Usually main characters have rather normal names. Jerry McGuire. John Shaft. Joe Black. Nothing too strange, nothing too out of the ordinary. However, sometimes an interestingly named main character is just the beginning of a sign that you’re watching a special movie.
Igby Goes Down
This film also goes by the alternate title of ‘Coolest Movie Starring a Culkin.’ Kieran Culkin stars as Igby, a take on J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, who runs away to New York City to get away from his mother’s dying from cancer and his father’s mental illness. There he takes up with a unique and memorable group of friends. Claire Danes co-stars as a girl named Sookie. This movie kind of got lost when it came out, getting mixed up with ‘Tadpole,’ with which it shared a location. (The upper East side of New York.) The movie isn’t perfect and there’s a few ridiculous scenes towards the end that don’t work, but overall, ‘Igby’ is worth checking out.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
If you haven’t seen this movie, stop reading now. I don’t know what to say to you. Audrey Hepburn stars as Holly Golightly a prostitute, (well, at least she was in the book,) who lives a bohemian life in New York and falls in love with Hannibal from ‘The A-Team.’ The movie is light, frothy and wonderful. (That is, if you forget Mickey Rooney’s terrible and racist impression as Golightly’s Asian neighbor. It’s directed by Blake Edwards. He isn’t the greatest filmmaker, however, I always find myself enjoying his work. (That includes the late 1970s, early 1980s movies starring his wife, Julie Andrews.) (Yes, I’m including ‘S.O.B’ on that list.)
The Life Aquatic
Wes Anderson. You either like his strange and unique take on the world or you do not. There’s not a lot of gray area with his supporters and detractors. Personally, I love the guy’s stuff. And, sure, it hasn’t changed a lot since ‘Bottle Rocket,’ came out, but, it’s so unique and so very much Wes Anderson, I don’t really fault the guy for not changing his style all that much. ‘Life Aquatic’ follows the life of Steve Zissou, a washed-up Jacques Costeau-like oceanographer. He has various troubles, including his ex-wife, a pregnant reporter who used to idolize him, and a southern airline pilot who claims to be his son. ‘Aquatic’ got slammed when it opened, but I’ve found myself growing more and more fond of the movie as the years pass. I find watching it on DVD the prefect way to view it, allowing you to stop, take a break and then go back. The movie works best in small doses. That said, Anderson’s ability to make you care and be interested in a truly unlikable main character is pretty damn impressive. (Also, it’s one of Bill Murray’s best performances to date.) Check it out. -Sam