My Girl (PG)
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This came out in 1991, when I was 16. I feel like I saw it in a theater, but I can't recall how or why that would have happened, since I so rarely got to see movies in the theater. I also am not at all sure why it had this title, beyond a common desire to name movies after old songs. I mean, the title sort of implies that the "girl" in question is secondary to the "my," but actually she's the main character. As for who "my" is, I'm unclear as to whether it refers to her friend or her father, but either way... I just think the movie would have done well to have a title that doesn't make her seem like anything less than the protagonist. Because she's a pretty great kid, and... *Sigh* I dunno. I just don't love the title. But it's a really good movie.
It's set in the summer of 1972 (three years before I was born). It's about this 11-year-old girl named Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky). Her father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd), runs a funeral parlor. Her mother died a couple of days after Vada was born, due to complications in childbirth, so Vada blames herself for her mother's death. And she's a bit of a hypochondriac, always thinking she's dying of something. (Though I'm really not sure how serious she is about that.) Her best friend is a boy named Thomas J. Sennett (Macaulay Culkin), who is allergic to everything. And one day, a cosmetician named Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) takes a job at the funeral parlor. Not long after that, Shelly starts dating Harry. Also, Vada has a crush on her teacher, Mr. Bixler, so she signs up for a creative writing class he's teaching over the summer.
Well... various things happen. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that toward the end of the movie, something tragic happens. I can't remember if I'd been aware that it was going to happen, the first time I saw the movie, but of course I was aware of it the second time I watched it (on DVD in 2015). And in spite of that, I couldn't manage to prepare myself for it, so there were tears. (I don't suppose I'd ever be able to not cry.) But really, the movie isn't just about that event. It's actually a pretty eventful summer for Vada. (Oh yeah, there's one scene where everyone goes to a carnival, and I was struck by how similar it was to the annual fair I went to when I was a kid in the 80s and early 90s, though also kind of depressed by how much less fun the same fair is, now.) Anyway, I'm not quite sure what else to say, without spoiling anything. It just has a very nostalgic and quirky feel, and some humor, and sadness, and... everything.
Followed by My Girl 2