Imagine someone gives you a present and it is simply the best thing you have ever seen. You hold this thing in your hands and you realize, Yep, this is exactly what I have always wanted. And for the rest of your life, this thing that means everything to you? Well, as much as you'd like to keep it in your pocket - you can't.
In fact, not only do you have to put it down, but you also have to trust other people with it - people you don't even really know. Oh, and there's a chance, every single moment of every single day, that you might lose this thing altogether, even if you do everything right and take the best possible care of it.
Sounds fun, right? Sign me up for that.
Probably two hours after I had heard something about it on Twitter, I happily devoured director Henry Hobson's feature-debut, Maggie. Set after a zombie apocalypse, the film tells the quietly devastating story of a father reuniting with his teenage daughter. Wade (played by a grizzled Arnold Scwarzenegger) is leaving the ravaged city with the recently-infected Maggie (an effective Abigail Breslin) and heading to their isolated, rural home. And while you can't necessarily blame Wade, you might not be able to trust him, either.
As a lifelong devotee of all-things Schwarzenegger, you're best to take my recommendation even lighter than you normally do. But, for what it's worth, I thought the big fella handled the nuances of a grieving father rather well. He doesn't say much, but when he does you can fully feel the weight of each word, as he is a man who not only has to watch his daughter die, but may possibly be the one to have to kill her. It's a quietly grueling journey, but one I was very eager to take.
While I happily paid my $6.99 to see a hardened Harry Tasker, Abigail Breslin is obviously the star of the show. With likely triple the screentime as Schwarzenegger, Breslin's performance is going to be paramount in your enjoyment/hatred of Maggie. Personally, I thought she handled it well. Much of the performance comes from under some gnarly slowly-rotting-away makeup, but Breslin's Maggie remains a girl we care about from start to finish. And oh what a finish it is...
Speaking of things not turning out well, here are the Yays and Boos. They were trying to convince me that this movie is really about the right-to-die, but I told them they were wrong. Movies are about what's on screen. Not metaphors for larger, societal issues. Jeez, guys. Really? What's next, calling a movie artsy because it has dialogue?
- It's true that there is very little action, but when we do get something it's the f--king worst. And by that, I mean the direct opposite.
- The second, um, incident, was incredible. Get behind me. Holy shit that was intense.
- Bonnie. There's nothing about this woman to cheer for, but I leaned forward for every second she was on the screen.
- As Maggie may be the grayest film ever made, let me applaud the few scenes that were golden. Unofficial Doctor's Consultation being one of them. Were we suppose to feel hope?
- I really liked Maggie's friend, Allie. She was a good chick. As was Trent...well, a good dude, anyway.
- Loved the score. Really. If I ever wanted to be depressed as f--k, I would totally fire this one up.
- Local cops. These guys are initially presented as assholes, but the more we see them, the more we realize Wade's putting them in a bad spot, you know?
- The final five minutes. Maybe not the last thirty seconds or so (even though I ultimately dug them, too), but every bit of that final scene was brilliant. Those feet!
- And finally, as I've mentioned, Arnold Schwarzenegger. You, possessing a sound mind and the ability to reason, may totally disagree, but I loved this performance. His speech about his wife devastated me. As did the permanent grief that's been jack-hammered on his face.
- Movie Rule #343: Looking for a teenager in a convenience store? Check the sunglasses display.
- Just piss outside, okay? Please!
- Moving out the younger siblings wasn't really a vote of confidence was it?
- If you have kids, know kids, have ever seen a kid, you can relate to the idea of furiously thinking STOP PICKING YOUR ______. I guess zombie bites are itchy, but still.
- While we're talking about awful body parts, put me down for worst movie eyes ever. Yikes. I guess I take back that bit at the sunglasses spinner-thing, huh?
- Carol. It sucks being a step-mom, huh?
- Hey, Bobby - nice campfire story, asshole. Maybe it would have been nicer to just put Maggie and Trent directly in the fire, instead of the verbal torching you gave them. Dick.
- And finally, VOD. I'm not ready to embrace you, Service I Can't Get Behind. I hear of a movie, find showtimes, consider driving a hundred miles, only to realize that it's sitting there inside of my PS4? What kind of sorcery is this? *shakes old man fist to the sky*
As I type this, I'm a few hours away from watching my own son make his acting debut in Jack and the Beanstalk. He's playing the Giant.
Yep. My son, all five years of him, delivering some clutch lines in front of an auditorium full of people? Oh, all while we try to contain/keep quiet his almost two year-old sister? Yeah...
...nothing to worry about there.