Jonah Hill

Vulture Just Spoiled 22 Jump Street

Last night I decided to go see 22 JUMP STREET 30 minutes before it started. It was the best decision I’ve made all week. The theatre wasn’t exactly packed, but it was as full as I would have expected from a Thursday night in my town. I’m slightly disappointed I didn’t get to see it in a larger theatre with a full audience, but since I’ll probably be seeing it again, I shouldn’t complain.

In 2012, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord turned all of our expectations upside down with 21 JUMP STREET. It was easily one of the funniest movies of the year, packed with smart jokes, fantastic acting, great writing, and exciting action. I’ve seen it a few times since and it still holds up (I last watched it about a week ago). So I had high expectations for the sequel.

Now, honestly I didn’t pay much attention to the sequel for one reason. Somehow, due to simply being too busy or something, I didn’t realize Miller and Lord were back in the director’s chair.

My bad.

See, they might be the best comedy directors working right now. They’re not far behind on action either.

They’re smart, self-aware, capable, able to find hidden features in the actors they use, able to use the camera to make jokes, and ultimately, incredibly good at pacing their jokes to carry us on a tonal roller coaster of emotions.

They’re the best. So when I confirmed that they were, in fact, directing the sequel, I let out a little squeal of joy on my way to the theatre.

I was not disappointed. 22 JUMP STREET does something phenomenal. It actually tops the first movie without rendering it irrelevant.

Miller and Lord find the perfect balance of managing our expectations of a sequel and thus wanting more of the same as the first, and surprising us by taking this movie to new highs and lows and pushing the comedy as far as they possibly can without breaking the screen.

The result is seriously barely a minute of screen time without the entire audience laughing (except the one guy sitting beside me, jerk).

Channing Tatum, who was a wunderkid in the first film, is even better here. With these two movies I’m ranking him in the big leagues. If his delivery is near-perfect, his physical comedy is sent from above.

This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. And I’ve seen “the funniest movies of all time.”

Which brings me to my point. There’s a surprise during the credits that I won’t talk about, but you should expect it based on the first movie. What you won’t expect is just how incredible the credits are. They’re funnier than the whole movie.

I should take a moment to point out to my fellow aspiring filmmakers that the reason the credits are funny at all as everything to do with the movie that just came prior, but that’s a topic for another post.

So what does Vulture magazine do? They spoil the whole deal on opening night.

Generally I hate spoilers, but I’m not really offended by them as a thing. I hate it when people deliberately spoil something for me or others because it robs them of the experience themselves.

It’s akin to the babysitter telling your kid what you got them for Christmas while you’re out. Now your child can’t sleep, won’t enjoy the surprise, and you won’t get to see the look on your kid’s face either. Fire the babysitter. (If you think that’s a little harsh, remember, this is an analogy. There is no babysitter)

But… these aren’t plot spoilers. This isn’t ruining some important part of the movie. This isn’t even over selling one of the best jokes in the movie (the trailer took care of that, however, the scene is so funny that it ultimately doesn’t matter one bit). This is deliberately robbing an audience of the experience of joy.

Vulture potentially killed our experience of 22 JUMP STREET’s finest moment.

I’m really angry at this. I’ve already expressed my disappointment to them, but I would like to point out just how unfair it is that they’ve done this.

Plot spoilers are one thing: it sucks to know what happens beforehand, but if the creatives do their job, it shouldn’t matter too much when you’re actually watching. You’ll still be able to feel the dread or surprise or whatever emotion that you’re supposed to.

Character death spoilers are another thing: it sucks to know who dies, but the same applies as the above. Also, everyone dies. That’s how it works. Sorry.

But comedy spoilers?

Knowing a comedy spoiler doesn’t ruin the surprise of what happens, because a joke isn’t a plot point. They don’t ruin our expectations, our knowledge (or lack thereof) about the movie, or anything that has to do with the reason we love stories. No, comedy spoilers simply steal away the opportunity for us to laugh.

The more you hear a joke, the less funny it gets, right? Usually, at least.

Well, Vulture just told us the joke so that we’ve heard it already. They didn’t even do a good job of it.

But they couldn’t have, because as I mentioned, the credits joke depends on the whole movie for it to work. It’s one of the best elaborate pay-offs, possibly in the history of cinema. (no I’m not kidding)

Shame.

So if you’re still reading this, DO NOT GO OVER TO VULTURE’S WEBSITE.  There’s a reason I’m not linking to them.

Go see the movie instead.

 

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and The Trouble With Satire

Satire is difficult. There’s no real way to get past that. Making any art for that matter, is extremely difficult, immeasurably difficult. Oh sure, anyone can take a bucket of paint and a brush and start painting, but to create art? To actually engage in the act of creating something that wasn’t there before? That’s a whole different matter. The creation stories seem to have a grasp on just how impossible it is, exclusively giving the skill to the gods but not to man, and perhaps that is why many of us don’t think about the idea of people creating something as a tangible idea. It becomes something mystical, something sort of whispered about as though it mustn’t be brought to light. Gods create, man remixes. Everybody knows that. So maybe that’s the definition of art, if we must have one. Art is creation, taking an idea that only existed as a concept and birthing it into reality. Even coming up with that idea is itself an act of creating. And yes, by this definition, having a child is also an act of creation and therefore we must assume that all people are works of art.  (more…)