It’s really not that hard to get drunk in a movie theater.
I mean, there was a period in my life where I wouldn’t go see a movie without sneaking in a bottle of water, and that’s easy enough. And you know what looks like water? Vodka. Just empty a couple plastic water bottles, fill them with vodka, and off you go. If you’re not keen on drinking your vodka straight like I am, just pick up one of those big slurpy deals and mix in the good stuff as you go. Easy peasy.
So when my roommate said to me, “Hey, let’s get drunk and see that Katy Perry movie in 3D,” I figured what the hell? Why not? I mean, Katy Perry is an insanely attractive woman, and I can think of far worse things to be doing whilst drunk than watching her dance around on a gigantic screen for an hour and a half.
Well, I guess I was disappointed. In the movie, I mean; not in Katy Perry’s hotness. She’s still one hot firecracker.
The movie, though, was advertised as this diary-like look into the life of a pop star, and honestly, even without the whole drinking thing, that was kind of intriguing to me. Especially considering the whole Russell Brand marriage/divorce fiasco. I guess I wanted to see what Katy Perry would consider to be a personal and intimate look behind the curtain of her life.
Actually, that brings me to the first of my complaints. You see, Katy was given producer credit on the film (Actually, co-producer according to IMDB, but I seem to remember the producer title being prominently attached to her name during both the opening and the end credits. Then again, I was drunk at the time.) But right away, I recognized the danger here: Sure, we’re looking into a person’s life, but that person has control over everything we’re seeing.
Now, answer this question for me: If you had complete control over a documentary that was about you, would you show all the ugly stuff, or would you tidy up your life a bit for the cameras? If you said you’d show the ugly stuff, you’re a liar. Especially if you’re insanely attractive and make tons of money based off the fact that people like you.
And that was my main beef with the film. It didn’t feel totally honest to me. I mean, it let you into Katy’s life, but it was a bit like peering through a keyhole into a room that’s been set up to look particularly good through that keyhole.
Sure, we saw a couple moments of her in turmoil during her breakup with Russell, and she was even crying and not wearing any makeup. Still, the already short film pretty much breezed through this part of her life without really letting us know how Katy felt about the whole thing. In fact, it was hard to even say what the initial cause of the divorce was (other than that Russell filed on account of “irreconcilable differences,” which actually sounds kind of hilarious if you imagine it being said in Russell’s voice.) I mean, we’re ultimately brought to the conclusion that Katy’s tour was creating a huge rift between the two of them, but it seems like the whole section of the film is just glossed over.
I felt the same way about her Pentecostal Christian upbringing. This was an element of the film that I was legitimately interested in, and I never really felt like I got inside Katy’s head here. And I wanted to. Dear lord, how I wanted to. In fact, the trailers even emphasized this, like it was going to be a big part of the film. The fact that it wasn’t was extremely disappointing for me.
Now, I’m going to explain what felt, to me, like the one true second of brilliance in the film, even though I doubt it was intentional. Right after we see Katy crying over her breakup, she’s forced to perform in front of thousands of fans. She’s trying to regain her composure before she’s lifted onto the stage in an elevator-type deal, and, as she’s struggling to fight back the tears. There’s a moment of hesitation where we wonder if she’s going to back down at the last minute, then the candy cane thingies on her boobs start spinning.
My thought here was, “Oh my God, how completely inappropriate.” I mean, here’s a woman struggling through one of the most intensely emotional and difficult moments of her life, and all of a sudden we’re distracted by spinning boobies. The sheer contrast between the despair of Katy Perry the human being and the objectification of Katy Perry the sex symbol made me sick to my stomach. It’s like telling a fart joke at a funeral. In fact, it’s like telling a situationally inappropriate fart joke where the punchline is something about it smelling like death.
This one moment was like a brief yet disturbing glimpse into the real life of Katy Perry, a woman who’s putting on a show though she most likely wants to curl up in the fetal position and just hide from the world. And that’s what I wanted from this movie. I wanted to see a woman wrestling daily with her faith, with her overbearing Christian parents. I wanted to see a woman torn apart by a marriage that didn’t work out. I wanted to see a woman who seems like a real person to me.
Now, this might sound kind of sadistic, but to be honest, I felt like these were things promised to me by the movie’s advertising. In fact, I left the movie feeling like those were the things that were probably very real to Katy Perry, but that we weren’t allowed to see more than a brief glimpse of.
And to top it all off, there’s this element of fantasy to the whole thing. She claims at the very beginning of the film to be sort of in love with this idea of fantasy, right? And we see her build this fantasy of hers through the course of the film, ultimately culminating in her fairytale marriage to the super-cool Russell Brand (a guy so cool that he allegedly throws iPhones through windows. He doesn’t give a fuck; he’s Russell!) Katy’s basically living in a Disney movie, and her stage presence, decorations, and outfits all reflect this. But then that fantasy is destroyed when the relationship ends in divorce.
What I want to know here is what did Katy learn from all this? I mean, the moment of brilliance that I described earlier seems to be dimmed by the fact that she’s at this point perpetuating a fantasy that she no longer believes in. She’s just going through the motions. She’s telling an entire generation of impressionable females that life is supposed to be like a Disney movie, even though she knows it’s not.
She touches on this very briefly in an interview toward the end of the film, which, in my opinion, is the most candid interview we’re allowed to see. Still, I feel like there’s so much complexity to this idea, and that we barely scratch the surface of it. And to be fair, I feel like Russell probably understood that. Or at least he seemed to during an interview he had with Howard Stern shortly after the divorce went public.
Did the film’s producers (Katy included) just feel that their target audience was not really made up of people who like to think about complex issues? That’s probably valid. Still, it doesn’t feel completely honest to me.
Now, I’m going to be a bit more open here than I’m typically comfortable being on the Internet.
I want really badly to be able to relate to Katy Perry. I mean, I actually feel like we have some things in common. There’s a big part of me that wonders if maybe I just want to see her wrestle internally with the residue of a Pentecostal Christian upbringing because I still wrestle internally with the residue of my own Pentecostal Christian upbringing. Do I want to see her completely destroyed by a failed marriage because I was completely destroyed by my own failed marriage?
Do I want to see this woman crucified, the Passion of Katy Perry, because there’s a part of me that would find some sort of emotional reprieve from it? I don’t know, but I’m willing to admit that this is completely possible.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I probably over-analyzed the Katy Perry film. And the point in getting drunk at this thing was so that I could not over-analyze it and just appreciate it for what it was. I guess I probably wasn’t quite drunk enough.