the doing is the whole point.
8 – The Royal Tenenbaums
Wes Anderson, irritating storytelling warts and all, is a singular voice in American filmmaking. This is his best work, and it’s not even close.
“The crickets and the rust-beetles scuttled among the nettles of the sage thicket. “Vámonos, amigos,” he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.”
7 – Wedding Crashers
Any film that opens with a ten minute montage of partying, bare boobs, cake and great dialogue, and then gives us Walken being an oddball, McAdams being luminous, Jane Seymour MILF-ing it up, Bradley Cooper playing a character named Sack Lodge, and the everything of the all that is the stage-5 clinger Isla Fisher, with a truly hilarious Will Ferrell cameo to boot, automatically makes me Top Movies of the Decade list. Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just obey them. So no excuses, play like a champion.
6 – Anchorman
I submit to you the following:
It could be the dialogue. It could be the style. It could be the camera work. It could be the score. But really, it’s about the journey. Of a guy looking for answers. A guy who refuses to just leave it be. A guy who needs to know. And who pays the price for that information.
4 – Harry Potter 3 and 5
Parts one and two are kids movies. Four is easy to digest mainstream snore. Six is too insular for its own good. But 3 and 5, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix? They’re about something. They have something to say. They are filmmaking of the highest order. Two harsh, magnificent, brutal chapters in the life of a tragic boy, who wants nothing more than to be normal, happy and loved, and continues to suffer for wanting those things and having the gall to ask for them.
It’s easy to write this franchise off because of its popularity, but never forget that this is a story of a boy whose parents were murdered, a boy being hunted down every moment of his life, a boy with the literal world on his shoulders, a boy who can relate to no one, but who never backs down for a fight and will stop at nothing to protect those he cares about, even if it means dying. Let’s see Team Bella do that.
3 – Spartan
I’m a doer. I see a job that needs to get done, I do it. No complaints, no questions. I will go to the ends of the Earth to make it happen. Spartan is a movie made for people like me. Gripping, intense, honorable and the best Mamet dialogue an aspiring playwright could ask for.
And if you ever wanted to pull life advice from a movie, this is the movie to do it.
“You had your whole life to prepare for this moment. Why aren’t you ready?”
“The hardest thing, y’know what it is? It isn’t going in the door, it’s coming out.”
“Why would I want to know? I ain’t a planner, I ain’t a thinker. I never wanted to be. You got to set your motherfucker to receive. Listen to me. They don’t go through the door, we don’t ask why. That’s not a cost, it’s benefit. Because we get to travel light. They tell me where to go. Tell me what to do when I get there.”
2 – The 25th Hour
I tend to respond the most to movies about conflicted characters reflecting on their past, trying to figure out where things went wrong, and considering how to fix it going forward. This is the finest version of that story.
I dream of writing something as beautiful as the last ten minutes:
1 – Before Sunset
I look at my Top Ten and I see a pattern. And the pattern is me. We love movies for all sorts of reasons, but the ones that matter to us, tend to matter for one specific reason. Their story, in a fashion, is our story.
I started this decade as a freshman in College. All optimism, energy and naïveté. I was a hopeless romantic, with not an ounce of practicality. I had done nothing, but believed I felt everything. I end this decade a professional. I am hardened, realistic, unlike that 18 year-old boy in every way. I spent ten years searching for answers. Trying to discover the right path to happiness. And I haven’t found it yet. But I can look back, see the course of my life and understand how things fit. Why they went the way they did. Why I am here, in this place, in this moment, today. Which is good.
But that doesn’t mean I like it. And it doesn’t mean I accept it.
Before Sunset is that story. Tracking your life across a long span, deciphering the choices made, from love to career to everything else. Seeing so clearly how it all went down, but being powerless to alter things for the better. And then, in the most perfect cinematic way, two people are given a second chance. They are given an opportunity to get it right, this time, knowing now what they wish they knew then. And it’s on them to make it happen.
Before Sunset is an escape in the best way possible. It’s fun imagining I’m Neo or Riggs or John McClane or the guys from Wedding Crashers, shooting guns, being a hero, getting laid, etc. But it’s better, and more fulfilling, to imagine getting that second chance. To imagine saying all the right things in all the right ways to the right person. And hearing them say all the right things back to you.
It’s a movie about hope, the one thing I take with me the most into the new decade. The hope that I will figure it out. The hope that I won’t need that second chance, because when it counts, I will get it right the first time.
Movies are and always have been my education. I learn who I am from what I watch. These 40 movies, more than any others, taught me the most about myself this decade. And I will take the knowledge I have gained into the next decade and try to better myself, little by little, every day.
