Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Report" Report

As a little addendum to my review "Observe and Report," specifically it's subtextual commentary on the modern hero-complex afflicted male, an interview writer/director Jody Hill did with New York Magazine where he speaks about just that.



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NY Mag: You've said the film was influenced by Scorsese's The King of Comedy.

Hill: On the set, and beforehand, we were constantly talking about The King of Comedy, and, in fact, Taxi Driver, Straw Dogs, Shampoo. The end was heavily inspired by the way King of Comedy and Taxi Driver end, where it's kind of a victory but it makes you wonder: Is it a dream? Is it really a victory? Is it just kind of weird? Like the whole thing is based in realism — and then you twist it at the end and it makes people feel weird.

NY Mag: Are you mocking Bush-era heroes with this one?

Hill: We wanted to tell a good story, but the themes that run through it hopefully just represent some type of bigger picture. It's certainly not a political film by any means, but I don't think it's a disposable comedy, either, where there's no greater subtext.

NY Mag: A film like King of Comedy was really responding to its time — the rise of celebrity.

Hill: Sure — and Taxi Driver is influenced by that postwar fallout. This is definitely influenced by its time.

NY Mag: Ronnie's like one of those Reaganite kids who grew up watching Red Dawn, waiting for his chance to defend the shopping mall against the Communists.

Hill: I definitely feel like Ronnie watched those movies and took them to heart. And we play with movie clich├ęs, like sorta pseudo–Cameron Crowe, but twisted. I hope people feel themselves caught up in a Cameron Crowe moment, but the visuals are so fucked-up that it kind of produces a really uncomfortable feeling. Like, people applaud and then they stop: "Wait, what the fuck am I applauding? He just murdered somebody."

NY Mag: It's weird when he clobbers the Middle Eastern guy on the mall for no reason...

Hill: People love that. And it's not like he has a reason. People really like that. I don't know if I understand it, but maybe that speaks to like, your earlier question about the time.

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In some ways I feel this analogous to last year's "Funny Games" (which I wrote about here a few times) as far as audience expectation being subverted in favor of commentary on those expectations, and luckily with this one it'll have more of an audience to try that out on, though whether that gets through to more than just a few people we'll have to wait to see. It also helps that it's hilarious.

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