Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Paging Mr. Herman

It's a weird thing to look at yourself on the big screen. Yes, it turned out my mug was impossible to cut from 21 - I'm all over the place, specifically in the two classroom scenes that bookend the movie. And despite my fear of following in the footsteps of Pee-Wee, my friends and family assured me I did an excellent job of sitting, staring, taking notes and laughing at Kevin Spacey's terrible jokes. It's been a year since I worked on the movie, and needless to say, a lot has changed. I'd still jump at the chance to do more extra work for the set experience and the stories I can share here, but lately I've been focusing way more on getting my friends together, getting some lights and microphones and (as Joel Coen put it so wonderfully) playing in our corner of the sandbox. Should we ever find success, I like the idea of my appearance in 21 as the work of a spy in the studio machine. For now, though, I'm just glad I made my Nana proud.

And make no mistake, 21 is every bit a product of that machine, calculated and predictable from beginning to end and engineered to appeal to a 14-year-old's materialism and horniness. It's pretty shallow, in other words, but also weirdly likeable - I could imagine it playing a triple feature with Hot Pursuit and Some Kind of Wonderful on "USA Up All Nite" one lazy Friday night in 1988. I know that's not the sort of recommendation that'll compel you to race to your nearest multiplex, but if you do see 21, make sure to keep an eye out for a brown-haired dude wearing a plaid shirt in the first classroom scene and a brown one in the second. That'd be me, a blogger and living easter egg.


PIPER said...

This is right on review-wise.

I had the feeling that this was about as Hollywood as you could get without being too obvious. And as a Hollywood popcorn movie, it wasn't too bad. I chalk a lot of my enjoyment of it up to the fact that I enjoy cards and Vegas.

Anonymous said...

I thought your intent stare was fantastic.
Especially when the director used Kevin Spacey's head and shoulder to lovingly frame you in an over the shoulder reaction shot that put the entire focus on you for a full one and a half seconds.
(First classroom scene)

The Mysterious Ad[ B)e;ta]m.a.x. said...

I watched this last weekend, but I didn't remember to look for you (not that I know you in person anyway, but I could have looked for plaid). I just scanned this post a while back and hadn't planned to see it. D'oh. I'll have to watch it again. Er, yeah... Like you suggest, it's not high on anyone's list of good films, but it is "weirdly likable" exactly as you suggest. I cannot figure out why. The weaknesses are blatant but yet it's watchable all the way through. Very strange.