Wednesday, June 17, 2015

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Magic Mike


For this week's edition of Hit me with your best shot, we looked at one of the biggest films of 2012 - Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike". As we gear up for another round of pecs and buns with this summer's sequel, it was nice to revisit this film to remember how strong it really is. Though its main box office draw was obviously its voyeuristic appeal, the filmmaking is compelling in its own right. Thematically, it provides a good commentary on the "bros before hoes" subculture, accurately depicting both its positive and destructive aspects.

At the heart of the film is the burgeoning friendship between Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and Magic Mike (Channing Tatum). It's a relationship that's adorably announced early in the plot, when the former turns to the latter and says "I think we should be best friends". As a sucker for a good bromance, this instantly drew me in and inevitably influenced my choice for best shot.

Click below for my favourite shot...


While the film is very much focused on its male characters, I found myself appreciating Cody Horn's seemingly maligned performance much more on a re-watch. My pick for best shot comes from the scene where she's about to meet Mike for the first time and in my mind, it represents a great bit of casting and performance. With her face and her expression, you don't need to hear her speak to know that she's an uptight party pooper for these bros. Furthermore, the film's yellow filter gives the image a dull, monochrome look which adds to this notion of her as a boring person. She's also channeling some of what the audience must be feeling. Here she is, about to leave for a hard day's work, while these guys get to enjoy the nightlife as part of their job. I know I felt some jealousy.

The way Horn is portrayed and framed throughout the film was very interesting to me. On the one hand, the whole "enemies-turned-lovers" dynamic between her and Tatum is a common trope of romance cinema. But at the same time, she's so clearly the opposite of the typical "manic pixie dream girl" and I love how the film establishes that right off the bat with shots like the one above.

10 comments:

  1. Was she seriously maligned? I actually think her chemistry/relationship with Tatum elevated the film. You talked about the first time she meets him, but I LOVE her facial expression/reaction when she sees him DANCING for the first time. I also loved that the movie ended on a quiet scene of the two of them.

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    1. Yeh, I remember most people not liking her performance. That scene when she first she's him dancing is great too. Such an interesting performance to think about.

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  2. I remember people disparaging Cody Horn's performance when this movie came out, but I love it, too. Sure she's a bit stiff, but I think it works for the character. And watching her loosen up as the film goes on is nice to watch. My choice of Best Shot is of her, too.

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    1. Yeh, I understand that it's not bravura acting but she deserves more credit than she got.

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  3. Yeah, I always found it unfortunate that she got such flack for this performance, while that Munn girl got decent ink for showing her tits and walking in and out of three scenes.

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  4. Thank you SO MUCH for this piece. After I first saw the movie, her performance and literally the exact scene you picked a shot from were all I wanted to talk about.

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  5. I have little appreciation for this movie and have not a lot of hope for the sequel. It does, however, amuse me each and every time the trailer takes an audience full of people by surprise - they blush so easily!

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  6. GREAT choice. I love this film and I love Cody Horn's performance in it. There wasn't a shred of "acting" in her work. She talked how real people talk, and, yes, looked how real people look.

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  7. It's good to have another Soderbergh movie, and one that's completely different from anything he's done before. But beneath the magic, "Mike" is ultimately meh.

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