Not another Spy movie

I laughed. I laughed a lot. I cringed and then I laughed. I laughed because it was funny, and then there were the times I laughed because of years of conditioning that have taught me that all fat jokes are hilarious.

I like Melissa McCarthy, right from when I saw her as accident-prone Sookie on Gilmore Girls. Spy was a far better film to watch than another of McCarthy’s films,  Identity Thief. Not just because Rose Byrne was in it with her “bird arms”, at one point trying to push a gun across the floor to Susan Cooper AKA Penny Morgan, AKA Amber Valentine AKA whatever.

I like the paradigm of an inept but surprisingly awesome agent saving the day, I mean we all loved Johnny English, didn’t we? But Susan Cooper is not lucky the way Johnny English was. She is instead extremely ingenious, and has some scary-good combat skills, which we get to see in a video of one of her training exercises. “I wanted to put it up on YouTube”, says her boss, deadpan Elaine Crocker who threatens another agent if he dares to call her “Betty Crocker”.  That was one of the moments where the movie was funny without insisting on doing it at the expense of Susan.

In pursuit of someone who tried to shoot them, Cooper naturally got on a scooter, and immediately regretted it, “Who puts a roof on a scooter? What are you, the Pope?!” It made me pause the film to really get all my laughter out. The film offers plenty of these zingers, but sadly also insists on poking fun at Cooper’s clothes through other characters, mainly the villain Rayna. The upside to this is that we see how ridiculous it is to make fun of her clothes when either she has no choice about it, or because she is just dressing how other people expect her to (crazy cupcake necklace with a toggle system, seriously Agent Bradley Fine??? That’s your idea of a gift to someone you owe your life?). The many sides to Susan Cooper are probably better represented than a lot of women usually get in movies, from her sarcasm to intelligence to scary meanness to sweetness and fainting/vomiting at the sight of some gory things.

It was a chance to laugh, and a great one at that. It will probably be funny and entertaining for at least a few repeat viewings, which can’t be said for a lot of movies. Even though I objected to parts of it, I can’t deny the appeal of a comedy spy movie like it. Without films like it, our lives would be a lot more serious. Who wants that?

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Reciprocal Hand-me-downness, a thing I think I just invented

For want of inspiration, I am going to write about hand-me-downs. I think that we all have something in our closets that is a hand-me-down, maybe an antique piece of jewelry or an elder sibling’s jacket. Whatever they are, these hand-me-downs, are parts of other people that we carry with us.

Taking the idea of hand-me-downs in a less literal sense, there are lots of hand-me-downs we get from our family- unusual mannerisms,  funny food habits, a dislike for horror films, pretty much anything that we greatly resemble those people in.

It’s not just family members, there are hand-me-downs we get from friends, maybe not in the traditional sense, but things that we pick up in the course of the relationship, be they items of clothing or phrases that we have heard too many times to resist using them ourselves.

The people who have these hand-me-down relationships usually also have something I would like to call ‘reciprocal hand-me-downness’, which implies that both the parties give something to one another. For instance, I used to get a lot of my older brother’s clothes when I was little, and as we grew older, there were a lot of phrases that I picked up or made up, which he began to copy (mainly to annoy me). 

I see this happening in all my connections with other people and I wonder if hand-me-downs have come to mean an exchange that affects both the involved people in different ways, and one may benefit more from it this time around, but what about the next time?

Note: ‘Hand-me-downness’ has been used before, but my contribution is the idea of reciprocity in a hand-me-down system.