Saturday, October 18, 2014

Obvious Child (2014)

“I’m having your abortion…
Do you want to share a dessert?
Yeah, lead with that, definitely lead with that.

            Yes, this comedy is about a young woman who gets an abortion. Obvious Child did what no other “rom-com” has ever done before. It does not vilify a girl for not keeping a baby she does not want and the guy that got her pregnant is not mad at her for doing so. No one is mad at her. The girl does not have her shit together in her life, her life is not magically going to get better if she has a baby and stays with the guy.
            Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is a young woman living in her New York City. By day she works in an old book store and by night she does stand up at bar. She also occasionally does commercials. When she does stand up, Donna is brutally honest about her life especially her sex life. After a show one night her boyfriend breaks up with her in the bathroom of the bar and also tells her he has been seeing her best friend for a while.
            Donna lets her world unravel for a few days as she tries to get over her breakup. Back at the bar she bombs her routine because she is too hurt and too drunk. A nice guy named Max sits down with Donna and her friend. They start flirting and later wind up back at his place and sleep together.
            Lo and behold a few weeks later Donna finds out she is pregnant with Max’s baby. She remembers certain things about that night like thinking they had used protection. Donna goes to the doctor and says that she wants an abortion. The doctor tells her she has to wait two more weeks. In those two weeks Donna tries to tell her mother and even tries to tell Max. She eventually tells both about her situation. The mother is not raging mad like Donna thought she would be. And neither is Max. Donna actually told him in her own way by telling the story as part of her stand up routine. Max stormed out of the bar that night but he comes to her place the following day to take her to the doctor.
            The procedure is done Max sits on the couch with Donna at his apartment. He makes a joke of sitting in the waiting room for her. Then they sit and watch Gone With the Wind together.
            Alright so my review is not the best but basically that is what happened and it was really good.
            Jenny Slate was beyond perfect as Donna. No one else could have played the character as well as she did. You can see just by the way Slate played Donna that she was torn the whole time about getting the abortion. She liked Max and felt bad. She was scared too. And yet despite everything she went through with it. Slate just nailed the character she was fantastic. I also loved the fact that a girl talked about farting. I have three younger brothers I think fart jokes and the like are hysterical. Girls do talk about this stuff and do so as well as guys. Thank you writers and Jenny Slate.  

            I liked Obvious Child because it was different. There was no slut shaming which was fantastic. There was remorse on the part of the character but they did what was right for them and that to me was great to see. Obvious Child is not a fairy tale happy ever after rom-com it is a real life rom-com. If you want to see something totally different and incredibly brilliant on all levels watch Obvious Child. It is one of the best movies I have seen all year. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: The Floating Coffin (1914)

In the final chapter of The Perils of Pauline serial entitled The Floating Coffin, Pauline Marvin (Pearl White) and her fiancé Harry are traveling on his new yacht. He also has a motorboat. Pauline has him show her how to work the mechanisms for the small boat.
            After some pleading Harry finally gives in and lets Pauline drive the motorboat for herself. She takes along her dog Rusty for the ride. The motorboat stops working and begins to take on water. Pauline manages to get herself and the dog onto an old boat.
            Not far off in the distance is a naval fleet. They are going to be using the boat that Pauline and Rusty are on for their target practice. The fleet shoots at the boat and puts enough holes in it to start sinking it. Pauline is frantic she tries desperately to get the naval fleet’s attention. She manages to find a pen and piece of paper and writes a note saying she is on board the old ship. Pauline gives the note to Rusty who she has swim to the battleships.
            The crew of one of the ships sees the dog swimming towards them. They take a small rowboat out to the dog. The crew sees the note and the captain calls a cease fire. The crew and the dog get to Pauline in the nick of time.
            Someone on the yacht has wised up to Koerner’s evil doings trying to get rid of Pauline for her money. The man punches Koerner and throws him overboard. Koerner eventually drowns.
            When Pauline comes back she embraces Harry and tells him she has finally had enough of having adventures and wants to marry him at last.
            For the past nine weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed watching The Perils of Pauline. Some of them were exciting and thrilling and some were just alright. Pauline Marvin is a great character. I liked how she went on all these adventures, planned or unplanned, and did so with such bravery and fun. My favorite aspect of all these episodes is that they were filmed in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Fort Lee was the original movie town. All the major studios started there. Over the summer I completed my internship as a museum registrar at the Fort Lee Museum working for the Fort Lee Film Commission. I found so many incredible movie artifacts from the early film industry and learned so much about it. The Fort Lee Film Commission are big fans of The Perils of Pauline and even use a behind the scenes photograph from one of the films as their logo.
            The Perils of Pauline is a must see for classic film fans. They are fun, innocent, and entertaining given the time period they were made in.  I can only hope that these films, if seen by more viewers, especially women, will inspire writers in some way to write strong, adventurous female characters.