Fox 5 San Diego staff
11:28 AM CDT, September 27, 2012
This is the story of a divorcee that goes back to live in the big Connecticut home of her parents. They’re played by two character-actors I love – Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein.
Amy (Melanie Lynskey) is depressed and not sure what the future holds. She ends up having an affair with a 19-year-old actor, even though this could jeopardize a big deal her dad is working on with his parents.
It all sort of started in that Graduate way – the parents tell you against your will, to take another kid out to show them around town.
I was reminded of so many other hipster indie films that were done so much better. I thought about Rachel Getting Married, which I loved. This movie has so many things wrong with it.
We have a sad sack character that we can’t sympathize with. We should be able to. Her husband left her for another woman.
There are also reasons we should feel bad for Danner, but she does many things that show her to be a miserable excuse for a mom. And Amy tells us how much she loved watching Marx brothers movies with her dad (the name of this was taken from one)…yet we don’t get those profound conversations we were expecting. I thought about the talk Molly Ringwald had with her dad in 16 Candles; so much better than this poorly written script .
I thought Melanie Lynskey was wonderful as Amy Minsky (was she cast because their last names are similar?). I just thought the character was poorly written. Also perhaps poorly cast, since it’s supposed to be so scandalous that they have to sneak around having their affair. In real life she’s 35, but she looks 25. He looks to be in his early 20s. Nobody would turn their heads if they walked into a restaurant together.
And when you’ve seen so many of these things done before (being caught naked, people thinking you’re gay when you’re not, depression over failed relationships, etc etc etc)….you really don’t ever get invested in any of it.
There were a few funny lines. Danner tells Lynskey as they’re driving to the gym “Fat doesn’t do anybody any good.”
She tells somebody she majored in lit and photographer, because “How many things can I major in that won’t make me any money?”
In that cliché scene that’s in every movie with the depressed character – you run into the hottie from high school that still looks amazing and has the perfect life. Of course, that person will say something hurtful. When Lynskey tells her she’s divorced but “We’re still friends,” the woman replies, “That’s awesome.”
Lynskey responds quickly “If only it were true.”
Unfortunately, those three lines were the only laughs in a film that went for many more.
There was one mildly amusing scene where friends set her up on a date. The guy talks non-stop. It was perfectly done and felt realistic. I even liked her brother-in-law recommending him because “He’s in my rotisserie baseball league.”
Even though the bad dates have been done to death, if they’re done well – as this one was – I have no problem with it.
The third time I saw somebody barf in this movie, I wondered how many more times I’d have to sit through a vomit scene. I’m surprised they didn’t do the milk being spit out of the mouth when something inappropriate was said.
There was an entertainment attorney that joked about the Olsen twins. It wasn’t funny.
There was a conversation with the ex-husband that was horribly written. I wanted to stop watching the film at that point.
Even how it ended with Lynskey saying something that should be empowering – made her look more pathetic when we think about how she acted earlier in the film.
The acoustic, hipster songs in this were dreadful. They were like rejected tunes from the Good Will Hunting and Garden State soundtracks. Most of them were performed by Laura Veirs, Carlos, and John Jennings Boyd/Eric V. Hachickian.
The movie gets 1 star out of 5.
When you’re told you can interview the star of a film, it’s always enticing. There’s nothing like finding out some behind the scenes story or talking about something you love – movies – with somebody that makes them.
I was thrilled when told I could talk to Melanie Lynskey. She’s an actress I always thought should’ve been bigger. And here she was in a starring role in an indie film that had commercials that cracked me up. I agreed to the phone interview immediately, but hadn’t seen the movie. The studio sent me a DVD screener, and to my horror, I hated it (see review above). That meant I’d have to be careful not to offend Lynskey. I thought about my mom telling me in 3rd grade, after I called somebody “four eyes” – “Joshua, if you don’t have anything nice to say to somebody, don’t say anything at all.”
Well, I had a few nice things I could say to Lynskey and I was about to. Unfortunately, when she called, I was driving through the mountains of Alpine. I have spotty phone reception there and started things off by saying:
This is going to be the worst interview you’ve ever done [as she laughs I continue]. I’m in my car driving, I can’t hear that well with this Blue Tooth in my ear, and I don’t have my notes in front of me. I might just go off on some tangent that has nothing to do with the movie.
