Day #162: Wye Oak – “Civilian”
That’s what Phil said he liked about Safety Not Guaranteed. Colin Trevorrow’s indie flick has rightfully been the critic’s darling since the big unveiling at Sundance earlier this year, but I suspect the refreshing time travel tale is unfortunately going to wind up floating under the radar. That could probably be chalked up to poor timing, since the release of Safety Not Guaranteed coincided that of Moonrise Kingdom. Not that one has anything to do with the other, but naturally, all eyes were on Wes Anderson when they should have been on this one. It was simple. Low budget. And effective. The initial draw may be it’s co-star, Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation fame. The oft-pouty Plaza plays Darius, a terminally unhappy young woman who’s thankless internship at a Seattle magazine takes an interesting turn when she and another intern join one of the reporters (Jake Johnson) on an assignment to learn more about the person who placed the following classified ad:
“Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.”
Sound familiar? You might have seen something like that floating around on the Internet before (as it has become a meme). It was a real ad. One that an editor from Backwoods Home Magazine ran in his magazine as a way to drum up some interest. Sort of like a conversation piece. But, what if the person who wrote something like that was completely serious? Most everyone would assume that person’s off his rocker, but there’d always be that inkling of curiosity. You know, like what if he really does have the ability to travel through time?! That’s what Safety Not Guaranteed is all about: that dead serious someone (Mark Duplass).
There is no setup. The indie dramedy about three young journalists prodding into the life of a could-be time traveler doesn’t suddenly burst into action movie flames. It doesn’t even get bogged down with confusing mechanics. Emotion rather than science is the key.
Overall reaction: Go see it. Right now.
Contradictory movie wisdom? Seize the day or wait to go back in time and correct missed opportunities. Hmm….
Hey, I know that guy! I hate to detract by saying that both Plaza and her co-star, Jake Johnson, play their familiar personalities. They do, but it works so well here. Johnson is a sure scene-stealer. See also: Ceremony (now on Netflix instant).
Miscellaneous: There’s always that question – if you could time travel, where would you go? While talk of witnessing the age of dinosaurs and ancient empires and the 1980s sounds great, what do I really know about living in those times? It could be lonely. Dangerous even! Especially with all that slam dancing. And you can’t really enjoy time traveling when you’re dead or maimed or something like that. I’d probably keep the time traveling missions to a minimum – the years in which I lived (or will live). Or that my immediate family lived (or will live).