Sunday, August 27, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine just opened, much to my surprise, here in Waco, so I went to see it the first day it opened, because, let's be honest, who knows how long it will last here?

So, a brief review here. BEWARE OF SPOILERS --

I liked it. I certainly can't say that I loved it, but I was taken with what was ultimately a sweet story underneath what got to be an excessive amount of crass comedy. I think Alan Arkin is a terrific and funny actor, but I can't say I was sorry to see him croak in the film, because I was getting sick of the profane-laden sex advice he was fond of giving.

I'm not a prude, really. It just got old fast, and as a reviewer pointed out, the profane gramdpa bit is wearing a little thin these days.

The fact that this film won at Sundance is disconcerting on a few levels. First, it's just okay. I would go as far as to say it's good. But the prize-winner at Sundance? I find it hard to believe there weren't more-deserving films out there. And that leads me to my second point: just how indie is a film starring these major stars? Okay, it's not like Jim Carrey is in the movie, but Greg Kinnear is an Oscar nominee, and Steve Carrell is the Emmy-nominated star of a hit sitcom. They aren't exactly unknowns. My point is that there should fests like Sundance should be focusing on more "true indie" films. I realize this is a popular opinion among indie filmmakers like myself, so who am I to talk?

Incidentally, Steve Carrell is impressive in this film, in part because it calls upon him to do some serious acting. I always knew he had really sharp comic timing, and that's on display here as well in more muted fashion, but his dramatic chops are pretty impressive as well. I found myself touched by this character's sadness, and his sadness is balanced well with his genuine feeling for his extended family in key scenes of the film.

Overall, again, a decent film, but not one I'm running out to buy on DVD when it's available.


Anonymous Chuck said...

as a reviewer pointed out, the profane gramdpa bit is wearing a little thin these days.

Was that reviewer me? I certainly found his role tedious. This is only nominally an indie film IMHO. In addition to the stars, it also has an expensive soundtrack (I'd imagine that even Rick James doesn't come cheap)

8/27/2006 7:32 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

sorry -- i should have attributed that -- i couldn't remember where i read it.

you're exactly right about LMS as only nominally-indie, but i'm also aware of how hard it is to put together a "small" film like this, and one step in the process is to bring in as many "names" as you can. But once that happens, it stops feeling like an indie.

i also agree that it doesn't exactly do anything new or interesting with the indie aesthetic, which is a disappointment for an award-winning indie.

8/27/2006 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Yeah, I read somewhere that the film took five years to make. In that regard it's still very much an independent production. I think that what bothers me is that really interesting indies often get ignored while this relatively routine film gets all teh Sundance buzz.

I was teasing about the non-attribution....should have put a smiley or some other emoticon.

8/27/2006 8:03 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

oh, i didn't think you were upset (but i do wish i'd remembered where i read it).

i'm torn with films like LMS. i don't know the directors at all, so it's likely that they worked really hard to put together a great cast and at some point got some interest from an actor that led to other actors coming on board, etc. etc.

but i am with you in that it's farily routine, and i'd really like to see some more daring indie films getting recognition and, ideally, distribution.

and i don't just mean MY indie film :)

8/27/2006 8:09 PM  
Anonymous kristen said...

i agree: it was ok, maybe even good, but very far from great.

10/10/2006 7:34 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

yeah, the further i get away from it, the less i think it's going to be a truly memorable film. some good performances (i still think steve carrell's performance wss wonderful and moving).

but, you know. eh.

10/10/2006 7:43 PM  

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