October 28th, 2009
I haven’t seen this movie. Everyone I know raves about it. (Except Marjorie.) Or, I should say, raved about it from the trailer. But even the trailer made me itchy. Unlike Marjorie, who had (or I should say has, this woman is obsessed with kids’ books, one of 87, 567 reasons I love her) a passion for the book when she was a kid, I have no great attachment to it, so it’s not like I’m worried about the filmmakers sullying it. Besides, I get that books and movies need to be different.
It’s just cool people. They bug me. And there is something so reeking of we-are-so-cool-we-do-cool-kid-things-now of this movie, that I want to barf. Last weekend, when I saw Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It, a movie that wore its heart on its sleeve and was not too cool even though it was about kickass cool rollerderby chicks, I caught a preview for Wes Anderson’s upcoming Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the Roald Dahl classic. You can watch it here.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB9ya5KW9p4&feature=player_embedded
This also gave me the itchy feeling. It looked suspiciously like another kids’ movie that was really some hipster’s idea of a kid’s movie with an All-STAR CAST (and rhapsodic adult reviews). And I know my kid won’t like it. She likes Enchanted. Wall-E. And Barbie crap. It’s not that she’s not smart. A few weeks ago, she said, out of the blue “Every second is another now,” but still she’s not ironic enough for these movies (though she knows what sarcasm is, sort of). And, really, I’m not sure these movies aren’t meant for her.
Because she’s not cool. Or she is cool in the way that 5-year-olds who put together outrageous outfits and make up bizarre games and just don’t give a shit yet are cool. I wish she could stay that way forever because to me, that’s the real definition of cool.
I know, I know. I haven’t even seen the movies. But I’m just reacting to my inherent hipster hater.
It may come as a surprise to some people that I have an inherent hipster hatred, given that my two novels are so populated with musicians, with seemingly cool people. But, see, I don’t think they are. Mia’s not cool. She doesn’t try. And Adam doesn’t try either. He just plays music, same as Mia and her dad. And they all love music. All sorts of uncool people play music, have found solace in music, community in music. The hipsters are usually not the creators, but the hangers-on. Or not. Maybe I just like to think that because it’s more romantic. There are plenty of poseurs everywhere.
It also cracks me up when people seem to think I’m cool because I reference so much music—some of it obscure, like Dead Moon—in If I Stay. But that’s because I like music and I’m married to someone who really likes music and who’s a librarian and a collector (both of those the opposite of cool by definition, but two negatives make a positive so he’s actually very cool in that not annoying effortless way, if you ask me, which maybe you didn’t) who has amassed this amazing music collection and helps keep in tune on great tunes. But I am, and will always be, a weird girl. The only thing that saved me from utter dorkiness has always been my dress sense.
Maybe it’s because I was weird and teased, I have an aversion to cool people, some of whom just seem like the mean people in high school with a more evolved style and aesthetic. I like nice people. If the nice people happen to wear cool clothes and listen to cutting-edge music, I won’t hold that against them.
Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers may be the nicest people on the planet. Dave Eggers certainly has done some amazing charity work with his 826 nonprofit organization, although it’s probably the coolest nonprofit I know of (the Brooklyn branch has an actual superhero supply store, where you can buy capes and disappearing potions; I kid you not). And Spike had to go through hell to make this movie. Lots of reports of the studios saying it was too dark for a kid movie and trying to make him bend but he held to his vision. Kudos to him for that.
But the movie just seems too cool. And the thing is, little kids aren’t cool. The wonderful thing about them is that they aren’t trying yet. And once you have a little kid, or make movies for little kid, maybe you have to give up on being cool, too.
There’s a nabe in Brooklyn called Williamsburg. It’s arty-farty hipster central. And as of late, a lot of those arty-farty hipster types have had kids, but it’s kind of hilarious because instead of owning up to the fact that being a parent=being square, they continue to go around in punk outfits with artfully designed bedhead hair, pushing their wee ones in $750 strollers with anarchy stickers. When I see them, I’m never sure whether to laugh, cry, or throw up, so I just smile (because I’m nice) and walk on by.
I’m not saying once you have kids it’s time to get a minivan and wear sweats. Cute outfits, good grooming, fuel efficiency, always appreciated. But pass on the mantle. When your kids are older, let them be the cutting edge, the visionaries, the vanguard, without you getting in the way with all your coolness. And when they’re younger, let them be goofy, dorky, silly, and cooly uncool.
These uber-cool kid filmmakers, I want to tell them the same thing. But I suppose first I should see the movies, though I feel kind of silly going without my five-year-old. But when I showed her the preview for Where The Wild Things Are, she said it looked too scary. The twentysomething scenesters might be packing theaters, but my kindergartner has no interest.
The tribe has spoken.