Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Movie a Day: The Foot Fist Way (2006)

Until at least the end of October, I'm endeavoring to watch a movie every day. Typically, it will be a movie I've never seen before, although there might be the rare occasion that I rewatch something.

There's something kinda broken inside Jody Hill and Danny McBride. And I like it.

Admittedly, I came into each of their careers a bit backwards. The first thing of Hill's I saw was Observe and Report, which I generally liked but felt was really uneven. The first thing I saw McBride in was Pineapple Express, a movie I love, but didn't understand why Seth Rogen and Will Ferrell couldn't stop talking about how funny Danny McBride is. I just didn't see it.

Then I saw Eastbound & Down. And all that changed.

I won't go into the genius of Eastbound & Down; that's not what this is about. This is about The Foot Fist Way, Jody Hill's first film and Danny McBride's first lead. Hill seems to be on a streak of towing a very interesting line. His films (and Eastbound & Down is a film, just broken up into parts, Fanny and Alexander style, and directed by different people, Paris, Je T'aime style) are easily the most morally reprehensible comedies that I've still enjoyed. All too often crudeness is used for its own sake, just to get a cheap joke. Hill always starts with a character, and whatever comes from them, comes from them. That may include, as in this film, telling a man of large carriage that he'd probably be raped in prison. Y'know...maybe.

Hill also has a clear handle on something very few directors do - the comedy of mise-en-scene. Purely by his camera set-up and staging of the action, he can create a joke. Whatever problems Observe and Report had, it wasn't Hill's aesthetic, and even working with almost no budget in The Foot Fist Way, it'd be hard to top the shot that opens the credit sequence.

And Danny McBride...I am his follower now. I'll even see Land of the Lost, I don't care. There are some people, in life and in film, who can make you laugh by doing nothing in particular. Just their pressence seems funny. McBride is among those few.

P.S. I know I said this wouldn't be up today, but the Bright Star screening was way more full than I thought it'd be, and I figured it'd be better to wait 'til it opened on Friday than contend with a crowd that looked a little on the rank side. Never mind whatever awful seat I'd end up in.

No comments: