Declare your love for an uncool movie.
You feel that? That little bump, bump, bump? That’s where the heart is.
I think I have pretty good taste in movies, although wouldn’t everyone say the same about themselves? My taste leans toward action/adventure, with a sub-category of gangster/organized crime, period pieces with an emphasis on historically accurate-ish war drama, and comic-based superhero movies. I dig a good comedy, if it’s a dialogue-heavy, sight gag-light film, although I’m not one to scoff at a decent pratfall. Pure drama is tolerable if there aren’t prolonged silences, as I have a strong narcoleptic reaction to slow moving scenes sometimes. I’m not terribly fond of horror, mostly because I have very vivid nightmares, even at 31, and science fiction is not really my thing, unless it has a comedic or superhero twist. I even love children’s movies, cartoon or live action, because I’m the World’s Biggest Five Year Old.
My taste in movies is eclectic, is what I’m saying. I don’t care how a movie performs at the box office, what the critics have to say, or the monetary value of production. All I care about is entertainment. Did it entertain me. Not the masses, not the critics, not those who made it. Me. And with this, I have a strict review process. I use “I”, instead of labels. “I thought it was good,” instead of “it was a good movie.” Or “I didn’t enjoy it,” instead of “it was a bad movie.” Who am I to judge whether or not a movie (or music or television show or food or…) is good or bad? Everyone has different tastes and no one person can be the ultimate authority on good or bad. Academy Awards and Razzies be damned. It’s all opinion, personal or mass.
Same goes with cool. If I think a movie is cool, it is. To me. Even if no one else thinks so. And that’s just fine. So when I try to figure out what “uncool movie” for which to declare my love, I have no idea whether or not anyone else will agree or disagree with its lack of cool. But I’ll give it a shot.
The movie I chose to wax unpoetically about is Where The Heart Is. The Natalie Portman comedy-then-tragedy-then-triumph-then-romance, eventually-feel-good film from 2000. Long before she was The Black Swan, Natalie was Novalie Nation, a poor little girl, abandoned by her jagoff boyfriend at a Walmart, where she secretly lived for weeks until she had her baby, Americus. She is embraced by the people of the small town and she raises her daughter, oblivious to the fact that the man who rescued her the night she gave birth is struggling with being just friends. And comedy ensues (not really).
I love Stockard Channing’s character, Sister Husband. Sister Husband, despite being a stranger, takes Novalie in when she is left with no one after her flaky, nomadic mother steals her money and runs. Sister Husband accepts her, embraces her, and nurtures her and treats Americus like she would her own grandchildren. I love her warmth, her spunk, her kindness. She doesn’t judge, knows God on her own terms, and follows only her own rules. “Dear Lord, we ask that you bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies. And we ask forgiveness, Lord, for the fornication that Mr. Sprock and me committed this morning on this very table.”
I also love Ashley Judd’s Lexie Coop, who can’t seem to help but get pregnant every time a man so much as sneezes near her. Lexie was Novalie’s nurse when she had Americus and is like a big sister, opening Novalie’s naive eyes and being exactly what she needs her to be – a friend. She named her kids after snack foods, so of course her and I are like kindred spirits. “Novalee, I have 5 children. Everything is an inconvenience. Mind if I drive real slow on the way home? I’d like to pretend it’s a vacation.”
I don’t know. I don’t think Where The Heart Is is uncool. Maybe a little predictable, a little saccharine in parts. Perhaps it could have done without so many life lessons and morals, but I don’t care. It’s cute, it’s touching, it’s even funny in parts, and I like it.