14 July 2008

Starter for 10

I've become keen on the use of the word "nice" to describe things that are remarkable in a good way, but not necessarily "nice" in the traditional sense of that word. I came onto this habit after a trip to the Netherlands last year during which a business associate continually referred to food that tasted "nice". But not just "nice". More like, surprisingly delicious or startlingly good; better than expected. It doesn't modify an adjective; it is the adjective. A richer-than-expected cup of hot chocolate is not "nicely seasoned"; it is "nice". A perfectly-prepared tenderloin of beef is not "nicely cooked"; it is "nice".

But my version of "nice" isn't just for food. Now it's "nice" for anything that is surprisingly good or exceedingly pleasant. I think I'm drawn to the use of "nice" in this context because of the way it actually understates the goodness of the item being described, while also not fitting squarely with normal usage of the word. It's almost an ironic usage, but not fully ironic, because I'm genuinely remarking about the quality or pleasure of the item being described. (It's left up to you, the viewers, to debate whether there can exist varying degrees of irony. For example, the statement of a nun to her doctor of, "Well, how pregnant am I?" could be debated endlessly.)

Which brings me to the point of this entry. Last night I watched a nice moved called Starter for 10. I say it's nice, and it warrants an entry on this blog, for the following reasons:

1. It succeeds as an '80's period film. Not an easy task.

2. It succeeds as a John Hughes-esque character piece that feels exceptionally authentic despite overplaying several cliches and generalities.

3. The acting and script were just good enough to be engaging, but just bad enough to create a believability and a humanness in the characters. The actors say the kinds of things that you or I would say, if we weren't reciting a movie script.

4. It's the music of my formative years. The soundtrack enhances the movie as if it were Michael Johnson's golden shoes.

This movie won't change your life. But it will remind you of when your life was changed, and where, and why, and how.

You should see this movie. It's nice.


Lindsay said...

It's next in my netflix queue!

ashleyboice said...

Oh man you should say that it is nice because James Mcavoy is in it. If I could I would include a little bitty about James in every post I do...but I don't want to seem crazy. When we watched the movie Cortney said..."Joey would love this movie for the music alone". I knew I was impartial to this movie because of James Mcavoy (I don't really feel like I am on a first name basis with him.) so I am glad you thought it was "nice".
Sorry for all of the crazy randomly mixed sentences...but as you know it is late and I just had a long night of crazy games.

ashleyboice said...

by the way....love your labels for this post. What the??

Supercords said...

I already had this one in my NetFlix Q and didn't even know it. It was hovering at #80. I moved it up to #12.

My friend Lori said this about it:

"typical coming-of-age tale. except insert British blokes instead of your common U.S. Jason Biggs"

Captain Emus said...

"Jason Biggs"? Not at all. This movie has some heart and some substance. James McAvoy's performance isn't Oscar-worthy, by any means, but it didn't need to be. He captured the essence of a "coming of age" movie in a way that is nothing like anything Jason Biggs has ever done. Much more like John Cusack or Ethan Hawke. Your friend Lori is way off track.

jared said...

That's nice!

Nichols Family said...

Shane told me to check out your blog and I finally did! (This is Jennie Player...well Nichols now) Your posts are hilarious. I also got Lasik done 3 months ago...I love it.

Captain Emus said...

Hi Jennie! It's great to hear from you. I'll check out your blog, too.

Shane and I are still having as many adventures as always. One advantage of him STILL being single is that he's always planning something fun for us to do. Gotta love him.

Keep in touch and say hello to Karen for me.