These days I see most movies either by myself or with a particular young person who is also a cinephile. Sometimes though you need to set aside a little time to catch a flick with your bros. And I can’t think of a better movie for such an endeavor than the new Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua collabo – The Equalizer.
“What are ‘bros?'” you might ask. Well they’re the group of guys (and girls – girls can be bros too) that you spend the most time just bullshitting with. For me that’s a group of teachers at the unnamed school where I work. They are pictured above, though their identities will remain anonymous. These fellows – among a few other co-workers – are the ones I eat lunch with, the ones I audition for game shows with, the ones I apparently alienate other members of the staff with. Initially I called them my “bros” ironically, because there’s no way I would ever call them that for real. Well now the joke is on me. Because now I call them that for real.
We have planned events like this before. About 18 months ago we took a group trip to see Pain & Gain. Before Thanksgiving last year we had a movie-themed sleepover. We’re idiots, but that’s why we have a good time together.
The Equalizer would be no different. Like any good hang-out, we began at the 901 Bar & Grill, a local dive that is just off the University of Southern California campus. In the four years that I attended to USC, I went to the 9-0 twice. In the three-plus years since I graduated, I have been innumberable times. The 9-0 is the closest bar to our high school, so where else are we supposed to unwind? Especially when there’s a two-for-one happy hour.
So we hit up said happy hour, ate some food, and watched the final hour of the first game in the Orioles-Detroit ALDS series. At least I watched it. Everyone else in the bar was more entranced by something called “football.” I don’t get it. I don’t think it will catch on. After keeping me on the edge of my seat for most of the game, the O’s blew it open in the 8th inning, leading to a final score of 12-3. Pretty sweet, if you ask me. Eventually, however, we realized we needed to get to the movie.
We were each several beers deep, so we did the responsible thing and hailed a cab. Well, an Uber. Same thing though, right? (Cue angry mob of taxi drivers). We cut it close, but we got into the theater as the final trailer was ending. Movie time.
The Equalizer is based on the 80’s TV show of the same name, about “a middle aged retired intelligence officer with a mysterious past who helps people in trouble” (quoted from Wikipedia on 10/2). That’s a pretty succinct description of the film as well. Washington plays Mister McCall, a middle aged retired intelligence officer with a mysterious past. He is content to works at a Home Depot analogue and provide basic life assistance to the people around him. But really he is basically a robot. McCall doesn’t (or can’t, rather) sleep, opting instead to spend his nights at a diner in the company of a very young prostitue named Teri or Alina or who-knows-what-else (Chloë Grace Moretz). Anyway, 30 minutes into the movie, after Moretz – you know, the third-billed actor – gets beat up by her pimp and disappears for the rest of the film, we find out McCall’s past is so shady because he is a highly efficient murder machine. He unleashes the beast, or, to borrow a metaphor from the movie, once he pops, the fun don’t stop.
This movie is grisly and brutal, not exactly what I was expecting from an 80’s television adaptation. The frank violence was refreshing at first, but quickly became gratuitous and even a little upsetting. But I suppose it was all designed to set up Denzel as a bad ass. Here’s the thing though, he’s not. Denzel doesn’t emote at all in the movie, but not in a cool, stoic way. In a “I can’t feel emotions” way. Plus, he dress like my late grandfather Regis Crawford. This is not a cool man. Maybe that’s the point – he’s still deadly after all these years – but the lack of development undermines that completely.
That’s not to say I didn’t like the movie. Now, I was semi-drunk, so that means two things: bathroom breaks and dozing. I was kind of in and out on this movie, which is why I don’t feel comfortable giving it a full review. But I enjoyed what I was present for, mostly because of the witty banter my bros and I engaged in, much to the chagrin of the other guests, I’m sure.
Not to worry though, because anything I missed while I snoozed was covered in our rehash of the film as we walked back to where we parked – miles away. It was during this time that I decided the movie was still good, despite being bad. Because if I hadn’t seen w with my bros, I wouldn’t now possess the memory of seeing The Equalizer with my bros. And that’s an important experience. All of your bro time is. Go out and have bro time, everybody. Go.