Thursday, March 21, 2013

# 90: Fanboys (2009)


Code-name: Lucas Spoof

Director: Kyle Newman
Type: Sci-fi/Comedy

Windows- Jay Baruchel
Eric- Sam Huntington
Linus- Christopher Marquette
Hutch- Dan Fogler
Zoe- Kristen Bell
Trekkie/Roach- Seth Rogen

Cameos include:
Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, William Shatner, Jay (Jason Mewes) & Silent Bob (Kevin Smith)


(beware of ample spoilers, both of this movie and the Star Wars films in general)

Also, if you happen to be a fanboy yourself, feel free to leave a comment, whether it's professing your love of this movie, the franchise it's promoting or what have you.

Not is this movie a guilty pleasure (of which I feel ZERO guilt for loving), but it's also a hidden gem. We came across it randomly on a ShowTime channel a couple of years ago and being huge Star Wars fans in my house, we just couldn't look away. The characters knew their stuff inside and out, fit all the memorable quotes into their dialogue and you really saw the love there. The director in the DVD extras did call this movie a "love letter" to the Star Wars franchise.
It also happens to be one of many fanatical obsessions my mom & I have in common, something occasionally shared by a couple of my aunts. 

In order to fully appreciate and reap the benefits of enjoyment, I'd solely recommend this movie to Star Wars fans and those who just go crazy for all these nerd.
That being said, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to Trekkies because there's an extreme bias against them... for Trekkies who loathe Star Wars, there is an extreme likelihood they will take offense.

As for myself, my only experience with Star Trek is the 2009 film and I'm open to an education on the franchise. But I'm definitely for Star Wars through and through.
My story about why I'm a Star Wars fan... that's best saved for another time. But I doubt you'll find another group of guys with this degree of craziness.

They are nerds in every sense of the word, all the stereotypes intact. Their very lives revolve around these movies. Windows owns a comic book store. While it's not well highlighted, Linus has dozens of collectibles, including Pez dispensers, in his room. Hutch still lives in his mom's garage (sorry, it's a "carriage house," as he reiterates throughout the movie) that has comics and posters plastered all over the walls. He also owns a van with a movie poster decal on it with an R2 unit on the roof and it's, get this, complete with Light Speed.

...Well, it has turbo boosters on it, but it's not recommended if you're trying to escape the cops trying to pull you over for speeding.

They generally lack experience with the opposite sex with the exception of their friend Zoe, who we quickly learn has a thing for Windows. Meanwhile, he's recently become preoccupied by his online soulmate "Rouge Leader" who describes herself as a cross between Sarah Michelle Geller and Janeane Garofalo... blissfully unaware of Zoe wanting him more than a friend.

Then there's Eric, who is the only one who tried to leave his fanboy ways behind in an attempt to "grow up." But as we see throughout this movie, nobody ever truly stops being a fanboy.

So, what would be the ultimate for a group of Star Wars fans to make a great movie? 
A road trip to Skywalker Ranch!

It isn't just for the sake of doing a road trip and it isn't just because these guys are dying to see "Episode I: The Phantom Menace." (The movie is set in 1998, six months before the movie comes out).
Now that I think about it, I feel kinda bad for putting it like that because one of the characters is actually dying. Supposedly Linus has cancer, they'd tried everything to treat it, but nothing has worked. Furthermore, this road trip helps reunite Windows, Linus and Hutch with their buddy, Eric, who they more or less lost touch with three years prior.

They supposedly mapped the trip out years ago and have finally decided, for Linus, that they should take a shot at this so they can become legends in the realm of fanboys.

Part A of the plan: meet with Rouge Leader, who has valuable information who can help them get inside to find the rough cut of the movie.
Minor setback: Windows goes to meet her and she turns out to be a 10 year old girl.

But after passing a series of questions posed by her uncle, ultimate fanboy Harry Knowles, they arrange to meet with his guy in Vegas who has the stuff they need.
The password is, get this, "Scruffy Nerfherder"

Part B: meet the "Scruffy Nerfherder" in Vegas

On the way to Vegas, however, an attempt to evade the police goes terribly array and they get arrested. Zoe arrives to bail them out and ends up coming along for the ride.
It's at Vegas when the truth comes out about Zoe's true feelings. It's funny how that happens in Vegas, especially when it takes an escort to see it. 

As laughable predictable as everything is, you enjoy every minute of this ride.

Trekkies come in a couple of times, being the butt of the jokes. Two of these encounters involves Seth Rogen, the second of which lands him in a confrontation with himself.
(His other character, Roach, is the pimp behind the two escorts that "pick up" Hutch and Windows. He happens to be a Star Wars fan, complete with tattoos, which includes one of Jar-Jar Binks... Star Wars fans, feel free to groan on this one).

