Welcome to the inaugural Random Act of Self Indulgence on KidsFlix.
Sometimes I feel a bit public-servicey, warning you (the parent) about what to be wary of in ‘50s sci-fi movies, or touting the rewards of having kids watch silent films or foreign films. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I want to just talk film ... er, grown-up film. Once a week, I’ll open up a thread with a random topic, related (sometimes vaguely, I’m sure!) to movies, kids’ or otherwise. I won't compete with pros out there; rather just share a tidbit or opinion. Cocktail chatter, as the say on the Slate "Political Gabfest" podcast I'm addicted to (even post-election).
For my first R.A.S.I. post, I’ve got a couple of things to throw out there: One, I saw Mike Leigh’s "Happy Go Lucky" over the weekend. I liked it a great deal (more as time goes on; hmmm), but didn’t love it (you know, not the kind that earns both bold AND italic) as much as I’d thought I might from the reviews. But don’t get me wrong, I liked it as much as I’ve liked (or -- non-bold/italic -- loved) many of his films. The characters, as usual, were fully fleshed out, exceedingly human and empathetic; the dialog and acting superbly natural. I suppose my guarded response to the film stems from the fact that I’m not 100% sure what I was supposed to think/feel at the end. (Warning: quasi-spoiler alert ahead:) Did we learn something disappointing and slightly disturbing about Poppy? Or was the rant from the lunatic driving instructor pure B.S.? Ok, does it matter either way? I’m just not sure. Anyway, I’ve loved so much of his work, it was great fun to have him back!
Here’s the trailer for "Happy Go Lucky":
Second, D and I are both looking forward – impatiently so – to seeing "Milk." Being from San Francisco, and having lived in the Castro District for many years, I think we both feel somehow connected to the story. That was our 'hood! The shots of the Castro Theater in the trailers is enough to make us feel deeply nostalgic ... we lived just blocks from the theater and went there weekly, it seems. One Christmas afternoon (pre-parenthood), we saw a double feature at the Castro of "Deliverance" and "The Exorcist." Yeah, we were so cutting edge.
(One more bit I can't resist: When we left, in 2002, K was five years old and we found out that the school he would have attended was the Harvey Milk Academy, a very progressive enclave of liberalism in the Castro. But we were on our way to Maine...)
I also feel connected due to having grown up in the (east) Bay Area, and I remember the horrible events of November 1978, even as a self-absorbed teenager in the ‘burbs. Actually, you’d have to have been about 110% clueless to miss the murders of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, and the subsequent trial and “White Night” riots when Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder. The Bay Area was already in a state of shock and mourning over the deaths of 909 people in Jonestown, Guyana, when the assassinations occurred. It was a crazy, depressing time in the SF-Bay Area.
If you’ve seen "Milk", or have any strong thoughts on the movie -- especially if you have connections to the Bay Area -- give me a shout here. It will tide me over until it comes to Maine, and I confess I'm slightly concerned that it may not make it. A surprising number of films seem to pass us by here.