Some time ago, the husband was telling me about this movie, based on a real-life bunch of adults playing tag. I managed to say “Ah..” to feign a little interest. I, recently, found it on Netflix, and heck, I watched it and unexpectedly, I loved it! Having said that on the first paragraph, you know that this is Tag, not really a movie review. Nevertheless, I will try to slide a bit on that. Photos in this post were taken from Netflix screen shots.
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The movie was released in 2018. At first glance, it was a regular fast-paced slapstick comedy, which the son, at 9, also enjoyed watching with bursts of brash and fall-from-the-sofa kind of laughter, but it was rated 16+ so we had to ask him to leave the room or close his eyes or ears for some of the age-inappropriate scenes and language for him.
Let me warn you, you need to have a good level of attention span to appreciate this movie until the end.
Initially, you might get confused at what the characters are getting at and easily lose interest at the exaggeration of the acts. There was this chase scene where it’s as if they were trying to mimic an action movie. You won’t believe that nobody got seriously hurt. It feels shallow, but I’m telling you, it’s really not. At the end, you might thank me for recommending it.
The actors who played the characters will get you through the end, just right before you start to feel a pinch in your heart and water welling in your eyes. With Wikipedia’s help, let’s start with none other than Avenger’s Hawkeye, himself, Jeremy Renner (Jerry), who obviously recycled his calisthenics skills and fight face from most of his other movies. Then, there’s the scrumptious (Haha! The husband is not really into blog-reading so I am feeling free and safe to use this term) corporate look of Jon Hamm (Bob) and the bad boy (yummy, as well) vibe of Jake Johnson (Chilli). Hannibal Buress (Sable) and Ed Helms’ (Hogie) presence will remind you that it’s a feel-good comedy movie you are watching. Isla Fisher (Anna), Annabelle Wallis (reporter) and Leslie Bibb (Jerry’s fiancée) give the movie the feminine touch, be it a distractive, witty or fierce push the guys need.
The movie was based on a real-life story. The story was featured in The Wall Street Journal, after which came offers for a movie adaptation. The story circled around a group of friends who have been playing tag for 30 years in February of every year. They have a written contract stating the rules of the game. Whoever is it on the last day of the month is it for the entire year, and everybody else brags about it, the entire year.
This is my second post about Friendship. Access the first one here.
What did I like about the movie? The essentials, of course, things that truly matter.
I love how the movie depicted that the guys lived in different states, and yet they managed to get together in one town to play tag, and of course, to catch up and reminisce. They came to their old “headquarters,” Hoagie’s basement, which déjà vu’d me into That 70’s Show and Stranger Things. I myself reminisced had-been headquarters with my friends – it was my neighbor’s stairs with my childhood friends, the chapel with my choir mates and probably just the mall where I hang out with friends when I got older. We don’t actually have the privacy of a basement here in the PH and lately, with the pandemic, it’s anybody’s personal room on Zoom or FB Messenger.
Another one of my favorite finer points of the movie is how the social status of each of the friends were ignored, left unnoticed and never mentioned. Bob was a CEO of a giant company. Hoagie was a successful vet. Chilli was still living with his dad, doing drugs! Kevin had issues he needed to discuss with his therapist. They didn’t care. All they cared about was their friendship… and the game, which probably kept their friendship alive. This, I believe, is the dream. Reunions will be jam-packed with sincerely happy people relinquishing connection with people they once were connected with!
In the last part of the movie, I also adored how they officially included their wives in the game. I am not sure if they really did this in real life, but for me it’s a really good idea. I take marriage seriously. Not only do I believe that when you marry, you marry into the family, I believe, you also marry into your husband’s friends, and vice versa. In my family, if I was chosen as a godmother, then the husband will also be a godfather of this friend’s child.
Tag, not really a movie review: My Favorite Characters
Now the main problem of the movie was that, there was this one person in the circle who remained untouchable – Jerry. With his superhero qualities, he was able to avoid being it through the years. His friends then decided to team up to trap him for an ultimate tag. I realized that Jerry missed the whole point. All his friends grew closer together without him, all because he was treasuring his reputation. Hoagie said something poignant about this in the latter part. Sometimes, this happens in real life. We miss the point and we set the wrong priorities.
“I mean, it’s not about trying to get away from each other. It’s actually about having a reason to be around each other, you know?”-Hoagie
They’re all lucky they have Hoagie. Hoagie was the leader of the band. He was the gel that glued the troop together. In the movie, he made little white lies just to gather the group and make them agree to take a trip back to their home town, for their annual game of tag, which he believed, might be his last. I realized, that in each of our group of friends, we need a Hoagie. Better yet, we can be our group’s Hoagie. And we do not need to get sick or play a game. We just need the guts to drag our friends together, for the love of friendship itself.
Need I say more? Tag is a hidden gem of a movie. Disguising as a not-so-shabby, archetype comedic act, it painted true friendship in its finest form – fun, lasting, commitment, hard work, history, growing, love and care. All thanks to those guys from Washington! And to Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema who produced this movie.
So, who wants to play?