June 12th, 2009
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.