“SHAWPGIRL”

If you know me at all, you know that, yeah, I’m here physically but I’m living my life in a big ol’ fantasy world in my head.  It’s in that place that I’m creative and beautiful and young and fulfilled and living out the kind of life that Earth and 2007 deny me.  There are adventures there and beauty and convenience and endless possibilities.  Pain serves a purpose and teaches lessons.  Love and excitement lurk around every corner waiting to be discovered and experienced.

The author of the book Shopgirl, Steve Martin- handsome, funny, articulate and talented dude that he is, stole Shopgirl from inside my head.  I wrote the story and lived it a thousand times over in my head.  Mirabelle, the main character in the story is a part of me.  She’s a frustrated artist going through the motions, “waiting” to see where life takes her mostly.  Enter Jeremy, a handsome-in-a-weird-way, intense, quirky guy who decides upon seeing Mirabelle that she shall become his.  Jeremy is young and aspiring to be something, determined but broke. Soon after his intentions are made known, an older, successful man (portrayed by Martin himself) spies her and sets about his plan to win her for himself.  There doesn’t appear to be a decision for Mirabelle, she is quite taken with the affections of this older man.  Due to a cool opportunity that presents itself for Jeremy to travel on tour with a band called Hot Tears, which I believe is actually The Red House Painters– way cool band in real life- he’s out of the picture for a bit, allowing the relationship between Mirabelle and Handsome Successful Old Guy (HSOG) to develop.  Not what you would call a normal relationship by any means, thus becoming the main story.  How the relationship affects Mirabelle works to reveal her character.

I only had a couple of complaints about the movie and I’m sure the book would likely address what I feel to be the shortcomings of the movie.  The movie only lightly touched upon Mirabelle’s true craft/calling, as it were, which is her talent in photography.  She is also depressed and if you’re not watching carefully you will miss that one morning she up and decides to stop taking her medication.  Of course this causes a bit of a crash for her but I don’t think it was realistically dealt with in the movie.  But in order to keep it light, such as one might if one were intending to make a “date” movie, I can see why it wasn’t explored.  Again, I imagine the book would delve deeper into this aspect.

I liked the characters allright.  Jeremy was the kind of guy I wanted to date and probably could have if there had been one like him in my small, rural high school.  (Farm boys just don’t turn out like him…)  HSOG, I would have dated him too, given the chance.  Mirabelle was the girl I would have been if I’d had guts.  She came from a small town in Vermont with a father who was a Viet Nam war veteran who was “never quite the same” after the war.  Her mother was a plain, meek woman who wore her drudgerous existence like a ratty sweater that was too big and heavy for her.  It is no surprise that at some point Mirabelle realized, most likely in a panic, that she needed to flee Vermont and escape to the big city.  There we find the big difference between her and I.  I had much less to escape from (meaning my family life was a model one) and only wanted to move to the big city.  I chickened out.  I wonder… if I had come from the kind of life she did, would I have ended up selling gloves in Saks Fifth Avenue too?

The scenery and costumery were great in the movie.  One of the great features of renting dvds is that you often get some behind-the-scenes dirt that help you to appreciate the technical aspects of some productions.  A guy talked about how he used color in both Mirabelles’s wardrobe and the backgrounds to illustrate the stages of Mirabelle’s… um, growth or development or whatever.  Regardless, it was interesting.  And she wore some cool vintage clothes which I love.

Soundtrack, pretty good. There is one song in the movie played by “Hot Tears” in which Mirabella is alone in a bar feeling bad that I need to find a title for, I want it in my iTunes.

My favorite part of the whole movie, and please skip this if you’ve not watched it and are planning to… the spooning in the next to the last scene, narrated by Steve when he said “what ____ gave to her, which was tenderness and truth.”  I cried hardest there but they were happy tears.  I left that blank there so as not to give away anything.  Yeah, it’s probly obvious, but then I have really intelligent readers here. 😉

While I was a bit let down, not with the ending of the movie (I liked the ending) but with the overallness of the movie, I think it’s only because it was predictable.  But that could just be me, like I said, I’ve lived it a thousand times.  There were lots of funny bits in the movie.  Some sad parts too.  Of course I cried.  I always cry.

Tell me what you thought of it or if I made you want to see it or not.

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12 responses to ““SHAWPGIRL”

  1. Kinda makes me wanna see it with a date.
    Had to qualify that statement, or else I’d have to turn in my man-card…

  2. M+, I’ve seen your picture, Dude. You don’t need a card. 😉

  3. Yes – it sounds interesting. Like the character you described, I feel sometimes like I’m just going through the motions day by day. Sometimes I lie down at night and there’s a voice screaming in my head, “When are we going to stop dying and start living?”

    Ugh – the past few years of my life have robbed me of my creativity … dulled the mental processes that allow me to even complete an intelligent sentence … and, I ask myself sometimes what it will take before I learn to just “do” what I need to do and “be” what I need to be and stop letting life get in the way.

    But, the battle continues …

  4. Thanks for saying so, Wink, but anyone who really knows me will tell you I’m just a big ol’ teddy bear.

  5. Ok, so you didn’t like it as much as I did. But at least you enjoyed it. The novella was actually better, primarily because you get that added character development a movie just can’t provide. For example, the book deals more fully with her depression and its roots in her Vermont past. And there are a couple of moments in the book that are rewritten in the screenplay just to smooth the action a bit. Check out the book; it’s a quick read.

  6. Kat, I haven’t asked you how you found my site, but sheesh, I think it musta been karma. You sound just like me. Maybe we can help each other get back on track…

    M+, I knew that too 😉

    Brian, I’m finding it’s one of those movies that really sticks in your brain, it keeps coming back to me and making me think. Ya know when you read a book and then see the movie, it kind of solidifies it for you? Since I’ve had this story in my head for so long, it feels like that. I do plan to read the book at some point. Tell me what made the movie special for you? PD didn’t watch it, I’m curious about the male POV.

  7. This sounds like a good one. I think I’d like to read it instead.

    My wife undoubtedly would cry her eyes out. I might get misty-eyed, too.

  8. Mark, I’m thinking I’ll prefer the book. Nah, I don’t think you would get teary. Except maybe when the sexpot from the perfume counter at Sax is sitting on Jeremy thinking he’s Ray (Steve’s character)… It’s very sad. 😉

  9. In the book, there’s a more thorough analysis of the perfume counter girl’s (Lisa?) motivation and mindset. After reading that I wondered, are there really women who are really that overtly predatory? And insecure? Since that constant need for a reaffirmation of her beauty and sexual relevance masks deep insecurities about her appearance and worth as a person. Indeed, the novella touches on these insecurities.

  10. i like your review of the movie lots 🙂 it reminds me of the talking heads song, once in a lifetime.

    “And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?”
    “Same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was…”

  11. Brian, somehow I figured the book would go into that. Of course there are really women like that, sad as that may seem. And I think our society has bred tons of insecure women (and not to make a sweeping generalization, but I think a good many of them look a lot like Lisa… and for the reason you stated.) We put way, way too much emphasis on how we think our women should look. I’ve seen extreme and tragic consequences when women don’t feel they fit the criteria. Lisa’s behavior is a perfect illustration.

  12. Piglet, I like how your mind works. But you knew that.

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