Boyhood Is the Pick of the Week

I took last week off to spend some time with my wife’s family. Her clan are a bit spread out with the parents living in Kentucky, one brother in North Carolina, the other in Nashville. We now live in Oklahoma, all of which makes it rather difficult for us all to see each other at the same time. We always try to meet up over the Christmas break, and if the star align properly, we might all of us gather sometime in the summer.

The brothers have three boys amongst them, two born months apart some 13 years ago and the youngest is about 11. The wife and I have been married 12 years with a couple of other ones on top of that for courting. Which is to say I’ve known the boys all of their lives, but in small increments.

It has been fascinating seeing them grow up during our week-long visits once or twice a year. It’s a bit like those montages you sometimes find on the Internet where someone takes a picture of their child once a year in the same spot. They boys were babies then toddlers and older boys and now they are teenagers. I’ve watched them grow physically and seen their personalities change and mature.

They went from playing with little Fisher Price toys to action figures to bringing their own television sets so they can play their Playstation 3. Their hair has grown long and been cut short again. They’ve moved from Sesame Street to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to Star Wars and the Avengers. I’ve only seen the highlights, all of the incremental changes the real growth happened when I wasn’t looking.

Richard Linklater’s film, Boyhood, sounds exactly like that process. Over a 12-year period from 2002 to 2013, he periodically gathered his cast of characters (including two children who we see grow up) and created a story that allows us to see some real life changes over a long period of time via small incremental chapters.

That’s a pretty big gamble to take in a film. It’s difficult enough to do something like that with professional actors (Linklater uses Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke to play the parents) not knowing if they’ll be available or interested in such a project a decade down the road. But then to employ unknown and unproven child actors for the leads (Lorelei Linklater – Richard’s daughter plays one part) must have been a daunting proposition in the beginning.

Yet he seems to have pulled it off brilliantly. The critical reaction has been almost universally rapturous and the film will likely rake in all sorts of awards once it’s all said and done.

I’ve been a fan of Linklater since Slacker and I’m looking forward to sitting down with this to see how it connects to my own life of seeing my family grow up one week at a time over the course of a life.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Horns: Daniel Radcliffe continues to make interesting choices with this supernatural thriller. He plays Ig Perrish, a man suspected of killing his girlfriend, who awakes one morning to find that he’s grown a pair of horns that also happen to make people give in to their most selfish impulses and confess their sins. He uses this to try to find the real killer. That sounds just crazy enough to be awesome. You can read our review of the Blu-ray release.

No Good Deed: The plot is pretty standard thriller stuff – a suburban mom is terrorized by a stranger who comes to her home claiming car trouble but is really looking for much more – but it’s got Idris Elba in it and I’m good with pretty much anything he does.

Black Sails: The Complete First Season: A Starz show about pirates. Sounds fun until you read it’s being executive produced by Michael Bay. Look for big explosions and hot babes.

Girls: Season 3: I’ve watched only a handful of of episodes of the first season of this show. I can’t quite decide if I love it or if its really annoying and awful.

The Bridge: Season 2: The conclusion of FX’s remake of a Scandinavian drama about a corpse found on a bridge exactly halfway between the border of Mexico and the U.S. The reviews have been decent, but it never really seemed to have captured the zeitgeist of popular culture.

Left Behind: I hope Nicolas Cage pens an autobiography some day and in it he reveals just exactly what he was thinking making this movie. Why anyone thought a remake of a Kirk Cameron film was a good idea is beyond me. How they thought Cage was a good fit for the lead in a Christian apocalyptic flick is beyond anyone. Why he actually took the role is probably only understood by his accountant.

Mat Brewster

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