Melanie Lynskey: Oh, this is great! I’m so excited now to do the interview. This is going to be so much fun.
Josh Board: (wondering why she has a New Zealand accent and wondering why I didn’t research, or at least Google her, before this interview started). I’ve seen you in so many movies, and it’s nice you got a starring role that shows off your acting chops. It’s kind of like Richard Jenkins and the role he got in The Visitor.
ML: Thank you so much for saying that! I love Richard Jenkins. He’s such a brilliant actor, and I enjoyed The Visitor.
[Melanie then went on about Jenkins for a few minutes, but because I had the Blue Tooth in, I’m not really sure exactly what she said].
JB: As good as you were in the movie, you were poorly cast. I hate saying that, because it might be misinterpreted. You’re acting was great but…you’re supposed to be in your mid-30s and divorced, having an affair with a 19-year-old actor whose parents think he’s gay. Yet you both look 25! Nobody would turn their heads if you walked into a restaurant together. I understand they didn’t want to cast a kid that looked like he was 12. I just think the fact that you look so close in age…it reminds me of Marisa Tomei playing an old stripper in The Wrestler that no guy would pay attention to at the strip clubs. Everybody would pay attention to her at a strip club.
ML: [laughing]. That’s a nice thing for you to say. I had one critic that wrote that there was no way he would’ve been attracted to me because I wasn’t that pretty. I wasn’t wearing make-up, and…
[again, I lost about 2 minutes of what she said due to the fact that I was driving in the mountains of Alpine]
JB: There was a scene where you get set up on a date. I think your acting in that was brilliant. You didn’t yawn and look bored, or go over-the-top with your facial expressions. You just had this subtle look, and movement of your mouth. It was perfect. That’s the type of scene a lot of filmmakers get wrong. And it’s weird that people consider great acting to be a scene where you are supposed to be drunk, or playing somebody with a disability.
ML: Thanks for saying that. I loved that scene, too. [as she explains aspects of the scene, I find I can actually hear everything she’s saying…I just can’t jot down what she’s saying, since I’m driving and paying attention to the winding roads].
JB: I don’t know the actual process actors go through when they get a role. Since you’ve done so many other movies, did you just get this script sent to you? Did you still have to audition? What was the process?
ML: I really loved the script. It really resonated with me. Yes, I did have a few table reads, but…..[see earlier comments].
JB: This is easily going to be the stupidest question you’ve been asked in all the press you’ve done for this film. There’s a scene where you’re explaining to Blythe Danner that love isn’t some contest. You say “It’s not like coming in the clowns face at a carnival.” I have no clue what you mean by that.
ML: Well….did you see the whole movie?
ML: There’s a scene earlier where I’m getting drunk at a party and somebody is telling me that love isn’t like some contest at the carnival, where you’re squirting water into that clown’s mouth to try and win a prize. Since I’m drunk, when I have that argument with my mom, I kind of butcher the phrase.
JB: Wow. I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t get that. Especially since I always complain when they dumb down movies for audiences and…that’s exactly why they do it sometimes.
ML: No, no. I think sometimes you critics watch movies a different way. I know if I’m meeting up with a director, and I go see a few of their movies…I’m looking at them from a different perspective. It’s not the way the normal person sits and watches a movie.
JB: You are the greatest! You’re helping me out with an excuse. This is awesome. I’m not sure if that was the case, but I’ll take it.
Now, I didn’t want to ask about all your previous movies, like Up in the Air. I really enjoyed you in the small part you had in the powerful Perks of Being a Wallflower. I do have to bring up Win Win, because it’s a movie I adored and I just can’t believe it didn’t do better when it was released.
ML: That might be the movie I’m most proud of having done. I just loved being a part of it.
[Melanie went on about the movie for a few minutes, but it was hit-and-miss with what I heard in my stupid little ear piece].
I thanked her for her time, apologized for the unprofessionalism I displayed. She laughed harder than I think I’ve ever heard anyone laugh, and it was over.
Another critic I work with told me she had read his review of the movie (he loved it, I hated it…although I had that in our interview). I’m just hoping she doesn’t see this interview. She’ll have to agree I was right (about it being the worst interview).