Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Wackness: A beautiful movie . . .

I'm really glad I stuck this one out. 99% of this movie is very depressing; you really don't get to the golden 1% unless you tough it out through the forced evictions, the divorces, the attempted suicides, the exploitative sex, the loneliness, the drug abuse, the disillusionment . . . but, if you do, you learn that the dirt of the film was there to provide a foil for the spiritual beauty of Josh Peck's character. And, oh yea, you get the bonus of seeing Mary Kate Olsen playing a stoned hippie in Central Park.

Poor Josh Peck's character, Lucas Shapiro, weathers the vagaries of life and comes out of the refiner's fire wearing his depression as a badge of honor. What I mean is that the thing that makes Josh (and his good friend, Dr. Squires), stand out from the rest, is their sensitivity. They feel things poignantly, they care about life, they both are looking for something beautiful and sacred that the other characters could care less about. The most obvious example of this is their failed love affairs . . . they get burned easily by bad women . . . they want to go "deeper" than said women can go.

While the characters never verbalize this, of course, what they come to value in themselves is their vulnerability and honesty. While other characters seem to selfishly bulldoze their way through life or mask their problems by popping meds, these two characters find their humanity in fully experiencing life's highs and lows and just talking things out. They develop an inner confidence that while they may be imperfect, they are essentially good: so when life hurts, they no longer blame themselves for feeling down. Instead, they know their pain is a result of their inner goodness bumping up against a cold, decadent world.

This movie is a bonus for hip-hop lovers. It had an excellent sound track of hip-hop tracks from hip-hop's golden age, 90's east coast stuff. Music was important metaphorically in this movie. When characters wanted to bond with each other, they exchanged mix tapes. Music set an example of honesty and self-expression that Lucas and Dr. Squires aspired to. Makes you wonder how many lives have been saved by music.

I really enjoyed the intimacy of this film. I found Lucas Shapiro to be a very sympathetic character and the movie brought me right into his mind.

I also loved the cinematography. There were quite a few moments when I wanted to freeze the film and take a screen shot.

This movie is a favorite!

P.S. it's not for the kids :)

And a useful moral-of-the-story is to be very, very careful to only fall in love with nice people.