I had the privilege of going to the premiere of “Shorts” last weekend in Hollywood. Besides a really adorable movie I also got to see the delightful looking Robert Rodriguez in all his glory. Score one for me.
I was shocked to find that the film translated to people over 13 years old. While I may have rolled my eyes when my kiddie movie obsessed mother forced me to watch all the “Spy Kids” movies, I secretly enjoyed each one and I owe it all to director/writer/musician/super hottie Robert Rodriguez. Who would’ve thought that the man who blessed the world with El Mariachi, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Desperado (to name a few) could piece together such entertaining family fare.
The story of ‘Shorts’ is a basic kid tale. 11 year old ‘Toe’ Thompson is the punching bag for the bullies in the suburban Black Falls community, where his and everyone else’s parents work for Black Box Industries. A company that manufactures a gadget that can do everything, it’s even better than an Iphone. A random storm hits the community and a mysterious Rainbow Rock is found that grants the beholder anything it wishes for.The rainbow rock finds it’s way around the city, jumping from the hands of kids to adults. The movie is a ‘magical adventure told through a series of shorts that bring to life the best and worst aspects of the Black Falls Community.’
The kid actors in this movie are fantastic and charming, making the ride that much smoother. Kat Dennings plays the part of the permanently annoyed older sister to perfection, William H. Macy is great as the kooky germaphobe scientist, and Leslie Mann and Jon Cryer make for the perfect neurotic technology obsessed parents. However, it’s James Spader as the rich villainous owner of Black Box Industries that I found the most amusing. Only one problem, by the end of the movie I was really wanting my own rainbow wishing rock (what a dream it would be to become debt free).
It seems like a big coincidence that Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are releasing a movie on the same day. I mean, the movies are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum but it makes you wonder how divisive Hollywood can be sometimes. Here’s a solution for all you fully functioning adults with families: take the kids to see “Shorts” and get a sitter the next day so you can watch “Inglourious Basterds” that way 2 of the greatest directors of my generation will get their time to shine.
How the hell did I get so lucky? My second premiere in a month’s time and this one would be an affair to remember. I headed off to Hollywood today to get in the smelliest line of all time so that I could attend a screening of “Observe and Report starring my hero Seth Rogen. The premiere took place at the Grauman theater, a touristy place, filled with superheroes, well a man in a baggy Spiderman suit, and super villains, an authentic looking Heath Ledger Joker. Oh and 15 million hobos, a rather colorful transient bunch actually.
After an hour of standing in the relentless sun, we arrive at the front of the line, only to see Mr. Seth Rogen arriving from his limo, and I was but a mere 50-60 feet away. I practically shat myself with enthusiasm. We were then led inside the gigantic theater where we collected our free sodapop and popcorn then proceeded to make our way to our seats, which were 2 rows away from the humongazoid screen. After I apologized to my neck for the torturous craning that was about to occur, I turned around to see Mr. Rogen, who was seated only 15 rows behind me. I was getting closer.
The movie begins. The murmurs and rumors of this flick being a big change in direction for Rogen are extremely true. The part of Ronnie the tragic mall security guard with an impossible delusion and a sad outlook was far better suited for the hugely talented but much lesser known Danny McBride. The movie directed and written by Jody Hill, one third of the team who brought you “Eastbound and Down” and “Footfist Way” will not go over well with Rogen’s built in audience. Stand out performances from Michael Pena as Ronnie’s partner in crime, providing some comic relief in the first half of the flick, while Anna Faris does a great job as Ronnie’s object of desire. Ray Liotta the king of cop films does his best to keep up with Rogen’s violent superego but to no avail. Darkness, lots of darkness, but if you liked the “Footfist Way” consider this movie it’s brother film but darker. Loads of drug use, violence, blood, parental abnormalities, couple that with some vomit, sexual depravity and if your interests are still piqued, you should definitely check this out. You’ll love it or hate it, there won’t be a happy middle. I’m apart of Team Morose because I really enjoyed this despite all naysayers. This is absolutely nothing like “Paul Blart”.
Alas this lovely comedic macabre piece comes to a close and we make our way towards the door, beginning to pass Seth Rogen who is hob knobbing with his peeps. I continue to move per the ushers orders but my friend pulls us back to try and get a better glimpse of Mr. Rogen. That’s when Danny McBride fell into my line of vision and my insides freaked the fuck out. I love Rogen but McBride has continuously won my heart from his portrayal of “Red” in Pineapple Express”, to “Footfist Way”, right on down to his “Kenny Powers” in “Eastbound and Down”. Stupid fucking ushers arrive ever so timely and we were pushed to the lobby.
We watched as Aziz Ansari, a bit player in the film, who stole a few scenes, passed us by with another dude from the “Human Giant”. Seth with his girlfriend in tow, breezed right through the crowd and walked right in front of me. I froze. Rock solid. It was sad. They were in their limo by the time I regained consciousness. Heading toward the door my friend alerted me that Mr. McBride was heading out the door behind us. Like any good semi stalker, I held back and followed him. I whispered his name in hopes of getting his attention. Well actually I called his name and ran in the opposite direction because I’m chickenshit. My friend urged me to come back as Mr. McBride had stopped to take pics and sign autographs with the fans. I patiently awaited my moment and as he walked away, slowly approaching him, I ask for a picture. I told him sweet nothings as we posed (on the reg), he shook my hand and laughed with me, I thanked him and he fell in with his group of peeps and vanished. I was left in a state of complete shock. Seems to be the theme of my evening. McBride has stolen the reigns from Rogen, McBride is my new hero.
Not done yet. I walked away hyperventilating toward the elevator where our car was stored only to be met inside by Rogen’s parents and family. I only knew their identities because they were on the Jimmy Fallon show a few nights ago. Apologies for watching Fallon and for being a creep. We then chit chatted with his family about the parking situation, and had a good laugh with his dad. There were no words for my disbelief. We exited the elevator and got into our car resuming our normal lives for now. Thanks to my friend and neighbor for pushing me to greatness but mostly big thanks Mr. McBride for making my year so far.