Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cue The Stubbly-Bearded, Reprobate Pothead Brother

"What's up with Anna?" Philippe and Paquin Puffing in Straight A's
Ryan Philippe started his career playing the first gay teenager on a soap opera and broke through in teen hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer. He was very good in Gosford Park, and in Anti-Trust (2001), a prescient edge-of-your seat thriller about computer spying with Tim Robbins as a Gates-esque character. I also liked Philippe in Homegrown, with Billy Bob Thornton as a pot grower in Northern California. (It got crazy violent by the end but had some good acting and scripting.)

In 2006, Phillippe played real-life Navy corpsman John Bradley in the war film Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood, about the journey of the United States Marines who lifted the flag at the battle of Iwo Jima. In a situation akin to Robert Mitchum playing a war hero in The Story of G.I. Joe and then getting caught with pot, Philippe was caught on camera puffing pot outside a Malibu restaurant in a 2007 Us magazine spread.

Philippe didn't go to jail like Mitchum did, but the next thing you know he and Reese split and now he's making movies like Straight A's, out this year and viewable on Netflix. In it he plays Scott, the irresponsible, near crazy pot-smoking brother who literally rides in on a horse to save the day (after the usual twists and turns, heartfelt scenes with kids, and "will he show up this time?" nail-biting moments).

Anna Paquin plays Katherine, the wife who settled for the less challenging brother William (Luke Wilson, in a funny twist since he played the pot dealer in 1997's Bongwater). Katherine is uptight and prone to freaking out, while Wilson is clueless and hot to trot (yes, it's written by a man). But Paquin is good in the scene where Katherine and Scott smoke pot by the pool. Afterwards, she suddenly has the urge to go to the Farmers' Market and cook for her family, and is sweeter and more inclusive with her daughter. (As the Marijuana Moms are now saying on talk shows everywhere, smoking pot can actually make you a better parent.)

The scene  is reminiscent of Owen Wilson getting Sarah Jessica Parker stoned in The Family Stone(d), Paul Rudd in My Idiot Brother, or Bette Midler in The Women. The shaman shows up to set everyone straight, or at least asking the right questions, so now what?

There only two ways movies like this end: everyone goes back to their "responsible," capitalist and mind-numbingly boring ways, or someone dies. Since Straight A's is set in Texas and both a Black and a Latina are depicted as servants to the rich whities that inhabit the film, it's not hard to figure out that this movie isn't headed towards a realistic end. Still, it has some good moments, the kids are terrific, and yeah, Phillippe is as hot as Louisiana ashpault.

He's currently in post-production a film he wrote and directed called Shreveport, based on his experiences filming Straight A's there. According to Wikipedia, he has been attached to a number of possible future film roles, including Chronicle, a film "about two childhood friends who reunite to launch the biggest marijuana dealership in New York City." I'm not that interested in stories about smugglers and dealers, but it sounds at least a bit more interesting.

I can't find any connection between marijuana and Paquin, but interestingly, the Urban Dictionary says:
Derived from the Central Valley in California, Anna Paquin, Anna, or just Paquin basically means pack a bowl (of marijuana). Comes from the actress Anna Paquin, and the words "Pack one". When you want to pack/smoke a bowl you say "Paquin", "Anna", "whats up with Anna?", etc. Any form of the name will work.

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