I am smarter, stronger, kinder, and more able to survive and thrive. What’s the job? Find me. I’ve had my whole life to prepare for this moment.
I am ready.
(Follow me on Twitter @jasonamatthews)
Everything I said in my April Fool’s post, up until the end, was completely true. I don’t have the time anymore, I’ve lost interest in celebrity shenanigans, I have other projects I want to focus on, and I don’t want to not like things anymore.
But I will NOT be shutting down the website.
So technically, the April Fools was on myself. Or, I guess, I unconsciously fooled myself by trying to fool you into thinking I hadn’t fooled myself when in reality I was the fool and you were the foolee, except not, because it wasn’t true, but it was and my brain just broke.
Can someone get MIles from Lost to explain time travel to me, cause I think I just shot Ben Linus dead.
So TheJay.com, as it is, won’t be going offline. I get too much traffic to old posts, have too many links floating around the net, and it’s nice to be able to go through my online archives every so often and laugh at my old jokes. That being said, new posts will be VERY few and far between (think 2-3 posts a month at best). And when (or if) it does happen, it will be fun and funny like always, but positive. A collection of ideas around things that are awesome.
In fact, I’m changing my site description from:
“TheJay.com is pop culture from inside the bubble, offering fresh and funny commentary on the world of entertainment and celebrity shenanigans.”
“TheJay.com is fresh and funny commentary on all things awesome in the world of entertainment.”
Will I still be somewhat acerbic? Sure. Will I still poke fun at some of my lesser favorite celebrities ahem Reese ahem? Yeah, probs. Will I every so often let a bitchy post slip through the wire? Only if Mischa Barton does something stupid enough to block my sunshine.
But for the most part, you can expect great YouTube clips, move trailer reviews, drops of songs that are worth endlessly repeating on a loop on your iPod (think: “Use Somebody”, Kings of Leon, or “Hope Valley Hill”, Helios), love letters to celebrities are who loveable and updates on things going on with me that are of note.
I hope you’ll pop back in occasionally and see what’s up. Whatever is here, I’m hoping it’ll be just a little something to brighten up your day. Especially if you hate Mischa Barton.
I’ve been writing this blog for close to three and a half years; in that time I wrote more than 400 (suspect to hilarious) posts and was read by more than a million people. I have been linked across the net, spotlighted by some of the biggest websites there is and was nominated and won a slew of awards. Also, I got to make fun of Reese Witherspoon a lot.
It was a good run.
I just don’t find celebrity shenanigans interesting, anymore. And I don’t have that much to be angry about, anymore. Britney is back to normal, Keanu is working towards respect, Tom Hanks has his hair under control, Mad Men is universally renowned, Friday Night Lights just got renewed for two seasons, American Idol is Boring, Paris Lindsay and Nicole are afterthoughts and Orlando Bloom is dead.
What else is there to talk about?
And I just don’t have the time. Concluding my tour of “Things You Don’t Know About The Jay”, I’m actually a playwright. And I have a show running for the next three weeks in LA (Come see it! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!), and a show I’m ramping up for the Fall; I need to be focusing on words that will have a lasting effect on art, and not a tossed off insult about Shia LaBeouf’s relative craziness. Nothing may ever disappear on the Internet, but nearly EVERYthing gets forgotten about. Theatre endures.
I want my work to endure.
But the bottom line is this: after a time, there is no cleverness in hate. I don’t like not liking things. True to fact, there’s very few things I ACTually hate. And grudges are just tacky. I’m a liker of things. And in this day and age of sarcasm and irony and hate as an Olympic sport, liking things has become an act of courage. I’m looking to get my Red Badge of Web Courage. Unfortunately, love blogs aren’t interesting. No one wants to read a 900-word love letter to Ryan Seacrest four times a week (and let me tell you, I could go 5200 words on the topic). If there was a way to be funny and relevant and positive I’d do it, but there isn’t, and besides, I’m the only who thinks this way, anyway.
I have no interest in being cranky.
I’ll probably do another blog; most likely two or three, in fact, and most likely not about entertainment. I’ll try new things; see if I can’t figure out the next great blog idea. I’m gonna take some time off of the Internet, recharge my blog batteries and be back someday soon. So keep your eyes open for The Jay…
I can’t thank you all enough for taking time out of your lives to read my silly musings on the world of celebrity. I wrote every joke for you, just for you. I’ll miss hearing what you think of my thoughts, miss having random friends complimenting me on a post or thanking me for a good laugh. I’ll miss having a place for my sarcastic voice. But all good things must come to an end. And this good thing is over. You have been a great audience and I was proud to entertain you.
