Sunday, April 22, 2012

You could have had the decency to lie about that one.

I'm not really from anywhere. It's terribly unfortunate, but it's true. I was born in Texas, moved to Hawai'i when I was eight, went to college in Connecticut (and lived there for a few years afterward) and now live in Pennsylvania (of all places). I don't feel at home ever. It might be that my family is spread all over the country, or it might be something deeper than that - I honestly don't know. But if I have to choose, like, for casual conversations or introductions, I always pick Hawai'i. Always. Even though I haven't been back in years, it's the closest thing I have to home. And when something reminds me of home? I love it. No matter what.

That intro was a heads up. Shit might get irrational around here. Combining my love of all things Hawai'i with my admiration (and possible adoration?) of George Clooney, I may just gush like a schoolgirl. The Decendants is an excellent film. I'll keep the best ever nonsense to myself, but damn it if I didn't love just about every second of it. Hold on, I did hate Sid for about an hour, but even that goofy f--ker turns it around. Suckin' haoles.

From the opening voice-over, I was hooked. He describes the contradiction that is living in Hawai'i. As someone who left, I've had numerous conversations that it's just like anywhere else. Of course, it isn't, but it's also not the unencumbered paradise that mainlanders make it out to be. Clooney nails it. Paradise? Paradise can go f--k itself.

Now, Clooney is talking about many things, but mostly about his wife. She is dying in a hospital and he's left to pick up the pieces of a family he hasn't really had a presence in. He describes himself as the backup parent. The understudy. Being a father myself, it would be hard enough to lose my wife. But left to raise a pair of  daughters? I would be just as lost as Matt was, if not more so. Oh, and then there's the infidelity bit...

Speaking of. Though it makes up the bulk of the movie, I routinely questioned the pursuit. If my wife were in the hospital drawing her final breaths, would I want to find the other guy? Would I really give a shit? I guess it's impossible to answer truthfully, but I found myself leaning toward f--k no. Bigger fish to fry...

Hmm. Anyway, let's get on to the Yays and Boos, please-don't-use-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter-or-The-Brady-Bunch-as-your-barometer style.

Yet another classic scene. Do you get hit a lot?
  • Aloha shirts. Holy shit do I miss those. In Hawai'i, some of the most powerful people look like bums and stuntmen.
  • The Big Island trip. It only lasted a minute, but to see the low road in hi def? Priceless. Was that supposed to be HPA? What, she couldn't go to Parker? Oh, right. No dorms.
  • The development of his relationship with his daughter. At first, I hated her. By the end, she is truly a badass.
  • Sid. I wanted to punch you in the junk. I questioned why they kept bringing you places. But by the end? You're an okay dude. I mean that.
  • The soundtrack. Sure, it sounds like every hotel lobby in Hawai'i, but it's also equal parts soothing and beautiful.
  • The scene at Speer's house was as good as anything I've ever seen. The goodbye kiss? Great.
  • As was the final shot. Perfect.
Hawai'i could've used a few more um, Hawaiians.
(nothing major, just the stuff that upset me)
  • Her dad, played by Robert Forster. This guy is a real prick (well, not really), and Matt could get at him. But, like in countless situations, he just takes it.
  • The younger sister, Scottie. She was an annoying little kid. But also, a great performance. We're all lost at 10. But this poor girl? Goodness.
  • And finally, the way people keep telling him she's going to make it. This really bothered me. Made me think I should just shut up when people are grieving.
I'm going to leave with you with my favorite lines from the entire film. I'd say at least three-quarters of this applies directly to me. Well, if I were from Hawai'i it would.

Now, we're haole as shit. And we go to private schools and clubs...and we can barely speak pidgin, let alone Hawaiian. But we've got Hawaiian blood, and we're tied to this land.


  1. This movie had some real moments of human emotion that worked, largely thanks to the amazing cast on display but something just didn't jell well the whole time. It was a very good flick, don't get me wrong, it was just that I couldn't get into it all that much probably because it's plot kept on starting and stopping, starting and stopping. Good review M.

  2. Thanks, Dan. I get what you're saying about the disjointed nature of the plot, but that was actually a plus for me. It seemed more realistic.

    I dug the plethora of awkward pauses and introspective silence. Clooney's 'what the f--k' stares are priceless. And abundant.

  3. Great job on this review, and I'm glad that it got the Hawaiian (sort of) seal of approval! I haven't been lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to live in Hawaii, but my friend who did described it much the way that you and the film did. "Paradise can go F itself."

    1. NTEMP - Hawai'i is really a great place, it's just that it's not perfect, far from it. Tourists often over glamorize it, but I guess I would too, if I'd just dropped 10 grand to drag the family there.

      I live in Pennsylvania now, and believe me, Pennsylvania can definitely go f--k itself. Big time.