Thursday, October 29, 2009

23 days of nite - OBSERVE AND REPORT (Hill, 2009)

Jody Hill is quickly creating a body of work that is bleak and utterly unconcerned with you liking his characters or not. Like its spiritual predecessor, TAXI DRIVER, OBSERVE AND REPORT is a horror film with very little violence throughout the course of its running time. While not as totally debased as EASTBOUND & DOWN, OBSERVE AND REPORT is not afraid to stare into human isolation and man's search for meaning. The problem comes from the fact that life has no inherent meaning; it's up to us to write all that meaning and definition into things. And some people write all kinds of negative shit into their life narratives: anger and bitterness and jealousy and rage and disappointment and arrogance. OBSERVE AND REPORT is a psychological horror film that examines the attitudes and values of the typical American male, and it hurts to watch at times, but it's all OK because it's all a joke. You have to accept all of Hill's work on its own terms and just expect amoral characters and unlikeable situations. But if you're willing to commit, there's plenty to laugh at. You either laugh or you cry; the essence of the horror film, I think, is that it laughs at death, brings death to light and shows us what it looks and sounds like, and, in the best of cases, what death feels like. OBSERVE AND REPORT shows us what the death of the American dream feels like - malls and bullshit jock cops and hideous violence bubbling just beneath the surface.

2 comments:

J.T. said...

You are awesome, Travis.

I was thinking a few days ago that the people that thought that this was going to be a carbon copy of Paul Blart: Mall Cop were dead wrong.

I was surprised and pleased to see just how genuine and disturbing this movie really was.

Ash said...

I really liked this movie, actually. I kept hearing people saying it was just like every other Seth Rogan film, or, worse, complaining that the main character was just like some douche they went to school with. I mean, that's the fucking point, isn't it? If Rogan's character is sympathetic, it's because he's something of an idealist in a cesspool of corruption and incompetence. That doesn't make him a hero, or a good guy, and you shouldn't think he is.

I laughed my ass off when he shot the streaker. Best surprise gag I've seen in a long time.