Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Station Agent

In what I would call my youth, but were really my law school years, I was very into independent film.  I suspect this all stems from being New Jersey and watching Clerks the week it came out on video as an impressionable 15 years old, but for the last 20 years, I've generally preferred films, with a story, a limited cast and a small budget.  I suspect I probably like theater, but have actually only seen one play in the last 15 or so years, which was an Arthur Miller play where I was a stand in for my mother.  I even used to frequent the Angelika in my youth, which only had their movie selection going for them. 

In my law school years, I purchased more DVDs than I would care to admit to.  Seeing as I had a limited social life and had already amassed a large collection of CDs, DVDs were a natural extension, though you can listen to a CD repeatedly, while most movies and television shows require one viewing at most.  Of course, this is why I own five seasons of Stargate SG-1 for the last ten or so years, but whatever.  I also frequented the local video store, which I think officially went extinct in 2004, unless your primary clientele were ladies and gentlemen who preferred adult videos, at which point you made it to 2009. 

For some reason, I was repeatedly drawn to The Station Agent, but always found something else I wanted to see just a little more, including the time I rented Chinatown, which was just dreadful.  But I never picked up The Station Agent.  I mean, I've bought more $5 DVDs from Blockbuster when they were going out of business then I care to admit as well, but somehow The Station Agent always eluded my grasp. 

So, today I was checking out Instant Watcher, because I lack the will to figure out what is new on Netflix when someone does the heavy lifting for me, when I saw The Station Agent was available.  After 11 years of delays, I decided I could wait no more and cleared 90 minutes from my schedule to watch it. 

The wait was correct.  I think, seeing it in 2003, the movie would not have resonated with me in the same fashion.  You need to experience loss and need friendship before you can appreciate the art of doing it right.  As a film, it worked.  The ending was not too sweet, but felt achievable for all of the characters and gave their struggle depth.  The acting was amazing, but considering basically the entire cast ended up in cable prestige dramas, that is not surprising.  And the story worked because it acknowledges that Peter Dinklage is a dwarf, without letting it be consuming to the point where you cannot identify with him, which is why Life's Too Short didn't succeed.

So, I can cross another movie I needed to see of my list, not that I repopulate it that regularly. 

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