Sibling Revivalry: A Return to the Movie Theater for ‘Magic Mike’
I think I’ve made it pretty clear that my sister loathes the in-theater experience. Which is why I was shocked at her reaction after I showed her the ‘Magic Mike’ trailer last month. “I want to see that one opening night!” she squealed. I decided right there that I’d do her one better – I’d take her with me to an advanced screening and we’d write about it. That was the moment, folks, when a very special episode of Sibling Revivalry was born.
I’ll say this much: any future screening that Lindsay attends will have a lot to live up to. She was all giggles and gapes despite having to wait in line for 20 minutes before checking in – the amount of hunky, muscle-bound men (more than a few of them strippers accompanying journalists for perspective pieces) outnumbered women three to one. Though, at one point, she did demand to be served Cosmopolitans. I think she has a much more glamorous perception of my life as a film writer than I’ve earned.
Once we were comfortably seated in the balcony, Lindsay set forth scouting the fresh meat on all sides – having imaginary conversations with beautiful couples (“Love me! Your boyfriend can join!”), fanning herself, and generally acting more ornery than I’ve seen her in years. We couldn’t stop giggling. When projector problems caused the film to begin on the wrong scene – coincidentally, one that flashes Channing Tatum’s bare butt – Lindsay shrieked, “You’re giving it away! Fix it!” As the problem was righted, she mused her concern that the film would never be able to live up to the attractiveness of its audience.
Luckily, Steven Soderbergh’s latest did, in fact, meet – nay, exceed – her expectations. Here’s the conversation we had after screening ‘Magic Mike’ together – let this one live in infamy as the first transcription that almost caused me to suffocate with laughter.
I showed you the trailer for this and you were like, “I want to go on opening night!” Why the change of heart for this movie?
WHY NOT? [laughs] See, right there I was trying to explain what I was feeling, because it wasn’t so much something you can explain, it’s something you have to see and feel. Then I ended up at the theater. I felt the need to go from deep inside. [laughs]
So what did you think of the movie?
The movie was really good, it really was. I would’ve liked a little more hip thrusting. There are a lot of non-hip-thrusting components to the movie that I didn’t appreciate. That was not what I went in to see. But I digress. It was in that initial scene with the hot guy with the nice eyebrows…
Sure, is that his name? The Magic Mike guy. What he did with his hips, I might never forget. And here’s the thing – we’ve talked about how movies are glorifications, well – thanks to this particular glorification, I think I’m ruined now.
You leaned over in the middle of the movie and said, “I don’t think I can ever have sex with a normal man again. I’m so worried!”
It’s true. I’m worried. I’m deeply worried. Because of the influence of this movie, I may have to test that hypothesis, however.
Have you ever been to a male strip club before?
No! Do you really think that I would do something like that? I don’t even go to freaking movie theaters!
Yeah but with a bachelorette party or for a friend’s birthday or something, who knows?
A movie theater is letting my guard down, come on.
Alright, well now that you’ve seen ‘Magic Mike,’ would you consider going to a male strip club?
Consider? When are we going? I’d like to get it on a weekly rotation, specifically. Oh my God, I couldn’t even deal in the movie when they left the strip club. And then it made me self-conscious and I was like, “Did I just only want to watch a porn tonight? What’s my problem?” Because I just didn’t care about the story – the hook of the movie.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you were completely ramped up for this movie before it began, since our audience was filled with gorgeous men.
Oh my God, all the hot gay men! And it was more gay men than women! I was very surprised by that! They were beautiful men.
You were concerned that the movie wasn’t going to live up to the audience watching it, at one point.
It’s true. But luckily it did. Oh man, that guy with the hips and the pecs and the stuff. Yeah. We’re good.
So I take it that Mike was your favorite character.
He was, he really was. He was a nice guy. And he was really cute. And he was such a good dancer!
I think you and I might need to Sibling Revivalry his dance movie ‘Step Up’ at some point.
Let’s do it now. I’m in.
I thought the chemistry between Channing and Brooke (Cody Horn) was really sweet and natural.
Yeah, it definitely was. She almost reminded me of that girl in ‘Twilight.’
Kristen Stewart? That’s not exactly an endorsement.
Well, just because she had this kind of awkward thing going on.
I know you wanted to see more stripping, but do you think Soderbergh did a good job crafting the story and characters in this movie?
Yeah, definitely. And honestly there was a lot of stripping – it’s hard to fit that kind of thing in and make it make sense and resonate, so he intertwined it all really well.
McConaughey was incredible, I think he did a great job.
Oh yeah, me too. And God he looks good for his age! Seriously. I liked him a lot, I liked his character, I thought it was a little crazy, kind of like it should be. He’s a good actor – a better actor than people give him credit for.
What’s your favorite stripping performance in the movie, out of all the numbers?
Definitely the first one. The one with the raincoats and the umbrellas and the thrusting of the hips.
I’m kind of partial to Channing’s solo set to “Pony.”
Yeah, that was good too. I mean, anything with him – he’s just so hot. I’d seen pictures of him before, and he doesn’t always look that great, but he just looked so good in this movie. And he had this way about him, this charisma as an actor – you actually liked him AND liked looking at him.
We’ve talked a lot in the past about your frustration over the Hollywood ideal of courtship between a man and a woman. How did you feel about the fact that this film flipped that on its head, made the men the ones being taken advantage of and rejected?
Ah – that’s funny! It’s interesting you ask, because – no matter what – I still thought it was Hollywood romance. Maybe I’ll always only see it through that lens. I guess the more predominant one, with Brooke and Mike, I was kind of rolling my eyes at that. Like, you never just meet someone and then meet their sibling who you’re ragingly attracted to all in the same day.
I thought that read really authentically. Even if the way they met was a bit of a plot device. What about the Olivia Munn character Joanna – the sex buddy?
I mean, I just don’t like that stuff in general. When people use each other or you pull the rug out from under someone in an unfair way.
But it doesn’t enrage you the same way the “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” scene in ‘Top Gun’ enraged you.
Good point, it definitely doesn’t. Maybe if it was him doing that to her, I’d probably be pissed. But because she did it to him, I didn’t really notice or care. Or it could be that I was just too distracted by hip thrusting!
So if you could assemble your very own dream male strip club crew out of Hollywood actors, who would you choose?
Definitely Channing Tatum. Jason Statham. One of the gay guys that was in line today. Ryan Gosling. Trey MacDougal [Kyle MacLachlan's character on ‘Sex and the City’]. I would say George Clooney, but he just might not be able to move it as fast as I would want! [laughs] You know, he may not be able to turbo-thrust. [laughs hysterically]
Oh, is that a prerequisite of all the men you hire for your fantasy strip club? Turbo-thrusting?
Yes, they have to be able to move it quickly. And be hot. And probably have a six pack. But here’s the thing – Jason Statham is such a slow and methodical, “I will drive you around, let me be your transporter” type of guy. Can you imagine Jason Statham moving around quickly? I can’t! I want to see that happen.
I love that Channing Tatum’s real name actually sounds like a stripper name. What the heck is the formula for a stripper name, again?
It’s your middle name and the street you grew up on. So mine would be Morgan Trottingham and yours would be Courtney Trottingham. Those are pretty crazy hot stripper names.