movies

Cyrus

I’m not sure why Marisa Tomei would sleep with me either.

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We continue to catch flak from our friends for renting movies at Blockbuster in what is now a NetFlix world. We’re not exactly defending the fact we still rent from Blockbuster (especially when it doesn’t stock Inside Job!), but allow us just to elaborate on a few points:

  • We’re terribly inconsistent movie watchers. The last time we were NetFlix members, we had Shutter Island for two-and-a-half months. We actually save money by renting from Blockbuster (or Redbox) on those rare occasions when we have the energy and interest to watch something that is not “Wipeout,” the NCAA tournament, or “Arrested Development” for the eighty-seventh time.
  • We like playing the “Blockbuster Game.” Here’s how it works: The person going to rent the movie (usually Ben) takes cell phone pictures of the worst movies he can find and texts them to the other (usually Erin), with little tags like, “Get the popcorn ready!,” or “Can’t wait to snuggle!” The latter is especially funny when paired with a cell phone pic of, say, Mega Piranha. For the full effect, imagine receiving this on your cell phone:

Can’t wait to snuggle!

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Amazingly, Erin did not want to snuggle at the prospect of Mega Piranha, even though it stars both Tiffany and Paul Logan.

Some other favorite movies and messages from the “Blockbuster Game”:

Let’s get a jump on next year’s Best Pic nominees!

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This will finally settle it!

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Remember how confused we were after the first one?

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This will get us in the mood!

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I didn’t know Melville wrote a sequel?

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WHY IS CHRISTIAN NOT IN THIS??

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Let’s stick with a classic tonight.

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  • Renting from Blockbuster also affords the public embarrassment of being informed in front of a small crowd of strangers that there is a late charge fee from January for Couples Retreat. Thanks, Blockbuster!

We decided to rent Cyrus this weekend on the strength of one recommendation (from Ben’s brother Dan), but this was not the movie we expected. The cover promises a sort of broad slapstick brand of comedy — “Seriously, stay off his mom” is the tagline over what looks like a normal, happy family pose, until you notice Jonas Hill’s extended arm around his mom (Marisa Tomei) is pushing away John C. Reilly. Perhaps we were misled by the casting: Reilly has gone for broad, over-the-top humor recently (Step Brothers, Walk Hard, Talladega Nights), but here he plays John, a sad sack divorced editor who veers from urinating in the bushes and leading an awkward party sing-along (the scene will remind you, eerily, of Ben Stiller in Greenberg), to sacking Marisa Tomei. How exactly does that work again?

Tomei plays Molly, who is somewhat damaged goods herself. She’s a single mom with a chronically needy 21-year-old son, Cyrus (Hill). Cyrus plays cringeworthy synthesizer music, goes to the park to take nature photographs, and steals John’s shoes. He and his mom share a rather twisted codependency. In one scene at the park they engage in some full contact wrestling. John invites his ex Jamie (Catherine Keener) to meet Molly and Cyrus and give him a second opinion: A very affectionate mother-son duo? Or crazy? Somewhere in between, as it turns out.

Cyrus is awkward throughout. Directed by the Duplass Brothers, established names in the mumblecore movement, Cyrus never settles on any one style or mood, and that may be the point. It’s the sort of movie that wallows in uncomfortable silences and pauses, where 21-year-old sons have frank conversations about their mother’s sex life with her new boyfriend and then sit in the dark living room when she and said boyfriend come home ready to get it on. Hill’s character is borderline everything — creepy and funny — but these two seem to negate, rather than enhance, the other, so that ultimately Cyrus is just weird and in the way. When he realizes John is a true rival for his mother’s affection, he sabotages the relationship, and there is the inevitable Very Embarrassing Public Scene (at Jamie’s wedding) in which John and Cyrus are at each other’s throats.

If we are making it sound like we hated this movie, that’s not the case. We actually sort of enjoyed it. How and why it worked its charms on us is a mystery though. We fully expected to dislike Reilly’s character after watching the first ten minutes, but he pulls something endearing out of John. He and Cyrus battle for more than just Molly — they pull and tug the heart of the movie, and every time Hill threatens to derail it, Reilly exerts just enough force to bring it back into focus. It’s no Mega Piranha, but you could certainly do worse than Cyrus on a Saturday night.

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One thought on “Cyrus

  1. Funny story: The DePews now own Couples Retreat because of the excessive late fees they racked up from Blockbuster…FAIL!

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