Last week I went to a screening of The Wackness, a movie that you may have heard of because a.) it's set in that misty, long-gone era known as the mid-1990s and b). the movie features a scene (read: 10 seconds of a scene) in which Ben Kingsley makes out with Mary-Kate Olsen in a phone booth (I think you could count "[slurp] [heavy breathing] [kissing noise]" as one line of the maybe 15 lines of dialog that Olsen has in the movie). In the screening room, there was a whole row taped off with "Reserved" signs, seats I assumed were saved for the waves of disgust that would file into the theater once we saw Olsen and Kingsley kiss. But the make-out was quick and pretty painless. No, as it turns out those seats were reserved for the audience's boredom, which set in after about the first, sorta fun 25 minutes, and then needed some places to sit down.
All of the trailers for the movie present it as a kind of fun, coming-of-age comedy soaked in 90s-nostalgia—which I guess is better than marketing it as what it really is: a highly irritating, pretty maudlin, and very lengthy coming-of-age indie with a handful of funny parts that is for some reason set in 1994.
Still, I did walk away from The Wackness with something, specifically with a 1994 Slang Dictionary that was part of the press kit. Just thumbing through its (three) pages is enough to transport me back to the days when Biggie was still alive, when Will Smith was still with Jazzy Jeff, when My So-Called Life was still on the air (aka 14 years-ago), and when the slang was very, very different. Here are a few 1994 Slang-onary highlights:
-noun, An underground tape or CD made by a DJ, containing authorized or unauthorized remixed songs that are sold on the street and in shops, usually in the styles of Hip Hop, R&B;, or Reggaeton.
There is no mention of what this "Hip Hop" is. I guess it's a term that's been lost to the ages. Sometimes I wish it was 1994 again, just so I could get my hands on a mixtape.
-noun, A close friend
-adjective, 1. Extremely, very: 'That girl is mad hot.' 2. A lot: 'How many blunts are you going to smoke? Mad blunts!'
-interjection, Goodbye, See ya later: 'I'm going to bounce. Peace out, homeboy.'
-adjective, Very bad, the worst: 'All politicians are bad but Giuliani is wack.'
Oh, so that's what the title means. It makes a mad amount of sense now, cause The Wackness is mad wack. And I don't even think smoking mad marijuana would make it less wack.
Oops, I meant, I don't even think smoking mad weed would make The Wackness less wack.