Friday, February 26, 2010

Great Scenes From Bad Movies: Mallrats

For years, I considered "Mallrats" to be one of my favorite movies. After a more recent viewing, I realized, the movie is, for the most part, enjoyable, but not as great as I thought it was. In the wake of Kevin Smith's Southwest Airlines run-in, I'm realizing more and more that his movies, while genius to teenagers, don't have the substance I once thought they did. How is it I thought this movie was so great?

The reason was one good scene.

The movie centers around Jeremy London's T. S. trying desperately to win his girlfriend Brandy back from the clutches of her father, who's trying to stage a Dating Game update at a mall. The gem of the movie turns out to be Jason Lee, in the role that started his star trajectory. Lee's Brody is a comic book geek who spends all his time at the mall, but Lee sells his bullshit as if he's Aristotle. He's smug and sarcastic and unavoidably loveable.

In a big, final attempt to win back his love, T. S. sneaks himself and Brody onto her father's "Truth or Date." Brody takes over the show. His snarky answers and comments are a testament to Smith's writing ability, but moreso, they show a star bursting out of a role too small for his talent. He beats on the host, the loser third contestant suitor, and the ridiculousness of the very idea that anyone could reboot The Dating Game. I keep keep blathering, but I'll just close with a quote:

Brandy: Second Suitor, would you ever make whoopee in public?
Brody: I already did once today. But my cousin Walter jerked off in public once. True story. He was on a plane to New Mexico when all of a sudden the hydraulics went. The plane started spinning round, going out of control. He decides it's all over, whips it out and starts beating it right there. All the passengers take a cue from him they whip it out and start beating like mad. So all the passengers are beating off plummeting to their certain doom when all of a sudden the hydraulics kick back in and the plane rights itself. It lands safely and everyone puts their pieces, or whatever, away and deboard. Nobody mentions the phenomenon to anyone else.
Suitor #3: Did he come or what?
Brody: Jesus Christ, Gil! There are just some things you don't talk about in public.

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