I went to see Magic Mike tonight along with most of the female population of Troy, Alabama if the sold out shows and women parking on the grass median are any indicators. An even clearer indication was the view of the sea of feminine heads I could see before the film started from my seat in the very back row where my mother and I were able to find 2 of the last empty seats together. My mother claimed she saw one man, but I didn’t see a single one. Regardless, when Channing Tatum comes onscreen naked in the first moments of the film there was a longing sigh throughout the theater, followed by self conscious giggles and then a feminine wolf whistle. Everyone laughed. It was awesome. I think women are so repressed in their normal day to day lives that it was cathartic to be in a room full of other women and be appreciative of the male form and hear other women validate that appreciation. I loved the movie. Channing Tatum has real star quality. What I mean by that is that besides his looks, which yeah, he’s gorgeous, he’s also got an iconic American essence that he projects effortlessly. You root for him. In every film I’ve seen him in, no matter how awful the movie was, you like him. He brings a vulnerability, a sweetness, a kind of honor and goodness to his characters that shines through. So even when he’s playing a stripper, and doing it well, even when he’s drinking, carousing and going about things the wrong way, you can see that inside he has the soul of a wounded poet. He just wants to create. Or in his other films he just wanted to do the right thing, whatever that was. His honor is intrinsic. That’s what elevates him in Magic Mike and I think it will elevate him into more and more serious films which I look forward to seeing.
I also watched 21 Jump Street again recently after getting it on DVD since my mom hadn’t seen it at the theater. It’s just as funny a second time. I was never a watcher of the TV show, but such is the genius of Jonah Hill that you don’t have to be. I loved him in Superbad, I was shocked at how amazing he was in Moneyball but in 21 Jump Street he impressed the heck out of me because he also wrote it. Channing Tatum and Jonah also have great chemistry together as you can see in any of their promo interviews for the movie like this one:
Jonah Hill wisely uses Channing Tatum’s aforementioned sweetness and honor to advance his plot. Hopefully other writers and directors will follow his cue.
A relatively unknown film I checked out is by an independent filmmaker named Mark Duplass called Jeff Who Lives at Home
It stars Jason Segel and Ed Helms and is really moving. This film made complete sense to me, but like The Tree of Life, I think it would puzzle people who see the world as basically meaningless and judge people’s value solely by production. If you understand the idea that something doesn’t have to be factual to be absolutely True, or that everything is connected, things happen for a reason and that there is a unique and special purpose for every person: you will LOVE this move, so check it out on Redbox, Netflix or Amazon. Here’s the preview.