Dan In Real Life

Posted on November 13th, 2007 by george.
Categories: film, humor, life, love.

I see a lot of movies. No, seriously. A lot. I’d estimate it at about 90% of major releases. One in ten I will refuse to see on principle, but even then, I see a lot of stinkers. And lately, I’m becoming more and more disturbed by violence in movies. Not that they’re getting more violent, which is arguable, but perhaps that I’m becoming more sensitive to portrayals of violence. Every day it becomes harder for me to see the artistic merit in or believe any justification for abusing the suspension of disbelief and inserting powerfully negative images of human depravity directly into the minds of millions of viewers.

Regardless of whether it’s something they “want to see,” or it’s “a reflection of the way things really are,” or “it sells popcorn.” But I digress.

I don’t get to see art films anymore. I saw as many as I could while at school in Knoxville, but now that I live on Merritt Island, the closest arthouse theater is nearly an hour away. I guess east Tennessee isn’t so backward after all, huh? I used to be 15 minutes from a theater that had ten art and independent films going at any one time. Take that, Orlando. But I’m digressing. Again.

All of this is to say: I love film. Really, really love it. I am passionate about it. I sometimes avoid previews so as to experience a movie fresh, with no hype or preconceptions.  I use movies as motivation to get in a six-mile bike ride.  I put up with a lot of dross just to make sure I don’t miss the gems.  I would write reviews if someone paid me to do it.  I’m giving you all this lead-in to prepare you for what I’m about to say.

If you haven’t seen Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche in the new film “Dan in Real Life,” go see it.  NOW.

I could wax poetic about the soundtrack (Sondre Lerche!), the setting and cinematography, the script, the acting, everything.  But I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Trust me when I say this:   this is the best romantic comedy of the past five years.  But even to pigeonhole it into that category is a disservice.  It’s also a family movie…but no.  It’s more than that.  This is one of those movies that defies genre.  This is film at its best:  a reflection of life.  What it is, and how we want it to be.  Projected.  Right there on the screen.

This movie is real.  It makes me want to have family gatherings like that.  It reminds me of the good times I’ve had with my family.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the sometimes delightfully subtle humor throughout the film.  I nearly cried three times.  But most of all, and I’m being completely genuine here:  this movie gave me hope.

I don’t own many DVDs.  I don’t watch many movies more than once.  Maybe 1 or 2%.  This is a film that I will add to my small library.  This is a film I would want my children to see.

Go see it.



Comment on November 14th, 2007.

you’re not the first ravingly positive personal review I’ve gotten for this flick. Duly noted. I hope I can see it in the theater.


Comment on November 14th, 2007.

Really? You liked it that much? Maybe I was unable to appreciate it to the extent that you did because I had Nabil sitting next to me, and every 20 seconds he was talking about how the older daughter looked like her face had been smashed with a pie. I did like the whole family togetherness, and the basic storyline.

Perhaps I need to watch it again, by myself.


Comment on November 16th, 2007.

K. Sold.


Comment on November 16th, 2007.

good to know. i want to see a movie this weekend, and was on the fence about my choice. also… i am right there with you on avoiding previews. if i hear about a movie & know i want to see it – i change the channel when the preview comes on tv. i avoid press about it, reviews, etc. so, nice way to plug the movie here… but you gave nothing away. kudos.


Comment on November 18th, 2007.

Everything you wrote here resonated with me. I also love film, but I’m growing increasingly aware of gratuitous violence — especially now that I’m sort of removed from American media. (Oh, and at a falafel stand the other day, the television was on MTV — after not watching music videos for eleven months, it felt like we were watching soft porn. I’d never really noticed this before!)

Oh, and it seems like I’m also never seeing art films these days, since we just rely on friends for our DVDs. Man, I miss a good art film.


Comment on November 18th, 2007.

Abby, let me know what you think.

Fere, I don’t think you could appreciate Casablanca if Nabil is next to you.

Sweet, Yoye. =)

Nick, we definitely have that in common. Thanks for the kudos!

Moj, it’s the strangest thing. You and Eric and I have never really had much time to hang out in person, but I feel like we have so much in common. Looks like we see eye to eye on cinema and television. I’d say we’re doing a great job of building a friendship through teh internets. =)


Comment on November 19th, 2007.

Totally agreed, G.


Comment on November 23rd, 2007.

I loved this movie!!


Comment on November 29th, 2007.

Well, geez! I might have to see this film! If that’s not a rave review, I don’t know what is!

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