Posts by meancritter

What If God Was One of Us?

21-Mar-07 4:37 PM by
Filed under Reviews; 2 comments.

I recently re-watched Stranger Than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson. While I'm a fan of Will Ferrell's comedies (I love Elf: Smiling's my favorite; and Old School: Frank the Tank, anyone?), I found Stranger Than Fiction to be my favorite of Ferrell's films. Not only because Ferrell broke out of the physical comedy realm, but for the questions that I found myself asking as I watched the movie.

Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS agent who finds himself the lead character in Karen Eiffel's book Death by Taxes. Throughout the movie, Crick hears his life and movements narrated in the author's voice. Early on, Crick finds out that his imminent death looms. Frightened that he may die sooner rather than later, Crick determinedly seeks to either stop the author from writing. Crick enlists literature professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) to help him discern what sort of story he's in.

Through a series of adventures, encounters, and a leave of absence from work, Crick learns to embrace life, play the guitar, and fall in love. Stiff-necked Crick relaxes, finding that life is more than the series of carefully planned events he'd tried to make it. He breaks his routine and finds life outside the routine.

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What's Snoo?

18-Feb-07 10:49 AM by
Filed under Reviews; Comments Off on What's Snoo?

[Editor's note: With this submission, we welcome our first guest author to Showbits. Interested in writing your own blog post here? Drop me a line!]

What do you get when five mentally and physically disabled persons pile into an RV and travel across the United States, interviewing people on the street? The answer: How's Your News, a documentary that provides a poignant glance at our culture's reaction to people who are different.

This film chronicles a two-week journey from New Hampshire to California as five handicapped reporters conduct person-on-the-street interviews, including in New Haven, at a honky-tonk bar in Nashville, on an alligator farm in Arkansas, and on Venice Beach. When I was lent this movie, I was told it would be "funniest film I'd watch in a long time." I must've missed that point, as I found the documentary more thought-provoking than humorous. Two of the five travellers were incapable to speaking, and it was rather sad to see them being ignored on streets throughout the country.

Interestingly, the farther south and west the crew traveled, the more inclined pedestrians were to talk to the reporters. It seems those of us in the east tend to be in too much a hurry to stop and have a conversation with someone who is calling out for some attention. Southerners, with their slower pace of life, seemed to be more open to a conversation with someone our culture has labeled as "slow." Perhaps best of all are the people who took the time to dance with the mute, wheelchair-bound man. The smile on his face as someone paid attention to him brought tears to my eyes.

I was a skeptic upon putting in this film; I thought it would be a cheap laugh. But I found it provided an opportunity to question my own hurriedness, in not stopping to talk to someone who wanted to talk to me, and the hurriedness of American culture, particularly on the East Coast. How's Your News is an inspiration. It may not be the best documentary ever produced, but it is filled with joy as the team of five travel to their destination in the journey of a lifetime.