Sunday, January 07, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine line readings

I was just thinking, if I were to fill out a ballot of five in the category of "best individual line reading" (best. category. ever.), I'd never know how to narrow it down. I could fill out a whole ballot and then some with great lines just from Little Miss Sunshine (not to mention all the great Devil Wears Prada line readings, "that's all" among them). But if I were to narrow it down to one line for each of the six main characters in LMS, just based on what first comes to mind, this is what I'd choose:

Richard: "sweet... sweetness..."
Just hilarious. This is all Richard could think to say when the cop stopped them and found the porno magazines, and was looking for affirmation of his approval. He just stares in disbelief at the magazines and utters: "sweet... sweetness." According to the directors' commentary, this was an ad-lib. I love Greg Kinnear in this.

Sheryl: "Push down hard."
Sheryl savors it when she discovers that the trouble with the van is not her fault.

Frank: "Outstanding, soldier, OUTSTANDING!"
Frank gets his groove on after the first round of pushing the van. Watching Frank smile in this is akin to watching Wednesday Addams smile in The Addams Family. Heartwarming (it was actually really hard to choose one for Carrell... he's just great all the time).

The obvious choice.

Olive: "What does 'a-la-modee' mean...?"
Watch Breslin's face as she says this line. It's priceless. She gives the waitress this awful look, like "a-la-modee" is the most disgusting thing in the world. At first I thought it was glaringly out of place, but it's just ridiculous enough that a real kid would probably do it. I heart Abigail Breslin.

Grandpa: "Politics." response to Olive's "what are you guys talking about?" But it's not just the line. It's how he says it. It's beyond perfection. I can't even describe how great it was.

There is also, of course, the wonderful exchange about Olive dedicating her dance to grandpa, and his being in the trunk of their car. But it's a whole extended exchange, not just a line, so I don't think it counts. And the "a-la-modee" bit is even more unexpected and great.

Anyway, I know I love this film more than most people, but I assure you, my love is true. I realize it has flaws, but the pluses more than make up for it, IMHO. I think it's just golden. I love it even more after hearing on the commentary that there was NOTHING exaggerated about the beauty pageant sequence. All they did was get actual contestants with their own acts, their own makeup, and their own clothes, and let 'em rip. So don't say they were playing up the camp; that's actually how it really is.



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