(2010) Jay & Mark Duplass. Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The plight of Cyrus, the movie character, demonstrates a way of being which at the hinge of the first decade of the 2000s afflicts a mass community of males and females twenty years or so younger than the generation of John C. Reilly's character, John. Cyrus' type is boastful of independence and demands that their voice be recognized. Obsessed with the collective curating of memory and appalled by the changing force of life, Cyrus and his peers are but barnacled to childhood and the head-movie of fantasy kiddy times, comporting the first experience of melancholy as if they were the first human league ever to know it. The time and place of John's own nostalgiac happy-place is revealed when he interrupts a conversation with a flirty attractive woman to go belt out a mid-1980s Human League song in front of the whole party. The manipulated migration of frantic adolescence into stunted young adulthood, whiny and staunchly in defiance of self-reflection other than a false honesty to the identity of the past, is the plight of Cyrus.
The boy is a musician, but can only compose while eyeballing photoshopped pics of nature, as if performing for the audience of himself. Cyrus must complicate the creative process to give the illusion of complexity, as well as make demands of his willing mother, who is Cyrus’ bosomy production assistant. Cyrus is all set-up with his “seven pieces” of studio equipment - he is tethered to technology as a posture of making a mark on the world, of which he really has no clue. He has no problem finding an apartment on Craigs List, but has a big problem living in it.
Cyrus cons order out of his life using his relationship with his mom, which is the most meaningful and truthful relationship in his life. Cyrus masquerades as a responsible being but is an emotional troglodyte. His edgy jokes backfire when John speaks to him as an adult in admitting that he did indeed sleep with Molly, after Cyrus makes a smug "don't fuck my mom" quip. Cyrus believes he is so smarter and wittier than everyone else, he doesn't need life experience, an unknowing victim of the soaked-out data stream. It makes sense that his CD is called "A Study of One and Two," since Cyrus has a hard time dealing with the world of others. It could be the tagline for the movie. Cyrus does not agree with John that it sounds like Steve Miller.
Cyrus opens by depicting the desperate circumstances of John, who, in his encounter with Cyrus, is not weak or hopeless or without a jaggedly winning struggle. After sabotaging John and Molly's relationship, Cyrus can only manipulate it back together, smart enough to know that they can’t resist each other. He is good at playing upon the weaknesses of others, in that it is Cyrus' own dense weaknesses which motivate him. When John calls Cyrus "an asshole," it is in the most grave and unself-conscious terms. As revealed by Village Voice squib-scrivener Michael Musto in regards to Twitter, if Cyrus had a million followers, he himself would follow zero.