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The Hangover 1


When life gets complicated…

This was the surprise hit of 2009. Cheap, for a Hollywood production, free of studio stars, & boasting an unusual plot. This popularity hides it own causes, unusually. If you see it, you get it; but you cannot then have seen it coming. Had it not been popular, it would have been easy to see it would be popular… Apparently, hindsight makes the impossible or accidental appear obvious.

‘The bachelor party in Vegas’ movie should be called ‘the getting drunk,’ not ‘the hangover’. Drinking is fun, if dangerous. Hangovers are just painful. The party is attractive; that is what our protagonists want to do & that is what we want to see. We understand what happens as little as they do. Therefore, we want to understand, as they do. Continuously, they are both acting & trying to imagine their (past) actions. These men are attempting to become poets, which is not what we think we were promised.

Gathering evidence, what little circumstantial evidence they get, they attempt to do now what they think they might have done previously. They are seeking self-knowledge without knowing it, humorously enough. Self-knowledge is moderation, comedy teaches – but comedy teaches this through immoderation. If what befalls you is not merely accidental, but providential – predicting it is self-knowledge: This is one way of knowing one’s own place in the world. Comically, our protagonists are trying to predict the past… Apparently, comedy makes the obvious appear accidental or impossible.

Hence the contrived flashbacks: We are looking back, not forward, but we are moving forward. The plot suggests that we can only move forward by looking back. This is because we have started too late: Something came first, we do know quite what. Now we come second, trying to figure it out. We are trying to figure ourselves out, but first we must figure out what appears before us.

The plot is framed, including a deadline. In the beginning, plans for a marriage are made. The marriage comes at the end. In-between, the marriage disappears, but in fact another marriage does take place. We should be grateful to comic poets: They do justice, which apparently includes teaching men to marry, which includes the difference between different kinds of marriages… If we are looking back, we are looking back from decent, married life to what came before. We are politely assured marriage is possible. The plot makes it seem inevitable, partly by employing vigorous obstacles. We rarely hear or see unashamed, unserious men question whether marriage is desirable, but this is a very urgent subject. Perhaps the movie’s success shows the success of its teaching about marriage, which we must try further to examine.

A funny movie about how men marry. See it.