little miss sunshine
i saw a great movie on sunday called little miss sunshine. it's about a clan of six, each dysfunctional in their own way, who make up a surprisingly functional family. they take a road trip from albuquerque to redondo beach in their beaten down vw van so that 7-year-old olive can compete in the little miss sunshine beauty pageant. and of course on the way hilarity ensues. great characters, great performances (abigail breslin as olive is a revelation), and a few unexpected surprises. it's a bit of an indie flick and not in wide release, but i would highly recommend it if you can find it playing near you. watch the trailer here
two music connections to note: this is the feature film debut for directors jonathan dayton and valerie faris. they are more well known, at least to me, for directing music videos, including those for the smashing pumpkins, red hot chili peppers, and weezer. their video for the pumpkins' tonight, tonight has to be considered among their best works
"tonight, tonight" (youtube video)
also, the film features two tracks by sufjan stevens, another favorite of mine. sufjan (SOOF-yun) plays every instrument i can think of, creating a multi-layered sound that complements his voice perfectly. many of his songs reflect his strong christian faith, but i always get the feeling that he's singing about what he believes, not what you should believe. that's something i can appreciate. this song, played during the credits of little miss sunshine, is not one of those songs. rather, this one is part of his supposed vision to make an album for every state in the u.s. so far he's done two, 2003's greetings from michigan and 2005's illinois. he recently released the avalanche, a collection of outtakes from his illinois sessions that includes the song no man's land. as such, this song takes him across the state of illinois and to the conclusion that
"this land is not your land / for the right hand takes what it can / ransacks with the mad man / for this land is not yours or mine to have /this land was made for the good of itself"