Paper man

I liked a lot of things about Paper Man (2009).  Jeff Daniels (Richard) and Ryan Reynolds (Captain Excellent) both did a good job, very solid.  But the best acting came from Emma Stone (Abby).  She really delivered a great performance.  Her character has some complexity to it…she’s dealing with things in her past, she’s trying to get by with her present, she’s curious in her developing relationship with Richard.  She’s sweet, she’s thoughtful, she still enjoys humor despite her difficult life.  She really has a lot of physical techniques that help to sell her character – the shy smiles, the use of her hair to convey different emotions, etc.

The plot isn’t terribly complicated.  Richard is a writer who’s having a tough time getting started on his new novel.  So he and his career-minded wife set him up in a house in a small town, so that he can focus on his writing.  But he still has a tough time.  He meets Abby, who’s a local girl who is surrounded only by people who aren’t so great.

He does act a little weird, and she overlooks that at first.  He hires her to be the babysitter, despite the fact he doesn’t have kids at his place.  They create a sort of friendship, that’s based on listening to each other, and patiently listening to ideas.  The thing with him is he has this “imaginary friend” named Captain Excellent that he is always talking to.  It’s sort of a part of his personality I think…sometimes he advises him, sometimes he wants him, sometimes he’s just there to watch over and protect him.  Many times he brings some humor into the situation.

It’s a situation that puts two people, each with their own problems, into a situation where they can create and grow a friendship based on teaching each other about life, and about growing up.

Paper Man (2009)
Paper Man poster Rating: 6.7/10 (13,711 votes)
Director: Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney
Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Stars: Lisa Kudrow, Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone
Runtime: 110 min
Rated: R
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Released: 2014-05-01
Plot: A washed-up writer forms an unlikely friendship with a teenager from Long Island.

Helpless and vile

Consider: We were at the center of the lives of those who cared for us.  They could be heroically Christian in their own eyes only if Eliza and I remained helpless and vile.  If we became openly wise and self-reliant, they would become our drab and inferior assistants.  If we became capable of going out into the world, they might lose their apartments, their color televisions, their illusions of being sorts of doctors and nurses, and their high-paying jobs.

So, from the very first, and without quite knowing what they were doing, I am sure, they begged us a thousand times a day to go on being helpless and vile.

There was only one small advancement they wished us to make up the ladder of human achievements.  They hoped with all their hearts that we would become toilet-trained.

– Dr. Wilbur Swain, Slapstick (Kurt Vonnegut)

Anything it is supposed to be

When I became a pediatrician, practicing rural medicine in the mansion where I was raised, I often told myself about this childish patient or that one, remembering my own childhood:  “This person has just arrived on this planet, knows nothing about it, has no standards by which to judge it.  This person does not care what it becomes.  It is eager to become absolutely anything it is supposed to be.”

– Dr. Wilbur Swain, Slapstick (Kurt Vonnegut)

This meat hates pain

I am fonder of my middle name, which is “Daffodil-11.”  And I have written this poem about it, and about life itself, of course:
“I was those seeds,
“I am this meat,
“This meat hates pain,
“This meat must eat.
“This meat must sleep,
“This meat must dream,
“This meat must laugh,
“This meat must scream.
“But when, as meat,
“It’s had its fill,
“Please plant it as
“A Daffodil.”

– Dr. Wilbur Swain, Slapstick (Kurt Vonnegut)