A funny thing happened on the way to the Pirate movie
Carly at the Movies column by Carl Larsen
(My Conscience, bedraggled and annoyed at never being listened to, crawls out of my ear and sits on my shoulder.)
Conscience: Hey Carly, how come you’re not reviewing that new Pirate movie?
Me: Begone, you blithering jackanapes!
Conscience: I don’t blither. And you just KNOW everybody is anxious to see how you liked the third installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Me: Yeah, right. Well, a funny thing happened to me on the way to the Pirate movie.
Conscience: That smells like a title. And a corny one, to boot.
Me: Oh, why was I born the only film reviewer in the world with a Conscience?
Conscience: OK, I’m sorry. Get on with it. Our reader’s beginning to wonder where all this is going.
Me: Well, I made the mistake of waiting until just last week to even see the second entry in that franchise. It ran two and a half hours, and I’m all pirated-out.
Conscience: Yeah, and the third one’s even longer.
Me: So I went to see “Waitress” instead. It’s coming to the Visulite over in Staunton soon.
Conscience: Fair enough. Let’s hear the review.
Me: This film really grabbed the critics, and movie fans, too. Kinda like the “Little Miss Sunshine” phenomenon. It’s a sweet little thing about a pie-baking waitress who’s trying to escape from her sleazeball husband.
Kerri Russell, that girl from “Felicity” with the heart-shaped face, is so down-to-earth perfect in the lead that she makes you simply ignore a few scenes that border on being cutesy. Her two pal-waitresses are played by Cheryl Hines, a great little actress who’s more remembered for her TV work, and Adrienne Shelly, who also wrote and directed the film.
Tragically, she died just before “Waitress” opened. It takes place mostly in Joe’s Pie Diner, somewhere in the South, where Russell is planning to run off, enter a big pie-baking contest, and escape from her dumbheaded hubby.
Jeremy Sisko gets to play the husband, and it must have been fun. He’s a total low-life – clinging and narcissistic on one hand, violent and dangerous on the other.
Andy Griffith plays a whimsical old goat of a customer, and Lew Temple is the curmudgeonly manager who delivers a great little hunk of philosophy when Russell asks him if he’s happy.
“Happy enough,” he says, “don’t expect much. Don’t get much. I’m just sort of happy with whatever comes along. I’m happy enough.”
While the business of the movie swirls around Russell’s fabulous pie-making ability, natch she meets the man of her dreams: her new ob-gyn. Canadian actor Nathan Fillion plays him not unsympathetically and their relationship is quirky enough to remain interesting.
Young character actor Eddie Jemison proves to be a highlight amongst the requisite cast of wacky customers, playing a “stalking elf” that’s smitten by doofus/waitress Adrienne Shelly.
It’s quite an easygoing movie; real enjoyment, and a chance to finally experience Kerri Russell’s considerable acting chops.
I’ve seen 80 movies this year, and so far, this is the best of the lot.
Conscience: Sounds pretty good. And by the way, happy anniversary.
Conscience: It’s Memorial Day, mush-brains! It’s your 35th wedding anniversary! I bet you forgot to get Celeste a present!
Me: Just being married to ME that long is enough of a blessing for anyone! I took her to the movies, for gosh sakes. She should bake me a pie.
Conscience: Oh boy! Wait’ll she reads this! You’re gonna catch it, buster!
Me: You’re blithering again.
Conscience: Am not.
Me: Are, too.
Conscience: Am not. (They continue, ad infinitum.)
Carl Larsen is a regular contributor to The New Dominion. Look for his At the Movies column on Mondays.