Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don’t have to. In the past, I’ve taken on anime cancer demons, softcore Iraq War porn and racist ventriloquism, and this week, it’s the least sexy pajama party ever marketed on DVD.
COMIC BOOK PAJAMA PARTY (2004)
Starring: Every stereotype about women who read comics coming true right before your eyes.
After last week’s shocking installment where I actually enjoyed a Worst of Netflix selection, I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe, the flicks that have earned the one-star ratings might have more to offer than I’d previously thought. Sure, I’ve only had one enjoyable film come across my desk in nine months of doing this column, but if it can bring me the pure joy of Sherlock Holmes fighting a robot dinosaur, anything’s possible.
That’s why this week, I decided to press my luck and go with a movie that looked like it had been scientifically designed to appeal to my tastes, which is how, at the suggestion of a WON reader, a copy of Comic Book Pajama Party found its way to my mailbox. I’ll admit, a 52-minute living-room romp with women sitting around in their jammies, getting blitzed on rosé and talking about Batman seemed like it might just be the perfect film. After sitting through it, though, I can confirm that it earned every bit of its 1.7-star rating, which is only even that high because the producer showed up to leave a five-star review in the comments.
I’ll give the producers this: As promised, the women in the movie are actual comics readers talking about the comics they like. But in my excitement, I’d forgotten a lesson that six years of working in a comic book store taught me: 90% of the time, listening to actual comics readers talking about the comics they like is absolutely insufferable, even when it’s not being seen through a handheld camcorder that goes out of focus at every opportunity.
To make matters worse, the women in the movie manage to hit every female comics reader cliché like they’re actually trying to make a drinking game out of it, from the woman whose key point in a discussion of super-heroine body types is “That’s the way I’m built and that’s why I’m good in Byzantine and Renaissance garb” to “Bunny”…
…the goth girl with a rabbit-ear headband, Death-esque eyeliner and Wicked Witch tights who tries to relate every discussion to Neil Gaiman or Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. I don’t know these women, but I know these women, to the point where after two minutes, I could tell you not only what comics they were going to spend the rest of the movie discussing, but which ones had LiveJournal accounts devoted entirely to erotic fan-fiction.
Before any actual pajamming is done, the women are introduced to the viewer at the local comic shop, where the filmmakers, to their credit, ask the tough questions that really tell us something about them, and don’t just drop them right into the geek stereotype.
From there on out, it’s basically just watching someone’s home video of a nerdy theme party with circa-2000 Windows Movie Maker effects thrown in to accentuate the fact that you’re watching a couple of half-drunk people talk over someone’s third-hand recounting of Larry Niven’s Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex…
….although they do make a good-faith attempt at titillation, taking a moment during a discussion of sexism in the way female characters are portrayed in comics by showing close-up of the cute girl sucking a lollipop while she reads an issue of the truly abysmal Lady Death:
Eventually, after 52 minutes that feel a whole lot like four and a half hours, the women finish their baking and a half-hearted game of Twister (yes, really) and the credits roll, and we learn a little about these women that have changed our lives. We learn that Michelle is “a certified lunatic,” which means that she owns a lot of black t-shirts with allegedly clever phrases in white writing, and we learn that Kim “drives horse carriages and draws manga,” because of course she does.
But most of all, we learn a valuable lesson about how the women who like comics can be just as annoying as the men. And really, isn’t that what feminism’s all about?
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|