Movie Mondays: Coming-of-age films with an edge

Click here to view Mud in the SPL catalogI recently saw Mud (2013) – easily one of the best movies of the year, so far – and was struck by its multiple layers. It’s a thriller that stars Matthew McConaughey in the title role as a fugitive living on a remote island, hiding from bounty hunters and pining for the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Its languid, atmospheric setting, along the Mississippi River in the Ozarks, is a character unto itself that is refreshingly free of stereotypes. But at its core is Ellis (Tye Sheridan), a young boy who decides to help Mud reunite with Juniper, despite problems at home. While I enjoy cheerful, predictable coming-of-age films as much as the next person, this movie made me think of some others with life-changing journeys for the young protagonists. Continue reading “Movie Mondays: Coming-of-age films with an edge”

Brooklyn Stories: Part One

I wanted to live in Brooklyn ever since I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I was a teenager. I felt suffocated by the boredom of small town Wisconsin life and yearned for the big city, where there was a wide diversity of people, cultures, languages; tall buildings, ports, bridges, subways, trains. Brooklyn had it all: The best pizza, the best bagels; Coney Island and Prospect Park; all the unique neighborhoods, each with its own character. In white bread and bologna Wisconsin in the 50s, people didn’t know from a bagel, much less a good slice of pizza, though there was a great rivalry between the Brooklyn Dodgers Continue reading “Brooklyn Stories: Part One”

In Praise of Felicity

I am a sucker for television series about high school or college.  In other words, I love coming-of-age stories. So it was a surprise to me when I stumbled across the WB series Felicity. It started in 1998, when I was without television, so I missed its four seasons in the life of the plucky girl who leaves her safe, harbored life in California to follow her high school crush across the country just because he wrote something soulful in her yearbook.

Yes, Felicity begins with a pretty lame premise, I will admit. Wallflower girl follows popular high school boy to New York. But I am telling you, they make you believe it and go with it from the get-go.

For one, there’s Keri Russell, who is so real and amazingly agile at playing Felicity Porter, who literally matures before your very eyes. Then there’s the guy, Ben Covington as played by Scott Speedman. Speedman gets Ben so well–he’s a sweet bad boy with a humongous chip on his shoulder. And then there’s Felicity’s freshman year RA, the adorably lovesick Noel Crane, played with nuance by Scott Foley. Since Ben is not available, Felicity and Noel hook up and you get Continue reading “In Praise of Felicity”