Monday, September 20, 2010

John Hughes Would Approve.....surely.

It happened again. OK, I'll admit it. My daughter dragged me kicking and screaming to yet another "teen flick". This happens quite regularly. I have been subjected to some real trash.....but every once in awhile, a real gem appears. I have to give her credit - for a 16 year old, she has fairly good taste in movies and even considers herself a bit of a film aficionado (thanks to 2 summers now at "film camp"). Note I did not say "movie buff", but "film aficionado". There's a diff - don't ya know! The most recent "film" she introduced me to was Easy A. That's right - Easy A. I had sat through a trailer for this movie a few weeks back (not really paying attention) and recalled her saying she wanted to see it and I paid her some sort of lip service at the time saying it might be one she would like to see with kids her own age as opposed to moi. I guess she was paying me lip service when she agreed and then last Saturday night insisted I see it with her. So off we went. I went without any pre-conceived notions other than I thought it was quite likely I might catch a few zzz's at about the half way mark. How bad could it be? For starters, I think I started laughing within the first two minutes. I sat upright and paid attention as soon as I saw that the lead character's father was played by one of my very favourite actors - Stanley Tucci. What is it about this guy that is so damn appealing? He just keeps getting better. Most recently I loved him as Julia Child's husband in Julia and Julia. His wife in this movie is played by another great actress - Patrica Clarkson and the two of them together were just brilliant. Not only were they the kind of parents everyone wishes they had, they are the kind of parents every parent wishes they could be. I found myself excited every time they were included in a scene. My only criticism of the movie in fact would be that I would have liked more scenes featuring their witty banter. And is it my imagination, or is he getting sexier every time I see him? So, enough about the secondary characters, on to Emma Stone in the role of Olive Penderghast. Move over Lindsay Lohan - this actress is about to kick your butt. If only poor Lindsay could have kept herself together, but alas, now that she is so messed up, it was only a matter of time before she was replaced. Not only replaced, completely outdone in my opinion. Olive is too clever for her own good in this movie, but of course she comes out on top in the end and even scores Penn Badgley. And by the way, speaking of Penn, great to see him outside of his brooding Gossip Girl character for a change. He may have a future on the big screen if this is any indication of his abilities. Go Penn! Another little side-plot involving Lisa Kudrow and Thomas Haden Church as the married guidance counselor and popular teacher adds some interest as well. Let's just say one of them throws us a little unexpected curve ball that I did not see coming at all. The moral of my little story here is never under-estimate your teenage child's ability to judge a decent movie or the sex-appeal of a bald man. Decomama declares Easy A...... worth the admission price.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Let's get Philosophical!

I read somewhere recently that you could tell right away if someone was a baby boomer if they were nostalgic. Apparently more recent generations are less nostalgic than those of us born in this era. When I read that, I was a bit insulted that "being nostalgic" was a flaw, a fault of some type, a negative thing. It felt like someone had been unfairly critical of my generation. What was so wrong with nostalgia? I wondered. I pondered. I forgot about it. Until today. I was reminded just how bloody nostalgic we are when an old friend of mine from California tagged me in a photo on Facebook last week. The shot had been taken at a party in the late 70's and there I was, for all to see, fresh-faced moi. This started a series of comments and more photos being scanned and posted and more of us boomers looking back on our (skinnier) selves and having a few laughs. It was more than 30 years ago, but looking back, it could have been a week ago. The memories came back in waves. At first, I forgot the names of some of the people in the shots, but as the conversations unfolded, the names got mentioned and the moments frozen in time took on life again. This friend of mine who lives in California - San Diego at the time, hosted these annual parties. I flew in twice for them - they tended to last 3 days or so and they were considered by all who attended as "don't miss" events. I won't go into "all" the details, but let's just say there was no shortage of mind altering substances to be had and there was a hot tub. Not just any hot tub, mind you, this hot tub was a "magic" place. If you dared to soak in this particular hot tub, particularly under a starry sky, there was no limit to the brilliance of the philosophizing that would take place. I had forgotten that. Over the last few days, it was comforting to remember some of it. I have always loved nothing more than to share a conversation about "the meaning of life" with friend, an acquaintance, hell - total strangers for that matter. You never know what gem may come out of it. I miss doing that - I don't do enough of it anymore. Remember dinner parties that would go on and on into the wee hours, wine-soaked brains solving the problems of the world? Now, we go to a dinner party and talk about our kids, the real estate market, local politics, federal politics, current events - that stuff bores me. I want to talk about what makes us tick. I did then and I still do now. What gives you joy? I want to turn to someone at a dinner party and ask that question. I want to see their face light up when they start to describe it. But I want it to be the truth. Not some made up bullshit thing. Dig deep. Don't tell me your new BMW or your new Jimmy Choo's. And if you don't have something to tell me, tell me what you "think" would give you joy. There was something about that hot tub that levelled everyone. If there were any pretenses, they remained outside the tub. That's what I want. I want all my social engagements to contain that kind of honesty. So, in an effort to make that happen, I will summon up my nostalgic "hot tub magic" each and every time I attend a function and maybe my life will be richer for it. One can only hope.