I always overpack for vacation. And now that I'm a mother to a 2 year old cutie pie toddler who is as girlie as her Mom, I overpack for the both of us, and her brother who doesn't care in the least, but I must be equitable. The Dad is only too happy to wear the same golf shirt and shorts all week long. But honestly, if you're going out to Vancouver, where the weather can start out with a brisk spring morning, morph into a sunny, windy and beautiful afternoon and finish with a touch of evening chill from the mountains, a girl's gotta have an outfit for all these occasions. I was actually quite proud of myself this time - wore everything in my suitcase at least the once, with the exception of my running shoes and workout gear (who was I kidding - there was zero time to hit the gym).
Now I'm stuck with all this laundry. So while I adjust to the 3-hour time difference and clear out the suitcases, I thought I would provide some commentary on a movie that I managed to watch, almost uninterrupted, on the airplane. With the wonders of the portable DVD players that managed to keep Liam Pokeman'd and Giselle Care Bear-fixated, I was able to enjoy a small movie that I remember coming out briefly this past spring that I had no interest in whatsoever. I attribute that to weird marketing, as I think the makers of that movie were trying to make it something that it wasn't, and missed the mark on who would have enjoyed it. Namely people like me.
The movie was "In the Land of Women". Strange title, with the headliner being former OC star Adam Brody (the cute, funny guy), and the cast of women including Meg Ryan (I had no idea she was in this); Kristen Stewart (anger ridden, teenager with a passion for art); Olympia Dukakis (the demented grandma). The trailer made it look like a coming of age, teen love story between the male lead and the younger teenage star. So when the film came out I gave it a pass. Likely wouldn't have even considered it for a DVD rental.
Watching it yesterday, I discovered that it was about human relationships, between mother and daughter, between grandson and grandmother, different types of love and just life itself. It was a lovely drama, with some excellent dialogue, subdued performances, and just enough quirky humour to keep it from being totally melodramatic.
Adam Brody played Carter Webb, a soft-porn writer who has just been dumped by his gorgeous actress girlfriend and needs a change of scenery. He visits his mom (JoBeth Williams, who still looks great) who's worried about grandma in Michigan, who thinks she's dying every day. Carter decides to visit his grandmother, stay with her for a while to get away from the LA scene and make plans for her care.
While he's there he develops relationships with the neighbours across the street, the lonely suburban housewife (Meg Ryan), her angry daughter (Kristen Stewart) and the precocious little sister. The father is absent most of the time; Carter learns that he really is a good listener, and life does go on after you've been dumped. I was most impressed with Adam Brody's performance, and Meg Ryan's. It was a refreshing change to see her in a more subtle role, a role of a mother dealing with a crisis, looking at her life and being more than a bit disappointed, longing for more even though, as she described it herself, her life seems picture perfect. I thought it was one of her best performances, and I didn't even let her plastic lips distract me once during the whole movie.
A movie that actually made me cry at times. It did plod in spots, and it's not an Oscar contender by any means, but a nice small movie which was not the teen screen fare I was expecting. A happy ending in a movie that was a pleasant surprise; a lovely way to finish off the family summer vacation.