I just love Strongbad. If you don’t know him, you should meet. If you already know him, enjoy an oldie, but a goldie…
Two days ago, while flipping aimlessly and mindlessly through the hundreds of useless cable channels, I stumbled upon this movie. (Based on the book of the same title.) It was pay-per-view, so my first instinct (after reading it was a Robert Pattinson film) was to google it and check out the trailer. It looked promising and I even saw a few good clips on-line. Satisfied, I paid $5 and settled in to watch the film.
First off, for the Robert Pattinson fans out there, this film has very little to do with his character. His is a bit part with about 10 minutes of screen time and the trailer is completely misleading as to the content and story that moves this film. He does a tolerable job, but it’s far from his best work and he’s getting much better since he has done more films. Honestly, he has so little time on screen in this film that he can’t to do more than be a caricature of a nerd.
In reality, this is a story about three generations of women and their struggles to be good mothers and daughters. As such, it is a good film, though it feels rushed to get to the end and doesn’t deal too much on the complexities of teen pregnancy and the results of decisions made.
At the start of the movie we are introduced to Karen, mother of Charlotte. Karen is complaining that she never gets to do what she wants since she must care for everyone else. (This is a complaint which she repeats doggedly throughout the film. You really start to not like the whiney, selfish creature.) Her teen daughter, Charlotte, even with taking precautions, ends up pregnant by a guy who is not only despicable, but also the worst kind of deadbeat. Charlotte decides to keep the baby despite her mother’s protests. Simultaneously, Karen learns that the woman she thought was her mother had actually adopted her, throwing Karen into a crisis of identity wherein she bemoans the life she might have had and may have missed. By the end of the film, you learn that she was incredibly fortunate to have been adopted and she learns (or rather re-learns) what it means to be a mother.
I liked the film because of the focus on the relationships of the three women, and especially the complex role of ‘mother.’ Summing up how inadequate to the task of mothering (or parenting, really) many of us feel, Karen tells her daughter that she will never feel good enough, that she will make mistakes and hurt her child when all she wants to do is love him. And that this is just how things are. I remember feeling that way when Elliot was born. Reduced to tears, I sobbed into his baby ear that I would try my best; I loved him more than my own life and he deserved to have the best of everything in this world. It’s a daily battle with myself since I know I fall short of my goal to be the perfect mom to the perfect kids. This movie lets us admit that perfection will never be attained. They could have made it a little longer and fleshed out the characters more, but it is a fairly light hearted look at the subject of motherhood.
My original idea for this post was going to be about the fact that middle class, bourgeois society in the southern states is not quite as staid and boring as those in the rest of the country think. But I must confess, what was more important in my adventure last night was not that we were stepping outside of our prescribed roles – it was the presence and camaraderie of other women.
This was my first night out with these women, ranging in age from 23 to 37, only one of whom I knew. August is her birthday month and so last night was a special treat. We went to ‘Drag Queen Bingo’ where for $10 we played about 7 games of bingo- numbers called out by a very engaging Ms. Deonna Sage– drank free cosmos and were treated to a wonderful drag show.
I was giddy with excitement for a real Girl’s Night Out and the rest of the group kindly took my enthusiasm in stride, allowing me at times to babble on, such was my thrill at real, adult conversation. At the end of the evening, we began to discuss more weighty concerns, finding solidarity in our political and social values. It became painfully clear to me that since staying home with my children I had neglected a vital part of my life- to engage in both serious discussion and light hearted fun with other people who share similar goals and aspirations.
It’s a difficult balance to be struck in life. There are times when you must focus on things which are not as pleasant for you, there are times when you must focus on many more things than you are capable of and then there are times when you can do what you wish. After you have children, I think many of you can guess what stage you will be in. It’s not disagreeable, you just have different priorities.
Thank you, to my new friends. I look forward to many more Girl’s Nights Out.
And now presenting Ms. Deonna Sage….
Where have I been? Good question. Life seems to barrel ahead at an amazing pace without ever feeling as though it’s running with you. But it does. Since March, much has happened.
In May, I started working for the Census on a ‘part-time, temporary’ basis. It was an interesting experience and if I could, I would relate some wild and crazy stories. But I can’t. What I can say is that I was often yelled at and hung up on the phone. That one person threatened to call the police and on at least two occasions I was in real fear for my life. Obviously, I survived, though unscathed is not how I would describe my current condition.
While working for the Census, I discovered the ‘Twilight’ series. Now- many people scoff at the series because it is popular and because the movies have such obsessed fans (I must acknowledge to now be one of them). It must be said that I did not pick up the books because they were popular, but in fact had deterred from reading them for that very reason. I read the first book in one night. The next day, I called a friend and asked if she could lend me the other three. When she did not call back after an hour, I packed L. in the car and headed to the dreaded evil Wal-Mart where I bought the second in the series. (And probably some other stuff I really didn’t need.) At home, I fed L. lunch and laid him down for a nap as soon as possible. C. found me outside, reading. He was gracious and kind and left me alone, taking care of the kids and only interrupting me to tell me when dinner was served. (I am married to a saint!)
Finished with the second book some time in the wee hours of the morning, I decided to check out the films. As early as I could, I headed out to Blockbuster video and rented ‘Twilight’ and ‘New Moon.’ I watched both of them while . took his afternoon nap and my saintly husband once more took on kid-duty. I took a break the next day, but was right back into reading ‘Eclipse’ the following morning. Within 4 days, I had read all four books.
That’s when the madness started. In my entire life, I have re-read MAYBE 3 books. Last year, I found myself only reading ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ my favorite novel by Jane Austen. (Read it on-line here) But that was nothing compared to the compulsive behavior that compelled me to devour those 4 books continually this summer. I have read each book in the series at least 3 times. ‘Twilight’ I may have read 5 or 6 times. It makes no sense to me beyond falling in love with the passion of first love- reveling in it; reliving it; soaking up the pages of it as if to recall the fervor of a new relationship.
I think I may be back to normal. It feels like I am slowly coming back to reality, though there have been some bumps in the road. One of those bumps has been my not-so-secret celebrity crush on Rob Pattinson which C. has endured with the good graces of a gentleman. He has tolerated my obsessively watching clips of movie junkettes and looking for films he has done to watch. (Look for a review of ‘Bad Mother’s Handbook’ in which Pattinson plays a minor character. It’s also a book. Really liked that film!) At any rate, the compulsion has slackened a great deal now and I hope to be ‘normal’ again soon. It was fun to live in a fantasy world for a bit, but there are exciting things in the real world which need my attention. Like E.’s first day at school, my thoughts on how Zumba affects the American middle class housewife’s repressed sexuality, what stay at home mothers like myself do all day long, and book and movie reviews. See you soon!