Thursday, September 17, 2015

Movie Review: Something, Anything

So when I was in college I had this dream of getting my PhD in Russian, then going to Russia and teaching a class on the American, middle class, angst novel.

The reading list would look something like this.

Less Than Zero
Something Happened
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters
Mysteries of Pittsburgh
The Secret History
Butterfield 8

You get the idea. Anyhow that dream died when I dropped out of my Russian PhD program, but the idea has always lived. In fact sometimes I think I should try and put together the course on-line just for fun. Anyhow, the point is, I'm drawn to these kind of stories and Something, Anything falls perfectly into that category.  What makes it even better is that it is set in a world that feels familiar to me.  The majority of the story takes place in Knoxville, TN, but at one point our character makes the drive from Knoxville up to Lexington, KY.

The movie is written and directed by Paul Harrill, a Knoxville native.  In one interview he says,
For me, [the film] is very much of its place, even though the landscapes aren’t necessarily a huge part of it. But it is in terms of the values and the culture where the story is being told. East Tennessee is where I live and it’s where I’ve lived on and off for 30 years of my life. And I wanted to tell the story of a woman who does follow this sort of archetypal journey in terms of asking questions and walking away from her current life. But I wanted to place it somewhere that I don’t see that much on film, and make that the starting point.

Truth is he nailed it.  I don't know that I've seen any movie that felt more a part of the world of Tennessee and Kentucky than this movie and for me that made the movie a bit more special.  Maybe  I should specify middle class, suburban life in Tennessee and Kentucky.

It's a quiet movie, with a quiet lead character.  But it fits the movie and the story well.

At it's heart it is a take on one of the more classic middle class angst novels, Franny and Zooey.  We have a female lead who is going through a crisis with the world around her.  I think what makes this movie work so well is that he takes that basic idea and pushes it into the real world in a way that Franny and Zooey does not.  We not only get to see her in the crisis, but we get to see the effects this crisis can have on her with her friends, with her family, with her work life, etc.  More than anything it feels real.

I also appreciate the fact that people aren't made out to be good or bad.  We simply have a person who is beginning to look at the world with different eyes than she's ever had before.  That different view point changes her life in many ways.

I would highly recommend this movie.  It is streaming right now on Netflix, so you can watch it for free there.    


  1. I will advocate for this to be advocated to our Netflix queue. Thanks for the tip and the excellent report.

    The two best movies I've seen in the last year or so are Skeleton Twins and Theory of Everything. Boyhood was also good.

  2. "Advocate for this to be added," I meant to say.