HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
March 5, 2007, Herald Journal

Nothing to do but watch movies


Over the snowy weekend I was able to watch a few movies including one of my new favorites, “Little Miss Sunshine.” This comedy proves that even the most dysfunctional family can also possibly be the most normal.

The movie is based around Olive, a little girl who dreams of winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, and her crazy family that works together to help make it possible.

The Hoovers consist of an overachieving father, a sympathetic mother, a hates-the-world son, a sex-crazed grandfather (who won an Oscar for best supporting actor) and an uncle who recently was released from the hospital after surviving a suicide attempt.

This family, at first, seems to be the epitome of dysfunctional, but through its journey each family member learns more about one another and finds strength in numbers.

The famous line in the movie is when the family gets pulled over by a police officer and the father says, “Pretend to be normal.”

How do you pretend, or even act normal? Normal is a word that shouldn’t ever be used because there is no true definition.

Perhaps this family was proven to be more “normal” than abnormal as the movie went on.

Every family has its quirks, no matter how “normal” it pretends to be. For example, is plain-jane Olive more or less dysfunctional than the other girls dressed up with make-up resembling 30-year-old women? Who’s dysfunctional in this picture?

We each are a product of our families, some are just more or less dysfunctional than others. Either way, we are who we are because of them and none of us are “normal.”

This movie was quite refreshing to me, not that my family is all that dysfunctional, but it’s nice to see a not-so-perfect family beating the odds together.

The Oscar-nominated show, I feel, was deserving of the nomination because of the roundedness of the film, each of the crazy characters and the surprises that popped up along the way.

No matter how your family is, it’s likely every viewer will find something in common with the characters and/or plot.

This a great comedy! Just remember to check the ratings for any young ears in the family.

Another movie I watched and can appreciate is “The Break-up” with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. The audience member is bound to find sympathy in both these characters without taking sides with either.

Who’s right and who’s wrong will never be determined in this film. But it’s easy to side with both, seeing wrong and right in both situations.

Any couple will relate to the frustrations of coupledom, some more than others, I’m sure. The ending of this comedy is a bit of a shocker.

But, like both films, it’s nice to see a real ending in Hollywood once in awhile, instead of the typical happy ending.