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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Thing relevant to my interests #82: Tampa

So, Magic Mike. Here were the things I knew about Magic Mike prior to seeing it:

  • Channing Tatum is in it
  • So is Matt Bomer, otherwise known as Dick Grayson
  • Channing Tatum used to actually be a stripper
  • Matt Bomer AKA Dick Grayson wasn't (except in various fics where Dick is TOTALLY a stripper, and, you know, if you want to read those I will link them)
  • Strippers
  • Lots of junk flying around presumably
  • Ew, Matthew McConaughey, please keep your clothes on please please please
  • Made by Steven Soderbergh
These things are all true (there is a lot of junk flying around. Also ass). Here is a thing that is also true, which I was not aware of until right before seeing Magic Mike, and which makes me unfathomably happy: Magic Mike is set in Tampa, Florida. This makes a lot of sense, if you think about it; Tampa is known for having oodles of strip joints, and not all of them are geared toward straight men. When I found out this film's setting (it shot there too, AND CHANNING TATUM IS FROM TAMPA WHAT THE HELL) and told some of my fellow Tampa expat ladyfriends, they all made the same expression: confusion, followed by delight. I will be honest; the thought of seeing Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello shake their stuff in very little clothing is nice, but the thought of another movie paying attention to my fair former city is even nicer. I have my priorities.

image via Just Jared

Anyway, "confusion followed by delight" is a pretty accurate tag for my general thoughts about this movie. I think most people were expecting it to be Showgirls except with dudes, which would have been fine. But Soderbergh wants you to think about the human condition of male strippers. And this movie is actually good. WEIRD RIGHT. The general plot is a tale as old as time--party boy is getting older, trying to figure out what he's going to do with his life--but the acting carries it through. I think I'm turning into a Channing Tatum apologist, but I have great love for She's the Man and I think he's gotten quite a bit better as his career has progressed. Alex Pettyfer was convincing as Adam, the skeezy and irresponsible douchewaffle baby stripper Tatum's character takes under his wing. And Cody Horn, well, haters can hate but I really liked her character, Brooke (Adam's sister). I'm sort of a buzzkill myself and I don't think there are enough characters like Brooke: responsible to a fault, totally aware of what it takes to be an adult without any help, unwilling to put up with shit, sort of stiff and rigid. Let's get a beer and bitch about work and horrible family members, Brooke! All things considered, the three major female characters in the film don't come off too badly despite the strip club owner's belief that audiences of ladies are cash cows and nothing else (though don't be fooled by the marketing--the movie is still largely a male fantasy): Brooke is responsible, controlled, and caring; Joanna, Mike's hook-up partner, is  ultimately sort of villainous but more for not telling him she had a fiance, rather than for being voraciously sexual; and Nora is a person you stay away from because she's into drugs and carries around a piglet, not because she has casual sex. I'm sorry to report that Matthew McConaughey keeps his clothes on for 95% of the film and then you see all the way up his colon. Nas-ty. The rest of the dancing is pretty impressive, though...any excuse to whip out "Pony." All told, Magic Mike is a good choice of film for a goofy night out with friends; the theater I went to was sold out (literally sold out) on a Tuesday night, we smuggled in some hard lemonade (topical!), and had an uproarious good time. My friend was intrigued and amused by my muttered outbursts of "I've been there!" at various points throughout.

Basically, once Magic Mike is on DVD, it will be purchased by me and watched in conjunction with The Punisher on days when I really miss the Bay environs. Maybe that's sort of sad, but everybody gets homesick. Sometimes I like to be reminded of Dale Mabry, drunkass Greek parties, St Pete Beach, the Amphitheatre. And if I was tearing up at the end, it's Steven Soderbergh's fault for sticking "Feels Like the First Time" over the credits.


Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

Can't say this movie is my thing, but since I only go to the movie theater about twice a year, and usually to movies with the kids, that can't be that surprising.

I totally understand a out enjoying seeing your hometown. I love Mr Holland's Opus because it is a great movie, but when I was living in Wisconsin I watched it at least once a month to get my "Portland/Oregon fix."

Diana said...

Well, if you have the opportunity for a ladies' night, there are worse options (half the fun of seeing this was the packed theater of women--and a few men--and the reactions). The dance scenes are actually pretty tame, and there's no real nudity.

Yeah, I enjoy seeing Tampa on the screen, since it happens so rarely, and we enjoyed the Cleveland episode of 30 Rock even more after moving here!

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