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Project X

March 3, 2012

Remember Corey Worthington? If not, in 2008 while his parent were out of town Worthington, then 16 years old, threw a massive party in his parents’ home in Melbourne, Australia. A reported 500 guests showed up and nearly started a riot when cops were called. According to news reports, the party goers began to throw stones and bottles at cop cars and terrorized the neighborhood by urinating in yards, damaging property, and being an overall nuisance. An air team, dog squad, and back up were called resulting in a $20,000 fine to Worthington from the police. After the party Worthington was interviewed by an Australian news show to which he showed the world how much he basked in his own douchebaggery. Decked out in beach blonde hair, an Ed Hardy type hat, neon yellow sunglasses and a fur jacked opened just enough to show off his bare chest and nipple ring, Worthington dodged blamed for the party’s antics and refused to take off his glasses during the interview because they were “famous.”

Dubbed by the media as an epic partier and “this generations Ferris Bueller,” Worthington went on to become a cult icon. Busted Tees printed a shirt in his honor, VH1’s television series Best Week Ever declared him the winner, radio hosts Opie and Anthony lauded over him and Worthington soon got an agent and rolled around in boobs, money and fame despite causing such damage and having blatant disregard for his neighbors and parents. Worthington showed just how big of an ego a douchebag can have and who can blame him? His deeds made him a legend and now he has a film, Project X, inspired by his antics to further promote that legend.

It’s Thomas Kub’s 17th birthday and his parents are leaving him with the house to his self for the weekend. His best friend Costa (Oliver Cooper) decides to enlist the help of “AV geek” Dax (Dax Flame) to record the making of “Project X” which is the epic party Costa wants to throw with Thomas. Yep that’s right, it’s another found footage movie. We follow Thomas (Thomas Manning), Costa and their friend JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) throughout their day as they attempt to recruit hot girls and cool kids to their party as well as getting hold of drugs and alcohol. Unsure of the idea at first, Thomas agrees to only have 50 people max at his party, however as word of mouth gets around and Costa’s reveals that he’s made announcements via the radio and Craigslist, Thomas’ birthday turns from a few people to hundreds who create mass chaos in a beautifully epic party. It’s the kind of party that patrons would tell their grandkids about if the haze of drugs and alcohol that night didn’t destroy that memory first.

Project X is impressively entertaining and has hilarious moments that caused the entire theater to breakout in laughter. Also Nima Nourizadeh’s directing makes the movie far less annoying than other found footage films in the past few years have been. The point of view filming allows viewers to get a well-rounded insight to the boy’s individual personalities and their sense of humor. Costa is the closest to be the film’s Worthington, a loud-mouthed, brash and extremely vulgar youth who at the drop of a hat can be a charming, likable, upstanding citizen, like any good sociopath knows how to do. However, screenwriter’s Michael Bacall and Matt Drake seem to be aware that following a jerk for an entire movie gets old so they ingeniously give characters Thomas and JB most of the heart and congeniality.

Thomas is an extremely likable character that’s given enough development that by the end of the film despite what the party has done and how he reacted to certain situations, you still can’t help but like him. He’s a logical and smart kid whose only faults seem to be being a 17-year-old boy with sex and social acceptance on the brain. Unlike Worthington, Thomas and Costa deliver a sense of level-headedness and redeeming qualities as shown in one scene after the three boys take ecstasy. Lying in grass together exhausted with their eyes closed and sweat pouring down their faces, Costa reassures JB and Thomas that he loves them and appreciates their friendship even apologizing in his own humorous way for having the personality of a perfectly round and puckered asshole. As much as you may want to, you can’t hate a person who apologizes for their own flaws too much.

The worst thing about Project X, however, is that is a found footage film. This trend is probably more annoying than the trend of 3D in my opinion because it’s the same old formula over and over. If I wanted to see someone talk to the camera, I’ll watch anything on youtube, that’s what I have the internet for. When I pay money to watch a film, I want a film not some cheap amateur looking bits of shaky footage put together to look real and authentic but then still end with credits of a director and actors.

Moreover my biggest gripe with Project X is that it celebrates what I like to call the “Asshole generation.” I have long felt that the 2000s is the generation of the “douchebag,” a generation that enjoys degeneracy and praises others for doing things that are socially immoral or just plain rude. Show’s like HBO’s Eastbound and Down and even CBS’ How I Met Your Mother embrace lovable jerks through the manipulative and selfish Kenny Powers and Barney Stinson respectively. Books like Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and Maddox’s The Alphabet of Manliness are autobiographical/How-to New York Times Best Sellers that promote misogyny, arrogance and screwing over your fellow neighbor. Even Kayne West promotes egocentrism in his song “Runaway,” encouraging listeners to have a toast for the “douchebags,” “jerkoffs,” and “scumbags.”

For some reason in the past ten or so years it has become socially acceptable to be a miserable excuse of a human being who only looks out for themselves and to not care for the others we share a planet with. It’s become glorified to not give a shit about anyone but ourselves and this film praises that notion by making it look even more glamorous to the biggest self-centered a-holes alive, teenagers. By the end of the film, no one truly feels sorry for what they’ve done only for being caught. No one feels bad for a terrorizing and threatening the lives of neighbors, destroying property, and vandalizing.

Instead women are praised for being promiscuous and naked in front of hundreds of people, it’s meant to be funny when a group of kids repeatedly blow smoke in the face of a dog, and group of guys laugh hysterically as they shove a little person into an oven leaving him there while they party. In one scene a 12-year-old character tells others that he going to burn down a neighbor’s home with the neighbor’s infant child in it. The reasoning: because the neighbor called the cops after asking the boys to stop the party because it was getting too wild and his baby and wife needed to sleep. When the kid makes the threat it’s meant to funny; theater patrons and myself included all laughed yet I immediately got chills at my reaction.

Despite the glorification of jerkoffness and delinquent behavior, I really enjoyed Project X. It’s a well made and impressively directed story that caused me to burst out laughing multiple times. It’s engaging and the characters are pretty easy to like despite their actions furthermore scenes of the three boys together pulling pranks on each other and just being boys is also endearing to watch. Costa at one point tells Thomas that there’s going to be so much action in his pool from the naked girls swimming that his pool cleaner will tell him they found a bit of water in his semen. Project X is vulgar yes, even appalling; at times it’s like watching Larry Clarke’s 1995 Kids mixed with the fast paced music fueled editing of an MTV music video. But hey its 2012 and it’s a rated R film about teenagers. What more can you expect?

SEE IT. And wish you didn’t have a conscience and could party that hard.

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