movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Written and directed by a co-team (Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck) who have done this for several movies, none of which I’ve seen. Though it’s actually based on a book by Ned Vizzini.

Starring Keir Gilchrist (United States Of Tara) as the suicidal kid, and Zach Galafianakis as the adult buddy he makes in the mental hospital.

This is one of Zach Galafianakis’s best roles. Although he does indeed provide some comedy to otherwise un-funny situations, for the most part, his character is serious. Comedically neurotic and ill-tempered, but serious and kind of depressing. This is the hardest I’ve ever seen Zach have to act, and it turned out quite well. Galafianakis can actually be touching. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?

The dad, a minor character, is played by Jim Gaffigan, who was the manager at the diner Kelso & Eric worked at briefly in That 70’s Show. I knew I’d seen him somewhere before. He also looks like a SubGenius friend of mine. He was in 13 Going On 30, 17 Again, and Three Kings, so it’s nice to see him in a movie without a number in the title. But wait. He was also in Super Troopers. I just didn’t mention that before because I wanted to joke about the numbers.

The love interest is played by Emma Roberts (Unfabulous, Scream 4). The competing love interest is Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, Zoe Kravitz; the girl he was obsessed with for two years.

We also saw Lauren Graham, who seemed to be a regular NBC secondary character in a lot of sitcoms. She seems to be getting hotter, actually. She grew up in Fairfax, was Fran in Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, was in Evan Almighty & Bad Santa, but most people probably know her from Gilmore Girls. But we know her from 4 episodes of News Radio, 1 ep of Seinfeld, 5 eps of Caroline In The City, and 1 ep of 3rd Rock From The Sun.

Viola Davis looked really familiar to me. She was the CIA/whatever director in Knight And Day, as well as various cop roles in Disturbia and Kate & Leopold, as well as being 1 of 2 cast members from this movie that were also in the awful movie Solaris. She was in Traffic (2000) too.

PLOT SUMMARY: (from imdb) “A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward.”

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Teen finds out he’s not psychologically disturbed after he checks himself into a mental hospital. (Thank you, Carolyn!)

QUIRKS: Based on a book. A dramedy. It really is “kind” of a funny story, with some laughs, but primarily is more of a drama. Definitely drama-comedy and not comedy-drama.

It’s your generic coming-of-age story, set in a mental hospital.

Totally seems like the life of a friend of mine, who went to a magnet school with me, obsessed about a girl for years, was institutionalized for being suicidal, and met his new girlfriend there. I was the friend who called him. There’s really a lot of similarities.

VISUALS: Not a visual movie, though the 2 girls in it don’t hurt the eyes.

SOUNDTRACK: Actually used some good songs! Black Sabbath! “Smash It Up” by The Damned! I rarely notice/care about movie music (in general, if it’s not music of my choosing, I tune it out), but it actually made me like this movie more.

MORALS: Just LIVE already! Stop kvetching about it already!

GOOD STUFF: Occasionally funny, as neuroticism and “craziness” can be comedic. Uplifting ending.

BAD STUFF: It’s ultimately one of those sappy dramas about living life to the fullest. Hope, wrapped up in a digestible package with a few jokes. This message, while not unique, or particularly helpful, can’t help but heartwarm you a bit, even if you don’t want to be heartwarmed.

Some complained that it was slow. Some are tired of coming-of-age movies. Some think this romanticizes mental health facilities when it shouldn’t. Some called this “It’s Kind Of A Hipster Movie”. Some called it emo, pretentious, idiotic, hipster, and trite. It’s more emo than hipster, really.

Some didn’t like that [highlight for spoilers]→ Bobby (Zach G’s) fate was ultimately ambiguous and not told to the viewer. But then again, if the main character didn’t find out what happened, then neither should we, right? At least if the point of the movie is to make us understand what it’s like to be the main character.

CONCLUSION: I liked it, but still, I could have liked it more. Carolyn did. She said: “I thought it was a good story about someone coming to terms with dealing with life in a way that makes them happy, and not for just following what their parents and society thinks they should be.” And while I agree, I just think it’s a story that’s been done a million times. For instance, the main character’s evolution is not that different from the evolution of the main character in Cemetery Junction. However, mental hospitals can be a source of comedy AND drama, this is Zach Galafianakis’s finest acting to date, and the ending was quite uplifting, so I still enjoyed it, and am not disappointed in going on this ride.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3.4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.2/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.2/10, Netflix: 3.9/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was the same as the average rating: 3.9/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t watch this thinking it’s a comedy. Like Adventureland, it’s a drama first. This movie is not for everyone. See “BAD THINGS”, above. If those things sound like things that might annoy you about a movie, then this movie might not be for you. My main reason for watching it was all the similarities to a personal friend’s real life.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Adventureland? Cemetery Junction? Shitloads of movies are like this in some respect. People like to mention One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest because it takes place in a mental hospital, but that is a dumb comparison.

MOVIE QUOTE: Bobby: See, that’s the part I don’t get, Craig. I mean, you’re cool, you’re smart, you’re talented. You have a family that loves you. You know, what I would do just to be you, for just a day? I would… I would do so much. I would… I don’t know. I would just… I’d just live. Like it meant something.

COINCIDENCES: (The Dating Guy #6) 2 videos in a row with painting someone in the nude.Mood: hungry
Music: Voivod – Negatron