When I watch a movie I always try and think of what the “log line” would be if I was going to pitch the story to some suit in Hollywood. “Alright son, (I assume he is much older and treats me as a writer in a condescending tone) you have 15 seconds to impress me.” And bam! I give this killer line like in The Player when Griffin Mill has to listen to that writer pitch the idea based on an execution scene (note to self, see The Player again), and the movie magic happens.
I watched The Kids Are All Right and here’s the log line that comes to mind:
In the suburban wastelands of Los Angeles, two children of lesbian parents go on a journey to find their biological father and in turn, find recover a piece of their lost identities…while avoiding getting eaten by zombies.
Shoot! I think I mixed in the movie I saw the night before. (please see previous post)
The story line has the slight appeal of the out-of-the-ordinary family and how kids would adjust in such an environment. It has to be a fairly decent show since it’s nominated for best picture and Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo are nominated for their thespian quality. However…
I wasn’t too captured by this movie like I was say, for True Grit or Inception or The King’s Speech. It just seems so much less than these others that it belongs in the mid-range pics that you watch and say to yourself, “Ya, I wasn’t as annoyed as I was when I watched Eat, Pray, Love,” (don’t judge me for seeing that. I punished myself for two hours so I’m thoroughly cleansed of all movie sins).
The Kids Are All Right good in that it focused on the personal turmoil of a family in transition as kids get older and begin to wonder about the sperm donor who is responsible for half of their genetic make-up. The problem is that I just didn’t believe the Annette Bening/Julianne Moore match as a couple whose relationship had grown stale and routine. I’ve heard that bedtime story before (many, many times) and this one lacked reality.
I found the kids more interesting to watch, especially Joni, (Mia Wasikowska) the just-graduated daughter who develops a connection with her biological father. Most of the time it’s annoying to watch actors play teens and as much as you want to punch Lindsay Lohen in the face in Mean Girls, the cliches and over dramatizations of teen life make it a tough age-group to portray. Joni and her brother Laser learn what it’s like to have expectations of a person only to have them crushed by the reality of that person’s life.
As for the nominations, all of the actors are great but in other roles and other movies. They simply didn’t have much to work with and aside from a couple of strong scenes by Bening, I found it difficult to stay awake. for me, that’s a good gauge of movie quality because I don’t sleep much so if a movie doesn’t have “it,” I’m out.
I’m out on The Kids Are All Right because it didn’t give me enough of the human connection that I felt I could connect with. It’s a filler for the now 10-fold Oscar nomination list so don’t expect it to get a sniff at the golden bald guy.