Last night, I saw Magic Mike. It was a free screening, which was good, and I was invited by a new co-worker, which was better. Free plus a new friend is a good combination for me.
I have never been to a studio sponsored free screening before. A security guard had to go through my bag before I could go in. My stinky, ten hour old gym clothes did not make him my friend. Just before the movie started, a Warner Brothers representative told us there were anti-piracy officers present (immediately conjuring images of Victorian sea captains imbued with honor) and that if they saw a cell phone or other electronic device, they would have to assume someone was illegally filming the film before its release date. I really hate when people text during movies, so I sort of wanted to see someone get taken down, but no such luck.
The audience was not the one I expected to find: there were people of all ages, couples of the heterosexual persuasion. Next to me was a middle-aged mother and her straight teen-aged son. I feel confident they did not know what the movie was exactly going to be about, but they stayed through the end. I thought maybe the cast would join us, but they were really busy being unspeakably attractive elsewhere.
As for the movie, Deadspin has a great review that does a better job than I could, but I will say that I thought this would be Showgirls-esque levels of overacting and manically heightened stakes. Which would have been just fine with me. But Magic Mike was a lot more than just endless, ceaseless eye candy. There was great acting. The plot was involved. I learned something more about myself than that I prefer Joe Manganiello (who was criminally underused) to Channing Tatum, even though he cannot dance well enough to even be called a decent mover. The movie is really about the slippery slope of the easy life, told through this particular story about really, really attractive men. It’s an important lesson to learn, or to be reminded of.
One of my favorite books is Burning Bright, by John Steinbeck. In it, these three characters live through one specific conflict but exist in three separate settings; the circus, a farm, and a ship (I don’t know if it was pro- or anti-pirate). The story is not the point of the book. The point of the book is that actions have lasting consequences no matter who you are. Magic Mike was relatable enough to convey this same lesson. The story is not new, but it’s freshly told.
I may have not mentioned this, but also, everyone in it was hot. I found myself with my mouth literally hanging open more than once. No word on how the mother and son duo felt about the whole thing.
Editor’s Note: Matthew McConaughey was awesome. He was so convincing in the role that he was unlikeable, which I thought was physically impossible for him. Even though he nearly spoofs himself when he’s “onstage” (bongos, “All right, all right”, etc.), behind the scenes he displayed range I’ve never seen from him.