Friday, August 12, 2005

Beautiful Girls (Retread)

I seem to be drawn to movies that have these few elements in common - ensemble cast, lots of dialogue, and a sense nostalgia for a more innocent time in the characters' lives.

I went to Ted Demme's Beautiful Girls several times, and it's one of those movies I can't get sick of. Timothy Hutton plays Willie, a piano player who goes back to his hometown for a high school reunion. His girlfriend is supposed to join him later in the week, so he spends the next few days getting drunk and reminiscing with his old buddies.

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing for the guys in this movie. They're getting a bit too old to be into the same things they were when they were in high school. Each of them is dealing with it in their own way. Tommy (Matt Dillon) is being a very bad boyfriend to Sharon (Mira Sorvino), because he can't stop reliving his high school days, especially with regard to his former (and now married) sweetheart Darian (Lauren Holley). 'Mo' (Noah Emmerich) is trying to be a good father while still playing the big kid on the playground. Paul (Michael Rappaport) still has posters of supermodels on his bedroom wall and names his dog Elle Macpherson. And Willie finds an unexpected soulmate in Marty (Natalie Portman), telling himself at one point that he can wait four years for her to turn 18.

I was particularly drawn to the Willie and Marty storyline. I mean, OBVIOUSLY it was never going to happen, but there seemed to be a real connection between them. But Willie's right when he says that by the time she's 18 she'll have forgotten all about him. That he'll be the Pooh to her Christopher Robin - when she grows up, she won't need him anymore. He tells her he can't be a Pooh, and I really identified with that (still do). There are a lot of people in our lives that burn bright for a short time and then just kind of fade out. I think the movie really has a lot to say about the transitory nature of the relationships in our lives.

It's not a particularly great film. In fact, it's rather ordinary. But it's got some moments of real greatness. And some of the best lines ever. Examples:

Tommy: You bought a colored diamond for a girl you're not even seein', man, you been eatin' retard sandwiches again!

Tommy: He makes you happy?
Andera: Yeah. I look for that in a man, you know. The ones that make me miserable don't seem to last.

Paul: See these guys? Pete, Rizzo and Sammy B? They work all day and drink all night for 40 ****ing years. Two weeks out of the year, they take a vacation and go to the Cape. What do they do? They drink all day, they drink all night. If we don't step it up, we're gonna wind up just like them.
Kev: Cool.

Willie: I was jealous of a little kid on a bike, because he gets to be her age, and I'm this vile old man. Like that guy, what's-his-name...
Mo: Roman Polanski?

In addition, this movie has an amazing soundtrack. Music plays a fairly significant part in the guys' lives, and there's a memorable rendition of "Sweet Caroline". And, while I'm not a fan of Rosie O'Donnell as an actress, she gets the best speech in the whole movie.

It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I found it very enjoyable. I developed a huge crush on Timothy Hutton after seeing this movie. He's drunk and his hair is messed up most of the time, but he's still incredibly sexy.


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Kat Coble said...

I loved BG. I saw it by myself in the theatre during a sad time in my life. For some reason that movie just became really special to me.

Sophie said...

I absolutely love this movie too. And I developed a huge crush on Timothy Hutton too. Not so much the drunk part, but that amused whimsical look on his face throughout the movie. He has a great smile. :) He really is an underappreciated actor!