Movie Review: Little Children (2006)

Little Children ___ 8/10
Odd, tragicomic tale of romantics
seeking love outside loveless marriages

Written by Todd Field and Tom Perrotta
Directed by Todd Field

Kate Winslet … Sarah Pierce
Patrick Wilson … Brad Adamson
Jennifer Connelly … Kathy Adamson
Gregg Edelman … Richard Pierce
Phyllis Somerville … May McGorvey
Jackie Earle Haley
… Ronnie J. McGorvey
Noah Emmerich … Larry Hedges
Jane Adams
… Sheila

This one slipped by me last year, though Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley were up for Oscars for best actress and best supporting actor, respectively, and the writers were up for best screenplay.  It’s an odd movie for a number of reasons, but I found the voiceover narrative really funny, like one of those wild and crazy documentaries of the 50s:

“Bob becomes irritable when his golfing clubs are misplaced in the garage.”

“Nancy wishes her bottom were not so large as she walks to her normal sunbathing location on the beach.”

The story starts in a park where an impromptu frustrated-wives club has formed with Sarah Pierce (Winslet) as an overeducated, and somewhat reluctant member.  Sarah and the other young women gossip and watch over their handful of children.

The most titillating gossip is about a young house husband (Patrick Wilson as Brad Adamson) who brings his boy to the park as well.  Calling him the Prom King, the other women fantasize about this attractive guy who keeps to himself. Sarah doesn’t understand the fuss, and when the girls dare her to get his phone number she walks right up and makes introductions. Continue reading

Movie Review: Revolutionary Road (2008)

RevRoadThe quintessential “trapped in the 1950s” story

Frank Wheeler: I want to feel things. Really feel them.
April Wheeler: Don’t you see? That’s the whole idea! You’ll be able to do what you should have been allowed to do seven years ago, you’ll have the time. For the first time in your life, you’ll have the time to find out what it is you actually want to do. And when you figure it out, you’ll have the time and the freedom, to start doing.
Frank Wheeler: This doesn’t seem very realistic.
April Wheeler: No, Frank. This is what’s unrealistic. It’s unrealistic for a man with a fine mind to go on working year after year at a job he can’t stand. Coming home to a place he can’t stand, to a wife who’s equally unable to stand the same things. And you know what the worst part of it is? Our whole existence here is based on this great premise that we’re special. That we’re superior to the whole thing. But we’re not. We’re just like everyone else! We bought into the same, ridiculous delusion. That we have to resign from life and settle down the moment we have children. And we’ve been punishing each other for it. Continue reading

Brian’s Column: Liberty and Celebrity

Some thoughts on ‘being known for being known’
and what it means to the freedom movement

This definition of celebrity—being known for being known—is pretty close to a quote from a an interesting piece I read from a Web article by Daniel Epstein published a couple of years ago in The Weekly Standard of all places[1].  Actually, Epstein was quoting Daniel Boorstin from The Image: Or What Happened to the American Dream: “The celebrity,” Boorstin wrote, “is a person who is well-known for his well-knownness.”[2]

Epstein continues by making a distinction between fame and celebrity: fame being based more on actual achievement, while celebrity especially recently become more the art of being paid attention to by large numbers of people on television regardless of any personal noteworthiness. Probably the most classic example is Brian “Kato” Kaelin, the house guest of OJ Simpson.  The Kaelin persona reminds me of the Woody Allen movie, Zelig, in which a nondescript man seeks to blend in and dissemble as if he were one of the famous people himself. Continue reading