Wednesday, April 7, 2010

over the sand, over the plan

A few weeks ago, I went to see "Chloe" with my mom. After seeing the previews and reading the reviews, I wasn't expecting much: some dramatic tension, Amanda Seyfried's butt, the chance to snicker when familiar Toronto landmarks came into view (Cafe Diplomatico, really? that place blows). But my mom, for some reason, was expecting more. She told me afterward that she had hoped the movie would be great. She sincerely believed it could be one of "those movies"-- you know, those ones, the ones that hit you in the gut and linger in your shadow for weeks.

Chloe was not that movie.

Last night I went to see "Greenberg". As a fan of Noah Baumbach, I thought, maybe, maybe!, but no, no. It couldn't end fast enough. Where were the characters with lovable quirks? Where was the near-disaster and faint trace of redemption? Where were the endearingly uncomfortable moments? Where was the goddamn squid and the motherfucking whale?

I've been thinking lately about the titles that would make up a list of "those movies" for me. There haven't been a lot in my lifetime, but there have been enough--and the important ones have certainly stuck with me. I've dragged them around like dirty blankets, showing them off to anyone who'll pay attention. So pay attention:

- The [aforementioned] Squid and the Whale: I watched this movie for the first time in the spring of 2006, shortly after my own parents separated. It made me want to puke (jizz on the lockers) and it made me want to cry. It captured the shittiness of teenagehood and the absurdity of writing workshops and it's uncomfortably funny from start to finish. It was perfect for me then, and still now. Every time I watch it I just want to puke-cry.

"She's a very risky writer, Lili. Very racy. I mean, exhibiting her cunt in that fashion is very racy. I mean Lili has her influences in post modern literature, it's a bit derivative of Kafka, but for a student, very racy. Did you get that it was her cunt?"

- Lost In Translation: the movie at the top of my mom's list, as well. It's so small and so compact, and yet it left a pothole inside me. Somehow, it always makes me feel safe: even though the movie is about characters lost in a foreign land, lost inside themselves, it still feels like home to me.

- All the Real Girls: I first rented this from the Brampton Public Library (!) in high school, and then several times from the Mississauga library, until my boyfriend was finally able to find a copy for me on dvd. After imbibing a slew of movies over recent years about rich people with problems (Funny People, Greenberg), it's so refreshing to come back to this simple small-town beauty. I watch it now, and think: fuck, this is so sad; fuck, is this ever lovely; Zooey needs to get rid of the bangs and M. Ward and go back to this, terrific acting with a bad haircut.