Lauren's basketball team won their championship game. The first quarter was 0-0, with the other team being warned twice for illegal (3-on-1) defense and then given a technical foul. They finally got the message, and our star players were able to score.
Went to Coldstone afterwards, where I tried their ice-cream for the first time. Huh. I like the mix-ins, but the ice-cream is kind of weird. Too sticky, and much too sweet. Yick.
Finished watching Big Eden, which I highly recommend to just about everyone. There was a lot to love about that movie . I mentioned before that this is about a gay artist named Henry Hart, who comes back to his little Montana home-town to care for his grandfather after the man has a stroke. Once you get over the 'fable' aspect of their being no homophobia in this town (it is truly an "Eden"), you settle into the movie's charm. What if everyone could be encouraged to be themselves and to find love, whether they are gay, confused, or almost pathologically shy? Here, even the gang of cowboy coots that hangs out at the local General Store gets in on the matchmaking.
The movie starts with a terrible performance from the woman playing Henry's New York agent (whose acting is SO BIG it threatens to break down the walls of every room she's in). But hers is the only bad performance here— there are so many wonderful character roles, all of them done very well. Louise Fletcher plays an old family friend, and she's so warm in this role that you forget every villain this actress has done. George Coe is the grandfather, Sam, and the relationship between him and Henry is wonderful— joking, warm and loving. Henry calls him "Sampaw," which is really sweet.
The character that really got to me in this movie was the Native American man who owns the General Store, Pike Dexter (Eric Schweig). The role was written and acted with real understanding of what it means to be painfully shy, and to subvert your own interests because of an inability to make your feelings known or to take any obvious initiative. I loved that character (my husband did too), and felt for him throughout.
Most people, gay or straight, really like this movie. For those who didn't, the problem seems to rest with one of several things: A) They don't get that it's a fable, and so they're hung up on the non-homophobic setting not being 'realistic', B) They don't understand Pike, and find him frustrating, or C) They feel that because Henry isn't good-looking (he's not), that he at least needs to be incredibly charming so you could understand why everyone in the movie thinks he's so wonderful. That last part has some legitimacy— I expected more from Arye Gross in this part. Still, I loved the movie.
Rated PG-13 ONLY because it's a gay love story, because honestly— there's no sex or even the faintest allusion to sex. There's kissing, and that's it. In straight stories, that's called "PG."
We also saw Stop-Loss, which has a dumb name (marketing-wise), but which was much better than I expected (and the name is the fundamental aspect of the story, once you find out what it means).
First of all, I can't get over how much Ryan Phillippe resembles Jensen Ackles (except less pretty), and given that the main character is from Texas I also couldn't stop thinking that this would have been a perfect role for Jensen. It's drama and it's a character role, and those are his specialties. That is not to say that Phillippe wasn't really good in this role— he absolutely was.
This is an anti-Iraqi-war movie, which begins in wartime, and then follows a group of soldiers home on leave to their Texas hometown. Even on their first night home, we see some of the effects brought on them by the war. It worsens over the next few days, and then we get to the movie's main point, which is that Sargeant Brandon King (Phillippe) is finished with duty... and has been re-upped by the government against his will. This is the first I'd heard of this— the process of forcing soldiers to return to duty after their tour has completed— but it apparently has affected some 81,000 soldiers thus far. It amounts to an illegal draft.
King, whose emotional state is too damaged to return to the war and he knows it, is now stuck in the position of fighting against the very government and country he had willingly chosen to serve. The impossible position this puts a patriotic man like him in makes for a terrific story.
The second-largest role in this movie is that of Michelle (Abbie Cornish), King's best-friend's fiancee. That character could have gone so many wrong ways throughout this story, but never did. I really liked her— she was stronger than she gave herself credit for, both a good woman and a good friend and as uncliched as they come.
It was an odd surprise seeing Ciaran Hinds play King's father here. He was great in this role, and sounded the part (despite being from Ireland!). Hinds is getting a lot of work this year. Chatum Tanning was okay— don't know why people find him good-looking, but he worked his part well. And looked huge doing it.
Recommend it-- about 3 1/2 stars out of five. Directed and co-written by Kimberley Pierce (of "Boys Don't Cry") fame.