Go For It, You’re Not a F*ck-Up

I saw two movies this week I want to tell you about because they’re the type of movies that will strike a chord if you’ve ever:


1) Waited to take a risk, then took it and were so so glad you did.

2) Felt like life has passed you by.

3) Worried that when walking through a construction site, a heavy load would fall on you, destroy your frontal lobe and prevent you from being a good parent.

4) Thought you might be a real screw-up when compared to your friends, then realized everyone has problems and your life ain’t so bad.


You can totally relate to the above, right? And is it me, or is the frontal lobe thing a universal fear? I swear to God, I’ve worried about that before I ever saw it in the movie last night.


Anyway, the first movie is Up. I predict it will become an instant classic, along the lines of Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins. It has all the themes of an evergreen tale: gruff, reluctant hero, plucky, clueless sidekick, despair, renewed hope, crazy villain, evil minions, balloons. Oh law, how I found myself grinning ear to ear (after nearly sobbing in the first 15 minutes) as I recognized the beauty in this story’s construction. As a wannabe writer, I absorbed how the tale was told because it really was so masterful and can teach me a lot about plots and characters. There’s a quest of course and a fantastical setting, and good vs. evil, and life gone by, then plucked from the ashes and made to bloom, and going after dreams and redemption and character arcs and glory! it was good.


Trust me on this one. You will laugh and you will cry.


And it will stay with you for days.


The next movie? Away We Go. I received a free pass to the advance screening and couldn’t wait to see it because I adore John Krasinski from The Office (although every character he plays seems a flavor of Jim) and Maya Rudolph from SNL (did you know she is Minnie Riperton’s daughter?) and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Allison Janney. I’m also an indie movie and music fan and after listening to the soundtrack, I knew that any story told to it had to be as affecting as the music.


And it was.


At this transitory point in my life, I can double relate to the storyline (couple expecting their first child travels the country looking for a place to settle) (feeling like a late bloomer in owning a house in the suburbs, and being a parent, and wondering if I’m a f*ck-up). Nearly every character in the movie shined (Maya Rudolph especially proved herself to me as a dramatic actress), and Allison Janney’s little part completely stole my heart:



Despite being written by Dave Eggers, whose Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius I often found rife with self-aggrandizing asswipery, I felt in this movie, he was right on with capturing the collective ennui of parents, late bloomers and women and men like me who are looking for a place to be and then realizing it’s the place you make within that counts.


Because oh how we do forget.


19 Responses to “Go For It, You’re Not a F*ck-Up”

  1. WEPT. Wept like a baby in the first ten minutes of UP and again at the end. My boys were wondering what in the world was wrong with me. All I could say was “You’ll understand one day…”

    And I don’t think anyone likes this Dave Eggers, but everyone wants to see this movie. At least I do. I hope I can convince someone to go along with me!

  2. I wanted to see Away We Go, but the reviews were not great. I’m glad to hear from a person whose judgement I trust–I am a major Allison Janney fan–did you see her in Drop Dead Gorgeous? Comic genius.

  3. I just got back from an appointment and had to read this post because Oy Vey you give good title.

    I will see Away We Go, if for no other reason that you said so. And Allison Janney because ALLISON JANNEY!

    UP was the most beautiful movie I’ve seen in a long time. I cried. I cried. I laughed. I laughed. I felt love and hope and joy and all one with the universe. And stuff.

    Okay . . . off to spend the day with COURTNEY and LAURA!!!

    Thanks for the most excellent reviews and insights, Deb. Most excellent.

  4. stoneskin says:

    “self-aggrandizing asswipery”

    What a beautiful phrase.

    Mind if I borrow it some time?

  5. agree with stoneskin – awesome phrase.

    re: UP, i’ve heard the same thing – laughing and crying.

    re: Away We Go – for some reason, i’ve been seeing the trailer a lot during commercials on broadcast TV here. must be the “market” that i’m in? maybe it’s an NBC thing? (since i watch the Today show and lots of shows on NBC in general…)

    anyway, i look forward to Away We Go. i love movies like this. well, the way you describe it anyway. :)

  6. Diane says:

    I loved, loved, LOVED Up. Loved it. Did I mention that I loved it? I did.

    I will see the other one… I thought it looked good but it’s good to get a review from someone whose opinion you trust.

  7. Da Goddess says:

    We saw Up today and you totally nailed the movie.

    Wannabe writer? You ARE a writer. Now shut up about it already. :P

    I actually liked Eggers’ book even if it was very, um, specious and, uh, a little pretentious…I got what he was going for. Anyhow, I wanted to see Away We Go without knowing it was his, but I can totally see how it came from him. (Just saw the commercial for it AGAIN!) It’ll take me longer to see this one, though.

    I’m a sucker for a good tale, be it animated or otherwise. But yeah, Up knocked my socks off and it’s already a classic in my book.

  8. I liked Dave Eggers but maybe because I’m a shameless sucker for a cute boy in a dire situation. Regardless, looking forward to John Krasinski and Maya [it’s actually Rudolph; OCD me] taking on serious smart roles.

    Thank you for the insights. I love a thoughtful movie review; two is a bonus :D

  9. Sugar Jones says:

    I keep hearing Up is the movie to see. We usually wait for the DVD, but after reading this, I’m pretty sure we’re going this weekend.

    As for Away We Go, I can’t WAIT to see that! I love indies. Remember back in the day when the story was the story as opposed to the effects? uggg.

    And if you’re a F*ck up, I so want to be one, too.

  10. PAPA says:

    okay, first “wannabe writer”. Please. Debbie, you ARE a writer. That’s why we’re all here reading day after day.
    And Dave Eggers after reading his staggering genius crap, I threw it across the room. I’ve never been put off so much by a book of crap. But after reading about his movie, I’d give it a chance.
    Oh, and you’ve probably already seen it, but RAchel’s getting Married is also a great film.!

  11. San Diego Momma says:

    OMG, Steph, I have NO idea what you’re talking about with the Rudolph thing.

    And I did not change it after your comment.



  12. vodkamom says:

    it IS the place within……..

    you are so right.

  13. Stopping in to say hi from another mommy in SD. Found you on LoadedWeb. I have yet to see these movies, but now have been inspired to find a babysitter, grab hubby for a date and hit the movies! Thanks!

  14. Mama Mary says:

    I have wanted to see both these movies but don’t get out much these days. Now, I’m gonna go call my babysitter and make it happen. (Is a 1 y.o. and a 3 y.o. too young for Up???).

    I couldn’t even make it through Egger’s HWOSG.

  15. I just went to a screening of “Away We Go”, courtesy of Mommy Poppins, and really liked it. Although a hair depressing, I thought it was really well done. Just the kind of quirky movie I really like.

  16. My younger two saw Up while I was at mom/son boy scout camp this weekend–they LOVED it. I will make them go again with me. I haven’t heard about the other, but hope it’s playing around here!
    I tagged you–but it’s one I think you’ll be sheer genius at.

  17. Suzanne says:

    great reviews, I can’t wait to see both of them!

  18. she says:

    I LOVED UP. I wrote down a lot of one liners. They are hard to read, though, ’cause I wrote them in the dark. ;-)

    I will go see the other movie, too. (I may go with Cheri!) She doesn’t know that, of course.

  19. You don’t know me. Seriously, I want your opinion on this one. My husband died in March leaving me and my two small boys (6 and 7) behind. I was recommended NOT to see UP by a friend who says she thinks it would be too hard. She said the old man recently lost his wife in the movie and the movie goes on from there. I had no idea based on the trailer that is what the underlying theme was. Do you think for a young widow and her children the movie would be too emotionally raw? I am really asking.


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