Tuesday, August 22

little miss sunshine

It was an interesting day yesterday. I read the book "1984" by George Orwell, finally. It consumed my whole day. The writing was so powerful, that, I was underlining at the rate of a sentence per page. That reduced my speed of reading, and guess what!!! It made me think!!! Yeah, its deep. I think, I would reserve my thoughts on "1984" for another post. Later yesterday, I went to watch the movie "Little Miss Sunshine". It was comedy movie, and when I try to classify the movie in the unofficial comedy-film-making taxonomy, that was so not a comedy.

It is true that "Dying is easy, but Comedy is hard". But the writers of comedy movies, of late, doing it easy. They have only been picking the toppings from an available of menu of theme-choices. The menu (also called unofficial comedy-film-making taxonomy) goes like:

  1. satire/parody
  2. slapstick
  3. gross-out (the flavor of the day)
  4. screwball (the classic)
  5. a double with the choices 1-4
  6. a triple with the choices 1-4
  7. anyway you want (available toppings: choices 1-4 again).

Or they probably could be using a script-vending-machine. Or they were seriously trying to prove the hypothesis that an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite amount of time could reproduce the works of Shakespeare. And probably, they didn't get enough monkeys. (I do think they have a lot of time)

Well, there is another generation of comedy movies, that start out funny, but as it grows - We have got a surprise for you - tada!! - A chick flick!!!. Actually, I am not against chick flicks. I don't hate them. I even enjoy some of them. My only concern is that jokes in such movies would have made a pure comedy movie.

There are Comedy movies made of nothing but a few jokes scattered here and there in a generic sub-theme. And then, there is "Little Miss Sunshine". I had a wonderful time enjoying this movie, but a hard time classifying it - only to have found out that it doesn't fit any of the choices above. I think it belongs to a genre of its own.

The story is about a (dysfunctional) American family - a dad, a mom, a brother, an uncle, a grandpa, and finally the youngest member of the family - the blue eyed little girl - Olive. They set out on road trip from New Mexico to California, so that, Olive can compete in a child beauty contest, Miss Little Sunshine. The movie is about their their adventures during the 700 mile journey and at beauty contest.(The tendency to place "dysfunctional" in brackets is a because of a general Indian thought that "dysfunctional American family" might sound as an oxymoron. I don't think, it is prejudice, but it is a gap in family values between two cultures and the assumption that MTV is America. But I do think, every functional family, irrespective of nationality, has to be dysfunctional in some department. We don't pick our parents or our children -OR- Do we ?)

The movie, of course, is a satire about the issues in family life and other heavy issues it rubs on, such as drug abuse, suicide, and child beauty contests. But the comedy is not satirical. Comedy in the movie is mostly a the result of irony about an individual's position against the family backdrop. Though, the family is fabricated for the movie, the script brings a kind of plastic realism touching all the characters of the story. It is smart and funny.

I couldn't remember a movie or a story, that displayed such a weight in each of its character - in the solemn expression of comedy.

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