'The Avengers' and 'Magic Mike': Libby Gelman-Waxler discusses hot summer movies
It may still be early May, but after The Avengers smashed the box-office last weekend, it’s officially summer at the movies. Marvel’s superhero mash-up has raised the bar, and there’s still plenty of enormous blockbusters on the way. The Dark Knight Rises. The Amazing Spider-Man. Prometheus. Magic Mike? Not surprisingly, EW’s Libby Gelman-Waxner is highest on Channing Tatum’s star-studded male stripper movie. She explains her excitement for the “Citizen Kane of male stripper movies,” and answers your pop-cultural questions below.
I realize you may be feeling overwhelmed by the number of summer movies coming out, so let me classify them for you:
1) Magic Mike
2) Movies that are not Magic Mike
Let’s discuss Magic Mike. As a heterosexual woman, my first, obvious, observation is: Of course the handsomest guy in this movie, Matt Bomer from White Collar, is the gay one. Of course.
But my question is: Am I supposed to want this movie to be good? Because there’s a part of me, the John Waters part, that wants this to be another Showgirls. Showboys, if you will. But what if it’s good? Also, the trailer is giving me a bad feeling about it. It seems to be another rom-com with some jiggle in it, like a male version of Coyote Ugly. I hated Coyote Ugly.
Your thoughts? If Joe Manganiello takes enough clothes off, will you give it a positive write-up, even if it’s terrible?
Dear Cindy –
Let me just say this: while I haven’t seen Magic Mike yet, I already consider it to be the Citizen Kane of male stripper movies. I don’t understand why people are even mentioning the Summer Olympics, the upcoming elections, or the male bicep competition on display in The Avengers, when they could be talking about Magic Mike. And I don’t know why, after President Obama spoke so movingly about his support for gay marriage, that Robin Roberts didn’t reply, “Blah blah blah, but aren’t you just dying to see Magic Mike?”
As for the casting of Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, and Joe Manganiello, all hopefully in g-strings, I could never possibly pick a favorite, because male strippers are like Pokémon cards or Beanie Babies, and you have to collect them all. And I don’t think of Magic Mike in terms of Showgirls or Coyote Ugly; I’m going with Platoon or Little Women, only with waxed chests and velcroed police uniforms. And I’m praying that one guy is stripping his way through medical school, and that another guy gets drunk and falls off the runway, and that finally all of the strippers pull together and become a family and strip to rebuild a local orphanage, and that someone declares, “We’re gonna help those kids because, dammit, that’s what male strippers do.”
The fact is, whether Magic Mike is good or bad, I intend to love it with every part of my body, because there isn’t a self-respecting woman or gay man in the universe who would ever say, “Nah, I don’t want to see a movie about male strippers.”
Dear Miss Libby,
I enjoyed your article about the Three Stooges, “Boys & Girls” in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. I even got a good chuckle out of the ending paragraph. I don’t know why but the Three Stooges is something that most guys love and most women hate. Guys have an old saying, “if you find a girl that likes the Three Stooges, marry her”.
Keep up the good work.
Don in Oklahoma
Dear Don –
Thank you for being so sweet, because I know that sometimes, readers who post online can become a little feisty, if not downright psychotic. But whenever a reader says something mean, I always try to be forgiving and compassionate. I try to picture that person, using their ragged fingernails to chip the dried nacho cheese off their laptop, and nibbling the results. I want to hug that person, because I know that whether they’re a man or a woman, they’re wearing pleated khakis, tube socks, and yesterday’s underwear. I want to tell that person, I completely understand your rage, because it can’t be easy, being habitually ignored by your tropical fish, and knowing that, even though you can’t prove it, those rotating chairs on The Voice were your idea, and wondering why Joss Whedon hasn’t written back, after you sent him those 50 pages of detailed notes on why Buffy should be in the next Avengers movie. I want to help that person, by assuring them that if someday, we can harness the bitterness and envy of the internet, the planet won’t need any alternative fuels.
I usually love your opinion, but your Josh is right about Game of Thrones! I am a woman who loves this show, and my husband and I look forward to it every Sunday. Yes, the terrain can sometimes be dark and bleak, but I think the costumes are stunning. It is witty (Tyrion), sexy, dramatic, intriguing, and the opening sequence itself is a work of art. Not to say there aren’t moments meant to make you squirm, such as blood and guts and everyone coming down with a case of the molesties. Watch it. If you don’t like it, there’s always The Good Wife.
Winter is coming…
Dear Laura –
I have to make a terrible confession: when I insulted Game of Thrones, I only did it to upset my husband Josh and the zillions of other people who love the Game of Thrones books and the HBO series. I secretly admire the Thrones fans, because they’re deeply passionate, and because I once caught Josh pretending to wield a broadsword and vanquish a dining room chair. Thrones people like to thunder and cajole and conspire, and yesterday I overheard Josh murmuring to a Sunday morning bagel, “I shall devour ye and all thy kindred and forevermore, those who seek brunch will bow low!”
Devoted fans of any show or comic book or video game tend to be hypersenstive, and they enjoy having lengthy arguments about the effect oft zero gravity on capes and about how many times a zombie can come back to life and about whether it’s better to slaughter your enemies or to enslave them (I vote for enslavement, and forcing my vanquished foes to scour the grout in my bathroom tile.) Lately, because there have been so many awesomely scaled pop movies, everyone’s been turning into superfans. I recently watched the trailers for the upcoming Batman, Spider-Man and Battleship movies, and all around me, everyone was trying to decide whether Tom Hardy, as the Batman villain Bane, was scarier that Heath Ledger’s Joker, and if Andrew Garfield was tall enough and cute enough to be the rebooted Spidey. (I say yes, especially from behind.) But the movie which got the crowd truly excited was Prometheus, which might be a sort-of prequel to the Alien movies. Prometheus looks great because instead of crosstown buses exploding in 3-D, it seems to have ghostly spaceships, weirdly-shaped pods hatching into dripping, fanged creatures, and Charlize Theron looking haughty and worried. After watching so many bad guys smashing their way through Manhattan, maybe it’s time to return to deep space.