Friday, June 01, 2007

The fine art of swearing

OK, the kids have had their fun (well, given the rather dreary threequels we've gotten so far, not too much of it, actually.) Finally, in the fourth week of summer, it's time for the adult swim.

Well, not too adult, given that "Knocked Up," which I've plugged probably 5,000 times, comes from the fairly filthy mind of Judd Apatow, but you know what I mean. A man can only take so many green ogres and crying superheroes before he gets a hankering for a few well-placed f-bombs (ironically, though I thoroughly enjoy and endorse the art of limited swearing, I can't really do it in this blog linked from a family newspaper.)

The thought came to me yesterday when one of my fellow cubicle slaves, the very good reporter Heather Duncan, referred to some folks who can't abide by Macon's rather straightforward watering restrictions as "stupidheads." Now, I'm not mocking her by any means. It was the funniest thing I heard yesterday by far, and since Heather has an infant daughter, Delia, she has plenty of reasons to try and curb her swearing.

I, however, do not. I curse more than I should in my daily life and, frankly, I blame the movies. My favorites have often made literal use of the f-bomb and other verbal assaults, and I make no apology for that.

The master of the fine art of swearing, for my money, is still Roddy Doyle. Before he tried to get serious, Mr. Doyle managed to pen three of the funniest novels you'll ever read with his Barrytown trilogy, "The Commitments," "The Snapper" and "The Van," all of which were made into movies. On the big screen, Colm Meaney is his well-armed partner in cursing crime, and is exceptionally funny as the pater familias of the Rabbitte (in "The Commitments") and Curley (since bastard Alan Parker wouldn't relenquish the family name after directing the first flick) clans (in "The Snapper" and "The Van.")

Even better is one simply sublime scene in the "South Park" musical "Bigger, Longer & Uncut," which, if anything, is an ode to the f-bomb. In the best number, poor Mr. Mackie tries in vain to keep the kids from swearing with suggestions like this: "Instead of ass says buns, like kiss my buns or you're a buns-hole." It doesn't get much funnier than that.

All of which brings me to a simple plea. We need more smart R-rated comedies in the heat of summer. "Hot Fuzz" certainly was a treat, and another one comes today with Apatow's "Knocked Up." I'm not talking about the teen "comedies," which thankfully seem to have slowed down for the time being. I mean raunchy but not rude comedies by adults for adults who haven't forgotten how to laugh.

I'll certainly be at "Knocked Up" this weekend, and I hope you all will too.

Greenwalt gets revamped

When I first heard the premise for CBS' upcoming series "Moonlight" I simply had to say meh. A vampire who is a private investigator? I think I've seen that somewhere before.

Luckily, CBS has too, and they're not afraid to admit it. In the first good sign for this series I otherwise would have simply skipped, "Angel" co-creater David Greenwalt has been brought on as showrunner for the new series. At its best, "Angel" was every bit as good as "Buffy," especially in its third and fourth seasons.

"Moonlight" centers on a private investigator (Alex O'Loughlin) who is a vampire. In his eternal life, he is joined by his former bride (Amber Valletta), a seductive vampire who bit him 60 years ago, as well as a deceitful ally (Rade Serbedzija) who also is undead. The PI's life is turned upside down when he falls for a beautiful mortal woman. In the presentation, Shannon Lucio played the part, which is now being recast.

Sheesh. This doesn't just steal the premise of "Angel," but blatantly rips off much of the storyline of "Buffy" as well. But even if they are committing clear thievery, the presence of Greenwalt, who wrote some of the best "Buffy and "Angel" episodes, means I'll tune in at least a few times when and if this finally hits the air.

21 comments:

jeremy said...

Have fun at Knocked Up this weekend! I'm going to For the Bible Tells Me So, Waiter, and on Monday, The Life of Reilly.
Might be a review or two up on the site sometime soon.
Can't wait to hear what you think of Knocked Up.

Linda said...

I am also looking forwad to Knocked Up. The documentary F**K is a very interesting look at the use of the word, out in DVD now.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have managed to see that doco, Linda, and it is indeed a lot of fun ... Those all sound like great flicks, Jeremy ... I'll have to stop by the vault early next week to see what you though of them

J. Marquis said...

I find that my F-bomb usage goes way up for a few hours after watching a Soprano episode.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can attest to that same problem, Mr. Marquis ... I reupped on my HBO just to get the end of The Sopranos, and it's been great so far

Stefan S said...

I'm just hoping Knocked Up will reach Singapore's screens!

Divinity said...

My students insisted that I watch "The History of the F-Word" online yesterday. http://www.funlol.com/funpages/historyoffword.html
I returned the favour by making them watch "The Evolution of Dance".
We're going to watch one of my birthday DVDs this weekend. Collector's edition of Gone with the Wind!

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for the link, Divinity ... I have a set of headphones on my desk, so I'll have to check that out during my lunch hour

Marina said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing "Knocked Up" this weekend. And the "F**k" documentary has been on my list for a while, I may have to make a trip to the video store.

Chris said...

Knocked Up did not disappoint at all. It's got classic F-bomb usage in a movie full of hilarious rants.

Chris said...

Oh by the way, that Brokeback Mountain rant isn't in the movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

It's clips like that rant that guarantee I'll be buying this one on DVD, Chris, assuming they don't skimp on the extras ... when you put this many very funny people in the same room, I'm sure a lot of great stuff just doesn't make the cut

Nell Minow said...

Can't wait to see what you think of "Knocked Up." And for a tribute to "The Commitments" and the f-word (that word is fookin', of course), be sure to see this.

Ben Varkentine said...

Among the many reason why "Venus" is well-worth seeing is this: Peter O'Toole simply says "cunt" better than any man alive.

It's like music, I swear.

Reel Fanatic said...

It's criminal that I haven't seen that one yet, Ben, but after that reminder I will very soon, assuming it's out on DVD .. and thanks for the link, Nell ... that was friggin (for another variant) hilarious

M said...

Just put my "Knocked Up" review up. Looking forward to another viewing. Look forward to seeing what you think.

Mercurie said...

I think in some ways modern society has become hypocritical about swearing. On the one hand, it seems really fashionable to do so. On the other hand, we are expected in many situations to curb that swearing. For instance, if I swore at work, I'd probably get fired (I'm in customer service...). If I swear elsewhere, it might be no big deal (provided it's not in church or something....)

Anyhow, knowing Greenwalt is on board Moonlight makes me interested in a series that sounded too much like a reiteration of Forever Knight to me....

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm not sure I could ever handle a job in customer service, Mercurie, because I don't have much of a filter ... As it is, I'm lucky enough to work in the depths of a newsroom where people put up with everything I have to say

Chalupa said...

The wife and I are gonna go see Knocked Up tomorrow afternoon.

I also totally agree with you on the whole swearing/movies thing. Ever since Bigger, Longer, Uncut I say mmmK instead of "ok" most of the time. Plus, I'll randomly start humming the tune to "What would Brian Boitano do?"

Reel Fanatic said...

That Brian Boitano song is just about the funniest thing I've ever heard, Chalupa ... I occasionally just pop in the DVD and fast-forward to that for a little inspiration

James said...

I'm a big fan of the "F Bomb" and it was well used in "Knocked Up." I get rather annoyed with people who do not think that the majority of people do not cuss in their private lives.

That all being said I think the language in "knocked" was well placed and apropos to each situation.