Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Love, Jointly: The Trip

Separated by location but never apart, M and Wilde.Dash finally get around to reviewing The Trip....Trip style. Winterbottom's newest film is an extension of the British TV show of the same name. In it, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, mostly playing themselves, travel through the Northern English countryside testing out gourmet cuisine, ruminating on life, and doing Michael Caine impressions.

M: So Wilde.Dash, are you glad I've finally responded to emails and decided to write something on our site? Or, should I call you Nigel? Nigel, didn't you find it scary and oddly comforting that watching The Trip was like being in a college flashback? Or wait...are you Bernard? I feel sorry for our roommates that dealt with our stupid pseudonyms and accents. But honestly during The Trip I felt like I was watching an alternate universe where you and I were men, older, and British.

Wilde.Dash: I think I'm Bernard, actually, because I seem to always remember you saying Bernard in that way that was "Burnherd" when we communicated in our horrid Cockney accents, which I think were really just Monty Python voices. Like, Terry Jones as a woman. "I thought we were an autonomous collective!" Yeah, considering the number of sit-down pseudo interventions held in that dorm, I'm surprised they didn't plop us down and tell us enough was enough...

M: I can never keep track of our various aliases. I'm glad someone remembers. I'm also glad no one murdered us in our sleep. Anyways...in addition to the food (which even at its weirdest made me hungry) and the incredible scenery, The Trip was just a pleasant movie for me. It said nothing of value. It was more like slipping into warm covers with a tattered copy of your favorite book and being read to sleep by your grandmother, which is odd considering most of the dialog revolved around Steve's disillusionment and Rob missing his wife and shaking his head at Steve.

Wilde.Dash: Ok, that was a leap. I was like, wait...murder...food...will Helen Mirren be serving up her lover on a platter soon? Then, you know, I sorted it out. Oddly, the food in The Trip sort of exhausted me, as I think it did Coogan and Brydon's alternate selves. Would have rather been on a diner tour, personally,  but yes, The Trip was the best sort of pleasant movie, I think. But, to get at the real reason as to why that is, I think we need to ask the question: in our duo, are you Steve or Rob? I can guess at the answer, but the folks at home obviously need to hear the real story...

M: I think it's clear. I don't mean to compare you to a womanizing, drug taking, lost soul, but let's face it. I'm the one with the heartwarming, goofy, aw shucks quality. At least your nose isn't as big as Steve's. Of course, you're not womanizing nor do you do drugs, so that leaves you with Steve's cooler qualities.

Wilde.Dash: Ha! I'm glad you clarified I never had a drug-taking, dating Courtney Love phase.  And yeah, if by cooler qualities you mean that sort of meandering, unsettled, desperate need to make a name for oneself while also occasionally dipping into bouts of egomania, narcissism, and competitiveness, than yes, that sounds about right. The negativity perhaps as well.  And we can't forget the affinity for ABBA.  I'm with you, while I watched this movie it became less about two middle aged dudes on the road and transformed into something I could oddly relate to. I honestly couldn't completely pinpoint exactly what it is, but somehow that dynamic was very much our friendship while not being that at all. You wouldn't think two 20-something girls would identify with this movie, but somehow I was like, Rob Brydon...totally [M.], which I think is something that many others may experience with their own lives, you know?

M: I do. And I suppose now that we're being honest I should admit that I share Rob's annoying goofiness and naivete that makes you want to shake him. I think the overarching theme was that while these two mostly famous British men repeated the same routine at each Northern English restaurant, you get inside them. You really are watching yourself, seeing the raw exposed wounds underneath the surface as if you sliced through life with a big meat cleaver and were studying the layers like a geologist. What did you think of the ending? I actually thought that Steve brought enough interesting drama that the forced, "look at Steve, he's lonely, he's sad," was unnecessary and gave the film a bit of a saccharine feeling.

Wilde.Dash: I thought so too, I'm not sure I read the ending as saccharine so much as looking for some sort of unnecessary gravitas, though. The contrast between their lives was intriguing, but it seemed as though Winterbottom had decided that he had to do something more than just make this a buddy movie and open up this little thesis, like no one would take the film seriously enough if it wasn't there. False, for sure.

M: Well, despite all that, I think I really did enjoy it. It was good old anglophile comfort food with two of my favorite actors that left me hungry and yearning for a trip to England. Overall, I dig it....and feel the need to start working on my impressions. I'm seriously lacking skills these days. Can you say Zhu?

Wilde.Dash: Um, I can indeed say Zhu.  What was that great thing he said about what he'd do if he knew the world was ending?  Or, wait, was it what he'd do if he were about to die....?

M: Can we be talking about this here? Yes, it was funny. For all of you in the cheap seats, we're talking about an inside joke here. Speaking of...one thing that did knock my enjoyment down just a notch was that like all good conversations between two people, it got a bit repetitive for those of us on the outside. I know Steve and Rob were enjoying themselves, but by the end, I was like, yes, that's enough of that. Perhaps the TV show format works better for that reason...

Wilde.Dash: Hey, hey, hey, I'm of the opinion that when it comes to Michael Caine impersonations as competitive sport, it may not be possible to have enough in a 90 minute run time.  And yes, totally an inside joke, totally fair game, and let me just drop a hint: I think the answer was along the lines of "have the sex with everyone, take all the drugs."

M: I blame you if everyone discovers who we are now :) Yes, the impressions were a huge highlight even when Steve kept downplaying. I've been making the significant other listen to the little blurb from NPR's Fresh Air where they play that clip with Steve and Rob in a Michael Caine impression death match every time we get in the car. I think he's starting to get tired of it, but me...never.

Wilde.Dash: Ahaha! Fantastic!  Maybe instead of the main course, this film is like an appetizer to hanging out with us on a day of great unseriousness.  Yes, that's not a word, but we do have our bouts of melancholy paranoia.  I mean, there have been just as many talks about literal end of the world scenarios as there have been gallivanting moments of feigning Clouseau-esque Parisian accents and being Kate Hepburn...I feel I've become quite good at this, btw, thought the only way I can get into that is by saying "and all sharp elbows and knees, beware" from The Aviator...Have you tried out a small man in a box impersonation by any chance?  Because that's one I certainly can't even seem to give a proper go at.  Perhaps, though, in your kinship with Rob, you'll be better at it.  Quick: try saying "I CAN'T GET OUT!"

Wilde.Dash:  Oh, wait!  There was another moment in which I felt we were watching ourselves, and that was when Steve felt it appropriate to put on that Joy Division song for an over-dramatic soundtrack to their car ride...

M:  I KNOW!!! OMG IT WAS FREAKY IN EVERY WAY. And no, I can't seem to figure out how to make my voice do that. But as the Rob representation, I'll have to try. 

Wilde.Dash: We've got to wrap this up, but let me just say: I will never forget that Batman + Catwoman themed mix CD you used to store in your car.  I'm sure there was at least one Joy Division song on it, just as I'm so glad Steve and Rob have validated the fact that I occasionally sing Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" in the car.  That said...shall we slap a heart rating on this?  I'm for 4.5? 4?

M: It wasn't Batman and Catwoman, and no we are not going to discuss the other characters it actually referred to. Why you insist on making me look like a nerd when it's so easy to see how cool I am I'll never understand. At least its better than listening to the actual Wuthering Heights soundtrack...which I also do.  The Trip did have great moors. That said, I'd say I'm down with a 4.5.

Wilde.Dash:  It was those other characters, wasn't it?  Though I could have sworn there was a Batman in there as well.  Obviously, this makes you awesome.  I concur, 4.5.  Quite.

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