Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thing About 2007 In Arbitrary Order #1
Michael Cera / Judd Apatow

Going into 2007 it was pretty clear that Michael Cera was awesome, but there wasn't much proof. Arrested Development of course is one of the few watchable TV comedies of the past decade largely because of him, but man is that a hard thing to back up. He had the odd position of being the acknowledged secret weapon of a very talented cast in a very well written show. Who could tell for sure if it was him, the part, or the company he kept? Assholes like John Heder (excuse me if that's not his name) are constantly outed as one trick ponies, and given what little there was to go on, Michael Cera could easily have been the next Napoleon Dynamite.Instead, he's awesome. Not that you can't argue that he's still a one trick pony, but you also can't argue that he isn't 19 and that he has had the good luck to somehow appear in both one of the best television comedies in recent memory and one of the best cinematic comedies in recent memory within a few short years.

Enough! An enigmatic, skinny an unassuming comedic voice must be had! Even if Michael Cera turns out to be a hack, which I don't think has a chance of happening, he still gives us hope that earnest, clever comedy has not been totally pushed off the map by Scrubs. Hope! Youth! Michael Cera embodies all that can still be good about Hollywood, and he reminds us that not everyone is irredeemable, even in California. He's Canadian, too.

Maybe even more than Michael Cera, though, it's Judd Apatow that gives us hope. I'm sure Michael Cera has some bad, even terrible movies in him, and seeing as he'll probably only do a couple a year, it would seem that he's not going to save the world. Judd Apatow, though, has somehow become a sort of a Brian Eno figure (I realize this is a less than insightful analogy) who, by attracting talent and having taste, has managed to transform the landscape of comedy in film in a very short period of time. And, like Eno, he has a style, but no one is exactly sure where he comes in in the creative process on any given piece of work. He's done movies as different as Anchorman and Knocked Up and somehow they've all been good. All of them! Like, actually, all of them. Has anyone, ever been involved with 5 comedic films in a row as consistently good and funny as Anchorman, The Forty Year Old Virgin, Talladega Nights (ok...), Knocked Up, and Superbad?

I hate to get too personal with this, but I saw Superbad twice in theaters, within the first two weeks after it was released. I'm pretty sure that this has never before happened in my life, except, perhaps, and slightly embarrassingly, for Waterworld. Though I doubt it, I think Waterworld had been out for a while by the time I saw it the second time. This fact, in itself, is enough to make Michael Cera and Judd Apatow worthy of note.

Basically, the point is, when was the last time you saw a funny movie that Judd Apatow was not involved in? When was the last time you wanted to go to a movie theater to see a comedy that Judd Apatow was not involved in? Probably it wasn't this year. I dare you to name a comedy that was actually worth seeing this year that didn't have his name on it somewhere. Ratatouille doesn't count. And neither does The Ten cause Paul Rudd was in it.Get excited about comedy god damn it. That's why this is worth thinking about. There is reason to be excited about comedic film again.

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