Monday, December 10, 2012

Not Fitting In

The Perks of Being a Wall Flower is a pretty good title…though my vote would have been to call it Mixed Tapes. Then maybe I would have skipped it?

As someone who has fit in and not fit in, in serious absolute value and in cramping quick sequence, I have to say this movie hit me hard. In fact, to rub my Matrix-like layered nose in it, even the independent company that made this film has included me and not included me at times in real life in their esteem for and understanding of me as a writer and as an actor and I them, as I introduced them at one point, underestimating their value, to a Japanese commercial producer with claims to financing I once worked for who, in turn, had felt accepted and rejected at many times in HIS life, working with Madonna and Brad Pitt, on and off and then off for good. (It was a weird lunch. Promises to connect again. Which never happened.)  In the end, I have fond memories of this film company for all their interesting work and our mutual respect. From the Japanese producer’s office, I cadged seven pairs of Brad Pitt’s pants from a commercial shoot, which all eventually had to be hemmed, but I can honestly say, not let out at the waist.

But I digress.

The movie was well acted. The girl from those Harry Potter movies is going to be a great adult actress star. Some call her Emily Watson. I call her a younger, sane Jennifer Jason Leigh. And this Logan Lerman…call me a racist bitch with no grace and a presumptive negativity, but where are all these gorgeous young Jews coming from?

They were both wonderful.

I wish I could say the mushy script wasn’t laughable. But maybe that was the point? That teenagers are overwrought and overly sentimental? I’m being generous here. I don’t think so.

I love that it took place in Pittsburgh, one of the great geologically interesting cities in the country…with those rivers coming together and the high bluffs. My high school girlfriend, long suffering with me as her ambivalent mate, went to college in Pittsburgh for only a semester. I drove out west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, late on a Friday night, through awful fog in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, with my sister to visit her. My sister went to visit a friend of hers in another nearby town. I stayed in my girlfriend’s dorm room and spent most of the weekend smoking cigarettes and truly, fully falling in love with Joni Mitchell as I turned the vinyl over and over again to listen to both sides of Court and Spark. It was the suspended chords and the sad lyrics. I think I was sad. I think my girlfriend was sad. Joni was certainly sad. All three of us wanted to be pop stars and only one of us succeeded.

Back to the creators of this movie. These are smart people. All of them. And stylish. And able. At the lunch I put together with my Japanese boss at some standard fancy Italian Beverly Hills eatery, I was all but forgotten as they sat there trading stories about this or that A-lister and others they had in common. But lucky for me, the very cool S.C. was right next to me (See, I withheld that information…why? Why do we wait to give certain information when we tell our stories? It’s so manipulative. Baah!) S.C. was the mule of their office and a big fan of mine and we got through it together, that Hollywood lunch that went nowhere. Our support never waned. She’s writing plays now. Go S.C.!

This movie made me remember how sad I was, on and off, from 14 to 20. How, at times, you were so elated and life was so incredible. And how at other times, you really thought you were going completely fucking crazy. And, at least for me, how you did go crazy at one point and then you just had to piece it back together. Just trying to hold on. To insist upon being part of the population even though you had no idea what that part was.

I’d say it is worth watching. As long as you can forgive the clunky storytelling. You do get ahead of it as it rolls by. But hey! You’re watching kids!

Perks.  Wallflowers. Spoiler Alert: What happened was_______________. Okay, I won’t spoil it. You’re smart. You’ll figure it out quickly enough yourself.

Not everything has to be amazing. Sometimes, if it’s messy, you get to focus on other great aspects. And maybe those aspects are more important, which they were, for me, the emotional ones.

Sometimes, something truly lived, is a much bigger experience than that which is turned into a movie. Shit. We all know that.

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