The Weblog

Home for the heteronomous

Technically, Monday Movies Shouldn’t Be Getting Laid, But We Do

Monday Movies apologizes for the late, scant post.

We rented The Tao of Steve because I fell in love with Donal Logue in Terriers last year, and I wanted to see his breakthrough role, which I’d remembered as a well-received mellow indie romance. (He actually showed up in Sneakers, which was a fun surprise.) Holding an impressive tire on his waist, Logue plays Dex, a happy, flabby burnout philosophy student–his bookshelf suggests time at St. John’s in Santa Fe, though the school scenes were shot at The College of Santa Fe. He’s a confident seducer who lives by three rules which, together, constitute the Tao of Steve:

  1. Eliminate desire
  2. Be excellent in her presence
  3. After demonstrating excellence, retreat (we pursue that which retreats from us)

“Steve” in this case is the archetypal American masculine male: Steve McQueen, Steve McGarrett of Hawaii 5-0, and Six Million Dollar Man Steve Austin.

The first half of the film is charming, as Dex unfolds his philosophy for an acolyte while reacquainting himself with Syd, a girl he didn’t quite remember from his college days. But the predictable falls of the romantic comedy wear off the charm; soon, Syd and Dex are squabbling, their mutual friends are, like, “Stop flirting!” and we’re like, right?

It’s also hard to watch this in 2011, having endured Ross Jeffries and Neil Strauss and Mystery flaunting his feathers. Like The Tao of Steve, Strauss’s The Game ends with the seducer putting down his toolbox for a singular love.  Despite the final reversal, pickup artists valorize the movie; one even notes that in the lovely exchange about Kierkegaard and Don Giovanni, Syd employs better “game” than Taoist Dex. The movie was written by the real-life Steve, Duncan North, who doesn’t seem to have repented. I wish his movie’s conclusion had also been a little less pat.

So have you seen anything recently? You know, you look kind of like Emma Stone, just a little older and more round-faced. (See what I did there?)



September 12, 2011 - Posted by | Monday Movies | , , , ,


  1. We watched “The Green Hornet.” Going in to it, we didn’t have very high (hah! see what I did there!) expectations. Given our low horizons, we were pleasantly surprised. More or less a “Pineapple Express” with less pot and more awesome cars–plus an Asian martial arts wizard. The romantic angle (with the ever-hard-faced Cameron Diaz) was handled poorly; we much preferred Dale straight-up dumping Angie in “Pineapple Express” versus the odd competition between Dale and Kato for the affection of the hard-faced one. Edward James Olmos really seemed to be channelling Admiral Adama in his role. James Franco, as always, was hilariously fantastic. Too bad he had to die.

    Comment by Craig McFarlane | September 12, 2011

  2. This week, I watched Kubrick’s Paths of Glory, a Netflix DVD that had been sitting there for weeks. I was thinking that it was just a well-done anti-war propaganda film that was pretty predictable, etc., until the last ten minutes or so. Dax’s refusal of the promotion and then the song of the German woman are things I’m still processing. Ending the movie on a victimized woman was definitely very “Kubrick.” Watching his early films, I’m surprised by how many of those distinctive traits are already there — for instance, the ridiculous fight in a room full of mannequins in Killer’s Kiss felt like it would have been at home in one of the films from his classical period.

    We also watched Shadowboxer, which The Hairpin recommended one should watch in place of that Helen Mirren action movie that came out recently. It was far and away the shittiest movie I’ve ever watched. We don’t watch bad movies on purpose very often, so sticking with this was kind of an indulgence — there was a morbid fascination, a desire to see what ridiculous or pretensious thing would happen next. I honestly think the director thought he was making an art film, when in reality he was making a thriller without enough action and with a plot that made no sense whatsoever. Its saving grace was its 90-minute running time, which left relatively little space for tedious exposition that wouldn’t have made the movie any more comprehensible.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 12, 2011

  3. Couldn’t finish Tao of Steve, Pineapple Express, or Shadowboxer. Not going to even try GH, Saw Seth Rogen in Can’t Hardly Wait the other night, a rare example of someone moving from bits to leads

    9/06/11 – South of Pico – Ernst Gossner 2007 7/10
    very disturbing ensemble piece about how having a bad day can turn into a tragedy; won Black Film Awards
    9/07/11 – Stakeout – Nomura 1958 8/10
    2 detectives go to Kyushu to watch Takamine Hideko through a window, she’s 50 feet away for 2/3 of the movie;Nomura manages to throw a lot of social critique into a procedural
    9/08-09/11 – The Revolutionary – Oshima 1962 8/10
    about 1637 Christian massacres and rebellion in Kyushu;lots of torture, injustice and suffering; lots going on here; very slowly moving camera circles conversations in medium long shots and long takes + music with unresolved chords equals sense of doom like Night and Fog in Japan
    9/10/11 – Shîsaido môteru – Moriya 2010 6/10
    Look ma, what they have done to their language;actually the “ryokan” is a cheap nooner with a sign “Seaside Motel” in English;four thematicaly intersecting stories about characters in adjoining rooms; sex (Pg-13) and crime (R) comedy, sub-Ritchie, sub-Tarentino;but again, many shots are ten feet farther back than Americans would do
    9/12/11 – Miyamoto Musashi – Mizogucji 1944 8/10
    “monumental” bleh, but damn he makes perfect and gorgeous movies; 55 minutes of wonder

    Comment by bob mcmanus | September 12, 2011

  4. Also, another weird thing about The Tao of Steve — it feels as if it’s 10 years older than it is, from the late-80s-early-90s initial indie efflorescence. There’s a slightly amateur rebel-without-a-crew quality to it.

    Comment by Josh K-sky | September 12, 2011

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: