Friday, July 23, 2004

News Flash: More Movies Portraying Cursing, Sex-Obsessed Elderly People, Too

It goes by many names: A kick in the jimmies. A blow to the boys. Sportscasters prefer calling it a "deep thigh bruise." My friend John memorably referred to it once as a "nadectomy."

That's right, we're talking about a shot to the male crotch. Or, rather, the Los Angeles Times is, in a hilarious piece earlier this week that attempts to make the case that such (literal) male-bashing, usually played for laughs, is on the upswing in movies and on television.

Citing current films DodgeBall, Napoleon Dynamite, White Chicks, and Anchorman, Martin Miller argues that more and more writers are seeking to "elicit the crowd-pleasing merriment of watching a grown man take a monster shot to the groin."

Two points here: First, this feels like a classic case of an axiom that was often bandied about in a newsroom I worked in: News is what happens to editors. I'm guessing a soccer mom on the city desk took her 12-year-old to a DodgeBall matinee, was stunned by what she saw, and breathlessly told the entertainment editor that "we really need to do a piece on that." But even a casual pop culture observer realizes that taking a basketball where it hurts is hardly a 2004 phenomenon. I mean, my God, Bob Saget was able to put three kids through college and buy a house on the Riviera simply by grimacing his way through a few seasons of America's Funnies Home Videos more than a decade ago.

The second point involves why Miller's story is so funny: Anytime you can get culture studies professors with Ph.D.'s to talk about getting slammed in the crotch, well, friends, that's comedy.

Alas, Miller's piece falls short a couple of important ways. First, any male will tell you that the recovery time of on-screen incidents is impossibly short. Even a glancing blow is enough to have a guy writhing on the ground for a good 15 or 20 minutes, slowly breathing and reciting the names of his second-grade classmates in alphabetical order in an attempt to distract himself from the searing pain he's feeling and keep from throwing up.

And Miller misses the boat on the best crotch shot of the last 20 years. Leave it to Bill Simmons to clean up the mess. The Sports Guy, in a laugh-out-loud, wet-yourself-funny piece in which he lays out his Vengeance Scale, puts it at 9.6 out of a possible 10.0: The scene in Pulp Fiction in which Ving Rhames's Marcellus Wallace, after being rescued by Bruce Willis's Butch, fires a shotgun into the groin of the redneck who was violating him. And then the promise of retribution, delivered in Rhames's devastating rumble: "What now? Let me tell you what now. I'm gonna call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin' n-----s, who'll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna get medieval on your ass."

Kinda makes a dodgeball strike seem not so bad, huh?


At July 23, 2004 at 3:27 PM, Blogger gr said...

tonight's movie: "Man Getting Hit by Footbal" starring George C. SCott

At July 23, 2004 at 8:21 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

gr, you are a genius! That was one of the funniest "Simpsons" moments ever. Scott writhing on the ground, yelling, "Ow! My groin!" Clasic!

I harken back to the simpler days of Sam "Mayday" Malone rapping about sports wounds: "G-g-groin. G-g-groin. G-g-groin in-ju-ry!"


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