Tag Archives: High School

I Wanna Party With You: Hero Edition

5 Jul

Sometimes, you don’t really get to know what someone is really about until you can sit down, loosen the tie, and toss a couple back with them.  So whenever a particular group of people have piqued our interest here at DS, we figure the best way to learn more about them, and ourselves, is to take a look at what it would be like to party with them.  It’s social science, if you will.  This is I Wanna Party With You.  It’s heavy stuff.

Super Parties

Some of the biggest characters of the 2012 Summer movie season are guys who spend a lot of their time messing around in costumes.  From the Avengers to Spider-Man to Batman, the general public are clearly interested in these guys, as their movies are drawing huge crowds at box offices all over the world.  A lot of these heroes’ appeal has to do with their affinity for awe-inspiring action sequences.  But what are they like when the special effects end?  When they take off their masks or capes and pour themselves a cold one at the end of the day?  When one beer turns to seven turns to twenty?

Note:  In this study, we’re going to use the 2012 movie versions of these characters.  

Batman (Bruce Wayne):

When you party with Batman, the good part is that you are partying with Bruce Wayne as well.  The Bruce Wayne who dates four models at a time, drives souped-up sports cars, and buys entire city blocks on a whim.  Bruce has more money than he knows what to do with, and he seems pretty cool with spending wildly.  This could lead to some memorable party opportunities, and you know that you would never have to foot the bill.

The downside of partying with Bruce Wayne is that eventually, Batman will come out.  And that makes us nervous.  Batman is a great guy to have on your side when you’re going up against a bunch of bad guys.  But a big part of his hero shtick is an unrelenting intensity that doesn’t play too well in party settings.  Or really, any kind of civilized, normal setting.  Suppose you’re partying with Bruce Wayne, drinking $500,000 bottles of champagne, when all of a sudden he slips into the gruff, husky Batman voice and loses his mind.  The next thing you know, the fun has stopped and you’re in the middle of that drunken wrestling scene from The Hurt Locker.  With someone who looks suspiciously like Patrick Bateman.  And that’s not a place you want to be.

Good Party Meter:

5/10

 

Thor (Thor)

It seems like it would be a great time to sit around a big banquet table and swig mugs of mead with Thor.  There would preferably be a lot of magical medieval things to keep everyone entertained, and Thor would presumably have no problem with getting rip-roaring drunk.  After he’d gone through a few mugs, the hammer would come out for some party tricks, and maybe he’d even call in some thunder and lightning for good measure.  He’s also got the Long Hair Don’t Care party look down.

The only drawback with Thor is that he kind of comes off as a haughty prick sometimes – he lets all the ‘royalty’ and ‘god’ stuff go to his head, and he has no problem letting everyone know how super awesome and jacked he is.  That could be pretty annoying when you’re just trying to take it easy and sip some mead.

Good Party Meter:

7/10

 

Iron Man (Tony Stark)

Partying with Iron Man means you get to party with another guy with silly amounts of money, with the added bonus that Tony Stark doesn’t seem prone to rage blackouts a la Bruce Wayne.  Tony Stark is a technical genius who enjoys having a good time, which provides for party scenarios in which he’s fashioning some crazy-cool gadgets to play with while you hang out in his infinity pool with a bevy of models.

As we’ve seen in his previous movies, Tony Stark doesn’t have a problem with getting drunk while in the Iron Man suit.  He also has several extra suits at his place, just sitting there unused.  This all means that you could party with Tony for a bit, and then slyly drop hints about pulling the suits out.  Once Tony has already started getting his suit on, what’s to stop him from letting you get in one of the extras?  All of a sudden, you’ve gone from a few casual beers to slipping on a near-invincible suit of armor with cool gadgets that allows you to fly.  Tony Stark, we wanna party with you.

Good Party Meter:

10/10

 

Captain America (Steve Rogers)

It’s tough to say anything bad about Steve Rogers.  He’s an American hero who kicked a lot of Nazi ass.  He seems like the nicest guy imaginable, without a sinister bone in his genetically-jacked-up body.  And as Captain America, he can do some pretty sweet things with that shield of his.  The problem with Steve when it comes to partying is that for all of his awesome qualities, he appears pretty boring at times.  Boring in the wholesome, white-washed-product-of-the-40s way.  And almost too good.

We have to wonder if Captain will just stand there judging us as we reach for the third beer.  When he’s only halfway through his first.  And if we crack some dirty jokes, just to lighten up the mood, will Captain just respond with a stony silence, making everyone feel awkward?  We hope that this isn’t the case.  We would hope that Steve would loosen up after a few beers, let his figurative hair down, and do some cool tricks with the super strength of his.  It just could go either way.

Good Party Meter:

6/10

 

Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

2012’s cinematic incarnation of the Web Slinger is still in high school.  Which means that while partying with Peter Parker could be fun, with his nifty web-shooting party tricks and Spidey Sense letting you know when the cops are on their way, it also means that you’re partying with a high schooler.  And there are a lot of issues that go along with that.

When you party with someone in high school, you’re facing a wide range of potential outcomes.  Wild and unpredictable emotional swings, pretending to be drunk, throwing up everywhere, getting bad attitudes, the whole legal issue of giving alcohol to minors.  It’s just not very appealing.  And that’s the problem when partying with Spidey.  There’s a good chance that after his third Bud Light Lime, he’s going to start crying uncontrollably about Emma Stone, try to punch you out when you console him, and end up puking all over your cat before passing out on your couch.  Thanks, Pete, but we’ll wait a couple of years.

