Last Friday's release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine marked the beginning of the summer movie season - never mind that the actual summer season is still seven weeks away. May is particularly rife with titles I want to see - Wolverine (sort of), Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation and Pixar's Up.
And that's good, because I feel like I'm owed. I started a new job in January, about 500 feet from a movie theater that serves beer in monstrous mugs and charges $5 a ticket. I thought, "Hey, perfect. It will be a great way to wind down, like, once a week. Take in a flick and get a buzz on."
Today is May 6th, and I have done that exactly once. The movies this year have just been terrible. I saw Taken in my lone Happy Hour special, sat through Fast & Furious after discovering my oil change would take 90 minutes, and date-nighted I Love You, Man. Of course, none of those were sacrifices - all are recommended with varying degrees of enthusiasm (of course, the stupid but satisfying Fast & Furious above all).
There's been very little else to stoke my interest, though. Paul Blart: Mall Cop? My Bloody Valentine? Oh No She Didn't? (Ok, that last one doesn't technically exist, but it was the working title of Beyonce's Obsessed. Seriously. God, I wish they had gone with that).
Well, on Sunday night, The Fiancee and I had Movie Date Night #2 for the year. And, like it or not, I knew exactly what we'd be seeing. I didn't bother pointing out how buff and dreamy Hugh Jackman was or, hey, monsters fighting aliens is funny! No, I remembered that in our time together, she has only asked for three movies from my Netflix account:
1) High School Musical.
2) High School Musical 2.
3) High School Musical 3.
Yes, we went to see 17 Again.
Of course, if you read my previous post, you know where this is heading: it was good. Really good. It made me laugh almost as much as last year's Role Models and Tropic Thunder, I cared about the characters in a goddamn body-switching movie, and I am now - as embarrassing as it is - firmly entrenched in the Cult of Efron. The kid is a star.
Aside from a brief role in Hairspray and a few skits from his recent "Saturday Night Live" appearance, Zac Efron had completely escaped my radar. And while I won't be running backward to catch up with "HSM" (as the cool kids call it), I'm impressed with how he chose to step out of Mickey Mouse's shadow and the musical genre. He wasn't afraid to be out-funnied by a comedy all-star supporting cast (Matthew Perry, Leslie Mann, Thomas Lennon), he managed to sneak in a few words not allowed on the Disney Channel, and most of all, he agreed to a script that wasn't satisfied limiting itself to "the High School Musical kid rips off Big."
Oh, and he found time to take his shirt off, which caused The Fiancee to noticeably convulse. Thank God I have similar washboard abs, or I'd get all weird about that.
I might be overstating it. I probably am - my expectations were pretty low. But as easy as it is to slag on the today's young stars, I'll gladly admit when one of them is deserving of the press.
And yeah, I'm totally gay. I know.