I’ve been sick the past couple of weeks. First I caught a cold, then when it subsided, I was slammed with bronchitis. So I’ve taken in even more than my fair and usual share of entertainment, as a lot of my days have been filled by lying on the couch, slack-jawed and drooling, awash in the glow of a rectangular box. Perhaps it sensory overload, or perhaps it’s timely coincidence, but I definitely see patterns.
I liked the pattern I saw a few weeks ago of people revealing their true selves. That occurred on Ugly Betty, something else I can no longer remember, and then in the life of a friend of mine. The theme that I’ve seen over the past day or two, in The Hurt Locker (a good film that employed the rather maddening (to me) hand-held camera technique) and a season one episode of Mad Men, is that of “that’s all there is.” It’s a bit morbid, a bit unsettling, but as someone who thinks the same thing on occasion, interesting to see that others do too and what, if anything, they make of it.
I also watched this film called In the Loop, a British political comedy about the beginnings of a fictitious war in the middle east. I read the reviews which called it a brilliant satire and gut-wrenchingly funny (I’m paraphrasing, see the reviews for yourself here), and I had an inkling that this was a film that I was NOT going to like. But I watched it anyway. You know, just to be sure.
Here’s the thing about humor – everyone has a different sense of it. I could tell without having seen a preview, just by reading the reviews, what this movie was going to be like. But hey, I like funny things, so just in case I was wrong, I didn’t want to miss out. This film isn’t necessarily unfunny in the way I think Superbad and Knocked Up were laugh-free pieces of offensive cinematic crap, but I personally didn’t find it that funny. I just – all right I confess – I didn’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m not that invested in politics. Maybe it just didn’t seem ludicrous enough (a problem I sometimes have with The Office.) Or maybe it just wasn’t, as the British would say, my cup of tea.
You know what else I think is unfunny (men, please skip ahead a sentence)? The Three Stooges. Never so much as even smiled at them. But I don’t think I’m missing anything there. I think it’s humor along gender lines. Same thing for the gross out juvenile comedies (though if you’re looking for a bit of raunch something that did make me laugh was Role Models.) But those things don’t make me doubt my funny bone in the way something like In the Loop does. In the Loop isn’t a gross out comedy, but it is a 2-hour four letter word fest. Which I’m not necessarily against, but here it seems the humor hangs on thinking the insults are funny, similar to but also very different from, an insult comic. There were no characters to care about in this movie, so who cares if they’re insulted? And the storyline about wanting to go to war but trying to convince the public otherwise – well yeah, that doesn’t seem very funny if you’re a member of the public and that’s exactly what happened, does it?
If someone can explain to me why this is funny, I’d be happy to listen, but I don’t think I’m ever going to think a film like this is funny.