I rarely watch movies. I hardly ever go out and see them, I find it just about impossible to justify paying $10 to watch something that most likely will not even leave a fingerprint on my brain. Watching them at home requires an almost perfect storm of conditions:
1. There has to be a block of uninterrupted time.
2. I must be able to sit still for the bulk of that uninterrupted time, which means it has to be later in the evening.
3. I must be able to stay awake, too, which means it can't be that much later in the evening.
And, sometimes the hardest piece of the puzzle...
4. There has to be something worth watching.
Last night, the planets were in perfect alignment for movie watching. Henry was on a sleepover at a friend's house, Molly and William hit the hay super early (she was wiped out from a church retreat, he was spent from two days of hockey and a heartbreaking, nerve-wracking last game of the season), and I had the fun job of waiting up for my Manchild to get home.
Do you have a teen? Then you know the drill. Teen goes out, parent waits up. It's part and parcel of parenthood. I will admit to falling asleep on some of these nights, but usually I find it hard to doze when I don't know for sure where one of my kids are. I'm kooky like that.
So anyhoo. Charlie was out, I was still keyed up from William's game, Walter was snoring and twitching next to me on the couch (it's kind of like when you have a sleeping baby in your arms, you don't want to disturb them...a furry anchor, if you will). It was movie time.
I watched two. Yes, I know! High fiving my bad self...I can't tell you the last time I sat through two movies in a row.
Unfortunately, the first one was a stinker. "When In Rome". Bleah. I find Kristen Bell to be highly unlikeable, don't know why...she must remind me of someone who done me wrong. Aside from her, I found the whole thing to be snore-worthy. If not for that Diet Coke I chugged during the hockey game, this one would have made a great Ambien. Total waste of Will Arnett and Angelica Houston. Although I will say that Josh Duhamel is very, very easy on the eyes. You go, Fergie.
Surprised and delighted to find myself awake as the credits rolled, I decided to broaden my horizons and chose a less marketed movie next. It was "Little Children".
And I loved it. Ok, maybe not loved loved it, but it kept my attention way past midnight. Usually the only thing that can do that is a victim caught in my web, or a sick, obsessive bout of Angry Birds.
I know a movie has made an impact on me if I find myself wanting to read the book it was based upon. I'm now on the hunt for this book...just saying.
It's not a feel-good movie, just a heads up. You're not going to bounce away from it, filled with the warm afterglow of say, Pretty Woman or Toy Story. But you will remember it.
It stars Kate Winslet as a stay at home mom of a little girl. She's the one at the park, the mom who doesn't quite fit in with the Stepfords. Her marriage isn't really delved into with any great detail, but we get the idea that it's not one full of love and passion. It doesn't even seem as though she's too into motherhood, either, and that's one reason I want to read the book. Movies always skimp on the details.
And let me say this: The next time I hear or read someone describe Kate Winslet as "curvy" (the media-ism for fat), "big" or any other adjective used to describe someone who is bigger than a praying mantis, I will scream. She's gorgeous. She's lovely. She's real! There. Got that out of my system.
So back to the synopsis: Kate is Sarah, the outsider Mommy. She meets a stay at home dad at the park, a very good looking guy whom the Stepfords have dubbed "Prom King". Prom King is married to a career woman and has failed his bar exam after repeated tries. We get the sense that his wife (played by Jennifer Connelly, who is also lovely but needs to eat a sandwich now and then) (ok, just read on IMDB that her waist is 22". Really? My thigh is 23". Sigh.) is the one wearing the pants in the family, leaving Prom King feeling a bit emasculated.
It's no surprise that Sarah and Prom King hook up. I'll let you know that there are some semi-graphic sex scenes between these two, and I'll also let you know that I didn't mind that one bit. Big Daddy made me watch a porn once when we were married, and I was left feeling not horny, but sad. I see girls in porns and all I can think of is how awful their childhoods must have been. But scenes like the ones in this movie? They are just fine. It didn't hurt that the actor who plays Prom King, Patrick Wilson, is hot. Like cute-dad hot. He has that "where I have I seen him before" kind of face, but I think the only other movie I've seen that he's been in is The Watchmen.
So these two carry on their fling, and we meet several other characters who populate their small town: a registered sex offender who has moved back home with his mom, a bitter ex-cop who is a one-man vigilante set on making the sex offender's life a living hell, and a few others.
The sex offender is played by Jackie Earle Haley, who I believe was put on this earth solely to play creepy guys in movies. I'm sure he's a lovely man in real life, but holy buckets...that's a face you don't forget. He earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this role, and he deserved it.
It just dawned on me that I am recommending a slower paced, less than joyful movie about adultery that features a creepy sex offender character. What can I say? I enjoyed it. If you are a Comcast customer with On Demand, it's in the Free Movie section this month.
Unfortunately, the Manchild failed to make it home. After about two dozen texts and phone calls that went unanswered, I fell asleep on the couch around 3:00 a.m. Got a call from him this morning...he supposedly fell asleep at his friend's house (the friend whose mommy happens to be my former BFF...Big Red) and "forgot" to let me know. Tomorrow morning, he'll discover that I temporarily deactivated his cell phone and "forgot" to tell him. Oops.
So if you find yourself with some time, check out Little Children.
And if you find yourself unable to sleep and fresh out of melatonin? Try that other movie.