Why I Love “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

The holiday movie crush can be tough.  There are all sorts of movies throwing themselves out there for Oscar consideration, and the biggest stars release their best work so you – and the Academy Awards – will notice them.

As a result of the stiff competition, you may have overlooked the underdog of the holiday season – the movie that didn’t have Disney punch behind it or an Oscar winning/contender face starring in it.  But after seeing some of the best of the best this holiday season, the one that will stay with me, making it onto my top 10 movie list – Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

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The thing that I love about this movie is that from start to finish, it’s about personal connections.  Real people meeting real people, changing their lives, influencing the way they live.  It’s ironic, really, because the movie starts with Walter trying to use eHarmony to wink at a woman who works in his office – a woman he could walk up to, wink at personally, strike up a conversation.

The movie is about living in the real world, having real life experiences, being present and making the most of the life you have, instead of living in the what if world of fantasy.  Again, this is ironic, since Walter spends the first half of the movie living in his head.  In scene after scene, he daydreams himself into a world he wishes he could live in, ignoring opportunities to make life in the present more appealing.

Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller is perfect in the role of Walter Mitty.  There are no stupid faces like the ones you’d see in “Zoolander”, or bad puns and off color remarks as you would see in “Dodgeball”.  This is Stiller at his best.  He is vulnerable, determined, normal almost to the point of quirky.  The dream sequences give you a glimpse of the Stiller you either love or hate, but the rest of the movie, he’s just your average Joe, trying to find and make personal connections in this internet world.  He’s all about living in the moment, once he realizes the real moments are the ones that are so much more important.

I love this movie.  I’ve seen it twice, and have come out both times humming and feeling happy.  With a free two hours, especially on a gloomy day, I’d go see it again.

 

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Now America’s Most Wanted!

I sometimes have trouble with animated movies.  I’m not gonna lie.  I know it doesn’t fit with the whole “mom” thing I have going, but I have sat way too many times in crowded, kid filled movie theaters, wishing I was doing something more entertaining, like poking knitting needles into my eyes.

I saw the first Madagascar movie, and it was good.  When I say it was good, I mean it was tolerable.  When it came time to see the sequel, I left that to the husband.

Am I glad I didn’t miss this movie!  The theater was packed, and I barely remember a minute when the kids weren’t roaring with laughter.  Or was it the grown ups?  Or was it me???

Here’s a bit of the story – life in Africa isn’t nearly as appealing as life in the big apple, and our band of affable animals (most notably Alex {Ben Stiller}, Marty {Chris Rock}, and King Julien {Sacha Baron Cohen}) have decided to head to Monte Carlo to meet the penguins and high tail it back to New York.  As you might imagine, they do not roll out the carpet at the Grand Casino to welcome our happy little group.  This is where the fabulous Frances McDormand comes in.  Voicing the head of animal control, Captain Chantal DuBois, McDormand goes on a cross continent trek to snag Alex, hoping to add him to the decor of her PETA challenged home.

The chase leads our homeward bound heroes straight into the circus, and if you think it’s been fast paced fun up until now, wait until you see what they do to a circus!  The colors, the lights, the real feel of an amazing Cirque du Soleil-esque performance – absolutely amazing!

There isn’t a minute of downtime in the whole film, and the jokes the kids don’t catch, the grownups certainly will.  There’s a quick debate over the pronunciation of the word “nuclear”; King Julien (who is in love with a big, burly bear) remarks about preferring women with hairy backs; and there’s even a reference to Shock Jock Howard Stern, when a penguin randomly callsl out “Bababooey”.

June 8th is the release date for this movie, and you should be lined up at the door to see it.  Now – go wait, right now.  It is seriously that good.