I must say one thing. Hollywood does know how to catch my attention. No I do not mean this in the generic sense of catching oneuh’s attehnshunuh as a viewer. I mean how to catch Ramesh Ram the film critic’s attention so that I may pay more attention to hollywood fare instead of wasting my time doing people, being places or watching magadheera.
Easy A is a guilty pleasure not becuase it distinguishes itself from the umpteen straight to HBO high school flics out there(which it does very effectively) but because its filled with goodies I can unwrap with squeals of delight.
For one the Public shcool (the Ojai high school: Nordhoff , conveniently named Ojai north is represented quite accurately as this bastion of white liberal poor who average out amazingly like the average pupil in america’s public schools, A wonder considering the number of upscale speciality schools in Ojai catering to kids of the super rich, and I love watching middle american high school kids depicted in Hollywood films(as opposed to their inane TV serials.) There is a very “closet pedophile projecting magical qualities to the current lot of 14-17 year olds ” to the scripting of most films in the genre.
And then Emma Stone (who is the casting coup of the film)- our own Jules from Superbad projects simultaneously qualities of innocence intelligence and raw teen sexuality(I would see it i occasionally in Selena Gomez(wizards of waverly place) but more in her still photos) that promises things that would lead you hormonally and blindly into a “to catch a predator” episode with MSNBC’s Chris Hansen. That she does this without “jailbait” written all over her, as it would be on gerls half as pretty as her but with a more “come hither” quality to their sexuality is more to her credit. Its difficult to pull off the “lindsay lohan before she turned plastic in mean girls” look throughout the film without losing the audience’s interest.
But its Ojai that is the true star of the movie to me. Sony’s screen gems, How did you know that you could draw me nto a film by merely featuring my Ojai- Land of dreams, every grai of orange seed and horse manure stained soil an attractor calling to me from across the country in silent plea to come back home..who can ignore that call…and for how long!
The secret to Ojai is that there is only one street in it. every establishment on the one street – the movie theater, the ice cream parlor, the boutique which changes hands from being owned by thoroughly impractical though talented designers, the Ojai School board building next to the gas station selling ridiculously overpriced gas, the Park, the Ojai valley sign from which you can see the valley by just driving to it(and not hiking like normal people would) ..all are Icons like the mission architecture of the strip mall on main street ..or the lobster place next to the public library. I was squealing throughout the film because they shot the entire film in a mile long strip you can see in half an hour on a run up from ventura on a sunday morning.
Where’s the hidden ojai ? I demanded where’s upper ojai? where are the orange groves and the horse farms where are the backstreets and the dirt roads? where are the spanish – mediterranean views that creep on you like a mountain breeze and catch your breath! I then realized that this is the projection of the tourist Ojai. for foolish money to come in and sink way more than fair value into estates, houses and Horse farms, buying into the myth sold by stays at the ojai valley inn and runs up from Santa Barbara. They’re trying to make Ojai the San Diego of Socal north(help!! Someone stop them!!) But that apart. Nostalgia and a siren song from my homeland in the US was fun! Thanks Sony’s Screen gems!
The film is a hollywood version of a highschool movie. there are product placements and tributes to 70’s movies. The party line being sold is a very hollywood party line(is sony the most hollywood of all major studios these days?) – we have pretty women but they are wholesome pretty women even if they have reputations(oh yeah? tell that to the judge) and some of them (hello Patricia Clarkson!) have entirely deserving ones. and that race or religion stuff? we don’t care about.
And that trope of the high school film where the main charecter tells the person they have real feelings for “my life is really messed up right now but I want that last kiss of the film with you” ? its there.