I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to our many hypothetical fans for my/our sporadic posting as of late. As Patricia noted, we have both been very busy these last few months and Tuesday Movie Night has become highly erratic and rarely on Tuesdays. So, my busy schedule combined with the fact that I have not really cared about most of the movies we have seen lately (thus making me not eager to write about them) is my excuse for my lack of posts recently. Since Patricia ignored "Eight Below," I am going to as well. I will say that I enjoyed it and was entertained by it, but I have pretty much completely forgotten about now. While not bad, it's not really worth a trip to the theater (or even a rental really), but it will be a nice Saturday-night-with-nowhere-to-go-let's-see-what's-on-Disney-Channel movie (I would give it a 2.0 or 3.0, depending on my mood). All that being said, let's move on to the movie in discussion today, "Transamerica."
Dolly Parton's Oscar nominated (and robbed) song "Travelin' Thru" made me want to see this movie. I had heard all of the buzz about Felicity Huffman's performance, etc., but I was left largely unmoved by any of it. Then, I heard Dolly's song (thanks to the free download on iTunes!). Not to overpraise the song (it's good, but hardly among Dolly's best), but I love Dolly Parton and her song helped me get a better grasp of what the movie was about.
What the movie is about is dealing with all of the effects one's family and upbringing have on his or her life and how one chooses to cope with that as an adult in his quest for meaning and happiness in life. This idea is manifested in the movie in the form of Bree (Felicity Huffman), a transsexual on the verge of a sex change operation. A week before the scheduled surgery, Bree gets a phone call from a teenage son (Kevin Zegers) she never knew she had. Bree's therapist forces her to deal with this issue so Bree sets off for New York to bail her son out of jail. A cross-country road trip follows that explores Bree's past and Toby's past as we follow their budding relationship. The trip involves inevitable pitstops at the childhood homes of both Bree and Toby in which we learn much about why these characters are the way they are now. As someone who studies families, I found lots to analyze in these scenes.
The movie does a good job of defining the characters, making them seem like real people, and making me care about them. A teenage hustler and his transsexual father sound like outrageous characters meant for a cheap comedy. Although the movie is somewhat of a "dramedy," (and there are quite a few laughs) the characters are moved far beyond caricatures or types and made into complex individuals.
This is a very enjoyable movie that combines a fun, comedic roadtrip with an intense character study. While the roadtrip to discover oneself it nothing new, the movie presents it with a fresh voice that is supported by very solid acting from all involved. The soundtrack is filled with folksy, twangy music that really captures the spirit of backroads America and of course, Dolly closes the film with the aptly titled "Travelin' Thru." Thanks Dolly for motivating me to see this movie.
I hereby publicly resolve to be better about posting reviews from here out. Patricia's habits seem to have rubbed off on me. Tomorrow night, we are seeing "V For Vendetta," a movie I am actually very interested in. And I still have to see "16 Blocks" (by one of my fave directors, Richard Donner). So maybe now we finally coming out of the late winter dry/early spring dry spell we movie fans must suffer through each year.
One more thing: CONGRATULATIONS PATRICIA ON BEING ACCEPTED TO GRADUATE SCHOOL AT PERDUE!!!
What did you think? Has a song ever made you decide to see the movie before?