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February 28, 2008

I Eat Lucky Charms

Martian_child You may not have heard of, much less seen, a film new to DVD and starring John Cusack, called Martian Child. My fiance and I really enjoyed this film.

The premise is this: a quirky science fiction writer named David (played by Cusack) had contemplated adoption with his wife. Now two years a widower, David gets a call that a troubled boy needs a home. Enter Dennis (played by Bobby Coleman). Dennis spends his days with a cardboard box over him; he's scared of the sun and also believes that he has been left behind by aliens.

Despite everyone's discouragement, David decides to take Dennis in. But the road continues to be bumpy. Dennis insists on wearing his gravity belt (so he doesn't float away), refuses to eat anything but Lucky Charms (understandably, right?), steals things from other kids (to study humankind), snaps pictures with his Polaroid camera (again to better understand the human race). What we discover is a boy so afraid of abandonment, so sure no one could really love him, that he has created a fantasy of being an alien to help him cope.

David's unconditional love for this child is so refreshing, particularly amidst so many Hollywood films that love to characterize single men as self-centered, non-committal, and incapable of real sacrificial love. While there were moments in this film where the believability wasn't there and it verged on the overly sappy at times, all in all, I thought it was a beautiful reminder of the joy and reward we find when we lay down our lives for others.

Favorite lines:

"I eat Lucky Charms."

"I want to prove to you that not all parents disappear forever."

"Right now, you and me here, put together entirely from atoms, sitting on this round rock with a core of liquid iron held down by this force of this trouble you call gravity, all the while spinning around the sun at 67 thousand miles an hour and whizzing through the Milky Way at 600 thousand miles an hour.. in a universe that very well may be chasing its own tail at the speed of light.. and amidst all this frantic activity, fully cognizant of our own imminent demise--which is a very pretty way of saying we all know we're going to die--we reach out, to one another, sometimes for the sake of vanity, sometimes for reasons you're not old enough to understand yet ... but a lot of the time we just reach out ... and expect nothing in return. Isn't that strange? Isn't that weird? ... Isn't that weird enough?"

"Hysterical is the new calm."

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Comments

Regis Nicoll

Catherine--Ditto here! I saw the DVD about a week ago and was pleasantly surprised to see a Hollywood film depicting a guy willing to commit in a difficult and sacrificial way.

Dennis Babish

And I bet you cried and your fiance didn't.
My wife and I are going to view this film tonight and I am sure she will cry at some point.

Catherine

Sorry to disappoint. I don't think any tears were shed. Now "Reign Over Me" was a different story entirely. That's also been a favorite film this season, but the more questionable content in it will keep me from blogging about it. Excellent acting from Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler though, and yes, some tears...

Brian

I agree with your lament that "David's unconditional love for this child is so refreshing, particularly amidst so many Hollywood films that love to characterize single men as self-centered, non-committal, and incapable of real sacrificial love."

I wonder though what this would like in real-life. Would society mumble (or even shout) about what a single man is doing adopting a young child? Would "pro-family" groups decry that a "child should be raised by a mother and a father"?

Catherine, I think you are absolutely right in your assessment of this film! Unfortunately, I have only seen parts of it but I look forward to fostering a world where such positive sentiments become reality.

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