Monday, April 13, 2009

Z movies

My wife and I stayed at a hotel last night to celebrate our first anniversary, which is today. We ended up watching Zack and Miri Make a Porno.* If there's anything more romantic than that, I don't know what it is.

Actually, we loved it. I'm risking controversy here, but I'd venture to say that it's Kevin Smith's best film. Clerks and Chasing Amy may endure better in the zeitgeist, but this is definitely his most mature achievement as a filmmaker. Which is funny to say about a film where a guy's face gets shit on while filming an extreme close-up of two people having sex.

At the very least, it's a terrific comeback after a string of disappointments like Jersey Girl and Clerks 2 (neither of which I've seen, but I'm going on the general sentiment). It has the perfect balance between vulgarity and sweetness, and is genuinely funny. Plus, I've never noticed Smith using music as well as he does here.

I'd had Zack and Miri recommended to me, but there was another reason I wanted to see it. Namely, it helped add to my very modest collection of movies starting with the letter Z.

Now, the number of movies they've seen starting with a particular letter is not a consideration for most people. Then again, I am not most people. Since I have an Excel spreadsheet of all the movies I've ever seen -- which has made its way up to 2,710 with Zack and Miri -- I'm in a lot better position to statistically analyze my viewing history.

Because it's easy enough to do, I continually update the totals by letter of my film titles. S is in the lead by far, with 293 movies. B is a distant second at 227.

Z? Seven movies, and now eight with Zack and Miri. In fact, there are so few that it's easy enough for me to name them: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Zathura, Zelig, The Zero Effect, Zodiac, Zombie Strippers, Zoolander and Zorba the Greek. The only one with fewer titles is, as may be expected, X, with just four.

What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. But it's a fun thing for a movie geek to keep track of. It makes watching the movie feel at least 8% more special.

When I saw Zombie Strippers as one of my final movies before I finalized my 2008 rankings, I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that the decision was partly influenced by seeing a movie that starts with the letter Z. The more important factor was that I thought it could be some good exploitation fun, and about 15 minutes of it actually was. But that Z title played some kind of role.

But most of the time I'd rather not force it. I'd rather watch a Z movie (or an X movie, or a Q movie) only when it crosses my path naturally.

Like Zack and Miri did, for a mere $12.99 charge ($14.06 with tax), on the night celebrating my first wedding anniversary.

* - For those interested in my movie dates post, I saw Zack and Miri on April 11th. On April 11th of 2004, I saw The Girl Next Door, which features Elisha Cuthbert as a porn star. Coincidence? I think so.


Daddy Geek Boy said...

Happy anniversary. As a gift, I will not debate you in this post. I totally dug Zack and Miri too.

Don Handsome said...

Dude. You've never seen Zentropa? What are you waiting for?

Glad you liked Zack and Miri. I definitely think its a major comeback for Smith. I agree with you about the music, but I was also impressed with the fact that he actually moves the camera a few times. And I think it was good sense for him to move his shtick out of Jersey.

I've already wished you guys a Happy Anniversary. So I wont do it again here.

Vancetastic said...

I'd read a critique that the movie was hampered by Smith sticking with the two guys from Clerks, but I thought they both fit in fine -- and was especially impressed by (dare I say it?) the subtlety shown by Jason Mewes. Is it possible that he could actually be an ADULT?

Don Handsome said...

Its funny that you've used the word subtle to describe a Jason Mewes performance as a would-be porn star that includes full frontal nudity. Strangely enough, I agree with you. He brings nuance to this roll and finally is permitted to dump his "jay" persona - which stopped being funny 15 years ago.

Lord Vader said...

'Z movies'? I guarantee you won't see a crazier one than 'Zardoz'. But as in your post, don't force it - you'll see it when you see it!

And happy anniversary!