I've said it once and I'll say it again. The movie is ALWAYS better than the book. I can't stress this enough. You know why it's always better? Because books suck. They make me dizzy, and they take too long to read. I've told you this many times before. I've given up on books. As a matter of fact, I've never really even given books a chance. The only book I've ever read from cover to cover was "Return of the Jedi," and I read that one from BACK cover to FRONT cover! Maybe it's because I'm a lefty and it's easier to flip the pages from back to front. (I read magazines the same way.) Or maybe it was because I wanted to see how "Star Wars" ended and I'm an immature and impatient child who needs the answer right away. But either way I started with the last chapter and LOVED how it ended, so I went to the chapter before. Loved that chapter too. Next thing I knew it was six months later and I had just finished my first 'grown-up' book ever... in seventh grade homeroom reading period... backwards!
I swore off books after that fiasco and haven't looked back since.
Well, I went to a movie this week with a girl.... Yes, all of you out there, I do go to the movies with girls every once in a while. I put them under my hypnotic spell and the next thing they know, they're sitting in a theatre, next to me, scratching their head, wondering how the hell they got there. I like to call it the "Matty Kelley" charm... and I lay it on thick.
Anyways, I took a beautiful young lady named, "Lulu" to see "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." (Actual names have been changed to protect the innocent. My name will stay the same because I am always guilty.) She had told me that she loved this book and had read it five or six times since high school. The first thing I said to her was "WHAT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! You must be VERY dizzy." I figure if a book is that good, why not wait for the movie, right? You don't have to waste six months reading it, AND you don't get dizzy.
We decided to take the show on the road. We saw the film at Loew's Boston Common. I love that theatre because it has escalators. While we were escalating to our theatre, Lulu asked if I wanted the premise of the film. I thought about it for a minute and said "Nah, I want to go into this movie naked." (Naked: not knowing anything about the movie at all.) She looked at me like I was a creep.
You know what, I'm pretty much burying myself with any and every woman on the planet right now, so why don't we get to the movie.
"The Perks of being a Wallflower" was a book written by Stephen Chbosky. It tells the story of a young boy named Charlie, who is a freshman in high school dealing with some serious issues. He is an extremely smart introvert trying to cope with the suicide of his best friend, fitting into a new school, first love, and dealing with a mental illness brought on by a molestation. (Unbeknownst to him.)
Charlie falls in with a group of people who call themselves the Wallflowers. They're a cool, (well, cool to me) laid back, crew, not reminscent of the cliques in most high school movies, like the sportos, motorheads, dweebies, dorks, sluts, bloods, geeks, and wasteoids. I find the Wallflowers to be a "righteous" crew.
At the head of the Wallflowers (but not running it) are two seniors. They are step-siblings named Sue (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). Patrick is an outgoing, happy-go-lucky guy who you can tell carries a lot of pain inside. He's a homosexual young man whose boyfriend is a closeted jock who treats him like dirt in public. But loves him in private. He keeps the movie flowing with his eccentric personality and his upbeat outlook.
His step-sister Sue is just trying to make it through high school and get into Penn State. She takes Charlie under her wing and protects him through his freshman year. She knows Charlie has a massive crush on her and she treats him with kid gloves. She is the most wonderful, caring and beautiful character in the film. Sadly she was also molested as a child.
One touching scene that I loved was when she finds out Charlie has never been kissed before. She leans into him and gives him the sweetest, most innocent kiss and says to him "I want to make sure your first kiss was with someone who loves you." I found this to be very moving and I hope someday that's how my first kiss happens.
