Sunday, November 20, 2011

Film review: "The Trip"

I call this a "film" review in honor of my friend Kyle Grady, who mocks the distinction between film and movie when I make it, because he's a Heideggerian and they are above high-low culture distinctions.

"The Trip" is not a story of some intrepid soul's experimentation with acid and the adventures that followed thereupon. Such a film was made in 1967 by Roger Corman, starring Peter Fonda. I saw it in college, I think. It is funny, but like all films of that era, drug experiences are categorically frightening.

No, "The Trip" that I'm referring to is a contemporary film starring two British actors, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who drive across the northern part of the UK, but south of Scotland, I think, on a tour of several different restaurants. I suspect, if you knew more about British film and television, this would be even more funny, but even without that knowledge, it's pretty damn funny.

Coogan is presented as this very self-involved and frequently unhumorous character, who is going through a breakup and has only invited Brydon because Coogan's girlfriend cannot go (and claims that he tried to invite others who equally turned him down, such that he was left with ... ). Brydon, by contrast, is a hilarious fellow, but only if you enjoy continual impressions of British actors (and Woody Allen).  Y and I thought it was pretty funny, actually, although she asked what was wrong with this guy. I thought that question was funny, but I think that about most of the things she says about films are funny (best example: at the end of "The Piano Teacher", she says to me, "I guess she just didn't find the right guy").

There are many scenes which I think were contrived to show off the incredible landscape.  They work. The landscape is breathtaking, despite being Britain and having British weather. Watching these two eat at restaurants is interesting, partially because of the food that they eat, but mainly because of their conversation, in which Coogan's megalomania is contrasted with Brydon's continual impressions in response. And then, after that, there are the back stories behind these characters: Coogan's failed relationship and affairs with other women; Brydon's attempts to have phone sex with his wife, who is at home taking care of their new baby. This latter aspect lends a brilliant ground to the hilarious banter between them, and a somber, even somewhat sad ending. Emotionally, it hits all of the pleasurable notes and ends with a deep breath.

Nothing thoughtful to say about this. I'm just trying to write more frequently about film.

By the way, if you have Netflix, you can "watch instantly".

1 comment:

DOCTOR J said...

I have nothing thoughtful to say about your not-very-thoughtful analysis of this FILM, but I want to register my support that you post film (or movie) reviews more often!!

As an aside, I tried watching "Miller's Crossing" last night, which you told me I should watch many, many years ago and I've just never gotten around to watching. Unfortunately, I started quite late, and I had been grading all day, so I fell asleep before it was over. I really liked the first half, though.