I’ll end my post, my website, with that most familiar Lost Boys refrain, that joyous exclamation, my signature line…
APRIL FOOLS, BITCHES!!!!
The Jay ain’t going NOWHERE! And I hate more things than EVER! Suck it, Reese! Get effed, Danny Gokey! You’re still bland, Orlando Bloom! MORE HATE! More of all of it! FOREVER.
Sack in, kiddies, it’s gonna be a long time before this guy shuts up and shuts it down.
I have now spent what seems like 14 full days watching the Where The Wild Things Are trailer. It’s nourishment for me, sustenance, at this point. I feel that if I don’t watch it, dissect it, consume it, I will lose it, and that is a loss I am not prepared to handle.
There is a lot about culture, specifically pop culture, which is dispensable. Forgettable. Trivial. You watch it on a lark, or because it’s pretty, or the explosions, or the Rachel McAdams, and you don’t feel one way or the other, emotionally, about it. Sequels meant to provide you with that safe feeling of security; no brain power is needed, you have already rode this ride, you know the loops and the spins, you will be OK. And that is all fine, to a point.
The other side is culture that is vitally important to your life on a conscious and subconscious level. Stories that have affected the way you think, characters that define you, words you live by. Art is a visceral experience; an active viewer registers a chemical response to the thing being viewed. This chemistry is inherently fixed, as Malcolm Gladwell would tell you, and is affected by synapses in the brain that cannot be comprehended. In other words, you have no choice over the things you love and hate. Everything that makes you who you are, environment, experience, et al, affect your chemistry.
I’m going on at length about this, so that when I tell you the chemical reaction I am having to the WTWTA trailer is so potent my skin is literally heating up, you won’t think I’m speaking in hyperbole. I watch this trailer and I lose my shit. Lose it.
I do so because the combination of images and sounds is so beautiful. Because the care being put into this movie is so readily apparent. Because I have long desired to see the Wild Things come to life, and here they are, as real as in my dreams, and I can not seem to shake the feeling that my imagination, my wild imagination, was right on on this one thing, and that validation is more enriching than love, in this moment.
My Mom read me this story. I looked at the pages and she read the words. I was that boy. I was Max. I had feelings of anger and hope and ambivalence. I was confused by my parents’ behavior, by how different I felt from my friends and schoolmates. I longed to be part of a community where I was the focus, where I was set free to revel in my id. I wanted to ride in my sail boat to that faraway land. This was important to me. And it has stayed important to me, as all landmark art does.
When I point out the difference between trivial and transcendent pop culture, I do so to illustrate just how vital certain works are, and how important it is for them not to be mangled or disrespected. My Dad read me The Cat in the Hat, but as I had no real connection to it (I care about a cat coming to life and playing with paint?), seeing Mike Myers piss on Dr. Suess’ memory wasn’t such a travesty. The story just didn’t resonate with me on a physiological level. Where the Wild Things Are did.
Had the creatures been made to look fake or “funny” or childish, I would have been heartbroken. Had Max not been wearing his costume, had he not danced and ran and growled, had the Wild Things not roared their terrible roar, it would have crushed me. Because it would have taken away that memory I have of being a child, being told a story, and believing in my mind that this was real. That it was right. That it was OK.
And so I watch this trailer and become a child again. And my mind moves and whirls and my heart breaks and my soul dissolves into molecules. And I close my eyes and relief washes over me; this memory, this sacred thing, is safe. I am safe.
And then I lose my shit.
The best shadow since the Episode 1 teaser poster.
This is EXACTLY what a kid looks like when he confuses fear with anger. How human is this movie!
The ultimate. Just the ultimate.
The “E” is a Wild Things foot. Did you just die? Did you just die a beautiful death? I thought so.
Aaaaaaand I have lost control of my faculties.
Holy Jesus. They actually made the Wild Things legitimately frightening. Love it.
An inside peek into what a boy sees when he uses his imagination.
This is where I truly lost it. That Spike understood that the book, in its basest form, is a cry for help from a young boy, slays me. Max is acting out because he lost his father. The Wild Things ARE his Dad. When he plays with them, he is really playing with the Ghost of his abandoned Father. There just aren’t words for the astounding tragedy of that idea.
When was the last time you rolled down a hill? It’s been too long.
Are you five years old, curled up into a ball, eyes wide with the wonder of the world at your feet? Cause I am. And continue to be…