The Kids Are All Right was the one movie I really felt like I had missed this year. I meant to see it in theaters, but it came out around when I was moving around a lot, and somehow it just never happened. Then it finally came out on DVD and I was like ah, I gotta see this! Its about families, and gays, and love and domesticity and all that stuff I love to read about, and its supposed to be funny, and also touching!
I saw it last week. It was good, but not great. The relationships never quite jelled. The characters didn’t feel like a real family; everyone seemed to be operating in isolation. Everyone seemed to be “acting,” and acting real hard (except Julianne Moore, maybe.) And it wasn’t really funny, more cringey – Jim made me stop it 2/3 of the way through, because he couldn’t handle all the awkward moments and needed to go lie down.
I mean, I’m disappointed that I didn’t like it that much. Of the people I know who have seen it (including all the reviews I’ve read), the ones who really liked it are a generation older than I am. The people who were disappointed or outright hated it are my friends, people my age.
Maybe its just a matter of where you are in life? A movie about marriage and about maintaining a family may be easier to love if you have actively struggled with those things. Maybe Nic seems like less of a bitch if you’ve had those fights.
Maybe its just a matter of identifying with the kids instead of the adults: I think the kids’ characters weren’t really as well drawn or thought out or identifiably real as the adults (what kid finds the porn his parents watch and asks about it, rather than just trying to block any idea of his parents having sex out of his head completely?), so maybe that point of entry was denied.
Or maybe its the gays – we have all grown up with portrayals, whether live or on TV movies whatever, of gay families, two moms and two dads, the complications and fluidity of sexuality, and so the movie felt normal but unrealistic, rather than groundbreaking.
I’ve been feeling this generational disconnect lately, like when I was listening to a bunch of 30-40 year olds on NPR talk about how bad the music was in the 80s (except REM) and had my big moment of rejecting the Gen X “and then there was Pavement” narrative. I don’t like Pavement.
The same thing is happening with The Social Network, that pack of lies. Its not just that different generations have different interpretations of the central story, its that they have utterly different reactions to the movie as a whole – basically, old people think its great and revelatory and digs into the issues of our time and all, and I think it is a pack of lying lies and has no understanding of computers or the internet or what Facebook is (or was, since it doesn’t actually talk about what Facebook is). I have had this rant too many times to do it again here, but suffice it said that while Frank Rich thinks The Social Network is taling about issues no one else will confront, most people my age are basicaly like, “Huh. Hey, look, JT” and going back to our loud music and our hula hoops and our hopscotch and our dungarees and our lollipops and our Sony Playstations and our voice-activated light switches and our leather pants and our artificial insemination-…