Tantalizing: Magic Mike

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steven Soderbergh is an impressive director - Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven Trilogy, Contagion and many more, but his last movie Haywire (click for T &T commentary) didn't seem to be up to his usual standard. Now, he's redeemed himself for me with Magic Mike.

Based on the real-life pre-acting career of star Channing Tatum, this behind the scenes look at male stripping is not only entertaining, sexy and fun; it's got more quality and a hipper flavor than the trailer would have you believe.  

Tatum's character Mike is ambitious in that cocksure way some young guys have of running a lot of hustles, determined to get somewhere, able to party hard and still keep an eye on the ball, all the while, underneath, actually feeling lost.

British newcomer with a flawless American accent, Alex Pettyfer, plays Adam, who has "rules" and keeping to these rules have landed him broke and on his sister's couch. He and female newcomer, Cody Horn, have a good, believable chemistry as brother and sisters.  You definitely get the impression they've been on their own for sometime and she's used to playing big sister, even though they're close in age.  

One of Mike's daytime gigs is construction, where he meets Adam and takes "The Kid" under his wing, getting him a job at Xquisite, a male revue night club, as a props guy. Adam's introduction to the other male dancers and their world of thongs, spray tans and male enhancement paraphernalia is hilarious!

This is where the focus of the film is kept and rightly so; not only is Tatum an unbelievably genius hip hop stripper, but all the stage scenes and stripper/customer interactions are good, funny and hot!

Skip the box office lines. Buy movie tickets in advance at

James Rocchi interviewed Soderbergh for MSN's The Hit List:
JR: Tatum, sort of gave you the pitch and also functioned as a strip-sultant. How much did you learn from him?

SS: Well, everything. What I really wanted to know was what were the good parts of it? What was fun about it and then what wasn't fun about it. I wanted it to have some sort of undertow, so that it wasn't totally disposable, and he talked about it. He said, "Look, the dark side of it was the drugs." The sorority house scene is loosely based on something that happened to him where he and another guy were performing for a group of girls and some of their boyfriends found out and showed up and stuff got crazy, you know? I thought that was interesting.  Read More

And then there's McConaughey, I believe Matthew McConaughey would have done this role without getting paid.
JR: At one point you have Mr. McConaughey playing the bongo, you have Mr. Nash fighting people. Was this sort of the case of looking at people's resumes and going, "Okay, that's your special skill? We're using that."

SS: Absolutely. Matthew impressed the s**t out of me. He came in, he had tons of ideas, they were all good. He knew how this guy would dress, talk, act, everything. He was the one who was like, "I think I should sing a song." I was like, "Well, if you're going to sing a song, you're going to have to strip." That wasn't in the script. He came up with his routine. He knew this guy cold. It was clear. I called him on the phone and just told him one sentence, and he said, "I’m in. I get it." He really did. That outfit he wears in the gym when he's trying to teach Alex? He just got it. He just totally got it. When we started showing the movie to friends to get feedback, eight times out of ten, the first things out of their mouth were like, "Wow. Matthew McConaughey. He's unbelievable." I go, "He's great." Read More

Magic Mike sets a tone which is able to successfully blend song, dance romance and plot without being the least bit corny. It's exactly what I believe the movies Burlesque and Rock of Ages were aiming to do, but failed miserably.  I'm looking forward to checking out Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect to see how they handle this mix of elements.

Food Footnote: We headed straight to South Street Diner after Magic Mike for breakfast foods! (you'll get it when you see the movie).

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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