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reading tiger

Lori's Movie Corner

The only real issue I have with the movie Young Adult is that I'd really like to know how the main character went from "psycho bitch prom queen" to ghostwriter of teen novels. Because psycho bitch prom queens in my Midwestern home town grew up to be real estate agents, or sales managers, or dental hygienists.

Other than that, though, this movie rocked. The writing by Diablo Cody was both sharp and humane, and the performances were spot on -- especially Charlize Theron's, but give lots of credit too to Patton Oswalt in a fine supporting role.

I love his movie in part because it fearlessly inverts so many tropes. There's a scene here which is a direct answer to 40 Year Old Virgin, I swear. The whole premise is an answer to romantic comedies that center on relighting old flames. Basically, this is an anti-romcom. Yum.

The attention to detail here is part of what makes this movie so good. Theron drives back into her old hometown and passes...chain store after chain store after chain store, shining their neon logos into the Midwestern night. That is exactly what driving back home looks like for me. I was cackling. And I knew I was going to give this movie a long leash during the first phone call to Theron's old flame -- and you don't see his face, only his hands as he transfers his wife's breast milk from the pump to a plastic ziploc bag and on into the freezer. His wife? Is the drummer in a mom band. Called "Nipple Confusion." I died.

And also, I am so thankful for a story in which a woman gets to have a midlife crisis that isn't wrapped up in a pretty bow by the end. That the woman gets to be unlikable. And you feel compassion for her anyway -- and so do the characters in the film -- without excusing her inexcusable actions. Oh, fuck, it was such a grown up movie. I want more grown-up movies, please. "Dark comedy," I guess, but most dark comedies lean on the absurd-grotesque end of things. Part of what makes Young Adult so great is that it heads into the opposite direction, toward relentless naturalism.

I will totally own that I may like this film more than other people because it was like a guided rocket toward the vulnerable parts of my identity -- struggling writer, midlife crisis, Midwestern hometown, hello! I didn't go to my prom, though. I don't have any glory days to relive back home. But let's just say that the premise was, as they say, relatable. But fuck -- I saw a movie and the premise was relatable! Not spot-on, but recognizable. This is frosting. It shouldn't be; it should be the cake. But right now it makes for mighty tasty frosting.

Comments

I totally love this movie. I met a few girls who ended up doing the comma mine stuff, though they were from Long Island. (The film was actually shot on LI in parts, so it worked for me.)
I would totally believe it if it was set in Long Island. Minnesota's a bit more of a stretch for me.

You can tell how much I loved this movie by how many times I swore while writing this post. I should have a fuck-o-meter instead of a star system.
we watched it and loved it and it's all your fault!
hilarious side note.
sunday night we tried to watch Horrible Bosses with our neighbors. We all thought it was dumb, one note, and crude without being funny.
I went to work and two of my co-workers loved it saying that it was so shocking and crude that they thought it was hilarious.

so then I go in on Tuesday and mention to the same two guys how much I loved Young Adult and they were all - that was so horrible, she was so unlikeable and my response was 'I know - wasn't it great?'

xoxo
Heh. I saw Horrible Bosses too and you were right :) So much potential, horribly and predictably wasted.
Well, I loved loved loved Young Adult, and I'm not from MN or LI (well, the far Western tip), so maybe it's not about personal background. Yes, I agree: grown-up movie.

I wasn't that surprised by her ability to move past the typical career--I thought that was Cody's point. That she had ambition, but it was warped both in her little town (into "psycho bitch prom queen") and thereafter (ghost writer, not writer; make-up, fucking & apartment, not "Sex in the City" couplings).

And yes, anti-romcom, but also a strong anti-heroic narrative. That last scene between her and the "supportive" hometown woman: amazing. That it's not just personal, but part of the cosmopolitan narrative that's carried on at a broader social level.

So smart. My god. Now I want to see it again.