Last night I walked out of the movie “The Wackness“.
This was a disappointment for three reasons.
First of all it was a date.
Secondly, we planned on watching it for the last two weeks.
Thirdly, I had moderate hopes for the movie, as circa 1994 hip hop
played a prominent role in the film.
The gist of the story is that the main character, Luke, is a
18 year old virgin who is spending the summer before college
selling weed, listening to Biggie, navigating his parents dysfunction
and trying to have sex for the first time.
A modern coming of age story.
The movie also reminded me of Brandon Soderberg’s analysis of
Judd Apatow’s usage of hip hop in his films. Soderberg’s theory is that
Apatow uses hip hop to illustrate the more dysfunctional and or pathological
aspects of his characters. Soderberg writes,
Apatow’s producer/director/writer filmography contains a weird trend of using hip-hop as either a quick throwaway joke or as a way to reduce a character or scene to absurdity. Recall the intro to ‘Knocked-Up’ which uses Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s classic ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ (Armond White: “white boys clowning to Old Dirty Bastard?s ?Shimmy Shimmy Ya?) with emphasis on Dirty’s “Ooh baby I like it raw” hook to make it really obvious and funny what this movie’s already going to be about. Think of the constant hip-hop slang used by everyone but Steve Carrell’s character in ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin’ and how it’s essentially used to represent just how vulgar and crass everyone’s become and how stupid white people are for adopting any part of this culture.
Back to walking out.
I walked out of the movie when Ben Kingsly’s character, Dr. Squires,
is giving Luke advice on life, love and sex in college and beyond
and suggests to him, hopefully, “Try and Fuck a Black Girl”.
The take away from that is that we are easy. We are exotic. If you are
having a hard time try the Black girls. We are willing.
I am not lying y’all, he said it. I said “The F*ck is this?” I told my date,
“Uh, I’m leaving”.
The issue for me wasn’t just that Dr. Squires said it, it was the fact that people,
many of whom were white women, laughed.
It wasn’t funny.
I wondered if they would have laughed if the character said
“Try and fuck a Jewish girl?”
I also wondered if writer, director Jonathan Levine, thought twice
about keeping that line.
Soderberg has a thorough, with a capital T, analysis
of the role that rap music plays in white movies.