I’m not trying to be a dick or get involved in any forum drama, but the other Magic Mike thread started stupidly and got stupider. Does anybody actually want to talk about the movie?
I just saw it and thought it was great. Steven Soderbergh is really good at doing a lot of different things at once. The movie is at once an effecting character drama, a cautionary tale, a romantic comedy, and a balls out (sorry) beefcake-laden musical with both humorous and stunning set pieces. Soderbergh juggles all these different balls and manages to pull off quite a movie. Tatum is a very charming screen presence and is able to convey self-delusion and disappointment while also exuding testosterone-filled bravado.
I also love the way Soderbergh shows the world of male-stripping. It was downright fascinating to see how the business works and what it’s like behind the scenes. He also makes a point of showing the relationship between performer and audience which is an important part of male-stripping. Also, he doesn’t castigate anyone for being a stripper. It saddens me for people to say that stripping is degrading or somehow a lowly profession. What is this the 50’s? It’s not degrading unless someone feels degraded. I say if you want to pay your bills that way then go for it. While he does show the silly aspects of male-stripping (which let’s be honest can be quite silly at times), he also shows the talent and virtuosity of Magic Mike during some incredible set pieces.
I also loved how in the end the problem wasn’t with stripping it was with drug use. And, the tragic thing about Mike’s story is that he doesn’t see stripping as self-actualization but does it anyways (I think everyone can relate to that).
Last thing: Soderbergh reminds me of Howard Hawks. He is able to do so many different things effectively throughout his career, and he often has similar themes that run through his movies. He currently seems to be focused on bodies in motion (see Haywire) and recession era capitalism (see The Girlfriend Experience). Also, our very own Mubi Notebook film critic even mentioned that the witty banter between the men in Magic Mike is “downright Hawksian.”
Thoughts? Maybe it’s too soon has anybody even seen this yet?
Yes, I agree about the other thread. Who knew film critics will watch half a film and the write a review bashin the hell out of it.
Anyways, I liked the film quite a bit. Personally I don’t think Soderbergh is a great director, he’s done some fine films, but I’ve been more intrigued in how he decides to commit to certain projects. These recent films I find most interesting particularly The Girlfriend Experience, Haywire and this film. I like how he’s taking a person who has specific ‘skills’ and creates a world around this particular person. Magic Mike I think is the best example of this idea really working.
There’s one extremely powerful moment in the film towards the end where ‘The Kid’ has this talk with Mike after all kinds of drama and what not. Tatum really says nothing and let’s the kid do all the talking. But you can see here this is the most decisive moment in the film. His silence does all the talking. It was just a great scene.
The framing and staging of the scenes are of particular note. Soderbergh has great control over the camera. He lets scenes play out in a very natural way which I really admired. Now I doubt that many of the people in the audience were distracted by other things they found more important, but that’s a whole other thing.
Yeah I wasn’t going to comment on the watching half the film thing. But it’s bullshit. And that guy writes for Film Comment, Cahiers, and Criterion!
Anyway, nicely put about the way he just puts peoples skills on screen. The moment you are talking about is great because Tatum is just down and out and doesn’t say anything. I like how Soderbergh doesn’t give him any big speeches or any intensely dramatic material. It’s like how Ford treated John Wayne (the process is comparable not the actors/directors). Also, in that scene The Kid is talking about how great is life is and you get the sense that the cycle is starting all over again.
Yeah the camerawork is fascinating. I particularly like his use of close-ups. He seems to be entranced by The Kid’s sisters face (who wouldn’t be). He uses close-ups fairly often, but every time we see her, it’s in close-up. And, she can pull off a close-up. It reminds me of what David Thomson said about D.W. Griffith: that he was the first director to see the beauty of a woman’s stoicism in a close-up. It’s a minor detail but a significant one that he shoots the uptight, stoic character in very tight closeups.
Thinking about it, there are a lot of scenes I really like. There’s a lot of credit that should be given to the writing. Thinking of the major dramatic scenes, there really isn’t a lot of dialogue. Much of the major developments are told through silences, through eye contact. There’s another scene toward the end where Tatum decides to leave the club without having gone on with the show. They say he’s coming back, but we know as the viewer that he’s not without it being said. I really love in that scene where the kid is the one to say that he’s not coming back and he says so in a way that we see that he really feels that he’s wronged Tatum.
