Archive for October, 2012

Perks, indeed…

Posted: October 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

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I don’t often pontificate on the power of a film this quickly after I’ve seen it, but to be honest this has all been stewing around since The Perks of Being A Wallflower began. I remember reading the book a few years after it came out in 1999, probably around 2002 when I graduated from high school. I was never that as separated from the world as Charlie is, but I found myself making an immediate connection to the idea of really being a part of a tight knit group of friends. At different times in my life, I’ve felt exactly the same way; but it is strange that now, as I watched the film version of Chbosky’s novel (written and directed by the author himself), I couldn’t shake the feeling of still wanting that in some way. Differently, yes, but the overall desire to want someone to see you for who you are and to love you in spite of that, it’s powerful.

I just got home about half an hour ago from watching the movie. I’ve no doubt I’ll watch it several more times when the opportunity arises, one of those movies that hits you at just the right time. Even though it’s not a technically perfect film, I realize that it does so many things well that you let it live inside its flaws. After all, that is kind of the point of the book/film anyway. We cannot allow ourselves to live in the messes we make of ourselves, but in many ways, as human beings, we’re here for one another to help overcome those moments. Knowing those people exist in my life is comforting. Knowing there are still holes there, still open positions in those roles, is a little scary.

Where’s my Sam?

As for the movie itself, the heart of it is certainly in the performances. Logan Lerman captures Charlies just as he should be: he’s a loner, but only because he feels like he’s too odd for anyone to really like him. There’s also a sense, and Lerman nails this part, that Charlie feels like a cancer and responsible for the deaths of those who he’s been close to. The layers of the character are a tribute to Chbosky’s original story, but Lerman puts himself out there and allows Charlie to be vulnerable and honest, while still guarded and hiding from something that fleshes itself out as the film progresses. That both binary positions work so well says a lot about the actor’s performance.

Ezra Miller’s Patrick is sometimes a little over the top, but his more poignant moments near the film’s end really allow that to be a minor quibble. He, like the Charlie, wants to be loved for who he is, even if that means keeping secrets he’d rather tell, something Patrick and Charlie share.

Emma Watson, who I always felt was the most talented of the three Harry Potter children, really shines here, as well. Sam and Charlie are a lot alike, in spite the age difference, and their connection really feels genuine from the first moment she appears on screen. There is a quiet elegance about her, too, and a vulnerability never allowed to Hermione, but one that I hope to see a lot more of from the actress as the year’s go on.

The rest of the cast is excellent as well, especially Paul Rudd in the small but important role of Mr. Anderson, Charlie’s English teacher. This is a role that really works for Rudd, who we often see in goofier fare than this, but there is a truth to his performance that works so well and you really get the feeling that this is someone Charlie can trust. I felt as safe with him as Charlie does.

Aside from the acting, the film really nailed the tone of Chbosky’s novel. One of the difficulties that I often heard about regarding filming the book was taking the journal style of it and putting the events on screen rather than being told all the time what is happening. While a good bit of Charlie’s narration still exists, the major events of the film play out on screen, and we get a script that hits all the moments exactly right. When it is funny it is very much so, but when the film requires a serious turn, it handles that adeptly, too. For a director who hasn’t made a movie since 1995, Chbosky’s handling of the film is not overbearing, but allows the power of the story and words to really tell the story.

And that, above all, is what makes this film so good. It could easily have slipped into a high school movie cliche, but it is stronger than that. I’m 28 and I appreciate the value of the friendships shown here. We all need these types of relationships to help us get through life. To help us get the love we actually deserve, rather than just the love we think we do. To help us become infinite.

A

Women

Posted: October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

My goal is to rant as little as possible here, but let’s be fair, that’s kind of the point. So I can only hold back so much.

I will begin with the very basic concept: women are very confusing. The ones I know best make no more sense to me than the average woman on the street. The ones I’m related to no more than the ones I want to be friends with or date or possibly trick into hanging out with me. Women I’ve actually met no more so than the ones who exist only as profiles on my computer (calm down, we’re talking online dating profiles here, people). Suffice it to say, my interactions with them often leave me even more confused than I was when I went in, and often times make it feel as though I just got into a fight with some sort of wild animal (got to be careful there, don’t want to step on any toes…I’ll move on).

There’s this whole “girls really want a nice guy” thing I hear so much about. I’ve heard it a lot, whether it be from a recently jilted female friend or from someone I’m close to who is trying to convince me that my loneliness is temporary. The concept remains generally the same: girls, supposedly, want a guy who’ll be good to them. Not perfect, just good. Nice. Look, I will not claim perfection, but I think I’m a pretty good guy. I open car doors and restaurant doors and all kinds of doors. I give gifts without notice or reason. I see something that makes me think of a person I’m with (when I have the good blessing to be with someone, that is), and I can’t help but it pick it up if I have the means. And don’t even get me started on the infamous 14 Days of Valentine’s Day 2005 (unless you really want to know, then I’d love to share…it’s actually a great story)! To be blunt, I’m a pretty good freaking boyfriend. Most of the critics agree (those would be ex-girlfriends for those scoring at home). Again, not perfect, but good. And yet, at this point in my life I am really starting to wonder if I’ve lost something?

Now, to be fair, I’ve always felt myself an acquired taste. Once you get to know me, you usually love me, it just takes time and patience. I do not claim to have any skills in the meeting of new people department (one of my major flaws in this arena, I’ll grant). But lately I’ve started to ask whether I am so unappealing that the thought of accepting a free meal from me is too much to take. Do I sell myself this poorly in my own online profile? What is it, exactly, that makes it so I cannot push past that threshold and into my relationship wheelhouse?

I can only chalk it up to those darned confusing women.

Unfair? Maybe. Probably. Could I make a little more effort? Oh, I dunno, it’s possible that if I sparked a random conversation when I’m out in public it might do wonders for my self-confidence, but it’s also possible that it could have the quite opposite effect. And when you’re trying to grip onto something, the last thing you want to do is loose even one finger.

Look, I understand that as a Christian I am supposed to believe that God has His timing all worked out. And I do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated when I don’t see things working out as I’d hoped. I don’t think I’ve done anything too terribly drastic in my quest to seek my future mate, but some days, I do get some crazy ideas (anyone know a billboard company in the area?), and other days I resign myself altogether. OkCupid and Plenty of Fish feel more like NoWayDufus and Plenty to Miss these days. I’ve paid for online dating. I’ve done the free stuff. I’ve tried karaoke and singing in a band. Frankly, I’ve used all my moves.

All I need is for someone to take a little interest. I swear I’m really good at the rest.

 

God bless,

Robert