Thursday, October 11, 2012

American Anthem - Part 2

Last time we checked in with Mitch Gaylord, he was sneaking into the gym while smoking.

Immediately afterwards, Barbie shows up at Tops, and her coaches greet her by giving her a big hug... And a cassette tape. It turns out that the Hoff has selected Barbie's music, and she's angry. She's all like, "Whine. Whine Whine. We don't get to choose our music here. WTF? This is a violation of my first amendment right to the freedom of expression!"

Julie (aka Barbie) turns to Becky for some moral support. (Side note: It seems like every girl's name ends in the "ee" sound.) She wants Becky to be just as outraged as she is, but Becky shuts her down with a good zinger and a 1980s bitchface.

"Cry me a river and STFU."

Even though Becky wants to kill Julie, the prima donna agrees to give the spoiled brat a tour of the gym. You never know when you might have a chance to hip check your competition into a low bar or bury her in a pit of foam blocks.

After the gym scene, Barbie heads to her cousin's place, where Ginger Cousin just happens to be composing 80s synthesizer music. After Barbie's outburst in the gym about her floor music, we can all see where this is going... a very pervy place. It turns out that the two have not seen each other in years, and well, Ginger Cousin likes what he sees. Seriously, you don't look at your cousin like that!

Or maybe you do. At first, I wanted to condemn Ginger Cousin for his incestuous tendencies, but the writers did their research. In Arizona, you can marry your cousin if you are both over the age of 65 or if you can prove that one of the cousins is unable to reproduce.
Maybe Ginger Cousin plans to wait until he's 65 to ask for Barbie's hand? Maybe Barbie's barren? Or maybe Ginger Cousin doesn't have any swimmers?

I don't really want to think too much about those questions, nor do I want to think about why Ginger Cousin's shirt says "Bayshore Friction."
Clearly, someone is advertising his desire to get laid.

Anyway, after Ginger Friction pops a B looking at his cousin, Julie magically finds herself in Becky's VW bug convertible. What the fuck? The two, after spending a few minutes together in the gym, became instant BFFs. 'Cause that's totally believable.

And this isn't your typical elite gymnast friendship. This is a far cry from what existed between, say, Kerri Strug and Betty Okino. In 1992, their friendship consisted of fake hugs that were extremely uncomfortable for gym fans to watch.

But that's not how Barbie and Becky interact… Oh, no! Barbie and Becky have a "I'm going to word vomit my rich girl problems all over your dashboard" kind of friendship. Barbie's problems, of course, are rather trivial compared to the AIDS epidemic of the 80s. She simply doesn't like her circus floor routine music. (You can hear it here at the 2:00 mark.)

After oh-so-subtly setting up one of the main plot points–Woman vs. Floor Music–Becks and Barbie head for a giant party, where all the invitees drive gas-guzzling monster trucks of some sort.

Conveniently, Kirk and Mitch (aka Steve) are there, as well, and when Mitch sees Barbie, he ditches Kirk, who proceeds to stare at Mitch's ass as he walks away.
Can you blame him?

Mitch approaches Barbie, and guess what the first words out of his mouth are... "Hi, I saw you at the gym today." Ummmmmmmm, that's not creepy. Not at all. And Barbie's like, "You were there?"

Mitch was all like, "Yeah, I was just watching." Again, not creepy at all. And Julie's all like, "I gotta go find my friend." By friend, I think she meant, "I need to go find this guy and bone down with him in the bed of his pickup truck."
Wardrobe malfunction!

Striking out, Kirk and Mitch decide to blow each other blow the joint and head for a big high school bonfire rager. As I suspected, Kirk and Mitch get boys-gone-wild CRAZY, and each puts back a beer. Then, they begin to talk about Man Pain Mitch's daddy issues. His dad has been laid off for a while now, and Mitch has no desire to go back to school or to gymnastics.

I feel like I should care about that scene, but I don't. Instead, I spent most of the scene taking screen shots. Like these:

The acting is just too painful to watch.

The next day, the Hoff announces that he has been selected to be the head coach of the U.S. team at the World Championships in Rotterdam. Again, who cares? Not I. Personally, I'm dying to know how Stacy Maloney can sweat without dampening his hair.
I mean, when I work out, I am a MESS. Red face. Sweaty Hair. Atrocious smell. I have to pay my personal trainer a little extra to come within 5 feet of me. But not Kirk (aka Stacy Maloney). His hair is always perfect.
 Still to this day, his hair is perfect. The 80s will never die in Wisconsin.

Back at the Tevere ranch, we meet Mitch's mom, who seems pretty badass. She's not afraid of driving a pickup truck and hauling some hay. Unforutnately, I think that Mitch would like to take a tumble in the hay with his mom.

There's more squinting. There's more nonchalant posing. And he rests his arm on the car door like guys do when they are trying to hit on the driver. Bow chicka wow wow! It doesn't help that he's all like, "I'm going to be the man of this house 'cause Pops isn't."

