While I've seen some pretty good movies this year, with many more months to go, I can go ahead and anoint Moonrise Kingdom as my favorite film of 2012. I already gushed about it in last month's Stuff I've Been Consuming but since I just re-watched Moonrise, I can safely give it a double thumbs up. The first time around I just experienced it, trying to soak everything in. The second viewing I tried to pay attention and parse out exactly what it was that sucked me in. Here's a short list. And please, for the love of everything, just go see this thing already so I can stop soapboxing.
Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The casting of these two were so good. I consumed every interview I could find online. I just had to know more about them. Neither had acted professionally before, can you believe that? Both were around twelve when they shot the film and they look like actual kids, especially Jared. He's a total dork but not of the type we normally see in movies. Gilman's character is prepubescent, totally oblivious in his uncoolness, yet totally assured. Kara's face is amazing. Beautiful and expressive but in an awkward way that is reflected in her slight gawkiness and imperfect symmetry. They seem wonderfully real and endearing, as actors and characters. Plus, what's the last movie like this featuring middle schoolers, Bridge to Terabithia?
First Loves. Watching Moonrise has to make you think of puppy loves. The intense feeling that you'd do anything for the other person, even run away from everything you know. There's so much (painful) sweetness in it. It ain't never gonna be this good again. Except in the movies.
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. This is a for real thing! I assumed Benjamin Britten was fictional but indeed he is not. here's a great post from Framescourer, "The Moonrise Kingdom of Benjamin Britten," with some history and videos of the whole bit. Wonderful stuff.
Khaki Scouts. Hanging in my closet right now is a Cub Scout shirt from my younger days. I was a Webelos Scout and while I'm not sure exactly what the differentiation was, I just remember all the random skills we had to learn. Tying knots, making fires, archery, fishing, kayaking, all these outdoor things I would never be associated with now. Watching Sam Sandusky use his wilderness skills to survive brought me way back. Man, I hope my uniform still fits!
Binoculars. Suzy's superpower of seeing with her binoculars struck a chord with me. Mainly because I recently purchased a pair for bird watching. Her binoculars made me feel less creepy about owning a pair. I'm not stalking, I'm superpowering.
One-liners. I could quote this movie all day. And I probably will for awhile. I won't ruin it for you though. Oh hell, if you're reading this far you saw the movie already. The "who's the say" line absolutely kills me. I rarely laugh out loud at movies and I was pretty much giggling throughout Moonrise. "I love you but you have no idea what you're talking about."
Suzy's Books. Wes Anderson made animated shorts introducing some of the fake books Suzy takes with her when she runs away. The titles, the artwork, the excerpts, all of them are so great. I would pay good money to have these as actual books. If Anderson wrote them himself I demand he pause whatever he's doing to finish the homage slash parodies. Seriously, the few lines from these are better than most of the stuff I've read this year. I feel like these would win those first page contests hands down. Publishers, get Wes on the phone.
"Meanwhile on the plains of Tabitha, Francine rested. There would be another time for war."
-The Francine Odysseys-
"I don't believe in magic. I used to but once I started taking introduction to life science with Mr. Mathy, I realized the logical explanation for practically every mystery in the world was even more interesting than a supernatural one. Auntie Lorraine wouldn't agree. Of course that's no surprise. She's a professional witch hunter."
-The Return of Auntie Lorraine-