March 5, 2007

Wild Hogs

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It was 8 P.M. Saturday night and we were out on our second date in as many weeks. In a Lansing bar-and-grill called “Rose,” I gingerly lifted lukewarm bits of onion from the salad bar, and for a rare moment I was deep in thought. Deep in one thought, actually, and there beneath the odd, gloomy, stained plastic pseudo-skylights of the bar-and-grill, I locked eyes with my reflection in a crystal clean sneeze guard and muttered, “You’re not very good at choosing date movies.”

Armed with this insight, I sidled back to my table where my date and I hashed out a happy solution to my self-imposed movie assignment, Wild Hogs. Exchanging my movie reviewer’s derby hat for my hard-drinking, movie heckler’s sombrero, I paid for our Surf’n’Turf, checked into and out of the liquor store next door and made a beeline for the Pyramid Mall with a movie theater-sized refreshment in tow.

Anyway, due to some scheduling confusion (I hadn’t checked the movie times) and thanks to the Pyramid Mall’s 9 P.M. curfew, we were forced to kill some time between 9:15 and 10:10, when Wild Hogs began. So we decided to buy tickets to some trashy spy flick called Breach and switch theaters after the first half hour when it stunk.

Right off the bat, Breach stank. After a good bit more religion than I could comfortably stand, Breach delivered, for our consideration, a generous helping of the whiny main character, and into the dialogue some writer sprinkled in a bit of half-assed spy talk.

Pretty soon, we were fairly deep into our movie-sized bottle of Svedka, which was in fact only slightly more expensive than the smaller bottle of Minute Maid juice which we had made the mistake of purchasing directly from the movie theater concessions stand. In short order, confused by some irritating bit of onscreen intrigue, my date and I got to our feet and meandered from the theater. It was 10:10 PM when my date and I sank for the second time into the uncomfortable seating of the Pyramid Mall to view the feature attraction.

Atop a motorcycle, some goof in black leather swings onto the movie screen and because much of his face was obscured by bits of motorcycle paraphernalia, it is only Tim Home Improvement Allen’s clueless grin that gives away his identity. He rides his “hog” for a few meters, and as the camerawork cranes about his figure, it pans dramatically to a panorama shot.

Now, John Footloose Travolta and Martin National Security Lawrence join Mr. Allen, and the three pound one another’s fists happily (because high-fives are for sissies, not bikers), and William A Very Muppet Christmas Macy careens onto the screen. Mr. Macy jumps his hog immediately and cataclysmically over a curb and plows directly into some low-hanging signage to good comic effect. It’s five minutes into the movie and my date and I have made sure to become pretty drunk. Earlier doubts about my choice of film have been completely allayed. This movie was exactly what we had expected. So what?

I say that this is a pretty good movie because Mr. Allen gets hit in the face by a giant bug as he rides down some southwestern interstate. It is good because after Mr. Macy and Mr. Lawrence hoot about this for a bit, they are nearly downed by a swarm of similar bugs. Finally, it is damn good because when John Travolta pulls even with his friends grinning a big, ridiculous, John Travolta kind of grin, he is set upon at 60 miles per hour by a low-flying crow.

I’ve wasted most of my 750 words, I think. That’s OK because there isn’t much that needs to be said about this movie. Some of you reading this probably have some amount of unfair prejudice against silly motorcycle movies. Others of you may have some kind of unfair bias against John Travolta because he is a scientologist nut and probably a poofter. Nuts to those of you, watch it anyway. Four clock towers for Wild Hogs, and zero for the first thirty minutes of Breach. Also, one clock tower for Svedka.