Monday, September 06, 2010

Movie Reviews: Whip it and Where the Wild Things are

We interrupt your regularly scheduled George Mark House Fundraising  news for the following diverting post:

I finally got to see two movies that I had been dying to see when they were in theatres, but thanks to Ukiah's health issues, I just couldn't. Needless to say, due to the wait, I had built both up in my mind, and I have to say both lived up to my expectations, but in totally different ways.

First up, Whip it! I have to say, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut was much better than expected. In fact, I think I'll probably have an emotional attachment with this movie like I did with Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, where I can't delete it off the DVR and it somehow fulfills a need in me while watching it. It's that note perfect.

The characters felt lived in and note perfect and its the type of movie that you just want to climb into and get lost. And this by no way takes anything away from Page or Harden, but this movie belonged to everyone else really. I wanted to get to know each  of the side characters more. From Kristin Wiig's, character bad-ass mom by day, bad-ass roller derby chick by night, to God forgive me, to  Daniel Stern's push-over sports-obsessed dad. Which O.k., I loved that character more than a little bit because when his character showed up to the Roller Derby rink in a felt cowboy hat, it more than reminded me of my own dad who had a period of about a decade of wearing a cowboy hat everywhere and I can't not love that. And since I'm up, Daniel Stern needs to be in more things more often. He can't just show up in things like City Slickers and Little Monsters and be a constant fixture in my adolescent head, then disappear behind his Wonder Years narration then disappear altogether in my psyche to just resurface in Whip It.  That seems not right somehow.

Ahem, back to the characters As always, Ari Graynor makes the most with what little she's given and she's AWESOME. Alia Shawkat's character was sweet, and adorable, not afraid to raise a little ruckus but real afraid when the ruckus gets out of control. Rosa Sparks, Smashlee Simpson, Eva Desctruction, and Julliette Lewis's character. God I love her. I love every part about her. And I really don't know why I'm rambling on like this because Joe R. put it better than I could. Everything he says is how I feel. Loved it.

Onto the second movie, which was Where the Wild Things Are. This movie and the sense of meloncholy I felt afterward have a story attached to them that I feel needs explaining. So again, this was another one I wasn't able to watch in the theaters because of Ukiah's delicate medical condition, so I eagerly awaited it on cable. But in the meantime, Chris had bought the book Where the Wild Things Are and I read it to Ukiah quite often, using voices and getting into my own sense of character. The book and those times reading it to him have a special place in my heart. And then, when we lost him, those wonderful things went away.

That's why, when this movie's sense of childlike melancholy mixed with my own nostalgic melancholy, it completely destroyed me. Visually is was a jewel to behold and it was filled with the kind of wonders that childhood imagination holds. The awesome tunnels and forts and piles were perfectly childlike.  And then the sadness, that meloncholy that pervaded all the characters at the end. I couldn't help it. I cried. It was sparse storytelling that sold so much. Whatever execution faults that have been leveled at the movie, it doesn't matter, because the heart was absolutely there. Thank you Jonze, for that.

Oh,  Karen O god bless you.

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