Reading Amazon reviews of MAGIC MIKE reinforces my view that it might be one of the most incredible acts of cinematic subversion of our time. Soderbergh tricked a bunch of horny Midwestern housewives into watching a super dark treatise on modern American culture by cloaking it in the trojan horse of a “sexy Channing Tatum movie” (and made a bucket of money while doing it).
FURY ROAD getting a bunch of bro’s to watch a dystopian, feminist revenge flick and SPRING BREAKERS tricking tween Disney fans into seeing a fucked up Harmony Korine neon fever dream are the other other recent examples that come to mind.
When a series about a handsome and charming male stripper serves up two dud love stories in a row, you have to assume it’s intentional – that the films are genuflecting to the idea of including a “love interest,” but not trying too hard to make a convincing one, because it might interfere in with the films’ true, great, ongoing romance, between the audience’s eyeballs and Channing Tatum’s body.
Magic Mike. Soderbergh! Best movie ever about the economy and strippers. I’d rank this one behind only Haywire and Out of Sight. You’ve got Tatum’s stripper-slash-roofer-slash-artisan muddling through, but it’s hard to change course when he’s great at something he doesn’t love that’s still addicting in its own way. You’ve got Pettyfer’s teenage socially-tone-deaf bro drifter who’s having a great time being showered with money and attention–at long last! You’ve got McConaughey’s (too?) serious entrepreneur-impresario-emperor. There’s the promise of Miami as the great mythical somewhere else where things are different, some future day. Just a few more nights and then…? Contrast these three with Horn, who takes a more cautious, realist, rooted approach to every day’s compromise. She’s awake in daylight, she works and reads and goes out to dinner and enjoys a glass of wine at home. Hard and boring is okay. Pairs well with Spring Breakers.