Sometimes, when you're really lucky, both motive and opportunity arrive at the same time. I'm talking about the movies, of course. If you have a bunch of good movies (motive) and a long holiday weekend (opportunity), sometimes you can see three in a row. Sometimes even four! But we oughtn't to push our luck.
The Silver Lining Playbook. (Possible headline: Bradley Cooper, not being a jerk.) An altogether well-acted and well-written and well-made movie. As has been well-established by now, I like to keep track of directors, at least some directors, and this film was directed by David O. Russell, of the famous on-set meltdowns that made George Clooney (in Three Kings) vow never to work with him again, and whose bad behavior resulted in a bit of video, widely circulated, in which Russell spoke very rudely and unkindly to Lily Tomlin (in I Heart Huckabees). Two films, as it happens, that I love and admire very much. Add to those Flirting With Disaster and The Fighter, and you have a pretty terrific career, in my opinion, no matter how much of a jerk you are or can be on set.
This is all backstory for: when I saw the previews for this movie, I saw "David O. Russell" and I was down. And it did not disappoint. Every bit of it was vivid and fresh, and it had, as a bonus, a terrific, calm Chris Tucker as Cooper's friend from the state mental hospital. Several people said, when I mentioned it was good, "Really?" as if it were a big surprise. To them I say go. Go!
Wreck-It Ralph. We went with three grandsons and their parents, along with my youngest son. What a wonderful movie! Anyone who played video and/or arcade games in his/her youth should go: this movie was made for you. But I found it entirely captivating and altogether excellent. With a sweet short at the beginning--lovely and charming. Afterward, as we were all walking toward our cars, I asked my four year old grandson Will if he liked the movie. "Yes," he said, very definite. "It was hilarious."
The Sessions. We had been waiting for this movie to arrive, and wanted to catch it before it left, even though, as several of my children have now pointed out, we have not yet seen Lincoln or Life of Pi, not to mention a bunch of other good and not so good stuff. Well, we do have a plan to see Lincoln, and we will see Life of Pi, too. There is no doubt!
But sometimes you have to go with the movie that already has the aura of being on its way, even as it arrives. So that's what we did. We took a break after Wreck-It Ralph, got some Mexican food, and went back to the very same movie theater. It's the true story of Mark O'Brien, adapted with a fair amount of liberty, apparently, who had no ability to move his body below the neck (in real life, I guess he had the use of a muscle in his foot as well). You can read this tribute to him, written after his death in 1999. In the movie, when he is in his thirties, he seeks to lose his virginity, as they say, with a surrogate partner (listen to this interview on Q--scroll down to the Nov. 16 program--to hear the actual woman who worked with O'Brien discuss her profession).
I highly recommend this film. It is thoughtful and emotional and lovely. I'm sure it has its faults, but honestly, I loved it. Loved it.