Then, he goes inside to prove that he's the man of the house... by throwing shit all over the kitchen. This includes cracking an egg with his teeth, sucking out the yolk, and throwing the shell against the wall. Nothing says "man of the house" like getting salmonella. Let me tell you...

And nothing says "man of the house" like rubbing salt in someone's wounds. After his father hears the raucous, he rightfully scolds his son, and then, brings up the fact that Mitch didn't go to work today. As we know, Mitch decided to climb on the roof of Tops and trespass yet again. Instead of apologizing to his father, he does what any good son would do. He says to his unemployed father...
Angry Mitch looks a lot like a chipmunk.

Unbeknownst to us, Mitch then changes out of his leather jacket and into his old football jersey. And he decides to escape from his problems by taking a nap, but his life before his father lost his job haunts him. He dreams of his days as a jock football player, and as he does so, his body sweats without wetting his hair. (How the F do they do this?)

Never sleep with a mouth-breather, kids.

When escapism in the form of sleep doesn't work, Man Pain Mitch decides that a girl will make everything better, and he heads to Tops to ask Barbie out.

At first, Becky's all like, "PICK ME! PICK ME!" But then she realizes that Mitch is there to pick up Barbie. The pair go on a little road trip into the boonies. Again, totally safe. They've spent like 15 seconds talking to each other, and little does Barbie know that Mitch has been watching her from afar. LIKE A TOTAL STALKER. And little does Barbie know that Moody Mitchy has rage issues.

Thankfully, Moody Mitchy is quite pleasant during the excursion, and they use their time together to get to know each other. That doesn't mean that Mitch doesn't have ulterior motives, though. It isn't long before Mitch teaches us a thing or two about being smooth. I must quote this conversation in full because it is just that good.

Mitch: Did you leave anyone behind? 
Barbie: WHAT!?
Mitch: Do you have a boyfriend?
Barbie: No.
Mitch: Do you want one?

And that, my friends, is how you get the girl.

Perhaps Barbie should have spent less time with Mitch and more time with her floor music 'cause the next day is a rough practice for her. (Or, if this were Make It or Break It, she would have asked Mitch for help with her routine.) Instead, she just gives her the coach the Bitch Face as she hands over her cassette.
And before Barbie steps on the floor, she and Becky give each other a super secret handshake
 I love the fact that Janet Jones cannot do this handshake without a cheeky look on her face.

The handshake would be cute, if you're, like, 11. But Barbie and Becky have boobs! They're women! And, besides, when have they had time to make up a secret handshake? They barely know each other!

Anyway, Barbie's told that she doesn't know how to dance. Color me surprised. No one has taken the time to teach her the choreography in the movie. Nonetheless, she is expected to know it, and since she doesn't, she's put on the equivalent of a tumbling timeout. She needs to go practice each move in slow motion off in the corner.

Obviously, Barbie is indignant, but since she's stubborn like most gymnasts are, she refuses to give up. So, when she sees Becky vaulting, alone, after practice, without a coach, (totally safe) Barbie asks her BFF for help. Like a true friend, Becky offers to meet on Sunday, when she will be working out at the gym. Alone. Without a coach. Which is perfectly safe and standard practice. (MIOBI writers, your TV show makes so much more sense. I now know where all your crazy ideas came from.)

By the way, there is a pommel horse in the gym. It just doesn't have any mats under it. Either the gymnasts are so good that they never fall, or they never use it.

Barbie cannot wait until Sunday to practice. Sometimes, you just need to dance it out, and you need to dance it out RIGHT NOW. So, Barbie heads to her Ginger Friction's pad, which just happens to be a dance studio. Her cousin lays some beats. Not a euphemism, even though he is making a creepy "Oh" face while he plays.

And Barbie pants and moans and sweats out her emotions. Because of her cousin's beats, she is left ravished on the floor.

And her cousin, quite pleased with his performance, has a creepy post-coital look on his face.

Definitely a mood killer.

As expected, the titillation quickly wears off, and shit gets real. Barbie and Friction begin talking about the car accident that left Friction in his Frankestein-like state. Barbie apologizes for how things were handled after the accident, and her cousin Arthur reveals that her family treated him like a monster after his parents died, so he decided to stay in Flagstaff. Plus, he doesn't mind the insurance money.


Is Cousin Friction just honest? Or a d-bag? I can't decide, and before I can give it more thought, Mitch honks his horn. (Not a euphemism) And Barbie leaves her cousin--only to keep an eye on him from outside.
While being a creepy voyeur outside Friction's apartment, Barbie opens up to Mitch and tells him about the car accident that killed her aunt and uncle and left her cousin severely injured. Instead of crying or feeling remorse, she throws herself on top of Mitch, and for a hot second, all the sexual tension in the movie is released.

I like how they have to practically black out the screen for a kiss, but when it comes to banging, well, that's okay to show. Just you wait!

With that first kiss, I will end this part of the summary. While you wait for me to review the next segment of the movie, may your hair remain undampened by your sweat, may your relationships be... legal?, and may your friends feel comfortable enough to word vomit all over your dashboard.

For part 3, click here.

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