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Project X And The Age Of YouTube

Project X Movie Poster

Todd Phillips, the man behind The Hangover franchise, returns with a production that takes the term ‘fun’ to a whole new level: Project X. Directed by Nima Nourizadeh, it’s the definitive party movie, raging mad and out of control. It should come with a warning: “Don’t try this at home”.

Project X is the definitive party movie. It’s raging mad and out of control.

Or not. It depends on how you approach life. If you prefer a smooth, uneventful ride that will last you many years, during which you may reflect on all the right things you did – and all the chances you missed along the way – you may deem the idea crass.

But if you want to go out with a bang, like a supernova, then you may find merit in the ‘rager’ – as these parties are called – and give the film two thumbs up, and watch it with friends, and share it on the web, and write an article about it. Hell, you may even stage a rager of your own.

Stage a rager of their own is what the characters in Project X do. Unwittingly, of course. Poor bastards never saw it coming.

Here’s how the story goes. High school geeks Thomas, Costa and JB, along with cameraman Dax, decide to hold a party at Thomas’s house (his parent’s house) to celebrate his birthday. Costa spreads the word at school using phone texts, Facebook, Craig’s List and other social media, and word gets out. People are talking about it. Some say they may go. Others wonder who these nerds are, why they’re playing cool, what’s up! Despite the hype, chances are that the party will suck, and that it will tank.

The party. does not. tank! On the contrary, everyone comes. With them comes plenty of booze. And drugs. Wait, the drugs were there all along – but that’s another story, one which involves a war veteran, some weed, and a garden gnom. Or is it Santa? Hard to tell when you’re strung out.

Needless to say that the party spirals out of control.

Knowing Todd Phillips, you’d expect nothing less. Sheer mayhem.

Thankfully the characters in this movie remember everything. Unlike The Hangover, where the protagonists chase their shadows, the events in Project X are recorded. Nobody’s on a wild goose chase, chasing after what they did the previous night, or where they misplaced their missing friend. There’s no missing friend, just an epic party with thousands of strangers – call them ‘revelers’, ‘ragers’ – marauding through the garden, the pool, the bedrooms. Total madness. And we get to see it all, up close and personal, care of the tireless Dax and his dedicated shooting.

Done Before, But…

The movie isn’t original. It’s been done before, and uses some familiar Todd Phillips formulas. There’s the grey Mercedes-Benz no one’s supposed to touch. There’s the wolf pack trio. The bromance. The pet that gets abused. The place that gets trashed. The sexy girls and the undersexed boys. In fact, Project X overflows with elements from of Phillips’ old projects, especially Old School and The Hangover, from beginning to end.

But it works. Like Jack Daniels, it fails to score on the single malt level, but it sure hits a crazy spot.

“Game Changer?”

The movie is not original. It’s been done before… But it works!

Despite its epic intentions, Project X was not well received. Audiences found the characters unlikable and the story meaningless and predictable. One long, endless tirade of crass behavior, with no redeeming qualities. No brains, no substance.

This is why this film is so good. It’s indicative of the YouTube reality we live in and the unrehearsed, unsubstantiated, free-for-all mayhem that comes with it. Everyone is now able to record and publish anything they want, no questions asked, no method to the madness. Just an orgy of production, with no teachers or coaches. A bunch of excited, eager narcissists, doing their thing. It’s a madhouse, and a mediocre-driven one at that. Yes, with freedom comes a lowering of standards. Quality is the first casualty to openness.

I don’t blame you if you disagree. No one wants to accept the downside to freedom, let alone expose it. He or she would be deemed a troll, and would be tarred, feathered and exiled from the community.

But this here troll – I don’t care. Let’s talk about what’s happening and let readers make up their own minds. Let them do so once they’ve heard more than one side to the story.

This is my side to the story about World 2.0. It focuses on the things we prefer to avoid: inconvenient truths.

Part 2 to follow.