This is Why I Rarely Leave My House

By Katie McCollow

I haven’t gone to a lot of movies this summer, just three. A movie has to look pretty spectacular for me to leave the comfort of my couch, put on non-stretchy clothes, drive to a theater and plop down a small fortune for the privilege of sitting next to some kid playing with his phone and chewing on rocks while I’m trying to watch the G-damn show. But I was very excited for Jersey Boys.

UGGGGHHH. Whose stupid idea was it to let Clint Eastwood direct this movie? Seriously, what??

Take the most fun, energetic show Broadway has put out in the last 20 years and hand it over to the guy whose idea of a good time is Hilary Swank breaking her neck on a stool, and guess what you get?

A BIG FAT EFFING DRAG IS WHAT YOU GET. I wonder how that meeting went down?

Cue swirling, Wizard-of-Oz-esque visual effects to connote a fantasy sequence is about to take place:

Studio exec, to Clint Eastwood: “This group wrote and recorded some of the catchiest tunes in American pop music history.  We’ve cast John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli—that’s right, the same guy who led this show all the way to multiple Tony awards on Broadway in 2006, including Best Actor and Best Musical. That show has so many heart-stopping, chill-inducing moments, everyone who has ever seen it leaves the theater with scrambled eggs for brains, ear-to-ear smiles and freshly purchased soundtracks tucked in their pockets, which they listen to for the next two years until it wears out and then they buy another one. What’s your vision for the movie?”

Mr. Eastwood (talking to empty chair):  “OK: First, those songs, at least the few we actually let into the movie, are all going to be chopped up and relegated to background music in scene after scene of people screeching at each other. I’m not here to sell soundtracks. There’s a gritty story here, full of sad sacks, bad marriages and gambling addictions. I’m OK with the fellas we’ve cast, but instead of showcasing their amazing singing and dancing chops, I’m going to let them tell the story through talking. And screeching. No heart-stopping, chill inducing moments, either. I am OK with the abrupt use of dime-store stage makeup to convey the passage of time, however.”

Studio exec: “Genius. You’re hired. I loved you in The Ten Commandments.” He leaves room. 

Gofer who loves movies and is thrilled to have her job of fetching coffee and fellating her boss, but simply cannot sit by and watch this happen because she saw the show on stage twice and has worn through several copies of the soundtrack even though she was born in 1994: “Um…Mr. Eastwood? What about that bit where suddenly the audience is taken backstage and the lights come up and it just blows your mind? Will that be in there?”

Clint Eastwood: “No.”

Gofer: “How about that awesome part where Bob Guadio, er, ‘becomes a man’, and then breaks into crowd-pleaser December 1963?”

Clint: “We can show the grit and humanity of his first time in indelicate congress with a prostitute, but no singing.”

Gofer: “What about the part where they sing Who Loves You? That was so great…”

 Clint: “Maybe that can play in the background while Frankie and Bob talk about death. I know what I’m doing. I’m Clint Eastwood.”

Gofer (getting desperate): “But wait! Wait Mr. Eastwood…what about the amazing medley of hits Stay? Let’s Hang On? Bye Bye Baby?”

Clint: “It will play quietly in the background for a few seconds.”

Gofer: “C’mon Marianne? Ragdoll? Beggin’?”

Clint: “Listen, punk. I don’t have time for all that. I need to dedicate at least a half hour to Frankie’s drug-addicted daughter, a character I’m going to assume the audience knows and cares about.”

Gofer: “Ohh…that song Fallen Angel makes me cry…”

Clint: “No song. Just a funeral.”

Gofer: “The incredible comeback? The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame?”

Clint Eastwood (getting angry–now yelling at the chair): “Of course! But it’ll be done my way, in a depressing supper-club with a lot of incredibly cheesy close-ups. I see a parade of Captain Kangaroo wigs, walrus mustaches and corpse-like Halloween makeup. This film will be lousy with tense drama and colorless cinematography, like all my movies…incredible music and a crazily talented cast, please. No one cares about that! I AM CLINT EASTWOOD AND I AM THE STAR OF ALL MY MOVIES!”

Adding insult to injury, the closing credits were a complete sucker-punch. The tone completely switched gears and suddenly I was watching the movie I’d wanted all along, a colorful, joyous romp filled with off-leash singing and dancing by people who know how to do it. Thanks Clint! That was an awesome 30 seconds.

I wonder if that chair has started talking back to him yet.

The news gets worse, kids. I also saw Tammy, which makes Jersey Boys look like Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane and Raiders of the Lost Ark had an orgy and made a movie baby.*

Melissa McCarthy plays Tammy, an angry, clueless loser who is mad at the world for stuff we don’t know. She’s stupid, coarse and mean, and wonders why everyone is against her. I guess the audience is supposed to be rooting for her, but in the scene when she comes home to find her husband cheating, all I could think was, “Someone married her?”

Allison Janney, who looks to be the same age as Melissa McCarthy, plays her mom. She seems like a nice enough sort, leaving me to wonder how she’d raised such an unlikable daughter. Ha! Irony, I get it–my own mother is a saint and I am…me, but Tammy presumably wasn’t also raised by the fists and verbal poundings of 8 siblings.**

Tammy takes off with her grandma, played by a slightly older Susan Sarandon, who wears fake ankles and a wig apparently borrowed from the set of Jersey Boys. She is awful. A bunch of stuff happens—they wreck the car, they rob a burger joint, they have sex with Gary Cole and get arrested and I go to the concession stand and spend way too long choosing candy, because I actually don’t want to return to the theater. When I do, it turns out that grandma is a drunk, lesbians are happy, rich and wise and Tammy is not actually loathsome and disgusting but irresistible. Kiss! From a boy, not a lesbian. The end. Sounds short, felt sooo long. Every scene plays like 20 minutes of bad improv.

Can we all agree that Melissa McCarthy is beloved? She is. And usually, when a beloved star makes a dog, I am quick to forgive, since no one can hit it out of the park every time. But Tammy is so bad, I will actually not jump to see another movie with her name above the title. She’s gotta earn my trust back. There’s no way she saw the dailies and didn’t know what she was doing.

Chef restored my faith. Fantastic. Jon Favreau plays a temperamental chef who quits his soul-crushing restaurant job and buys a food truck, then drives it all over the country and makes mouth-watering delights in it while the camera lingers. In the process he bonds with his son and finds love. A perfect movie! My only advice is, make sure you’ve got something really awesome on the stove when you get home. After that kind of serious food-porn, dried-out chicken drummies aren’t going to cut it. Trust me.

*Don’t bother asking who the father is. No one knows.

**Yes you did, you guys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.