welcome to Mirrora monthly movie column in which I rewatch and then rewatch a movie I’ve already seen under the new (and improved?) critical lens of 2022. I’m so glad you’re here.
In the land of women will always have a special place in my memory, not because of the film itself, which is nothing remarkable, but because I remember very well the circumstances that surrounded me. It was my freshman year of high school, and my best friend Laura (who had, and has, much more sophisticated taste than me) and I saw it together at AMC Van Ness 14, where I saw the most films between 1998 and 2010, and which has since closed and reopened as something else. Laura and I went unaccompanied; not exactly a rarity for two high school girls, but still an experience new enough to be remarkable.
Anyway, that was beforeDuskso the main draw was Adam Brody, who Laura loved from CO. It felt like the kind of interesting, maybe even complicated, adult movie that we should want to see as near-adults trying to be interesting and maybe even complicated. I don’t remember if we liked it or not, just that on our way out we ran into the It Couple from our high school, who had spent the day doing this thing where you buy a ticket and when the movie ends , you just go to another movie without paying. Very cool.
We then had a nondescript meal at Mel’s next door with a junior we knew and that’s where we discussed a very important upcoming event: the prom. In our small high school, prom was just the official end-of-year dance, and the whole student body could come. But I wanted a date. Specifically I wanted a junior boy I knew from Model UN (yes I was an asshole you should know by now) to ask me what he did which is another story but does is that the plan to get him to wonder was hatched after we saw this movie. And so it will forever remain a bold footnote in the epic tale of my well-born youth.
There’s a hint of taking pills and Lucy’s usually freaked out (she’s painting!), but theirs is usually an OK family… except the dad is having an affair and Sarah just found out she has breast cancer breast.
Anyway, the movie is good. Brody plays Carter, a 26-year-old softcore porn writer who yearns for something bigger. After being dumped by his movie star girlfriend, he moves from Los Angeles to a Michigan suburb to care for his ailing grandmother (Olympia Dukakis), which he does well even though he’s not. not very nice about it. His neighbors across the street (Grandma’s front yard is overgrown; their front yard is immaculate!) immediately attract him. We learn from Carter’s mom that the girls are “always” related to Carter, so he doesn’t think it’s weird when the unhappy housewife (Meg Ryan) befriends him, or even when she sets him up. with her teenage daughter, Lucy (Kristen Stewart). There’s a hint of taking pills and Lucy’s usually freaking out (she’s painting!), but theirs is usually an OK family… except the dad (Clark Gregg) is having an affair, and Sarah (Ryan) just found out that she has breast cancer. .
They speak. A lot. All they do is talk in this movie. Sarah has fallen in love with her husband, and perhaps has never been more in love with him to begin with, and sees in Carter the kind of passion that she lacked in her youth. Lucy has boy issues, not wanting to grow up too fast but envious of Carter’s confidence. He kisses both women and nothing more (the teen initiates; we shouldn’t see Carter as a creep, though Sarah probably shouldn’t have put them together in the first place, even as friends).
Carter and Sarah’s flirtation is pretty sweet, but of course they put the kiss with Stewart on the poster (a spoiler, BTW!). In the end, grandma died and mother and daughter stopped fighting. Stewart even realizes that the boy of her dreams has been under his nose all the time (and this is Ted from Schitt’s Creek before fixing his teeth)! Carter gets to work on his real script and finds a new girl to project his fantasies onto (a restaurant waitress played by Ginnifer Goodwin – if you have to project the girl of your dreams onto someone, she’s a great choice!).
Listen, it’s okay. There are some really funny moments. Brody has exactly one note to play, and he plays it well. I loved the moment when he realizes that the guy who broke his mother’s heart in high school was an asshole. I love that he just refuses to get over his ex, because it’s the same. It’s predictable (Sarah says no one has ever written her a love letter, so guess what our lead writer does?), but innocuous.
Listen, it’s okay. There are some really funny moments. Brody has exactly one note to play, and he plays it well. It’s predictable, but harmless.
I struggled to understand what it was about Brody that made him so irresistible to all women everywhere. He is, of course, charming and cute, but in his presence, the female characters spontaneously propose marriage and divulge their traumas. After a party, Lucy tells him of an incident that happened when she was 11, when she and another child stripped and fooled around, and it became a middle school scandal. In his memories, it was traumatic, but not necessarily aggressive. To make her feel less of an outlier, Carter tells her that things like this happen all the time and it’s not “that bad”. Which may, in a way, be true, but it’s also quite the opposite of what you’re supposed to say when a teenage girl tells you about a difficult experience from her past that she kept locked up inside. for years. And then she kisses him! This man who rejected his feelings! Ah, but teenage girls are often stupid, we know that.
Yes, it’s a mundane but not unpleasant film that had no impact at the box office or elsewhere. I’d be surprised if I’m not the person who has the best memory of seeing it in the cinema. But it has one feature that makes it stand out: it was written and directed by Jon Kasdan, son of Lawrence, brother of Jake. I feel for the guy. There are plenty of upsides to being a Hollywood nepotism babe, but the comparison has got to sting. When your father wrote 2/3 of the original star wars films and directed The big thrilland your brother wrote and directed walk hard (a perfect movie), it must be hard for your heartfelt debut to be… average dramedy. Of course, he rode his father’s tailcoats in the star wars frankness, but I think we are all in agreement Solo is not a classic. Ah, whatever, he’s working on the new one IndianaJones movie (guess who wrote The Raiders of the Lost Ark!), he will be fine.
We are all well. That’s the purpose of the movie!
Completely unrelated note: On one shot, Carter and Lucy and Lucy’s little sister are deciding which movie to see, and on the marquee are fake titles, including “Age of Adeline,” which is very close to Adaline’s agea real 2012 movie with Blake Lively that’s not based on anything so it’s a very weird coincidence, unless there’s a behind the scenes connection that I’m not aware of, and if you get it, please DM me! Florida