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Revisiting an Old Favorite: A Review of North

You know that saying, "you can never go home again"? Well, I never really understood that saying until this weekend, when Qualler, Chris, and some friends sat down after a taco dinner to enjoy a movie that we, at one time, remembered loving: North.



This 1994 release starred Elijah Wood and despite being about as randomly star packed as a children's movie can be, had us all asking "really, Rob Reiner?? Really?" This movie was one of the worst I've seen in awhile, and I just kept thinking to myself "I was old enough to know better, wasn't I? Shouldn't 11-year-old me have known better? How could I have liked this movie SO MUCH???"

After getting over the utter shame at seeing this movie and declaring it "awesome" the summer after I declared Jurassic Park to be "the best movie ever!" I was able to swallow my pride and "enjoy" the entire film with my friends. I enjoyed/hated this movie and while I would not recommend revisiting it if you have any nostalgic attachments to it, it wasn't...the worst way to spend an hour and a half. The basic story is that North (played by Elijah Wood) decides that his parents don't appreciate him and so (with the advice of his creeeeeepy little friend) he decides to become a free agent and search the land for new parents. In what was probably the best 11-year-old fantasy ever, he then goes on the search for his new parents. Of course this means that he must go around the world to all the major stops: Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, Amish country (he didn't even get off the plane for that one, cause, Amish don't even have electricity!!!! Isn't that NUTS?), China (no need to specify a city here, just China will do!), Paris and...my head hurts. Each stop is riddled with random stars (Kathy Bates plays the "Eskimo" mother, for example) and so many racist depictions of what a family is like in that particular part of the world that it's hard to keep up. Eventually he learns that he really loves his own parents, or at least they are the only option because all the other parents are so terrible, and returns home to them. In the meantime, the creepy friend somehow rose to power, and all the parents are afraid that their kids will pull a North and also run away, so the kids have all the power now...and the creeeeeepy kid is kind of evil, because we need a bad guy.....yadda yadda yadda, North is almost shot just as he is about to reunite with his parents but don't worry! It's all a dream.

For those of you who have not seen this movie and have no idea what I'm babbling about, here are some highlights:

Oh, the stereotypes!!! Where to begin. We learn about all sorts of crazy cultures, each more crazy than the last. The Paris parents spend all their time watching Jerry Lewis movies, which I suppose was my favorite stereotype in the movie.

Jon L0vitz plays North's lawyer, and Qualler, Chris and I were so thrilled by his part in this movie that we decided to watch every movie Jon Lovitz has ever made. We're going to do this over the summer, which we've appropriately named The Summer of Lovitz. I encourage the viewers at home to join us in this adventure!

Bruce Willis played a sort of guardian angel figure who would appear in each location to give North some friendly advice (in Texas as a cowboy, in Hawaii as a beach comber, and so on). This was pretty amazing, especially since he doubled as the narrator for the film and read his narration as if he was half asleep, the way you read a book to a small child when you've already been reading for an hour or so and it's really just time for the kid to go to sleep already.

This film was shot on location in New York, Alaska, and Hawaii, but you wouldn't have guessed it from the sets!

We watched the new SNL episode after watching the movie, and I have to say that it was the funniest SNL episode I've seen in forever. I laughed at everything. North should be the opening act to all other moderately funny things, because those things will then seem hilarious!

In sum, don't watch this movie, but do watch and enjoy the newest digital short starring who I hope is becoming a recurring character!

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