Whew - long and tiring week last week! My husband was out of town all week, so I was on my own. Plus, my mom came to visit, and she and I went to one of my book groups Wednesday night - all fun, of course, but tiring.
So, I watched some movies myself last week, as well as some with my son, Craig For myself, I picked movies I thought my husband wouldn't be interested in. I watched Life in Flight during the week - couldn't stay up late enough to finish it, but I split it into two days (pretty pathetic for a 77-minute movie!). The story is set in NYC, about an architect/husband/father who is unhappy with his life. His wife is eager for him to climb the corporate ladder and merge his company with a big firm so she can continue to host fancy parties and go on 2-week island vacations with her friends. The architect husband feels like he will be selling out if he signs this big contract. His feelings are cemented when he meets a beautiful designer who shares his artistic leanings. It's a quiet movie - no big action or suspense - about being true to yourself, figuring out what's important in life, and making difficult choices. It's kind of sad but not depressing and with a glimmer of hope.
Friday night, I watched Main Street, another quiet, thoughtful film. This one is packed with an all-star cast, which is funny because I had never heard of it before, and it looks like it got very little press or circulation when it came out. It's about a small town in North Carolina that is slowly dying, in the way of many small American towns, with its Main Street full of shuttered businesses. Ellen Burstyn plays an old woman who grew up there and is trying to hang onto her old home, in the face of mounting bills and declining income. Colin Firth plays a Texas businessman (yes, Firth has a Texas accent in this movie - very strange) with a proposition to bring the town back to life and put its citizens back to work. He rents a warehouse from Burstyn's character, and Patricia Clarkson plays her daughter, who is wary of the stranger's motives. Other town residents fill out the cast, including Orlando Bloom (whom I didn't recognize until the credits!) as a police officer. This is another quiet movie without much action, about change and fear of change. It was a bit slow for me but enjoyable.
I let 15-year old Craig pick out a Redbox movie Friday night, and he chose Pitch Perfect - again! We both loved it just as much the second time. It is such a feel-good movie with great music and plenty of humor. I love Fat Amy!
Saturday night, with my husband back home, the three of us watched Little Miss Sunshine. Ken and I had seen it before, but it was Craig's first time. If you somehow missed this gem of a movie, you have to see it! It's about family - a very dysfunctional family that will make yours look perfectly normal! - and life, with all of its ups and downs. Dad is trying to make a living as a motivational speaker with his very own 9-step program. Grandpa lives with the family and does heroin and coke behind closed doors. The teen son admires Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence until he meets his goal of going to the Air Force Academy. Mom is trying to hold the family together, sneaking cigarettes and serving lots of take-out fried chicken for dinner. Her brother is living with them because he tried to commit suicide. And the young daughter, Olive, played fabulously by Abigail Breslin, dreams of being a beauty queen. She's a bit overweight (probably all that fried chicken) but diligently practices her dance routine (that grandpa choreographed) in the basement. Then, the unthinkable happens - Olive qualifies for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California, so the family sets off on a road trip. At one point, Craig said, "Mom, you said this was funny but it's sad." And, yes, it does have its sad moments - this family has some serious problems - but it is also very, very funny, especially if you can appreciate a bit of dark humor. Just watching them push-start their old VW van after the clutch breaks cracks me up every time (see cover photo). And the closing scene when Olive does her dance routine at the pageant is hilarious! I love movies that are about real life - joys and sorrows, tears and laughs - and this one is great.
Have you seen any good movies lately?
(If you are interested in what we've been reading, check out the Monday post at my book blog ).