Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Project X

Unfortunately going back to college has deeply inhibited my ability to review new movies, which makes new posts somewhat difficult.  So I'm pretty much grasping for straws for things to work with.  Unfortunately there isn't a great deal out there worth talking about.  "Project X" is a movie that really isn't worth talking about either, but its a movie that came out this year that I saw last night.  So its pretty much all I got.

Essentially the idea behind "Project X" is portray the world's wildest high school party ever.  Of course, high school parties are lame, so ignore that middle part there, and move it forward to:  the world's wildest party ever.  Its a perfectly terrible and shallow dream mostly full of terrible and shallow people rubbing up against each other in their own terrible shallowness.  Its essentially the ultimate high school fantasy, where three nerdy guys* put together the world's hugest and most disastrous party ever, spending literal millions to get the approval of hundreds of strangers who they'll never meet again.  And of course, to be the coolest kids in... high school.  Alcohol is consumed, houses get trashed, bras go off, babies are made, and eventually it all descends into a riot where the unending social greed of these little pricks is punished through epic scale in apocalyptic flames of destruction.

Actually I wasn't very mad at the movie watching it, but if you give it very much though, "Project X" is actually a largely terrible movie with a disgusting moral compass.  It is just a goofy comedy and basically nothing more than silly high school fantasy, but really its a movie totally devoid of real people or real characters.  Its all just as soulless as the drunken gyrations that made up the party.  This is a movie that says with a straight face that all that really matters is that you become coolest kid in school - high school.  No matter how much violence, damage, and probably deaths that have been caused in your massive struggle to be popular, its all fine if at the end of that day you can say "I had the biggest party in history, and I'm so great."  Usually high school movies that star kids with the (pathetic) goal to be the coolest kid in school eventually learn at the end that there's more important things in life than being admired by hundreds of strangers who honestly don't care about you, that the things that really matter are friendship, greater life goals, and loved ones.  Nope, that's not the case with "Project X".  Burn your house down, screw it, they'll never stop talking about you.  And I guess that's the 21st century dream.

I'm really surprised I'm moving so much again "Project X", I didn't have very negative feelings towards it while watching the movie.  But a day of thought really doesn't give me much to say in this movie's favor.  Its just so... empty.  Its so rare to find a comedy that is really this utterly empty.

Like, there have been plenty of movies out there that glorify parties, getting drunk, and being cool.  Parties and getting drunk are fine, go out there and get your ass blazed.  You want to go with sleep with some random stranger?  Power to you, whatever.  But I look back at movies like "The Hangover", and the movie wasn't about how awesome these guys were because they had a great night at Vegas, it was about them overcoming hilarious odds to find their friend and bonding over the experience.  "Old School" had its parties, but eventually everybody joined together to save what really mattered:  the college kids' educations.  It also had real friends, some sense of loss over what happened when you went totally overboard with partying.  "Pineapple Express" was all about weed, but also a group of stoners who became the world's greatest bros.  That was a bromance for the ages.  "Project X" is a unique experience in that its a comedy that really is only about the drinking and the partying.  That's it.

Anyway, I feel like I should go through who the main characters are, since it really helps point out what is wrong here.  The main character, Thomas, is this basically regular high school kid, kinda dopey, definitely not the coolest kid in school, but he seems good enough.  He's never thrown a party before, and he really only wants something mild but significant to boost his social standings.  Thomas has a female friend, this pretty blond girl, and they obviously care about each other.  In fact, Thomas and this girl is probably the only real relationship in the entire movie.  But don't think too highly of Thomas, he cheats on her the very first chance he gets - because that's the American Dream.  His two best friends are this fat kid with a sweet suit, who is probably the only legitimately cool person in this movie, which is why he gets the most screentime.  However, the real star is this Shia LaBoof-looking-motherfucker named "Costa".  Costa is nothing but obnoxious, terrible, loud, awful, and horrifically, horrifically greedy the entire movie.  He cares about nothing but using women, being popular, and getting drunk.  So he's the perfect hero, the exact representation about everything wrong with this movie.

