I was at a job interview the other day in Alexandria, and the interviewer asked where I was from (Seattle, in case you’re wondering), and if I could live anywhere, which city I’d live in. I answered Washington, DC. I don’t think the interviewer knew what to do with that answer, especially on an over-warm day following the hottest summer on record.
Before you start listing the relative merits of your own town/city/village/hidey-hole, you must understand that there are a lot of things I hate about this area. I hate the super hot weather, the humidity, the unrelieved black (suits!), and the crazy cold days that seem to come straight out of the blue. But I love living in DC. I like being here because I have loads of friends all around me. An urban family, if you will. I love that they will all come to dinner at the drop of a hat. I love the tourists (yes, really). I love being within walking distance of all the major monuments, and not owning a car. I love the fact that I have the chance to see free films and art all the time. It’s glorious.
Moral of the story: for me it’s not so much the surroundings, but the people I’m with. If the majority of my friends up and moved to Texas, or Greenland, or somewhere even more remote, I’d think pretty hard about moving too. If the Book Depository shipped to wherever-in-the-back-of-beyond, that is! But let’s return to the free films bit – I went to a screening of It’s Kind of a Funny Story the other day (thanks, Filter Magazine!), and I want to share that experience with you.
Adapted from Ned Vizzini's 2006 novel, It's Kind of a Funny Story tells the story of burnt-out teenager Craig (Keir Gilchrist), who checks himself into a mental health clinic citing exhaustion, and finds himself placed in the adult ward due to the fact that the youth ward has been shut down. Taken under the wing of fellow patient Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), the stressed-out 16-year-old attempts to endure his mandatory five days' stay without completely losing his mind.
What I wondered as I walked out of the theater: how many people feel exactly like Craig? Because his peripatetic, jumbled mind seemed to be an exact copy of mine during my years in grad school. A cycle of stress, freaking out, avoiding important things, more stress…it was a road into depression. I think that a lot of kids, young adults, and even adults are going to see this film and identify immediately.
BUT. There’s always a ‘but.’ While I was entertained by Bobby and identified with the protagonist, and liked the music (by Broken Social Scene), I also felt manipulated. Craig goes to a psych ward for five days. Five days…I know it’s enough time to change your life. Still, my cynical side won’t let me believe that it’s enough time to change everyone’s life. So I felt a little cheated. My built-in Eeyore mentality wanted more realism, and not a miraculous ‘everything comes together’ conclusion. But that’s just me.
In the end, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is hopeful and enjoyable, and it aspires to the label of cute indie-flick. It gets three quarters of the way there.
Recommended for: fans of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, people who wish deep down that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had a happy ending, the usual complement of smart teens, hipsters looking for a reason to smile (is that a paradox or what?), and those with discerning musical taste.
CUE: Giveaway! If you’d like to win a movie tie-in edition of Vizzini’s novel plus a copy of the film’s CD soundtrack, see the instructions below. One winner will receive both items.
Fill out the FORM. Commenting here will get you an extra entry, but that will only work if you fill out the original form. Giveaway is open internationally, and will end on October 17 at 11:59pm EST. I will notify the randomly selected winner via email.