my week at the movies: ‘Fired Up,’ ‘Must Read After My Death,’ ‘An American Affair’

Two high school football players skip football camp for cheerleading camp. “2 girls. 300 guys. You do the math.” Okay, I’m doing the math on Fired Up! (opens in the U.S. on February 20 and in the U.K. on May 22). Clearly we are meant to infer — infer’s not too hard a word for people who can do math, right? — that means 150 girls for each guy. Are guys really that delusiuonal? Are these two guys really that stupid, and if they are, why should we like them? I’m trying to do the math on that breathlessly witty “FU,” too. Are the guys saying “Fuck you” to the girls, for having tricked them into believing they are serious about cheer and not just seriously (if delusionally) horny? Are the guys saying “Fuck you” to society, with its rigid definitions of what is acceptable for a horny teenage boy to do in search of some satisfaction? Or is it Hollywood saying “Fuck you” to anyone with an IQ above 50?

I’m intrigued by the documentary Must Read After My Death for its content: it’s assembled from family home movies and other similar material and sounds a bit like Capturing the Friedmans without the crime aspect (although it might indeed have that, too) but with all the peeling-back-the-layers-of-unexpected-secrets angle. But I’m also intriguing by its distribution: it will open in limited release in the U.S. this Friday, February 20 (no U.K. release date has been announced), and for everyone not in a city where it’s playing on a big screen, it will be available as a high-quality digital download. I’ll post more about that later in the week.

It’s all JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis in An American Affair (opens limited in the U.S. on February 27; no U.K. release date has been announced), about a teenaged boy’s coming of age, apparently thanks to his hot new Marilyn-esque neighbor (played by Gretchen Mol). I blame Mad Men for the current fad for 60s nostalgia.

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