Friday, April 27, 2018

"Catching Up With 'Coco'"

Somehow, via Dr. M’s psychological connections, we were invited to attend a screening of last year’s Disneyanimation hit Coco, after which medical professionals and the film’s director would discuss the film from a clinical perspective. 

Before it started, director Lee Unkrich announced that Cocohad just passed the eight hundred million dollar mark in box office ticket sales.

Then they showed us the movie.

And it was terrific.

I like animated features. They’re hopeful.  Unlike (most) real life movies, which, to me, are dark and/or depressing and/or excessively violent and/or dangerously too close for comfort (“No one is safe!”), purveying precisely the troubling elements I go to movies to escape.

Cocois confident and colorful and imaginative and credible – for a movie about “The Land of the Dead.” It is also courageously scripted – a major story point exposes the “down side” of that fairy tale “staple”:  “Seizing Your Moment.”  In addition, the carefully crafted narrative mines “psychological realities” – we were subsequently informed – such as the awakening consequence of music on minds that appear to have permanently gone away.

Oh, and the song.

(I am singing this but you’ll have to settle for just words on a screen.)

“Remember me…”

(You should have heard that. I just tore my heart out.)

This haunting soon-to-be classic actually inspired us to restructure our Passover Seder– which itselfis about remembering – to include time for telling special stories about departed relatives.

So we could all remember them.

A Pomerantzian Quibble:

Coco, although a definite bull’s eye, is just a hair off “dead center.” And me being me, the guy who was once asked, when I announced I’d gotten a ninety-six on a Grade School examination,

“Where’s the other four?”

and sadly internalized that punishing perspective,

I am unable to allow this blemishing moment to pass.

A “Perfect Game”, spoiled by a piddling infield single.

That obsessively sticks in my craw.

Following the film’s most surprising plot twist… nah, I won’t give it away… but anyway, when the “Bad Guy’s” standing on stage – after just having been “outed” (by a cribbed A Face In The Crowdplot device) – 

he is hit in the chest by a tomato.

That was a mistake.

They went for a laugh and they sacrificed the reality.

I mean, where the heck did that tomatocome from?  

Instead – I rarely critique without offering an ameliorating alternative – the detestable “Bad Guy” could have been bombarded by a blizzard of rolled-up programs.  (In the Broadway stageversion, the villain can be mercilessly pelted by an irate orchestra.) 

But that’s it.

One miniscule misstep. 

(Spotted by a lingering casualty for whom getting a ninety-six was “not quite enough.”)

After hearing interesting comments by the assembled experts, we headed up the aisle, during the standard but inevitably excruciating “Q & A.”

As we neared the exit, a professionally sincere-sounding practitioner asked the director,

“What was the best thing you took away from this experience?”

To which a voice in the darkness replied,

“Eight hundred million dollars.”

Okay, it was me.

I still loved the movie.

But I could not help myself.

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