I have nervous anticipation.
Connie Britton was recently cast in This Is Where I Leave You, a movie based on a delicious book that you should read this weekend, about a family that sits shiva after the father passes away. (Lainey: I've written about Jonathan Tropper, the author, before. He writes beautifully. And How To Talk To A Widower is one of my favourite books.) The movie cast also includes Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman and, in the headline you most likely read, Adam Driver, who will play the youngest son in the family – and Britton’s boyfriend.
There is nothing – nothing - I love more than a book – or a movie – about a f*cked-up family. I am of the opinion that every family is, in fact, f*cked – it’s just that the ones show on television have more kids in the family, the better to explore a variety of issues instead of the reality, which is that they’re all crammed onto one or two kids in most families.
But the family dynamic is the most real. The most perpetual. No matter who you are in the rest of your life, you’re still twelve years old and whiny in the context of your family. You can’t escape it, and you don’t, ever, really. Nobody says "whew, I’ve finally finished worrying about my family".
So I’m excited. And this movie – this cast – I want to contain myself, because I know I’ll only be disappointed...but it seems like something good. Remember The Family Stone? Remember how that movie was both more and less than the sum of its parts, because of the cast? That cast elevated a movie that had some problems, and made even the resulting (familial) confusion great to watch.
This is how I feel about this. I never hoped I would have the opportunity to watch Connie Britton and Tina Fey glare at one another, then watch Tina Fey roll her eyes in commiseration with Jane Fonda in the SAME scene! It’s amazing, right? Even the prospect of it? Timothy Olyphant is involved here, people! Ben “Jean Ralphio” Schwartz!
I can feel myself getting overexcited. I don’t want to do this. Not every family movie is a hit, or even a satisfying exploration of what makes the ties that bind so messed up. (See Britton’s recent appearance in A Fitzgerald Family Christmas).
But this book also brought me great, awful, delicious joy. And the author, Tropper, appears to be penning the screenplay. This is about as good as news can get, adaptation wise.
Read it before the movie comes out. You won’t be sorry, but you will wish you had more siblings to take the focus off yourself every now and again.