Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kicking and Screaming

I can't believe I haven't watched this '90's movie until now.  Kicking and Screaming, has some classic 90's actors and actresses, like Eric Stoltz (love him!), Parker Posey (who plays the perfect bitch), Olivia D'Abo (remember Kevin's sister in the Wonder Years?), and Josh Hamilton.

If you're not familiar with the writer/director Noah Baumbach, well, he is the writer of some of these fine movies; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I just discovered that he was married to Jennifer Jason Leigh (another one of my favs).  

Source: via Averi on Pinterest

In a nutshell, this movie is about a group of friends who have just graduated from university and have no idea what to do next.  It is highly nostalgic for me, and it is so real that it may be uncomfortable for people to watch.  I empathize with all the characters, because I had the same fears when I had graduated, and I know these anxieties never leave students.  To be real with you, I have never actually left the university campus.  I have been there for over a decade now, because I was one of the '"lucky" ones to get a job right away after I graduated.  I put lucky in quotation marks, because I am actually envious of those who left and started a career.  I am even jealous of those who left, jobless, and struggled with finding work, who lived at home, maybe traveled, and took their time getting to where they are now.  In many ways I feel like Eric Stoltz's character, I am destined to never leave the campus.  Academia is my career.  It is sometimes hard to relate, or communicate with students who are getting close to entering the 'real world.'  They're excited, hopeful of getting a top notch job with their prestigious education.  I mean, what else can you have when you leave university?  I suppose there are people who are grounded in reality, who recognize that a degree is a dime a dozen, and that they will be working a crappy retail or office job making just over minimum wage.  But if you're not a tiny bit positive when you're handed over that piece of paper, that is worth 40,000 in student loans, what will happen to you?

Of course this isn't always the case.  I have friends who have their PHD's, who are teachers, nurses, tradesmen, lawyers even.  But on the opposite side of the spectrum, I also have friends who work in grocery stores, or don't work at all.  This movie balances on those moments in life where responsibility and one's duty to maturity have not quite taken hold yet.  I adore the scenes with Olivia D'Abo, sitting in her small English seminars, dissecting works of literature.  I had those exact feelings when I was in my final year of school, wouldn't it be grand if I could spend the rest of my life analyzing literature and researching themes with like minded individuals.  Sadly, we know that it's a dream, and only a very small population of academics actually play this out. 

Kicking and Screaming, is what the title implies.  It's ones fight against accepting the progression of life.  If you are one of the smart ones, you will have realized already that change is inevitable. 

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