In recent months I've noticed that I don't seem to have the same attention span for movies that I used to... I don't know if it's restlessness or boredom or what.. but about a half hour in, I find myself wanting to go do something else.
This past week I've had a few lent to me and I've actually hunkered down on the couch and sat through them.
Welcome To The Dollhouse
One of those wonderfully sad, uncomfortable films. I enjoyed it and suffered through it at the same time, as I could relate so well to the main character. Dawn's plight felt like a thoroughly exaggerated version of my own pre-adolescence, so on one hand, it was uncomfortable but at the same time comforting, because yes, other children along with my own social awkwardness (if you have seen this, picture Heather Matarazzo about 20 lbs heavier and you basically have me as a seventh grader) made my tween years a veritable soul-crushing hell, at least my parents were cool enough, unlike Dawn's mother whom I wanted to repeatedly punch in the face, and I can honestly say that although other kids were jerks, none ever threatened to rape me. Basically I enjoyed the film a lot, even though the ending was possibly the most anti-climatic ending I've ever witnessed.. but even so, it's kind of symbolic, isn't it? Nothing is resolved, life goes on.. much like painful adolescence.
I have a grudge against movies where the lead character is continually shit-upon and just kind of takes it. Part of the reason I enjoyed this film is that even as a relatively powerless 11-year-old, Dawn shows silent resistance against the forces that try to break her will, such as refusing to apologize to her sister, or tear down her clubhouse for her parents birthday party.
I've seen this movie a number of times and somehow I always fall into the misguided notion that it's a family film. Granted, there's about a million worse movies for kids to see, but nonetheless, some of the dialogue, including the frank sex talk, made me cringe a little when I borrowed this from my mom to watch with the girls. There's something wholesome about cowboys and Billy Crystal that make you forget about when he and Daniel Stern and that other guy start talking about 'banging' the heck out of the lone woman at the dude ranch.
What truly amazes me is that I forget the cow birthing scene... I mean, I remember Billy Crystal's cute little baby cow, Norman, who toddles around and gets stuck in the river and Billy has to save him and has his big epiphany as to the meaning of Jack Palance's rather cryptic advice while rescuing said baby cow... but I somehow forget little Norman's birth.
I forget how GRAPHIC it is. I mean seriously. Here I am, on the couch with the girls and there's the money shot. "Well, girls.. that's how baby cows get born."
Just Add Water
It showed a lot of promise.. It had Jonah Hill and Justin Long, and was described to me by my mom as "Quirky.. the kind of movie you'd probably like."
And she was right, kind of. I probably should have liked it, the plot, about a small town that is all but ruled by a gang of meth-dealers after being declared a drought-ridden chemical disaster zone, sounded interesting.. but I dunno.. It kind of left me cold.
The protagonists were kind of bland and one-dimensional. Male-Protagonist whose name I forget has an agoraphobic, emotionally fractured wife, crappy job (although I'm just assuming it's crappy) and emotionally fractured son, and a debilitating crush on the equally bland and forgettable female-protagonist whose name I forget, a crush that is the only this holding him to this toxic wasteland and his seemingly unending days of misery, which he faces with the same dopey resigned look of defeated acceptance of his shitty lot in life.
Meanwhile, any interesting characters, eg, his oddly rage filled son, played by Hill are relegated to the background.. and we never really find out anything about them.. okay, well, we do, but it all seems.. well.. convenient and glossed over.
I mentioned earlier my annoyance with underdogs who are underdogs as a result of their own self-defeatism and attitudes.. I think that was one of the things I disliked about this film. Not to give away any spoilers, but the resolution of the film kind of left me going "Well why the hell didn't they do that AGES ago?"