Thursday, October 16, 2014

The world's douchebaggiest ringtone

"Ah ah ah hooah hooah
Ah ah ah hooah hooah
Ah ah ah hooah hooah
Come on now, more margaritas!"

If you recently saw Tusk, you may have this little ditty stuck in your head, just as I do.

It's the ringtone belonging to the main character, Wallace Bryton (Justin Long), a douchebag podcaster who likes to laugh at famous freaks on the internet. And it's such a terrific character detail, such a terrific signifier of douchiness, that it's probably one of my favorite things about the movie -- a movie I liked quite a lot.

Of course, at the time I saw the movie I had no idea that it was a comedy bit recorded from one of Kevin Smith's podcasts, where radio personality Ralph Garman (who appears as an actor in both Tusk and Smith's last film, Red State) was doing an impersonation of Al Pacino. Apparently, in this particular bit, Pacino is a fan of tequila, triple sec, lime juice and salt.

To me, it just sounded like what a real dickhead would say to a group of girls, when he was hoping to roofie one of them and have his way with her. "Come on, drink up!" (Considering the events of Tusk, there's a bitter irony to the notion of unquestioningly drinking something that is thrust in front of you.)

It's not that I believed this character would do something like that, but that this character would not comprehend the underlying grossness of a jerk trying to get some girls drunk. Most douchebags would not actually commit date rape, but they would think the type of activities that lead to date rape are awesome. I wouldn't be surprised if Wallace Bryton were a devotee of Tucker Max, for example.

What I love is how many times Smith uses this ringtone in the movie. It's got to be in there at least a half-dozen times, and each time the movie pauses to let its absurdity play out for 5 to 10 seconds before the phone is answered. The ringtone comes at funny moments, to accentuate the comedy, and in scary moments, to puncture the tension. It is used masterfully to get a laugh each time.

Since just having me spell it out in words above is probably not enough to create the necessary mental image -- can you have an image of a sound? -- here is that ringtone, with accompanying graphics:

It's one of a number of masterful touches in Tusk -- intermingled with some touches that aren't so masterful, and some parts that simply seem like flab that could have been cut out. Still, Tusk is a win overall for Smith -- both very funny and very disturbing at different junctures, with some other random tones thrown in to jangle you further.

After Red State, that's what I love about the new Kevin Smith -- you really never know what you're going to get.

Now, to locate the nearest Mexican restaurant with a liquor license open at lunchtime ...

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