there’s no way Almodóvar can land this plane (I’m So Excited! review)

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I’m So Excited red light Javier Camara, Raul Arevalo Carlos Areces

I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): not a fan of Almodóvar; the trailer looked asinine

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

So it appears that in actual reality, an actual filmmaker — Pedro Almodóvar, perhaps no surprise — made a movie about people on an airplane who think they’re about to die who deal with this horror by spilling all their secrets and raping one another and engaging in campy gay musical numbers.

It’s a comedy, of course.

I’m not exaggerating. At all. This is what really happens in I’m So Excited! This flight from Spain to Mexico City has some sort of trouble with its landing gear and so they’re flying around for hours because commercial airliners in distress are never a cause for everyone on the ground to give them immediate high priority for an emergency landing slot with fleets of fire trucks and foam on the runway, etc., thus leaving plenty of time for blow jobs all around and much imbibing of alcohol. It’s like these people haven’t even seen Flight.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Apparently it’s all in fact perfectly cool and funny because Almodóvar (The Skin I Live In, Volver) opens the film by reminding those of us who cannot distinguish fiction and fantasy from reality that I’m So Excited! is “fiction” and “fantasy.” Because that makes it all okay for people to take sexual advantage of one another for no reason other than, omagosh, lookit the people getting all sexed up while they’re unconscious! Hilarious! Feel free to laugh at the cute rape scenes because they’re all actors and jeez, just chill out, can’t you take a joke?

Oh, I forgot: it’s only the business-class people who are raping, because everyone in Economy has been drugged by the flight attendants, because pesky poor people are a whole bunch of no fun in life-and-death situations. They might regret their lives or engage in seriously bumming behavior instead of getting their freak on and revealing nasty naughty secrets that we can be entertained by. Stupid proles.

Cue the, like, five-minute interlude in which the three flaming male flight attendants lip-synch and sashay through the entirety of the Pointer Sisters’ tune “I’m So Excited.” This excruciating flick is just barely 90 minutes, which means this consumes a full four percent of the runtime. To no purpose except: Teh Gays, they’re so funny!

The things that qualify as “awesome” in the world of Pedro Almodóvar boggle my mind.

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Thu, May 02, 2013 10:52pm

I find some of Almodóvar’s work to be problematic, but I have never taken him to be dismissive of the “proles.” A review in the Guardian sees some political satire here (but I take your point that the film may be a mess):

But the film can also be taken as a metaphor for ailing,
recession-struck Spain itself. “I wanted this to be a wacky comedy,
something escapist,” says Almodóvar. “But it is true there are things
that chime with the times.” An aircraft circles aimlessly in the sky,
its landing carriage damaged, awaiting the go-ahead for a crash landing.
The crew and first-class passengers drown their sorrows, confess their
sins and indulge in mescaline-fuelled sex while the tourist class drifts
into ignorant, drug-induced slumber. Almodóvar himself was surprised at
how the surreal backstories of the film’s main characters … increasingly resonate with the things Spaniards read daily in their newspapers.

“There was always the metaphor of a Spain that doesn’t know where it is heading, that doesn’t know where to land or who will be in charge, nor what the dangers are,” he says. But he did not foresee the raft of corruption
cases that have since afflicted everything from prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party to King Juan Carlos’s family. “Since we shot it, the film has actually gained in metaphoric relevance,” he says.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  singlestick
Fri, May 03, 2013 7:47pm

Metaphors are fine, but a story needs to work on its own merits, too. At least it does for me.

It’s weird that he finds rape “wacky.”

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, May 03, 2013 10:26pm

I agree with you that a story has to work own its own merits, as well as on a metaphorical or political level. Almodóvar, Luis Buñuel and other directors who have tried to work under repressive regimes often have to downplay or disguise the political aspects of their works. It may be that Almodóvar was not in control of his materials here.

I found the non-consensual sex involving a coma patient in his earlier “Talk to Her” to be very problematic. But he deals with the sexuality of his characters, straight, gay, and transgender often in controversial and challenging ways, and sometimes perhaps in ways that undermine his work.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  singlestick
Sun, May 05, 2013 3:19pm

There’s nothing “challenging” about the sexuality in this film.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, May 06, 2013 11:46pm

I still haven’t decided whether I will see this film when it is available locally; but if I do I will keep your excellent review in mind.

Fri, May 03, 2013 10:23am

An actual reason for circling would be to burn off fuel, to make the emergency landing safer. How odd that he should have picked a thing that does happen, but not have bothered to listen to the explanation for it.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  RogerBW
Fri, May 03, 2013 7:45pm

That’s not going on here at all.

Erik's Movie140
Sun, May 05, 2013 7:18pm

Good Review! This movie is a let down! The worst part is that even though I can’t speak a word of Spanish I can tell that the subtitles are absolutely disgraceful.

Susana Sebastian Galván See-Sc
Sun, May 05, 2013 10:24pm

You need to have an understanding of Spanish culture, as well as the current context of today’s Spain to enjoy this film. A lost of it, if you don’t know the language, the culture or sense of humour, is lost in translation. I thought the film was good, but then again, I am Spanish.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Susana Sebastian Galván See-Sc
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 1:36am

Can you explain what makes rape funny or romantic in Spain?