Sunday, December 11, 2005

More Movie Insights

Shopgirl is the new Closer.

Just the other day I was thinking to myself that it was about time for a really good "Yes, Virgina, people ARE awful" kind of movie to come out. Sometimes at Christmas, I get all caught up in the holly jolly merriment, and my inner cynic feels left out. That's when it helps to have a movie that can remind that inner cynic that she's not wrong.

Last year, as some of you may recall, that movie was Closer. Every time I went Christmas shopping, it was exhausting enough to warrant treating myself to a movie. I went out shopping four times. I saw Closer four times. It was great. I probably need to watch it again, actually. It's been too long.

But this year, I was afraid I'd be left without the perfect misanthropic holiday film. I guess Rent is depressing...but any singing in a movie tends to negate that and uplift you even unwillingly. Plus, Rent is more of a "People are good, but life beats them down" kind of a movie. That's no good. I need something a wee bit stronger than that.

Then I was saved by the completion of a remodeling job. The largest of our local cinemas has been remodeling all of their theaters, so for the past 8 months or so, only 6 theaters at a time have been open for business. This has severely limited my movie watching ability, because they only thing they've been playing is blockbusters. No independent films, no documentaries, nothing but mainstream Hollywood. Ick.

But they finished two weeks ago, and we finally got an influx of fabulous movies I've been wanting to see. One of them being Shopgirl.

I have loved Claire Danes since the fall of my Freshman year of high school when My So-Called Life premiered. Angela Chase and I had a lot in common back then. I think I had a better relationship with my parents though. And my best friend never O.D.'d. But we both did think that Jordan Catalano was the hottest thing imaginable.

Of course, re-watching those episodes now, I see that Jordan Catalano was basically just a huge illiterate jackass, and I wonder what we ever saw in him at all. But we were 14, and Angela and I made some dumb mistakes.

And judging by Shopgirl, we're still making them more than 10 years later. The character Claire plays is named Mirabelle....but I know it's basically just Angela Chase all grown up. And Angela/Mirabelle and I still have an awful lot in common. It was almost physically painful to watch, honestly. There were a number of times I almost had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling "Don't do that!" at the screen.....mostly because there were an awful lot of dumb things that she did on screen that I have already done and lived to regret in real life.

A few scenes in particular were pretty a scene that shows Mirabelle telling her friends about her wonderful new romantic possibility, and at the same time you see said romantic possibility explaining to his therapist that he met a girl that he just wants to use for sex. Lovely.

Also, I have been the girl who has left the naive, happy, "just wanted to say hi" voicemail for a guy WHILE he was with another woman. Oh yes, I have been her....that was fun to watch. Not.

And finally, when emotionally unavailable. just-using-her. "love" interest Steve Martin makes an insensitive joke about wanting to meet someone new and settle down, Mirabelle sees the light,breaks down, and finally just asks "Why don't you love me?" Yup. Been there too.

So, yeah. This movie is my near-perfect holiday season movie. It's not quite up to the Closer status though, because it has a happy ending that is so unrealistic to my inner cynic that it almost ruins the whole thing, whereas at the end of Closer everyone one was miserable or dead. But Shopgirl's good enough to get me through Christmas shopping at least. That's all I ask.


Blogger jenny said...

10 years later, i'd still do jordan if i had the chance. the eyes, the clothes, the way he leaned his head back, the guitar.. but yeah, you're right about him, his brain isn't where his looks are. and angela was definitely my hero at 16. not the girl i wanted to be but the girl i was, pretty much like you. wow. what an excellent show that was! juliana hatfield was even in it. that series must be the tv-event of my lifetime.

December 12, 2005 3:40 AM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

To me, the most painful (and therefore my favorite) moment of MSCL for me was when Jordan was performing with his band and sang the song about "Red" and Angela thought it was about her....but it was really about his car.

December 12, 2005 9:35 AM  

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