Good Party Meter:

3/10

 

The Hulk (Bruce Banner)

This is a no-brainer.  Mark Ruffalo seems like a really chill guy who enjoys some brews, some bud, and some pretty ladies.  But do you want to give alcoholic beverages to someone who turns into a giant rage beast when he loses the slightest bit of control over himself?  Us neither.  Sorry Bruce.

Good Party Meter:

0/10

 

Party On…

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The Keg’s Back There

4 Apr

With American Reunion hitting theaters this week, the various faces of East Great Falls Class of ’99 have been popping up on TV and billboards all over the place.  There are probably many out there who hit American Pie fatigue shortly after the credits rolled on the second one, and the sight of Jim, Finch, Oz and Co. with a few years’ of mileage on them is not really a welcome one.  But personally, while it is a bit disconcerting to see what a decade has done to Ms. Suvari and Ms. Reid, the familiar images  of these characters strikes up a fondness normally reserved for old friends.

I’m sure most everyone has a few pieces of pop culture that happened to come about at a particularly important or memorable point in their lives – be it a movie, book, song, etc.  And for whatever reason, that slice of entertainment paired with a fond memory and never really escaped you after that.  The artistic merits of your personal cultural talisman can be questionable, and that’s not the point.  There are plenty of other deeply felt and profound films or songs that can be cherished and pointed to as truly your ‘favorites’.

You can put as many high-minded books and foreign films on your shelves as you want – the more prominent the better when that intriguing new neighbor stops by looking for some eggs.  But when it comes down to it, there is often a faded DVD sitting around somewhere on your shelf that has been carried along to every apartment you’ve ever lived in – waiting to be played in the case of a truly shitty day or just because you hadn’t seen it in far too long.  Here at Dan Swanky’s, one of those discs happen to be American Pie.

The original Pie found its way into my cinematic heart due in large part to its release coinciding with my stumbling transition from bright-eyed elementary school kid to hormone-fueled teenager.  I remember distinctly the first day I saw the movie, which is not something I can say for a lot of other films.  It was some weekend when I was 12, and while over at a friend’s house, he surreptitiously mentioned that he had a VHS copy of American Pie.  For a kid still grappling with the parental units over access to anything past a PG-13 rating, this was akin to someone sliding a Playboy and a pack of Camel Lights across the table.  I had heard of the movie’s raunchiness through various schoolyard networks, and being able to watch it was a thrilling rush in that manner unique to forbidden childhood activities.  On the drive back home in the family car afterwards, I felt as though I had just done something wrong – and I wasn’t in the least bit sorry.

The movie definitely did not disappoint when it came to offering up a theretofore unseen world of high school parties and sexual misadventures.  The casual depictions of hooking up were both entrancing and confusing – I knew I wanted to take part in all of this consensual fun, but I also had no idea what was going on at many points.  Of course, in the prideful chest-puffing way of adolescence, my friends and I loudly laughed at every part to show that we ‘got it.’  But I was definitely not entirely clear on the whole chain of events leading to scenes  like Tara Reid shouting out her arrival plans while Courtney Love growled along on the soundtrack.  All we knew that it looked fun, edgy, and grown-up.

As someone poised on the doorstep of high school and its teenage experiences, I was in a bit of impressionistic state, to say the least.  And American Pie arrived with a bundle of impressions, offering up an idealized image of high school full of debaucherous keg parties and sexually adventurous foreign exchange students.  I didn’t entirely buy into this image, but I bought in enough that I was mildly disappointed when high school did not, in fact, turn out to be like East Great Falls High.    That disappointment didn’t taint the movie, however, and as high school realities carried on, Pie became a familiar and welcoming reminder of the idealism and exciting newness of that 12-14 year-old range.  We were all looking forward to the nonstop fun awaiting with high school parties and their attendant high school girls.  The movie has come to represent a simpler, stylized vision of high school that never, and could never have, existed; it is still enjoyable to live the dream vicariously through Jim and the crew.

Set apart from my own personal experience and looked at on its own merits, there are several other reasons American Pie has remained an enjoyable movie for this long.  By using Jim’s viewpoint to tell the story, the creators presented a character that was easy to sympathize with as he endured some pretty universal high-school experiences.  In the original movie, Jim just wants to get laid, and he’ll do what it takes to get there.

The “Nadia” sequence, in which Jim falls all over himself to hook up with the beautiful foreign exchange student, is a great visual example of his endearing, misguided quest.  (The scene is also a visual time capsule of the late-90s teen experience: chat rooms, Blink-182 song AND cameo, bleached tips, puka shells, Shannon Elizabeth, Perfect 10, etc.)  He’s awkward, sincere, and ultimately doesn’t really go through any groundbreaking transformation at the end, like a lot of other fictional protagonists.  His story feels natural, and by extension, the movie resonates deeper than most of the other teen sex comedies that have come along since Pie.

As with many other movies you can have an unabashed soft spot for, there are of course some unfortunate aspects of American Pie that there’s no getting around.  The acting in the original is all over the place, ranging from high points like Seann William Scott’s career-launching Stifler performance to the Mena Suvari/Chris Klein blank stare contest.  That’s the price you can pay for having a bunch of relatively unknown teens headline your movie.  And the franchise has not had the greatest aging process – the raunchy edge of the first movie seems a lot tamer by now, and there have been some significant cases of diminishing returns with the sequels.  The spate of Band Camp spin-offs also don’t help with the franchise’s reputation for just being another major studio cash cow.

But all of that goes by the wayside when the first funky strains of generic porn music open up the first scene of American Pie.  At that point the smile goes on and doesn’t come off for the next two hours.  Sometimes, that’s all you’re looking for in a movie.