Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strippers and Grandma

My sainted grandmother, who I never recall in my early life ever saying anything about the attractiveness of men, she was a grandma after all!, later in life developed a huge, inexplicable crush on...Matthew McConaughey. Yeah, I don't really get it either. But she LOVED him. She was in the hospital at the end and you'd say something about him, or her other long time crush, her cardiologist, and she'd light right up.

She was one of those grandmas who went to the movies a lot. Usually with my aunt, where they would buy so much expensive food crap you'd laugh. And as she got older she'd lean over and ask constantly through the movie, "WHAT'D THEY SAY?" She'd gasp if the movie was suspenseful and grab your wrist. She'd fall asleep. But good lord if Matthew McConaughey was in ANYTHING, she'd go see it. And let's be honest, the guy doesn't have the best resume. I'm pretty sure she saw Fool's Gold in a theater. That is some hard core devotion by a sweet little old lady raised in Buffalo by strict Catholics. I have no idea what ever precipitated her McConaughey crush, especially by someone who loathed the entire state of Texas, on sound principle, but there it is.

When Magic Mike started its full out media blitz, my mother insisted that in honor of my grandmother's affinity for the guy who says, "Alright alright alright!" a lot, we had to go see it. Me, her, my aunt. Sure. Nothing quite like upping the awkwardness by seeing a movie about male strippers with your mother who remains in utter denial of you having any kind of...romantic life (if she only knew, she'd send me to a nunnery). I'm fairly certain this was just her way to get us to join her in seeing the movie but I actually liked the idea and the thought that if my grandmother were still alive, she'd be sitting in a theater watching a movie about male strippers while her constantly shirtless crush paraded around all greased up amused me greatly. She'd be all for this.

We headed to the theater at 9 on a Friday, just to fully reinforce my spinster lifestyle (yes, I realize the disconnect with previous's complicated). I should also mention at this point that I was hungover like WHOA so waiting in the crush of people in line without A/C for the previous showing to get out was not my idea of a good time. Especially with my mom and aunt who complained about the heat, the crowd, theater management... I was taking a lot of deep breaths.

Finally we get in the theater and as I pull out my contraband Dr Pepper (I don't always drink soda, but when I do, it's Dr Pepper), it immediately explodes all over me. (You'd think I'd have learned this lesson. You'd be wrong.) That's about perfect for my insanely hungover day.

Oh wait! A digression about that Dr Pepper: like I said, hungover like whoa. I stop at Walgreens on the way to the theater so I can grab it and bring it in with me. I go in the store where the poor hunched over white haired lady at Walgreens proceeds to ignore, or not see, me as I stand at the counter for five minutes. I'm trying to just get in and out of the store and on my way but this is not gonna happen. She grabs the drink and inspects it. "Oh! This is a good choice. That's a good drink! I bet it has a lot of that high fructose in it, huh? That's what makes it delicious. But that stuff is baaadd for you. It goes straight to your belly, makes you fat!" UGH. For fuck's sake lady. Thanks for ruining what is supposed to be my help me stop being hungover guilty pleasure. I know, okay. I know it makes you fat. I know it's bad. I already AM fat, so thanks for that not so subtle burn. Like I don't have enough goddamn issues right now, I'm being shamed for drinking Dr Pepper. "Better than all the whiskey and beer I imbibed last night though, amIright?!" is what I should have replied.

We're finally settled in our seats and after a whole bunch of horror movie trailers, none of which we enjoyed and which my mom and aunt complained about loudly again, (I somehow got stuck in between them which was unfortunate), the movie started.

I'd read a few reviews so I knew what to expect. That this wasn't just 2 hours of guys dancing on a stage. It's a movie. You have to throw in some plot along the way. It's also Soderbergh directed, who isn't exactly a slouch so I knew it's be fun but that there'd be an actual story. Apparently every middle aged woman who saw it expected it to just be a 2 hour romp and not have anything heavy, as I heard a lament from a friend's mom earlier in the day. My mom and aunt began squirming about a half an hour in going, "Ugh, this is boring! It's so long! Why aren't they dancing more?" The trailers made middle aged ladies, and fine, all of us, want to be able to peek at hot half naked guys without feeling awkward about it, as I've been led to believe going to actual male strip reviews can be. Which, yeah, there was some of that. And they cast not ugly guys to be on stage, though they were light on dialogue with those characters. But it's also more than that. And not fluffy Romcom more, but some heavy issues they try to explore.

It's not a perfect movie (rarely are they), but I really enjoyed it. Look, the dudes are smoking hot. And pretty funny. Channing Tatum, who I was already on board with, was pretty phenomenal. I am insanely jealous of his dancing ability. I mean, the ability to move your body like that? Good lord, I have trouble with basic functions like walking. Or opening sodas. I want to dance like he does (never in a million years gonna happen). And it was really kind of a sweet, complicated movie. I don't know how much I love this Alex Pettyfer kid. But the girl who played the sister was awesome. (Who I now hate because the pretty girl is the daughter of Warner Brothers COO. Rough life.)

So yes, it was a movie about male stripping that had some weird moments and will make you blush when in the company of your mother and aunt. But it was also a compelling story about figuring out your life and being young and partying too hard and finding that person to help you figure shit out. Male or female, I would recommend seeing it. Truly, I know there are guys that read this blog and I think you should unabashedly go see it. And then learn to dance like Channing Tatum.

Grandma would have loved the sleazy, constantly shirtless Matthew McConaughey character. I'll never quite understand why she loved him, but I'm glad we went and did this in her memory. Rock on, Grandma.

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