From the vault -Saved! (2004)
I watched Saved! on DVD a couple of weeks ago. It tells the story of Mary, a teenage girl attending a Christian high school, who gets pregnant when she tries to "cure" her boyfriend of his homosexual tendencies. Her nemesis is Hillary Faye, the Queen Bee of the school; her allies are Cassandra, the school's lone Jewish student, and Roland, Hillary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother (played wonderfully by Macaulay Culkin). Patrick, the pastor's son, is caught between Hillary Faye, who pursues him but who he dislikes, and Mary, who he likes, but who is reluctant for obvious reasons.
Saved! is a heartwarming funny film, and not at all hostile to religion. Both of the couples are really endearing. I was gad that in the end, even Hillary Faye is humanized, if not excused. She is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the pressure to be “good” becomes overwhelming. The worst thing I can say about Saved! Is that it, likewise, tries to do too much. The pregnancy storyline and the Christian school could both easily be movies unto themselves. (It's also hard to believe that Mary's pregancy would go undetected for so long.)
I think the real theme of this movie is diversity: diversity of beliefs, diversity of abilities, diversity of lifestyles. This is illustrated by the crowd that greets Mary's daughter at the end of the movie. All of them are keeping the faith, doing the best they can, and finding God within each other.
In theaters now - Run, Fatboy, Run
I'm not doing a full response to Run, Fatboy Run because so much ink had already been spilled over it before I even saw it. I don't honestly think it deserves the poor reviews that it's gotten. Yes, it follows a very typical romantic comedy form—boy meets girl, boy panics and looses girl, boy leads a meaningless existence before winning girl back from perfect-on-paper Baxter character. However, it was far funnier and more poingnant than I'd been led to believe. There are many refreshingly likable charaters. Unlike other reviewers, I also thought that Simon Pegg and Thandie Newton made a credible couple.
The “F” word put me off at first. While his character's weight gain is obvious, Pegg didn't exactly don a fatsuit. I'm unsure whether this shows that Europeans are healthier than Americans, or that everyone's body image is screwed up these days. Fortunately, the central issue is the hero's overall health—his stamina and endurance—and the titular insult only comes up once.
Like so many love stories, this is also a coming-of-age story. I totally connected to the idea of someone not finishing things for fear that they might not be deserving of the good results. I'm sure a lot of people can relate. The “wall” that people hit in a struggle, both in sports and in life, has not been visualized so well since The Animatrix. No, this is not Shaun or Hot Fuzz, but it's worth seeing in the theater.