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Sunday, July 26, 2009

a bomb and a blast from the past



We returned from the kind of weekend away that demanded cinema therrapy of the two rental variety.

From some NPR Best Of 2008 list, I picked a couple of two-name titles: Wendy and Lucy and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

That's two, two, two rents in one.

First up in the DVD player: Wendy and her dog pal, Lucy.

Question to NPR reviewers: Were we watching the same movie?

Same question goes to you, 84% approvers on Rotten Tomatoes. Really?

Because I thought it was borrrrrrrring and slowwwww and well, kinda stupid. Poignant, yes, but ruined moments with an insipid screenplay. And then there was watching Wendy make some idiotic choices.

So it's a story about a girl and her dog who trek cross country, bound for Alaska. And become stranded in an unfamilliar town. And she throws F-bombs at the one stranger willing to assist her. And then she leaves the dog tied to a bicycle rack outside of a grocery store while she meanders down food aisles and leisurely browses magazines. And then she loses the dog (no!). Eventually she lost me and SAM as a serious audience.

Next up, Nick and Norah. I picked this one largely because my son was interested and I thought maybe we could actually enjoy a movie together, the teen and his older than dirt 'rents. He was busy, so I opted to watch it anyway. After Wendy, I was desperate for something with a little pick me up.

Pick me up, it did. Right back to those crazy nights of younger years in Jersey. Not the cross into NYC Jersey, like Nick and Norah do, but the cross into PA and Delaware Jersey. But it felt the same.




Nick and Norah is a fun romp around the Big Apple in a yellow Yugo. It's about the necessity of friends, even if it means babysitting a too-drunk-again best friend. And it's about the pursuit of music and how all powerful and meaningful it is when you both get the same band. And it's about love. The film hits each of these points with the precision of a New York cabbie changing lanes during rush hour.

A great rental, in other words. Even if Norah does summon a squeaky excuse for an orgasm. No matter. Because Michael Cera (Juno's baby daddy) is flawless and his character is that sweet geeky boy every misused girl hopes to find.

P.S. The head butt at the end is the most rocking macho-boy-defends-girl-fight scene, like, ever.

P.P.S. Don't blink or you might miss the surprise SNL cameos.

18 comments:

Lee said...

I really liked "Wendy & Lucy." Michelle Williams is a phenomenal actress. Maybe because I used to be a social worker assisting homeless people years ago, this seemed pretty authentic. To me, this little film was like a good short story.

Saw it at the downtown Alamo when it first came out. I was waiting for it.

phd in yogurtry said...

Lee -- Thanks for leaving your comment. I agree, it's authentic. A little too authentic in that the pace was achingly close to real time. I like Williams as an actress. But I don't think she was given enough to work with here. Glum and glummer. We don't get to know her. Who is she? Who was she running from? I would have liked it if this story was broader. Instead it was just slow moving. I was impatient and annoyed throughout. But, am glad you liked it.

blognut said...

I haven't seen Wendy and Lucy, but I really liked Nick and Norah. I thought it was cute.

Jocelyn said...

Now, THIS is my kind of movie reviewing; I'd heard NPR junk about Wendy and her damn dog, but now I will dismiss it.

And I will watch Nick and Norah (I've been a huge Michael Cera fan since ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT).

Thank you for this public service.

phd in yogurtry said...

Jocelyn -- I caught the NPR interview with the Wendy and Lucy director (Fresh Air, maybe?) and I was very interested in seeing it. Then I read the Best Of list. And Rotten Tomatoes with their 80-something percent approval. Gah. What did they see that I missed?

Pete said...

Also a fan of Michael Cera after Juno so I'll opt for Nick and Norah. I like your review.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I'd opt for Nick & Norah, because Michael Cera. Or I'd go with Pineapple Express . . .

Liam said...

I will have to give this movie a try. You make it sound interesting

Becca said...

going to add N&N to my netflix queue right now!

Agent X said...

Saw Nick and Nora at the Drafthouse. You should post a vomit warning but it was really cute. I still love teen flicks especially those with a good soundtack!

Real Live Lesbian said...

I've been so disappointed in movies lately. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm going to have to find that one!

Jason, as himself said...

This is how out of the loop I am: I have never heard of either of these. I don't know when the last time was that I actually watched a DVD.

It's my DVR's fault.

g said...

I think Michael Cera is adorable. And I'm only a little bit embarrassed that I asked him, "Don't you go to Pali High?" when I ran into him once here in LA, thinking he looked so familiar he must have been one of my son's school friends.

Maggie May said...

i am still interested to see what i think of wendy and lucy...nick and norah we watched with the kids, and i thought it was ok, good, mainly because of the lead actor, like you said- he's so charming. so geek sweet.

Maggie May said...

actually i think i'll put that on my blog. i've loved him since Arrested Development

Vodka Mom said...

i can't believe I haven't seen either yet.

I am lame.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Thank you for helping me dodge a boredom bullet - I was thinking Wendy & Lucy for romantic sit-down; maybe someday when I'm in that melancholy place and feel like dragging along?

And yes, I am that sheep-like in that I will follow the Michael Cera anywhere. I'm even looking forward to Year One [on DVD].

Susan said...

Wasn't Nick & Nora written in pieces by two friends who kept passing it back and forth? I must get a life pronto, so I can see some of these movies instead of just reading about them. Although really, if I must just read about them, this is a fine place to do so.