2006-08-20 - 1:11 p.m.
However, the film really disarmed me with its sweetness (Like Gene Shalit, I laughed! I cried!) and the grotesqueness of pageants is only tangential to the main story, which unfolds as the down-at-heels Hoover family drives 7-year-old Olive to the titular competition. It's a "quest"/road movie, and though it's about believing in one's dreams, it's also about accepting and enjoying reality the way it is, pre-dream.
One of the recurring motifs here is a wonky family minivan that needs to be push-started, and once it gets going--at a pace that respects no person--everyone has to run alongside and hop in, at their own peril. The perfect metaphor for success.
Abigail Breslin, as Olive, is a real find. She is genuine and vulnerable, and plays off the adult actors (particularly my beloved Alan Arkin) very well. She and teenage Nietzsche-fan Paul Dano also have some nice moments.
Yet another cool club has opened in Brooklyn, the Living Room Lounge, a spacious, comfortable place with good beers (I was won over to the wheat-beer side of things by Blue Moon with an orange wedge) and a decent-enough sound system.
Nothing about the club's exterior or interior, though, prepares you for the sophisticated beauty of the bathrooms. A club with good bathrooms is such a rare commodity in this world (Ha, no pun intended).
The Larch put on a top-notch show, bolstered perhaps by their triumphant British pub tour and the presence of a Wombat on bass, jumpin' around like a rock star! I really liked the two new songs.
Preceding them was a powerful and personal solo set by Scott Turner (as Rebel Mart), and after the Larch, The Saudi Agenda played their spirited old-school punk.
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