Friday, June 5, 2009

Exfanding Review: Fanboys

We recently (and independently) watched the movie Fanboys. Considering this is a blog devoted to fanboys, fangirls, and fandoms, we figured it would make perfect sense to seize this opportunity to write a movie review, which is way easier than writing about fanboys, fangirls, and fandoms.

To give the illusion of any amount of effort and coordination going into this post, Alex and I will take turns interviewing each other about the film. See, now doesn't this look professional?

Characters from Fanboys ready to roll out in their van
Nathaniel: For the benefit of anybody out of the loop: What is Fanboys about?

Alex: Well, basically it's the story of four girls who acquire a pair of magical jeans and...Wait. Sorry. That's not it. That's not it at all.

Fanboys is about five longtime friends who reunite on Halloween night, 1998. Their lives have gone off in different directions at this point, but the friends are all still big ol' dorks, and each have an undying love for Star Wars.

As it happens, the first prequel is just about a year away from opening in theaters, and the group is clearly excited about it. They were too young to see the original trilogy in theaters, so the thought of seeing the new movie on the big screen is almost too good to be true.

When they were kids, the group made plans to sneak into Skywalker Ranch, and one of the friends, Linus, proposes that they should fulfill this childhood plan, break into Skywalker, and steal a rough cut of the upcoming film.

Hilarity ensues.

Fanboys character Eric Bottler at the car dealership
Nathaniel: Why would anyone want to see this movie?

Alex: Well, first off, because there are no "magical jeans." That was actually a big selling point for me.

Also, I found this flick to be quite funny--though flat out stupid, at times--and I think it's good for quite a few laughs. Also, if you're a fan of The Wars, then it's pretty much a must-see as a great homage to all things Lucas.

Nathaniel: As someone who fails to meet any criteria for being a Star Wars or even a Star Trek fanboy (especially considering you hadn't even seen Star Wars until late last year), how much were you able to appreciate the movie?

Alex: The fat guy falls down a lot, and that was enough to make me happy.

Horde of angry Trekkies from Fanboys
Nathaniel: If you were to ever go to such crazy lengths for any one of your fandoms, which would it be, and what would you probably try to do?

Alex: Well, I dunno. I think I'm pretty self-aware when it comes to my geekier tendencies. For example, this past weekend at BookExpo, I saw Neil Gaiman eating french fries and talking to some friends.

There were no other fans around, and I think I could have easily went up to him and expressed my gratitude for his work, and even possibly asked him for an autograph. As I was thinking through what I would do, however, I realized that I was standing about ten feet away from him, most likely staring in his direction while I was thinking.

Which made me recoil in utter horror at how creepy I might have been, and I fled the scene.

So, long story short, the craziest length to which I would go for a fandom would most likely be to NOT run away from Neil Gaiman in abject terror.

Nathaniel: Any closing remarks?
Alex: Go see Fanboys. It's funny.


Alex: This movie's been in the works seemingly forever. What if any expectations did you have going in? Were they met?
Fanboys poster
Nathaniel: I saw a poster in a movie theatre somewhere; a parody of the 40-Year-Old Virgin poster, except the guy had a Darth Vader helmet on, if I recall. And I was told it was something along the lines of Trekkies, but for Star Wars.

I did a little teensy bit of reading about it, but really, I didn't have any expectations about it. I just thought, "Oh, a movie about Star Wars fans. This will be better than stapling my nostrils together tonight. I'll check it out." And indeed, it was better than stapling my nostrils together.

Alex: Did you find the fat guy funny?

Nathaniel: Oh, sure. Tommy Boy was hilarious!

Wait... Fanboys. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I'm not so keen on crude humor, so I could have done without some of his... shall we say... antics. I liked the energy he brought to his character, though, so even if I didn't always laugh, I still liked him throughout.

Alex: Did you fall in love in Kristen Bell?

Nathaniel: Who?

Fanboys characters in the hospital scene
Alex: [*SPOILER ALERT*] Shatner: A force of good or evil?

Nathaniel: A force of good, to be sure. I'm not 100% sure how much he officially plays up his special guest appearances as himself (that is, is the Shatner we see making cameos the same Shatner that exists in real life, or is that persona grossly exaggerated?) but he was a welcome and necessary addition to the movie. With all that Star Wars/Star Trek rivalry, Shatner's appearance was inevitable. For that matter, I loved all the cameos, and was really pleased to see the diversity of geek fandoms that were covered.

You there! Reading this blog! Get more people to read Exfanding Your Horizons so that we can be popular enough to make cameos in geek movies!

Alex: Any closing thoughts?

Nathaniel: While I'm in no hurry to see it again, Fanboys was fun, funny, and it didn't overstay its welcome.

I was positively enthralled by all the geek references (to Star Wars and other fandoms), and I was simultaneously pleased and a little disturbed by how many of them I picked up on, regardless of how minor or obscure. In particular, one of the deleted scenes features a phenomenal Return of the Jedi reference that was so hilarious that I was still in stiches even after the scene had ended, and though my fellow viewers were laughing, too, it was my pleasure to inform them of what the reference was, at which point the scene became that much funnier.

I think it's also pretty telling that I scoffed at the movie once or twice because nearly every Star Wars trivia question they asked was way too easy for a true Star Wars fanboy. And I'm a Star Trek nerd.

Meanwhile, Alex is asking, "What's a Chewbacca, again?"

Fanboys characters in the movie theater

[Movie poster from Movie images from That blast came from the Death Star. That thing's operational!]

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