Larry Crowne [2011]

In an alternative within the multiverse of meatspace — Steve Guttenberg made it big and Tom Hanks lurched from ‘The ‘Burbs’ to having a surprise hit with ‘Forest Gump’.

It’s a better place.

It’s nothing personal, there’s just something about him.

You know, word about Hollywood is; even Wilson couldn’t stand him and they barely spoke during the filming of ‘Cast Away’.

In this version of meatspace — corpulent things that scuttle about like Longshot’s Mojo decide much of what we get slopped out to us. Remakes by the dozen, comedies that feel as if they have been written by hagfish, and everything dumbed down or softened to be across the board twelves to catch the universal audience.

Adults are barely allowed adult movies now.

Everything seems to be at a soft Christian mid-range.

We hear tell of films coming out with an 18s or R certificate, then they arrive, twelves or fifteens at best.

We have to turn to French Extreme, Independent films and if it’s not a hard boiled cop drama or something about sex abuse, we may well have to wait for the DVD release to see even a shadow of its former self.

Somewhere along the line they castrated most big budget Horror films — shortly afterwards they lobotomised Sam Raimi, stopped giving John Carpenter both the budget and the scripts and made sure most of the new Horror had their special FX done by Sloth from ‘The Goonies’.

Every time we get excited about something coming out — that it might be a bit harder, visceral — fists balling in anticipation — just a little bit wet/hard — our hopes are cruelly dashed when we see the rating the studio made them chump for upon cinema release.

It gets worse from there. The cut away before the mildest violence — did he just hit his thumb with a hammer — it was off screen — we — they blinked away, for your safety. Because seeing a thumb being hit with a hammer may give you cancer of the soul and pretty soon you’ll be an amoral bastard just striding into day care centres to bang up Krokodil and skull fuck the under threes.

Your mind will rot from scenes of a graphic sexual nature. Nothing spectacular there, it will just rot — one minute you’ll be watching Melissa Joan Hart bang a midget next minute it will be covered in that same white fur fruit gets and leaking fluid. Hollywood is trying to protect you.

So when I hear about Tom Hanks making a romantic comedy drama about middle aged man going back to community college — finding acceptance with a bunch of moped riding “outcasts, also rans and losers”. I am filled with the sort of warmth someone with Alzheimer’s gets when they’re left unchanged. I keep thinking I’ve just sat down on a seat someone was keeping warm for me and when it grows cold I have to wonder why they won’t close the window, don’t they know my cat will get out and the neighbours dog will chase it and who the hell gave me a cat don’t they know I hate cats…

Tom Hanks is fifty-five years old. He’s only middle aged now because machines will keep you dribbling piss and memories as close to a hundred as they can manage or until the money runs out.

For those sorry saccharine sacks of truly wasted internal organs that willingly go to see this — I feel nothing.

I pity the poor goons that get dragged along to this by their significant heart worm.

I can only imagine the horror of watching Hanks try and remain somehow relevant in the romantic comedy drama genre. It is matched with the sight and sound of Julia Roberts and her rictus cheap serial killer mask leer, sorry, grimace, I mean smile. There, chewing the scenery with Hanks — banal dialogue and mopeds — trying to cover up the gibbering background madness gurn of his three or four expressions and the crinkling shrivelling plastic bag sound of her womb as she sags through a performance.

This is a man who likes to tell anyone who will listen about how he would go to Brecht, Williams and Ibsen plays on his own so he could be engulfed by them. Who doesn’t need the money — who could, ah fuck — who am I kidding, outcasts, losers, also rans, probably geeks and mopeds. Fucking mopeds man, mopeds and Tom Hanks, and if we’re lucky Julia Roberts will get down to her underwear and we’ll get to see what Ogra from the Dark Crystal looked like naked.

I could absently hope that there will be a little bit of reality to this.

That it will be a black, bleak wrenching landscape of the sort of cynicism I encounter in suddenly unemployed and single fifty year old men. I’m hoping there will be scenes about Viagra and prostate checks. If we’re lucky there’ll be particularly hilarious one where Hanks takes the Viagra too early and can’t get his zipper up for his date.

With any luck, Roberts will be roaring through menopause and instead of running out for condoms, there will be a terrific scene where they have to drive around for hours to find lube for her arid cleft.

This could be followed up with the deeply uncomfortable sex scene where a slightly younger and perhaps prudish Roberts has to deal with all the weird kinks a single fifty-five year old man has picked up from jaded marriage, late dating and a life time of cheap hookers. Just how comfortable is she with how tight he wants to be strangled with a pair of bobby-socks. Or when he ends, close to peak, stuck like Max Headroom just screaming “Whore” over and over again into her face until puce he judders to a halt and collapses on her and she thinks for a moment he’s had a heart attack. That is, until he wheezes back to life, rolls off her and passes out. Maybe we’ll be confronted with the mirth of her guiltily trying to decide whether to use what the Viagra has left up while he sleeps or finish herself off with the General Lee she keeps in the bedside locker.

Will she have to deal with his outmoded, racist friends from university? Will he have to deal with her barren childless friends who spent their time looking for a man to settle with the same way a meth addict looks for the junk they lost between the cushions?

Probably not.

But hey, Tom Hanks and mopeds.

Wow I actually managed to get through this without mentioning how his face looks like a Henson studios puppet made out of the phalloplasty and vaginoplasty left overs from a back street butcher clinic. A lone desperate puppeteer hand undulates wildly as it tries to express…

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Originally published at 30/06/2011