Costa is one of those rare characters who manages to inspire nothing but a burning need to see him set on fire and die horribly.  Remember that awful corporate executive from "The Dark Knight Rises"?  This guy is basically in only two scenes, in the first he proves himself to be the biggest douche on the planet by telling Bruce Wayne that he's too poor to be in the Wayne Enterprises club.  Next scene, Bane crushes his skull.  It was the most satisfying cinematic event of the entire 2012 film season.  That's what I wanted for this Costa guy:  for Bane to crush his skull.  Of course, he lives, because characters still endlessly annoying never die.

So eventually the party happens.  And at first, it truly is a great party, I suppose.  People get drunk, the music is loud, chicks get naked in the pool**, its excellent.  Then of course, it keeps growing.  And growing.  And growing.  Property is destroyed, midgets get shoved into ovens, about two-hundred tablets of ecstasy are spilled all over the lawn.  At this point I'm amazed nobody actually drops dead, especially with this much ecstasy being thrown around and unending partying.  Then the neighborhood gets burned down.  Seriously.  Now the burning isn't actually any kind of retribution for the wild dangerous partying and destruction, its just a final confirmation of the final goal of this movie.  This isn't a tragedy, its a final victory.  Its exactly what they wanted.  The flames in their own way are the final coup de grace for the party, its just makes the party... better.  Because isn't that the whole point?  To burn it all down while getting drunk as hell?  The new American Dream.  I guess this is all... "fun"?  I don't know.

Oh, "Project X" is a found-footage movie.  So in its own silly way, its like the morally-bankrupt "Chronicle".  Go watch that instead.  It has real friends, and people who do care about each other.  And real feelings.  "Chronicle" is a damn good movie, I should have watched that instead of this.

At the end of "Project X", laws have been broken, and seriously, lives have been destroyed.  Thomas, thanks to this party, has no home, no college prospects, he's going to jail, and very nearly loses his girlfriend, who seems to be the most important person in his life.  He finally gets her back by being more mature and admitting that her alone is worth more than a giant horde of false friends, but its already too late for his future.  But what does it matter?  Everybody in high school applauds at the sight of him.  And Costa?  He gets to go on the news dressed like a pathetic ghetto White Boy and make sexist comments to the newscaster, living the dream.  He also got three girls pregnant, and each one of those major emotional moments are treated as feathers in his new super cool crown.

Really, if it wasn't for that final detail, I probably wouldn't have written anything at all about that movie.  Because it is funny, and it is fun enough to watch if you try to avoid the subtext.  But something about this asshole feeling great about himself because he ruined three poor girls' lives just couldn't sit well with me.  I couldn't stay quiet.  I had to rant against it.  "Project X" is speaking to something very wrong in our society:  the empty capitalist dream of ruling everybody around you.  Of treating fellow people as trophies to collect on Facebook.  Have your parties, they're fine.  But can't we have a movie about something more?  Getting drunk isn't a goal in life, its certainly not a waste of time, it can lead to great times.  However, that's not all that matters.  This movie sucks for the exact reason "Jersey Shore" sucks, only on a lesser scale.

Final conclusion:  Costa is a prick, this movie celebrates being a giant horrible douche, and please, grow up.  Watch "Chronicle".

* The fat curly-haired kid is pretty much a dead ringer for me in my awkward puberty years.  Only with glasses...... and without a Nintendo DS in front of his face.

** "Project X" inexplicably gets much more watchable all of a sudden at this part.  My critical powers are completely unable to explain why.


  1. I HATED this movie. So much. I was literally shaking with anger while I was watching it. This movie is pretty much epitomizes what I hate about society.
    Great review as always, Blue. You pointed out pretty much everything I hated about the movie, from its shallow characters to its despicable morals. You did great justice by analyzing this film. Keep it up!

    1. *This movie pretty much epitomizes ...