Do you ever use that "let me pick a movie for you" feature on Netflix? Get the Max from Netflix, that's what it is. I can never get that damn jingle out of my head after I hear it once.
Last night, I was tired and my husband was working, so I used Max. I didn't want to have to choose. The problem with Max is that most choices are nothing I'd be interested in. I've spent fifteen minutes going through it before and then just turned the TV off because everything it suggested was awful. It's had a couple winners, though, so I never give up. It's how I got introduced to Continuum, for instance. How can I hate it after that?
Well, last night, it didn't want me to go through the whole rating/selection process. It wanted me to trust its pick and go for it. My daughter was sitting on the couch with me and kept egging me on to go for it, so I finally caved.
What came up was a movie called Any Day Now.
It's a small indie that came out in 2012, starring Alan Cumming as a drag performer/aspiring singer in late 70s West Hollywood. Rudy's life is on the dismal side - he can't make rent, and his neighbor is a druggie who has no interest in her son Marco, a teenaged boy with Down Syndrome. Rudy hooks up with Paul, a shy attorney he meets at the club played by Garret Dillahunt. When his neighbor gets arrested, Rudy steps in to help Marco, going to Paul first, then having to yield to Family Services. Marco runs away from his foster home and when Rudy finds him on the street, he takes him home with him. Paul helps him circumvent Family Services again by going straight to the mother in jail to get temporary custody, then even more by offering his home to them to make Rudy look more stable in front of the judge.
The movie turns into Rudy and Paul's quest to build a family, then to adopt Marco when their lives are threatened by prejudice. This takes place in 1979. You can imagine how well that goes. By two-thirds of the way through the movie, I was sobbing. I was a real mess when the end credits rolled.
It's not a perfect film by any means. The wigs are truly awful and distracting, and the beginning where Rudy and Paul are supposedly falling in love is rushed and underwritten. But the drama focusing on Marco is painfully real, and it was impossible for me not to get wrapped up in it all. Cumming is over the top and vulnerable, and Dillahunt is understated but just as vulnerable. It's the boy who plays Marco who is the most heartbreaking, though. His scenes are minimal but expertly played and timed.
Make no mistake. This movie is nowhere near feel good. Consider the times and the subject matter. But it was worth it for me, even though I was a wreck when it was over.