Charlie’s Angels is a stupid movie. No, it’s an incredibly stupid movie. I don’t think anybody has any illusions about that. Not anybody involved with making the movie. Not anybody who watched it, including critics. And certainly not me, checking it out for the first time since it exploded all sexy-like into theatres ten years ago. And as a result, I think I’m starting to notice a pattern in my 10ya project. It’s three-fold:
1. For the most part, with movies I loved in 2000, I find I like them just slightly less than I did before, as I may be finally noticing their flaws.
2. For the most part, with movies I hated in 2000, I hate them just as much or more, as I had to experience their crappiness again.
3. For the most part, with movies I was indifferent toward in 2000, I find that I like them more, either through forgiving them of their flaws, having a bit of nostalgia for my life and pop culture a decade ago, or both.
Charlie’s Angels falls into the third option, and it falls into it hard. I was never really into the movie when it came out. It was loud, it was stupid, it seemed like everybody involved was having fun, and then I forgot virtually everything about it. And then three years later I fell into what I assume to be a minority in that I quite liked the sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and yet couldn’t explain why.
I think I can explain it now, and it ties back into #3. With the sequel, I had already been prepped for the world of director McG’s version of Charlie’s Angels, and I felt more comfortable slipping back into that world. This is why I more often than not prefer sequels to their originals, even going against most popular thought. And now that I had gone through two Charlie’s Angels films by the time I popped in the Blu-ray two days ago, I couldn’t be thrown off by the series’ cartoonish tone.
(Just a side note: You guys should pick up the recently released Blu-ray, as it has my movieIQ work on it. So watching this film again was, in a way, a double-bonus.)
And so, just like Bedazzled, just like The Perfect Storm, just like Gone in 60 Seconds, just like Mission: Impossible 2, I like this movie more now. Because it’s stupid as fuck, and it knows it. It still doesn’t all mesh together quite right, as the tone veers wildly. This time around, I found myself really digging on the film’s most odd, absurd flourishes, but was then left wondering why they tried to take the plot so seriously. Because it really doesn’t matter. I’d rather watch Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu be super-goofy for the film’s entire duration — Drew Barrymore especially proves herself to be the film’s shining light of crazy happy good times — than actually have to pretend to give a shit about the plot’s telegraphed twists. (Apparently, 18 different writers worked on the script, so this shouldn’t surprise anybody.)
I had a good time. Isn’t that all that matters? How much could I actually read into this film? Why would I even want to do such a thing?
In addition, I think I now have a better grasp on who McG is as a director, stupid moniker notwithstanding. Unlike a majority of the geek community, I have zero problem with him or his work. Even ten years ago, I thought this movie was fine, and that much of what stood out had to be at least some of McG’s input. The movie is vivacious, fun, and mercifully short, and the fight sequences have a remarkable liveliness and clarity in an age where most such sequences are bloated, repetitive and, worst of all, almost impossible to follow. Instead of trying to cover up his tricks, McG took a different approach and tried to make it all as fake and silly as possible, and I think the energy rubs off. I like this film, I like the sequel, I really like We Are Marshall, and until it crumbled under the weight of its own machinery and its PG-13 rating, I like Terminator: Salvation. I like the TV shows he produces (The O.C., Chuck, Supernatural, Human Target), and I think his talents will be incredibly well suited to his long-gestated Captain Nemo story (unless that one has fallen apart yet again). I think if somebody finally matched him up with the right material and producers who actually gave a shit, he could make a mainstream masterpiece.
On a final note before my very long list of free-floating thoughts, there is one thing that kept me from digging the movie almost 100%, and her name is Cameron Diaz. I’ve tried to defend her over the years, pointing to her work in The Mask, Feeling Minnesota and Being John Malkovich as proof of her talent, but thanks to my wife who goes out of her way to talk shit about her at every opportunity, I’m reevaluating most of Ms. Diaz’s career. And with few exceptions, she drags down nearly every single movie in which she appears. Here, she’s the worst Angel — obnoxious, shrill and mostly useless. How much better would the movie have been with another actress in her place? Far, far better. It makes me wonder if anybody likes her, especially after she took this summer’s Knight & Day, which I thought was good enough, and made it suck that much more.
Thank you for showing me the light, woman who lives in my house.
And now a barrage of whatever dumb shit came to my head while watching the film.
- In re: my efforts for this film’s movieIQ, why did I have to do the fill filmography for LL Cool J? He’s in ONE FUCKING SCENE! And when they show the film on planes, his entire role is cut.
- Oh shit! It’s a McPoyle!
- Haha! It’s not a black man. It’s Drew Barrymore!
- Good call on making a Harry Potter joke a full year before the first movie even came out.
- Oooh…you can see Drew Barrymore and Tom Green’s relationship crumble right before your very eyes!
- Knowing what we know about how selective Bill Murray is with film roles, why the hell did he do this? “I thought it would be fun to play an American icon”? Not buying it, Murray.
- This shiatsu massage scene is embarrassing for both Lucy Liu and Tim Curry. That’s why I like it.
- Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Woman Part 1” is a super-strange song in retrospect. What if every crappy pop song — and not just ones attached to films — had random references in their lyrics to old television shows?
- I never realized before that the alleyway fight between the Angels and Crispin Glover is a perfect sequence of joyous cinema. Check it out on YouTube. Each and every one of them showed up on set ready to kick some ass.
- It appears Tim Curry showed up drunk on set every single day. Excellent.
- Thanks for the trivia about yodeling, anagrams, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bahama Mamas and Scrabble, movieIQ.
- I wish both Charlie’s Angels movies had more score, and less nonsensical classic rock, disco and Fatboy Slim songs.
- Oh boy. A useless reference to “The Love Boat.”
- Drew Barrymore is especially bad at the Moonwalk. That was humiliating.
- You don’t see a lot of movie sequences set in Carmel. I wonder what Clint Eastwood has to say about that.
- Why does it end with Blink 182’s “All The Small Things”? I don’t understand!
- Watching the behind-the-scenes. McG is intense.