Written by Kelli
Let’s get something straight first. I don’t really hate Justin Rice in real life. I only hate the roles he plays in films. (Don’t hate the player, hate the game.) Not even that he is bad at what he does. He embodies it so totally that it makes me loathe him every time I see a smile creep out the side of his mouth. Him and his perfect incisors. God.
Anyway, Rice consistently plays the coveted struggling musician who everybody thinks is way cool. Or, he is the tortured writer who is never morally reprehensible, and if he is, it is for the sake of his art. Sure. He dated the Swedish model from American Apparel in Let Them Chirp Awhile because she actually knew who Ingmar Bergman was. Not because of her mile-long legs and sexy accent. Conversely, I’m not sure why she dated him in that movie, except maybe because she had a nerd fetish.
In any event, I am going to draw from two movies that I love in general and hate in specific to explain why I am a self-loathing follower of Mumblecore. Let Them Chirp Awhile and Mutual Appreciation can both be found on Netflix streaming and I promise will supply you with 2 hours each of exclamations like, “So-and-so is totally like that character!” or “I could write a better script than this,” or even more likely, “This is dumb” followed by your rapt attention as two characters that aren’t that much better looking than you have a conversation you had just last week.
It’s like waxing nostalgic about something in the not-so-distant past. You know you shouldn’t do it and it feels narcissistic and pretentious. If you have never done it, I can tell you it feels a bit like buying a “vintage” sweater at Urban Outfitters. You know you shouldn’t, but if no one else knows, you can totally pull it off and will probably only chastise yourself for it once or twice.
Mumblecore is a genre of film slowly growing in popularity and sure to truly take off in September when Cyrus comes out. It is usually about interpersonal relationships amongst overly verbose twenty-somethings and features meh-looking actors/actresses shot with low-fi equipment. Begin my first attraction/problem with Justin Rice.
Justin Rice is Exactly Attractive/Ugly Enough
Justin’s characters look and act like an amalgam of men we all know. He has enough of a lisp to come off effeminate without actually being assumed as gay. A bulk of his scenes are reactionary, simply dropping his jaw or smiling uncomfortably because of the onslaught of a more vocal and egregious character. His lines are delivered in a halting manner with a lot of him running his hands being run through his hair. This guy has prematurely failed at life and chicks eat up that self-deprecating shit.
He is uncomfortable. He is diffident. He pauses before he answers to give his words more levity. Even if they are things like, “Buying something is easier than making something.” Really? Didn’t the Ford family figure that out and make millions off of it, like decades ago? Of course, all of these mannerisms are endlessly endearing to certain people.
However, he is not one to turn a girl’s head when walking down the street, laying on the beach, or at the gym. Of course, Rice’s characters wouldn’t be caught dead in any of these situations. They would be: riding their fixed-gear bicycle, catching rays on a rooftop in the city, or doing the PBR hammer press.
Yes, it is called a hammer press when your fist moves in a vertical manner, similar to chugging a brew. It is called a bicep curl when your fist is horizontal to your face. I know this because I work out, in order maintain my guy. It’s a struggle to land someone. Which brings me to my second point:
Girls Fall All Over Him and He Acts Like He is Surprised
Say hello to Clay. Or Blake. Or Walter. Or whatever name your pretentious friend in a band goes by, who barely talks to chicks, apparently uses up all his social energies onstage, and yet magnetically draws all said chicks to him at the band’s afterparty while you waste your best one-liners on your gal pal from the office that has already heard them 10 times.
In both Let them Chirp Awhile and Mutual Appreciation, Rice’s character is oblivious to overtures from a variety of women. Most of them are friends first, but that is a topic for the little box down at the bottom of this post. I love the depiction of the poorly attended, but well received (for his Asian girlfriend, Yeah, Baby!), rock show in Mutual Appreciation as well as the flood of pussy that attacks Rice while he moons over a bisexual chick that so obviously would rather eat out Courtney Love than do him in Let Them Chirp Awhile.
This guy is no underwear model. But his oh-shucks personae coupled with his vivacity either expressed onstage or via his passionate monologues about music or writing are a double-whammy for those ladyfolks. And a total cockblock for, oh, every other guy in the room. Why? Because he doesn’t overtly choose any one lady to aggressively pursue and so every lady thinks she has a chance with him. Genius? I don’t really think so. I think this dude is just confident enough to balance his recent local fame with his crushing shyness that plagued him through high school.
Basically, he doesn’t know what to do with more than one pair of fluttering eyelashes at a time. Tell ya what. If you are the bro, bandmate, kickball teammate or guy in the vicinity – pull up a chair and scavenge from the remaining chicks left standing after this dude has gone home to practice some chords or he drinks himself into a passed-out stupor on the couch. One-liners after 5 a.m. seem so much more funny. What I’m saying is, he will probably make out with one or two chicks and then not know what to do with himself. Take advantage, brother, it is the American way.
In any event, I have compiled a list of items for the Justin Rice character in your life to read, just in case he truly is oblivious to the female contingent. This is:
MAXIM FOR MUMBLECORE MEN:
|Yeah, you’re the guy with all the girls-as-friends. You don’t know what’s up, but none of them seem to be into you. What the frak. If you understood that reference, then you probably need to read this list for some tips on how to deal with the opposite species.
1. She listens to your witty repartee at 3 in the a.m.
If your gal pal is listening to your Simpsons one-liners for the nth time at an afterparty, that means she likes you. D-oh!
2. She invites herself over to your apartment to “borrow” something.
3. She calls to tell you some inane story.
4. She compliments you on your sweet new shoes or man-bag.
5. She mentions she’s great at sex in the conversation.
6. She takes a swig from your brew.
7. She meets you for drinks wearing her skinny jeans and leotard.
8. She flirts with your friends.
10. She seductively eats a banana or ice cream cone in front of you.
Every girl has utilized a popsicle to her advantage at one time or another. Sorry guys, we ain’t that innocent.
*Actual suggestion from Neil Strauss’s “The Game.”