Later on in the film things fall apart for Charlie and he is cast away from the Wallflowers. The voices in Charlie's head start coming back. Meanwhile, Patrick is getting beaten up in the lunchroom for being gay by his boyfriend's loser buddies. Charlie sees this and goes apes. He beats up five or six jocks at once by punching one in the larynx and planting his fist up another ones nose. Charlie doesn't remember doing any of this... but it gets him back in with the Wallflowers. Charlie is happy again, but only temporarily. You see, Charlie has an illness and it needs to be fixed by a psychiatrist. It takes a sweet, innocent hand on the knee from Sue to jar his memory and realize he was molested by his aunt that he loved so very much. This is a sad part of the movie. Actually it's a very sad movie in general. I know this because at one point I looked over at Lulu and she was bawling her eyes out. I'm not going to lie to you, I was welling up a little bit myself. I felt really bad for Lulu. I didn't know what I should do. Should I console her? Maybe put my arm around her and let her know I was there and everything would be okay? Well, I did what any loving, caring, nurturing young man would do... I leaned forward and pretended I didn't notice.
And that's why I usually go to the movies by myself. 'Cause I'm an idiot.
So, the way I wrote this review may sound like it could be the saddest movie ever made, but honestly it isn't. Sure it's sad, and it has some heavy, HEAVY issues, but there is a lightheartedness to it also. 'First love' is such a wonderful thing, and to see the way they put it on screen was beautiful. Also, the bond that this group of friends had is a miracle in itself. All had some tough problems, but all also had each other to fall back on.
Now, I want to get to the two main characters.
Logan Lerman. He played Charlie. This young man has a gift. The way he portrayed his character was magnificant. I felt so much pain for him, yet I could tell he was strong enough to work through his problems. (Even though I didn't know how bad his problems were until the end.) This kid is a great young actor with a promising future. I see big things coming from him. (He was in "3:10 to Yuma" with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. That's pretty big. Great movie! My #4 film of 2007.)
And Emma Watson. She has matured leaps and bounds since her early "Harry Potter" days. I only saw the first two movies. I know it may sound weird, but I really didn't like the "Potter" movies, so I gave up on them... but I will definitely NOT give up on Emma Watson. Her acting in this film was better than superb. It was perfection. I fell in love with her character right away. You can see her maturity beyond her years. She's 22 in real life, and is the cutest girl in Hollywood right now. I hope she starts landing Julia Roberts type roles, because she is my "America's Next Sweetheart." (Note: She had long, beautiful eyelashes in this film... and yes, I sometimes notice the most mundane things.)
Quick props to Paul Rudd. He played Charlie's cool English teacher in this film. It wasn't too big a role, but he played it, well... cool.
Stephen Chbosky. He wrote this book and I don't care. I'm NEVER going to read it. But he also directed the film, and I say this with power and conviction, this is one of my top two films of the year! I'm at over 60 films right now and it's in the running for my 'Best Picture.' It's ahead of "The Dark Knight Rises" and the only competition it's fighting against is "The Avengers." Two totally different movies, but two awesome movies in their own right. Lulu told me that Chbosky didn't stray from the book whatsoever and the film is just about right on with the book.
Will it be in the running for any Oscars? It better be. It's a wonderful film that should be up for at least four awards, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, and Best Animated Short Film. Alright, maybe not that one, but it deserves some serious Oscar nods.
I loved this film. I think everyone who loves movies should see this film. But maybe bring some tissues. And take someone with you, sometimes that adds to the enjoyment of the movie. Thank you "Lulu," you made my theatre going experience that much more interesting.
But you'll never get me to read that damn book.
Matty W. Kelley, Norwood Patch, reporting.
This just in: I just called Lulu and she's had her phone number changed. Why am I not surprised?
Fun Fact: Emma Watson is 5' 5" tall and cannot dunk a basketball. (I'm sorry, I really couldn't find any good 'Fun Facts' about this film for you... I'll try better next time.)
Fun Matty Fact: A few years back I actually tried to read a book. It was called "The DaVinci Code." It took me seven months to read 12 chapters. One night I was watching "Entertainment Tonight" when the host said, "And Tom Hanks has signed on to play the lead in the upcoming film "The DaVinci Code...." I swear to you, I got out of my bed, grabbed that book, walked to my kitchen, and threw it in the trash barrel. From now on I will ALWAYS wait for the movie.