No matter what the setbacks are, whether it's Eric's dad wanting him to return home to take over the family car dealing business or Linus's condition landing him in a hospital, they do make it into Skywalker Ranch.
And of course it is everything a fanboy would dream it would be. (I'd call it Nerdvana except that that's recently been trademarked by the TBS series "King of the Nerds").

Security does get a hold of them eventually, but after passing another series of tests (deeming them to be true fanboys, between their knowledge of the Star Wars franchise and lack thereof of women), George Lucas gives the okay (over the phone) for Linus, and only Linus, to see the movie.

And as one can predict, the movie ends at the midnight premiere of the movie with everyone in costume.
Then the ultimate kicker, the final line.

Eric: Hey guys, what if the movie sucks?
[screen goes to black]


Billy Dee Williams plays a judge at the county jail that busted the guys for speeding.
His name: Judge Reinhold. 

Carrie Fisher is the nurse at the hospital. She first asks where the guys are heading, insisting that they should stop the trip because Linus is very sick. But she lets them through when they try to break out, with the following exchange:
Linus, after kissing her, says "I love you."
She responds, "I know." 

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith appear as themselves in what seems to be an obligatory cameo that has NO bearing on the plot whatsoever. Windows sees them while waiting for a gas station restroom. We're put under the impression that Kevin is putting his buddy up to some risque business to get money to get their car fixed... fill in the blanks.

and the ultimate: William Shatner is the "scruffy nerfherder." Sure he has nothing to do with the Star Wars franchise, but I think most nerds go crazy for him in general because he IS Captain Kirk.
He really sells himself with the reassurance "I'm William Shatner, I can score anything."

As for the cast, most of them are general unknowns unless you dive off the mainstream.

Jay Baruchel is probably the biggest name of the four guys and he's probably the most adorkable actor I know. Love him in everything I'd seen him in (with the exception of "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" where he plays the exact opposite of his generally awkward characters).
Dan Fogler, I'd never seen before, and probably only one other time... in a TV series that didn't take off.
Christopher Marquette was Joan of Arcadia's boyfriend, Adam, the role I'll always associate him with because he rocked it.
Sam Huntington, I actually saw YEARS ago as Tim Allen's son in "Jungle 2 Jungle," and in recent years, he's played a werewolf in the SyFy series "Being Human" (after maybe 5-6 shows, I lost interest... boredom struck one time too many).

Kristen Bell, for whatever reasons, is an actress I'd never been able to take seriously. Most of it is because of the roles she generally takes, but some might be a little bias on my part because how she looks. The blonde hair with her in particular promotes a "dumb blonde" stereotype that couples with the ho-hum characters she plays. 
Sarah Marshall was very 2-dimensional, but there's a few other things about that movie I don't care for in general. On the other hand, her character in "When in Rome" who came from the same place as far as stereotypes go, but I rooted for her all the way. Maybe it's just because there's a charm to sub-par chick flicks like that where the plot is thin, predictable and rests on its lack of laurels.

But in "Fanboys" as Zoe, she is awesome. She's feisty, a bit of a fangirl and, I don't know, my gut tells me that the brunette wig is a good look for her. Whenever I watch it back, I see Zoe more as a living, breathing character here than an actress playing a role. And of course I gotta add she's got good taste in men.

Further Comments speaking as a Star Wars fangirl:

I'll leave it as this.
I love the Star Wars franchise in general and like many other fanboys and girls, my allegiance resides more with the original trilogy than the prequels. With me, it's more of just a love for the story and the characters a lot more. Plus, you can't really go wrong with the original anything.

However, I didn't become aware until years later that a lot of fanboys didn't care for the prequels. In fact, some of them believe they let down what was otherwise an untouchable franchise. 
I'm probably one of the few people on the planet who liked Jar-Jar Binks as a source of comic relief and I kinda hated it when they made him more serious in the next couple movies.
"The Phantom Menace" I liked a lot, but after that, I'm not quite as lenient. 

Personally, I find the romance between Anakin and Padme a little forced. I still find the chronology between episodes I and II a little hard to follow. 
How much older IS she than Anakin? Meanwhile, he aged at least 8-10 years and she looks exactly the same (except for the fact she's not wearing as much makeup in the later movies).

Then of course all of the fanboys went berserk at the end of the series when they turned Darth Vadar into a complete wuss with his epic "NOOOOOOOOOO!!." (Again, I had to hear from heresay that that moment was the ultimate buzz-kill for Darth Vadar's following).

My mom personally objected to how Padme ended up dying of a broken heart. 
Supposing Nostalgic Critic or one of his brethren were to tell their take of that development, they'd say something like: "screw my kids, my husband doesn't love me anymore so I don't want to live" 

Me personally, in recent retrospect, I personally rejected to Samuel L. Jackson getting offed in Episode III. I mean, the dude is the ultimate bad-ass, and he gets killed by a dude that was more or less manipulated into committing his murder? 

So, if you're a fanboy and you like what you read, or want to use this as a platform to put down your favorite nerd-errific quote, feel free.

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