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March 1st, 2006 Margaret Seiler | DVD & TV
 

Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even

     
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Sometimes a film can perfectly capture a moment in time, embody the zeitgeist in such a way that all can look to it and say, "Yes, yes, this is what it means to be alive today." Maybe you saw the world reflected this way in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Saturday Night Fever, Dude, Where's My Car? or Fahrenheit 9/11. And if you're in Portland these first days of March 2006, you know that no film is as synched with this week's cultural happenings as 1992's Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even.

This isn't just a feel-good family/coming-of-age/divorce-and-remarriage/road-trip story from the director of Crossing Delancey. It's also a mysterious time capsule catapulted 14 years into the future to put two of its actors (a movie that's such as staple of the Disney Channel/ABC Family rotation can't really have stars, can it?) under the lights at the Academy Awards this Sunday and another on stage at the Aladdin Monday night.

Oscar-nominated Capote screenwriter Dan Futterman, recognizable from his longtime role on Judging Amy, plays the eldest child in Big Girls' very extended family of exes, stepsiblings, and second and third spouses, who pull one poor girl in so many different directions that she runs away to her brother's (Futterman's) cabin in the woods for some R&R. David Strathairn is a snooty patriarch who gets to say things like "You watch your mouth, young lady, or no Hawaii!"—a far cry from Strathairn's Oscar-nominated portrayal of reserved newsman Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck.

The patriarch's natural daughter is played by Jenny Lewis. At one point a miniature version of Kerri Green (Lucas, The Goonies), former child and teen actor Lewis has grown into indie-rock royalty. Her new album, Rabbit Fur Coat, includes some locally recorded tracks and some guest vocals by Portland's M. Ward. The film's director, Joan Micklin Silver, is from Omaha, Neb.—just like Lewis' labelhead and sometime recording partner Conor Oberst. See her Monday at the Aladdin, if the show isn't already sold out (see Music listings).

Can you feel the kismet yet? If not, know this: BGDCTGE can also sate Portlanders' post-Turino Olympic fever. The Oregonian has noted that this city is unusually interested in the Games, and Hillary Wolf—who plays Laura, the big girl who decides to get even by running away, toting her journal along with her and touchingly narrating the whole schmaltzy thing)—just happens to be a two-time Olympian in judo.

 
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