by Robyn Buckley
I found myself asking this question as I rewatched The Wackness for the first time since 2008. I remembered watching it back in college and finding it to be enjoyable, but it didn’t stick with me. Instead, what stuck with me was the soundtrack. Every single song was one that I loved and that brought me joy. Over the years, I forgot much about the plot of the movie, but I continued to have warm feelings towards it because of the music. I saw that it was on Netflix and thought, “Huh, I bet not a lot of people remember The Wackness. I should do an article. I’m pretty sure I liked that movie a lot!” Well, I’m happy to report that, while I may not love The Wackness the actual movie as much as I love the soundtrack, I still thoroughly enjoyed watching it after all of these years.
The Wackness was released in 2008 and was directed by Jonathan Levine, known for directing All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Warm Bodies, The Night Before, and my favorite of his films, 50/50. I go back and forth on my opinion of his directing style in The Wackness. On the one hand, the movie sometimes breaks into these small fantasy sequences from the perspective of the lead character, Luke (Josh Peck). I like these breaks from reality, as they bring a bit of joy to what can at times be a downer. I don't always love the standard aesthetic of the movie – everything is washed out in various shades of tan as if there is a summer haze at all times. That plays up the “last summer before college” vibe, but there are scenes where I wish a brighter hue had been used.
I hope that readers get a chance to check out The Wackness. If you see it, let me know your thoughts! As always, I’ll leave you with…
• Using weed to pay for a psychiatrist is ingenious.
• Luke is a real upper: “Tomorrow I graduate. I go to my safety school. I get older, and I die."
• Luke's HS classmates are all dicks.
• "We're almost out of Zima." Oh, the '90s. I was recently in a play that took place in the '90s, and we drank Zima in a few scenes. It's not good.
• This soundtrack is amazing. I love it so much.
• Method Man is in this! ...playing a Jamaican... While his song plays in the background.
• It throws me off that Ben Kingsley plays the psychiatrist.
• Josh Peck is great in this movie.
• Getting a drink with your psychiatrist seems like a bad idea.
• I like that Luke is going to make his psychiatrist a mixtape.
• Ben Kingsley got a Razzie for his performance in this movie. I don't think he's terrible. But I'm not entirely sure what accent he's going for.
• Mary-Kate Olsen is entertaining in a small part.
• Their tagging is just signing names with permanent marker on a window.
• Olivia Thirlby is charmingly mean as the love interest.
• Famke Janssen is jazzercising.
• I like the flights of fancy Luke has - MJ light up floor, the music video scene on the subway.
• It concerns me how different Luke and Stephanie pictured their date: one is in love. The other thought it was "fine."
• "I just look at the dopeness. You just look at the Wackness." Title drop!
• The psychiatrist probably shouldn't be telling his stepdaughter details of his patients.
• I keep forgetting this movie takes place in '94, and the beepers and pay phones are throwing me off
• "If you meet someone who doesn't like dogs, you alert the authorities. You sure as shit don't marry them." This is a fact.