Friday, December 31, 2010

The Kids Are Alright Is All Wrong

I love countdowns and rankings and lists of things that are good and lists of things that are bad, and so on and so forth... and at the end of the year, I spend hours looking at Year End Best and Year End Worst of just about anything. 

And every year, I even do my own Top 100 Coolest Things of the Year... and every year, when it comes to movies, I like to find my ten favorite films of the year.  And the last week of the year, I try to bear down and see a few films that I might have missed before the midnight bells chime, bringing 2011 to our doorsteps.

Random picture of The Goddess, only because I haven't
mentioned her in quite a while.
Right now, The Lovely Steph Leann and I are watching "The Kids Are Alright", starring three people that I really, really like... Annette Bening, who does one of my favorite roles of all time in my 30th favorite film of all time... Julianna Moore, who is one of my favorite actresses and was a pre-goddess to me before The Goddess became The Goddess (and before I fell in love with Amy Adams, of course)... and Mark Ruffalo, who happens to be likable in just about anything and everything.

So, Annette and Julianne play Nic and Jules, respectively, who are lesbians in love, and are mothers to two kids, Joni and Laser.  Yes, Laser.  So, the kids end up finding out who did the "donation" to make their own lives possible, and they end up meeting him, and hilarity, heartbreak, drama and issues ensue.

I can say this, even before the movie is finished playing out... its well acted.  All three leads, Bening, Moore and Ruffalo are playing their own parts perfectly, the story is well done, and the plot, for what its worth, is consistent with no holes or silliness to drag it down.

But... a Christ Follower, how does one enjoy such a film?  The premise of the film itself, two lesbians and their relationship, disrupted by the sudden appearance of their children's sperm donor, spits in the face of what we as Christ Followers believe to be true, right and just according to Scripture and our own belief in God. 

Let's be clear here... I love movies.  I love watching movies, I love how they make me feel, I love breaking apart a film to dissect it, I love thinking about movies that stick with me, I love enjoying Craptastic films that aren't supposed to be anything other than Crapstatic.  And yes, I enjoyed "The Hangover".  And yes, I get a kick of watching "American Pie 2".  And I did see "Boogie Nights" and thought it, taking into consideration the premise again, was a very well done film. 
So to sit here and say "Oh, I can handle the potty humor of 'The Hangover' and I think its hilarious!" and then follow it up with "'Boogie Nights' was enjoyable and Julianne Moore was awesome!" (which, by the way, she was), only to turn around and say, "I don't like the premise of 'The Kids are Alright' because its just too wrong," is a little hypocritical.  But yet, I will say those very things.

What's the difference?  I dunno.  I don't pretend to know.  I never saw "Brokeback Mountain", and not because I am homophobic... I never saw it mostly because all the things I'd heard from people around me was what I suspected--take out the man on man relationship and make it a normal (and I said normal, get over it) man on woman relationship, and its suddenly a boring film about a bad romance, with beautiful scenery.  So, knowing the movie isn't that good, why do I want to see two guys getting it on?  I don't, and I haven't.

So, back to "The Kids Are Alright"... the language is raw.  Tons of F-Bombs.  Julianne Moore is naked, though she does that in many of her films.  There are several, and I mean several, sex scenes.  The lesbian couple watches gay porn to stimulate their own relationship.  The son is named Laser.  These are all the things that are wrong about this film.   As a movie fan, I'm sure you can catch this on Hurricane Rhett's favorite channel, Logo, in a year or so, or maybe the Oprah Network or something later.  As a Christ Follower, I have to tell you, avoid it.  Just avoid it at all costs.

However... if you want to see brilliance from these three leads...

Julianne Moore: 
"Evolution"... one of the most enjoyable, funny pieces of crap ever put on film.  Its stupid, its idiotic, and its hilarious. 
"Children of Men"... its bleak, its dark, its futuristic and its amazingly done
"Boogie Nights"... I can't recommend this film to you, because its the life of a porn star.  I would tell you to watch it on one of those "Cut out the bad parts!" devices you can find at LifeWay, but all you'd see would be a title card and the credits.  But Julianne Moore is phenomenal in it.

However, since we are discussing to good lookin' Julianne Moore and her films... avoid at all costs "The Forgotten", one of the single worst films I've ever seen in my whole life.  Its awful.  Its terrible.  And what's worse is, it starts out as a really good film... and then tanks, hard.  Bad.  Its terrible. 

Annette Bening:
"Mars Attacks"... talk about stupid and brilliant, at the same time.  A great cast, and a great turn by Bening.
"The Grifters"... Once again, its a R rated film with a lot to it, but its a great story and a great movie all around.  John Cusack is especially awesome.
"The American President"... I cannot tell you how much I love this film.  I came up with the term "A Sydney Ellen Wade" performance for Annette Bening's turn as the love interest of President Shepherd.   Every scene she's in, she shines, every word she speaks, she glows and few times have I ever seen someone look so good on camera.  Except Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with. 

Mark Ruffalo:
"13 Going On 30"... Yes, its a silly rom-com, and yes, Jennifer Garner has The McGriddle Effect all over her, but Mark Ruffalo is just charming enough to make guys like him, and make The Lovely Steph Leann jus swoon.
"Shutter Island"... He co-stars with Leo DiCaprio, and holds up well.  The movie is a little over-ambitious, and it almost pulls off being a mind-blowing cinematic experience, only to end up being a really good film with a somewhat predictable twist... but that's not on Ruffalo.
"Collateral"... When making the 2010 edition of The Dave100, I struggled with this film.  See it for Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise, and how good they are.  And enjoy Ruffalo's supporting role. 

But avoid "The Kids Are Alright".

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