Archives Ratings Mrs. Filthy Gooden Worsted

Now Playing

Hey, whore, how's the whoring? This week, the honor goes to:

Sara Edwards of NBC Boston

In Ali "Will Smith is the greatest... surely an Oscar is waiting in his corner!" Oh, that's disgusting whoring.

In Orange County "The next generation of stars will win you over!"

Charles M. Schultz -
Peanuts Treasury

Dr. Strangelove

Galaxie 500 -
Box Set

Shop at!


Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies

©2001 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

Orange County

Filthy says:
"They're getting lazier!"

I grew up in Huntington Beach, the "Surf Capital of the World," or so said some wall down by the pier. As a kid, that wall was as trustworthy a source of data as the Guinness Book of World Records. Up until I was about 18, I thought all I needed to know was that we were the Surf Capital and that Benny and Billy McGuire were the fattest twins in the world, and that they had bitchin' mini-bikes, and if I wanted a mini-bike I better get fat quick. It wasn't until I was an adult and I should have known better that I fucked up my life, alienated my friends, fucked things up even worse, blamed the friends I had already alienated, and had to leave Orange County.

Huntington Beach is in Orange County. It, along with a lot of other variables and mixed drinks, made me the puckered asshole I am, and for that I am forever grateful. Not to the place or people depicted by the lazy fuckers behind Orange County the movie, because whatever the hell place they're talking about doesn't exist except in the minds of the grassfuckers who maybe drove through once on their way to La Jolla.

The movie's Orange County is the product of insular elitist Hollywood thinking. It's folks who never leave L.A. but feel wholly qualified to condemn the suburbs as soulless, dull and cliched. The thing that fucking pisses me off is that, those fucking assholes live in the biggest suburb in the world, with more shopping malls than free clinics, more coffee houses than fire hydrants and the most trend-obsessed people in the world. Just like O.C., L.A. has its corners of interesting stuff, but it sure as hell isn't in the overpriced canyons and gated drives where the moviemakers live. The bastards only think they're urban because sometimes the streets are dirty. And they hear about crime in some other, foreign part of the spawling mess they're convinced is better than O.C.'s sprawling mess because they live there.

Like L.A. and just about every county in Southern California, O.C. is a county in a constant battle between cultural revolution and homogeneity. It could be very funny to satirize it in a movie, but Orange County doesn't have the have the brains or guts to do that. Nobody thought to actually research the subject, and that might be the attitude that gets you through a Cal State or the L.A. Unified School District, but it don't wash with me. It's too bad, too, because the movie has some laughs in it, and some good scenes buried underneath all the indifferent filmmaking.

In the movie, Orange County is a generic place full of stoner surfers and wealth. The kids are, apparently, really happy, really well-off and a little bored. They are all white, the same and live near the beach. Colin Hanks is the only one different because he wants to be a writer. Why? We have no fucking clue. The story never even really tells us what story he wants to tell or that he has one, just that he wants to be a writer . Holy shit, what do I care what some jerkoff wants to be unless I believe it's something deeper than finding a book and going :"hey, I want to do that too!" Hell, if that's all the motivation you need, they should make a movie about how I decide every Friday night when I'm drunk and burning my hands with matches that I want to be an accountant by taking correspondence courses from the place on the matchbook. It looks like a good school.

Hanks doesn't even do any writing that we see. He's already written a novella that we don't see and he ain't bothering to write anything else. But to be a writer, he feels he must go to Stanford where his favorite author teaches. This is Kevin Kline playing an English professor who has time to read unsolicited manuscripts with shitty cover letters sent in by teenagers. Never mind that the University of California in Irvine right there in Orange County has one of the best creative writing programs in the country, because that would mean writer Mike White would have to actually investigate his subject. Hanks wants to go up north. His transcripts get mixed up with another student's and gets rejected by his dream school, prompting a series of wacky mishaps. First his dysfunctional family spills urine on a member of Stanford's Board, then Hanks and his slobby, druggie brother (Jack Black) drive to the school to plead with the dean of admissions. They make the trip there, attend parties, start fires, drugs the dean, Hanks breaks up and makes up with his girl (Schuyler Fisk), he meets with Kline--who is not supposed to be a pedophile but gives the high school senior white wine and lavishes him with praisehmmm--and they drive back. That's all in one night. My ass. Maybe if they were using Santa's sled.

Of course, Hanks must learn some valuable lesson through all this, and he does. Kline's words of wisdom and wine convince him to stay in Orange County, and continue to be bored. It'll make him a better writer. Horse shit.

Orange County actually has a string of sharp barbs and funny jokes in it. Some are obvious, but every now and then, the potential slips through and you laugh. Mainly, Jack Black is finally funny in something. No, the stoner he plays isn't original, and the drug jokes get thicker than the floor of a County Fair porta-john. But, he's got energy and bristles like your average stoner who thinks the world's unjustly holding him back from his fortunes.

But Black and some good jokes are buried under so much cheapness and shoddiness. Of course, the setting is a fucking joke; it's not Orange County, it's a cheap stereotype. But, what's worse than it being cheap is they don't even fucking make a good stab at recreating the stereotype they're going after. It mostly just looks like it was shot in your neighbor's driveway. Director Jake Kasdan's scenes that look flat and cheap. The colors are washed and the characters (except for Black) are almost always static. It's looks more like a TV drama with a limited budget for settings.

The plot is also cheap and shoddy. It's one of those hack jobs where characters always happen to run into just the right person at just the crucial moment. After Fisk and Hanks break up, they somehow both manage to end up at the same off-campus party in a city they've never been to, so Hanks can eavesdrop. Just when Hanks is at his emotional low-point, whammo! He runs into his favorite author and gets free wine. This sort of shit piles up after a while, and then it starts to stink. Plus, there's a hell of a whole lot of suspension of belief required to think you can drive 800 miles and get up to all sorts of trouble in a single night. That's the level of laziness in this script and production. Worse is the scene where, on the drive home, Hanks and Fisk are making out, Black is asleep in the back seat, and the truck's being driven by some sort of ghost. Or did the young lovers stop on the way home, just so they could do the bone pony in front of Black?

Hanks is terrible. He's a crooked-faced little rich kid who whines his way through the script with little variation. Jesus Christ, give the kid some fucking Prozac or stuff him in a drain pipe somewhere. Anything to keep him from being so fucking miserable with his mediocrity. Of course, he got the job because he's Tom Hanks' son, and that's just what Hollywood needs to make its movies better: nepotism. Fisk is a moon-faced dullard, all smiles and no soul. And the string of cameos, including Harold Ramis, Ben Stiller and Lily Tomlin, are mostly wasted.

It's a fucking shame, really, that the good jokes had to get swallowed by bad moviemaking. A cheap and lazy Two Fingers.


Don't forget to check out the Big Empire's Best Lists of the Millennium!

 Enter an e-mail address and send this page to a friend:

Want to tell Filthy something?