Little Miss Sunshine
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
This is one of my favorite films, having never failed to improve my mood after a shitty day. Also, Olive is just about the cutest kid on the planet. So prepare for some very disorganized gushing as I try to explain why this movie warms my cold, shriveled heart.
I suppose the best way to describe this movie is by giving a brief run down on all of our main characters. Sheryl Hoover is an overworked mother who wants the best for everyone in her family; she is just not entirely sure what that is. Personally, I fell in love with this character when she was serving fried chicken for dinner and insisted that everyone have "a little salad." It felt so real to me and Toni Collette definitely goes down as the best movie mom of all time. Her brother Frank is a gay Proust scholar who is temporarily living with Sheryl's family after he tried to kill himself. Sheryl is married to Richard, who is trying to make it as a motivational speaker using his nine step program which includes gems like "No Hocus Pocus, Just Focus." Richard's foulmouthed father is currently living with the Hoover family after getting kicked out of a retirement home for snorting heroine. Dwayne is Sheryl's son from a previous marriage, who has taken a vow of silence until he can become a test pilot. Finally, Olive is the daughter of Richard and Sheryl and dreams of becoming a beauty queen. When Olive learns that she has qualified for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California, the entire family must take a 800 mile road trip in their yellow Volkswagen bus.
The film begins by showing us brief clips of each of our main characters. Each clip only lasted for about fifteen seconds, but I instantly fell in love with every person. Either I am just an easy audience, or that is some powerful filmmaking. But what I truly loved about this movie was how nothing really ends up resolved at the end. The characters are just as dysfunctional as they were at the beginning of the film and their lives haven't improved in the slightest. Still, their affection for each other is stronger than any of the blows they receive during the movie.
I could keep rambling about this film, but I suppose I should wrap it up. "Should" being the operative word. Honestly, how fucked up are beauty pageants? Every adult involved in these things should be locked up and studied. Okay, now I'll wrap it up.
Production made sure that Abigail Breslin was actually listening to music during the scene when her grandpa goes on a profanity laced rant. That's adorable.
Breslin wore a fat suit during production.