I’m back. My temperature was normal this morning and after being secluded for most of the past few days, I’m re-entering the world. I don’t exactly feel like I’ve experienced a resurrection (I always had an image of Lazarus dancing a jig after his recall from the grave, but my legs are so tired it feels like I did a double work out with heavier than normal weights). But I’m back. I haven’t slept this much in a long while. With a fever of 102.2, I went to bed on Sunday at 1 PM, and stayed there till Monday at 3 PM (only getting up because there was a meeting I felt I had to be present in order to bless people with my germs—my office was Lysoled before and after). I went back to bed at 7 PM on Monday and slept till mid-morning on Tuesday and then mostly hung out, working on a puzzle and watching a movie (see below) before going in to the office for two late afternoon meetings… I’m glad this was going to be an easy week, but so much for me being able to catch up on things… Thanks for the well wishes.
Thanks you to who ever recommended this film! I’ve had it for a month (I haven’t been watching many movies lately), and wasn’t very excited about watching it, but it was the only movie I had. From the moment it started and I saw that high desert landscape of Northern New Mexico, like William Gibbs in the film, I was enchanted. This is a quirky movie, somewhat of a fairytale, but I loved it.
It’s the early 70s and the eleventh summer for Bo Groden (Valentina d”Angelis), a daughter of parents who have escaped to the wilds where they live on her father’s VA disability check and what little they make from selling crafts and junk. Her father Charlie Groden (Sam Elliott) believes in working for no one but himself. He’s a master handyman who can fix anything and has a dream of being self-sufficient. He’s also going through a deep depression and speaks very little during the first half of the movie and only gradually comes out of it as the movie unfolds. Her mother, Arlene (Joan Allen), holds the movie together with her grace. A strong woman, she struggles to keep the family together while dealing with her husband’s depression. Arlene, who is part Hopi, connects to nature in a way that appears to come from her Native American ancestry. The story is told through Bo’s eyes. She is a Tom Sawyer-type character, hunting squirrels with a rifle and a bow and arrow, giving thanks to each animal for the nourishment they’ll provide her family before she hangs them on her belt. She dreams of living a normal life and having a MasterCharge Card. She writes companies complaining about defective products, a scam that results in her regularly receiving token products and samples in the mail.
There are two other main characters in the film. George is Sam’s best friend. Arlene mentions at one point in the movie that he had saved Charlie in Korea, giving a hint of where his depression came. The other character is William Gibbs, an IRS agent who comes to investigate the family’s lack of tax filings. He’s spent four days trying to locate the family and after abandoning his car, walks up to the family compound, only to find Arlene nude in garden. He’s stung by a bee and has a reaction and is ill for several days. When he awakes, his car has been stripped and he’s in love with Arlene. He asks to stay for a few days and moves in. He takes up watercolors and does a 41 foot long painting of the horizon over the ocean for Bo—the two of them place the painting around her walls so she can lay in bed and see the horizon regardless of the way she’s facing. The movie ends with Charlie coming out of a depression. Bo has managed to get herself a MasterCharge Card and purchased him a sailboat. The boat is delivered in one of the funniest scenes in the movie—a boat being pulled through the desert. Although Arlene is horrified at the thought of having to repay the bill, the gift is enough to snap Charlie out of his funk as he laughs at his daughter having brought him a sailboat… Everything quickly comes together as Gibbs becomes a famous painter and all is well on the Groden homestead.
First of all, I would have watched this movie just for the scenery. It made me homesick for sagebrush and the high desert and the way the light paints the land. But I also loved the view of the world from an eleven year old and the way the movie dealt with depression (both Charlie and Gibbs suffer from it). It was also wonderful to see how father/daughter relationships. I love it that Bo knows something seriously wrong with her dad because he no longer takes her to the dump to shoot bottles. Although they are not a very traditional family, all the adults showed concern for Bo’s well-being. And even though Gibbs fell in love with Arlene, there was no hint of the relationship going any further as he becomes entranced with the landscape and focuses his creativity in his artwork.