The movie that started it all, promo pic via Suzie Aim
Movies like ‘Green Hornet’ and ‘Your Highness’ have taken the slacker coming-of-age story to a new level of violence. They take the Judd Apatow everyman and make him an action hero. Hence you get chubbas like Seth Rogen and Danny McBride overcoming action hero challenges rather than the usual romantic comedy fare. Along the way, however, they do an awful lot of casual killing. Which I find a bit odd.
A lot of comedy – from Seinfeld to Clerks – is centered around people behaving badly. In the usual comedy this involves property damage, humiliation, etc. The modern action comedy takes this to a new level, where the heroes are actually killing people, often quite violently.
In the Green Hornet, the hero kills a man by forcing him out of a ten story window. In Your Highness he kills a friendly if sexually voracious Minotaur and cuts off his penis as a trophy. There are also assorted people killed in between.
This is nothing new for an action-comedy, but it is new for the slacker coming of age story. That, a la Knocked Up, generally involves a stoner bum getting his shit together to get a girl. This is also a fairly common real-life occurrence.
However, starting with Pineapple Express (for me) this storyline kinda merged with the usual death as problem solving motif of action films. Hence these hitherto peaceful types became thorough if improbable killing machines.
I mention this because killing is bad. For most superhero and kids movies, this moral issue is resolved by making violence non-lethal (Batman and Spiderman don’t kill) and/or exaggerated (Tom and Jerry). In Slacker Violence, however, the killing is realistic, gruesome and comical. And liberally applied.
Violence existed before movies and has probably decreased as media became moreso. That’s not what I mean. I just mean that it’s weird to see stoners killing people and having superhero sorta powers. These sorta chubby guys are beating up and killing people much stronger than them and bumbling through with more than the usual amount of pain.