Yeah, plus the scene at the end was great. It was emotional but not overly dramatic, and ended on a funny line.
On a different note, I’m amazed that this type of movie isn’t getting a lot of discussion here or anywhere else on the web. I’m guessing guys are hesitant to see it because of the subject matter?
Well when I saw it, there were a bunch of immature guys who squirmed at the sight of any male nude scenes and awwed at the female nude scenes. It’s a movie about male strippers so I don’t really know what they were expecting to see. But to me, it’s a movie about male strippers directed by Steven Soderbergh. So it’s a different animal.
Thanks for starting this thread, the movie deserves it. I thought the opening 45min or so were some of the best filmmaking Soderbergh has ever done, and some of the best film of the year. After that the movie got fairly stagnant for me, but still interesting. I’m sure you guys read it already, but Ignatiy reviewed the film over on the Notebook.
I haven’t seen it yet and apologies for my silly post earlier. The cinematography looked really good on the trailer. I heard he captured the washed out look of Floria well by using yellows and grays. Any feedback?
@Pierre no worries. Hard not to get silly on that one.
As for my thoughts, Sure part of me was drawn to the theatre hoping to watch CT dance, but I was really involved in the story of Mike. I was quite impressed with Channing’s performance. My favorite scene was near the end (SPOILER) when he was just sitting in the dressing room watching all the guys prepare and then walks out and there was just that one single tear in his eye and it cut between him and the kid. I also really liked that last time he called Joanna. I felt his loneliness as he made the call.
The group I went with really reacted to the drug storyline.
Daniel: I’m glad there are some people who see this movie as something truly unique and a film that contains some of Soderberghs best work. The movie seems to be getting great reviews, but it seems like male cinephiles aren’t paying attention. It is disappointing that nothing but crickets respond to this movie, but gallons of internet ink are spilled over the non-meaning in Prometheus (I mean I like the movie but come on). Are we really that wrapped up in conventional gender norms that we can’t enjoy a movie about male stripping?
Pierre: I live in FL, and can tell you that he doesn’t so much capture a realistic look as he does a mood. Living in FL feels like Magic Mike looks. Also, in these mid-level towns down here the broken dreams just float in the air, and there is a very unique and decidedly unhip party culture that he absolutely fucking nails.
Bijoux: I felt just the opposite. I came for the story assuming it would be solid, and it really was. But, as a straight male, I did not expect to enjoy the dancing as much as I did. It wasn’t tittilating (at least to me) as much as it was awe-inspiring. It’s just captivating to see such a large muscular body in motion like that.
Jacob : I agree about the dancing. I was sitting next to my boss and when Mike whirls around on that ribbon and then dances my boss remarked, “Shit, I couldn’t even stand up after doing that.” We were definitely in awe of the gymnastic like quality.
Did the same thing happen when 300 came out? That too is a film about well oiled muscular men with rippling abs and glistening chests lovingly photographed as they flail about half-naked for 90 minutes.
“Are we really that wrapped up in conventional gender norms that we can’t enjoy a movie about male stripping?”
It’s not really a gender issue for me. I wouldn’t be interested in this even if it were about female stripping (never saw Showgirls, Striptease, etc). Seems like pretty boring subject matter to me. My question is, why is cinema so infatuated with strip clubs? Is there nothing more compelling going on in the world that a filmmaker feels the need to devolve into slipping a strip club into their film? I mean, I love nudity but the lack of creative prowess has to be a bit depressing. You know things are bad when you’re going to Channing Tatum for story ideas. lol
It’s not really the subject of the film, though, just one of it’s settings (like Florida). It’s just fairly unique that in an American mainstream movie a lot of attention is directed to the actual work characters are doing to earn a living.
Easy there, Ehrenstein.
It was a fine film though formulaic. Soderbergh knows talent and how to, pardon me, work it. Tatum is pretty effing enthralling, if you ask me. He’s like a pelvic Olympian. I was very happy to see that Soderbergh had snatched him up for Haywire, and when Soderbergh gets excited about talent he makes a movie about them. The Oceans films were basically just a Hollywood orgy.
Tatum does nothing for me. His eyes are too small.
I started this thread about an hour ago. Alas, still no comments. Maybe I should have just posted this in here, but I felt I had a lengthy and cohesive enough theory to start my own thread. I’d love to hear what all of you think of my ideas, though.