Chairman Wow!

September 10, 2009

Once there was a movie

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 12:36 pm

I hate rain. It’s dirty, it’s depressing, and it makes my hair look funny. So understandably, on a day such as this, when the sky is dropping its toxic waste on Austin, I want nothing more than to stay indoors and watch a movie. My favorite rainy day movie? Once, released by Fox Searchlight in 2007.


There’s a funny story about how I discovered this movie. On an acid-rainy day in Nanjing, China, the Chinese girl with whom I shared an apartment stomped into my room.

“Do you want this?!” she demanded to know.

“Do I want what?”

She held up a bootlegged DVD (as most DVDs and CDs are in China).

“This movie. It’s awful. Do you want it?!”

I plucked the DVD from her hand, inspected the image of the cozily-dressed couple on the disc’s surface– a ginger man with a guitar and a rather plain-looking woman.

“What’s so awful about it?”

“The music! The acting! Everything! And I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I’m not even sure they were speaking English! Stupid Irish! You know, I knew an Irish guy and he was such a jerk.”

As she continued on her rant about the Irish people, I popped the disc into my computer and began to watch the film’s opening scene. Soon, I was so entranced by the movie that I hardly noticed my roommate storming out of my bedroom, on a new rant about people who don’t listen, some friend you are, blahblahblah.

That, kids, is how I discovered what since has become my favorite rainy day movie of all time. And I lived happily ever after. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking– for the love of all that is holy, Carly, stop patronizing me and just tell me what this Once you speak of is about.

Okay, then.

Once is, in the simplest of terms, a love story. With an amazing soundtrack. And interesting social commentary. And understated yet brilliant acting. And a heartfelt message. Okay, so maybe it’s not all that simple. I tried.

Rather than delve into a lengthy description of plot, I present to you a list of reasons why, when it rains, it’s perfectly acceptable to skip school and watch this movie instead. Once teaches lessons, man. Lessons about:

1. Chemistry- It wasn’t any surprise for me to learn that Glen Hansard, male lead and former Frames frontman, and female lead Markéta Irglová, a Czech-born singer-songwriter, once shared a real-life romantic relationship that began with the filming of this movie. No one can act that well.

2. Socioeconomics- The opening scene, in which a rattily-dressed Hansard is shown busking with his beaten-up acoustic guitar in a modern, slick Dublin shopping mall is a beautiful juxtaposition of old, underdog Ireland and emerging, thriving Ireland.

3. Music- The proverbial “they” claim that music makes you smarter…and if not smarter, at least more respected– Irglová and Hansen won an Academy Award for best original song in 2008 for “Falling Slowly.” In my mind, the combination of acoustic guitar and piano just sounds like a rainy day…plus soaring harmonies, minus the humidity and hair-altering effects.

4. Foreign Studies- Irglová plays a single-mother and Czech immigrant whose mother speaks only Czech, and whose family lives in Dublin housing projects. Due to its booming economy, Ireland has seen an influx in the amount of workers coming from Eastern Europe. Native Irish have expressed concerns that these immigrants are not only bringing in their languages, but crime and other social problems.

5. Literature- Although much of Once’s dialogue was supposedly ad-libbed, not written, the story itself could very well become a classic. Boy meets girl. Boy repairs girl’s vacuum. Boy and girl write and record songs together. Etc. Moby Dick, watch your whale-back.

6. Sex Ed- Not to give away too much, but Entertainment Weekly did not name this movie one of the sexiest of all time for its wild and racy romps. And not to go too Jonas Brothers on you here, but sometimes, leaving something to the imagination is much, much sexier.

If they left me in charge of the government (what a mistake that would be!), I would issue the following public service announcement: Don’t risk getting soaked in the rain. Stay home. Watch Once. Your brain, your heart, and your hair will thank you.


1 Comment »

  1. Perfect! Once has been playing non-stop on my iPod its been raining the last few days.

    Comment by cilla1127 — September 23, 2009 @ 3:33 am

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