A friend of mine gave me a copy of Martian Child. Haven't heard of it? Neither had I. Strange considering I enjoy movies with John and Joan Cusack. In the movie, John Cusack is a widower who is considering adopting a child. He finds a troubled young boy who reminds him a lot of himself when he was a child. The child believes he's from Mars, and everything he does reflects this. It's a simple movie, and not perfect, but it was a truly heart warming tale. Cusack and the boy, played by Bobby Coleman, are both entirely lost souls searching for someone to find them. I love discovering a gem like this, in a sea of straight to DVD garbage it's nice to find something warm and clean. Nobody fits in and it's nice to watch a movie that accepts the truth of things.
Lars and the Real Girl was also very much about the weird guy, but what a different film. Lars is played by the incredibly gifted Ryan Gosling. He's a terminally lonely man who was raised by a similarly afflicted father. His doting sister in law tries to remedy his suffering while his nonchalant brother is permanently uncomfortable with anything. Lars surprises everyone, including the congregation at his church, by ordering a "real girl", or ultra realistic sex doll, from the internet. The real shock is when he pretends she's his very much alive foreign girlfriend who is confined to a wheel chair. The real magic of the film comes out with the people in the town who care so much for Lars, their feelings extend to the plastic Bianca. I enjoyed Lars and the Real Girl, and while it was at times agonizingly slow, the rich characterization and portrayal of loneliness which pentrates you through the screen were rich enough to overcome the pace. I've preferred other similar pseudo-indie films more than this, yet Lars has his place in the genre. It's a film with magnanimous heart.
Finally I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall tonight. It's a comedy from Producer Judd Apatow (Superbad, Knocked Up) and stars a lot of the familiar Apatow/Rogen crew (Rogen was noticeably absent from this one). TV golden girl Kristen Bell plays Sarah Marshall and the hilarious Jason Segel plays her loser boyfriend Peter Bretter. Sarah dumps Peter for a cheesy rock star so to help forget his girl of 5 years, Peter goes on a Hawaiian vacation to a particular resort only to discover so did his ex and her new lover. The usual jokes are present as well as some impressive full frontal male nudity and done-before vulgar sex gags. 30 Rock's Kenneth plays a cameo as well as what I assume must be every Hawaiian actor out there. One of the highlights was Mila Kunis, better known as Jackie from That 70's Show, who proved without a doubt she's ready for the big screen and can shed her TV self for good.
Among all the TV stars, obvious comedy and recycled gags I still enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The three movies I've discussed here all have great big beating juicy hearts and this one no less so than the others. Segel has always been my favourite part of How I Met Your Mother and I hope I get to see him in more movies. I'm also open to anyone sending me a screen capture of THAT scene.
I'm giving all these films 3.5/5. Each one has a soul, and that's why I watch movies in the first place.