229. Little Miss Sunshine

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Movie: Little Miss Sunshine

Release Date: July 26, 2006

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris.

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin.

Tag Lines: “Where’s Olive?”

“A family on the verge of a breakdown.”

“Everyone just pretend to be normal.”

“Welcome to Hell.”

“I hate everyone.”

Relevance: There are certain movies that as soon as I see the movie trailer, I know that I am going to absolutely love it. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ was one such film. The cast, the quirkiness of the characters, the dialogue and the premise all appealed to me in less than two minutes and I knew it was also going to be a “theater visit.” As much as I love movies, I am particular about which ones get my ten plus dollars. When I finally got to see ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ in theaters in the summer of 2006, it was money very well spent because my feeling about the movie was 100% spot on.

For me 2006 wasn’t a great year in film. There are only four movies from that year on my list of most influential movies of all time. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is the second. (You can check out 284. Little Children for the first.) With two more films from that year to go, that means technically ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ wasn’t my favorite from that year, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an absolutely terrific movie. It was most definitely my favorite of the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture from that year. Unfortunately it did not win. That honor went to a film that I actually despise and yet oddly own on DVD. As I have mentioned before, I collect all Academy Award Best Picture winners. The majority of them I adore. Some of them just collect dust, like the 2006 winner. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is a DVD that does not collect dust at all.

I revisit this film a lot. It is a movie with heart, humor, sophistication and silliness. The ensemble is impeccable. There is not a weak link in the cast and each actor has their moment to shine. What I loved most about this film was its message. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ teaches us to embrace being mediocre. It acknowledges that life may just be like a “little miss sunshine” pageant. We will most definitely be over shadowed by someone prettier, smarter and luckier throughout life. However if we get up on that stage and just be ourselves, everything is going to turn out just fine. That is a message I took to heart and try to live by every single day of my life.

Today’s Thoughts: ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is a wonderful movie and I loved watching it again today. It makes me smile, breaks my heart and reminds me that even if I am just mediocre for the majority of my days on this planet. That’s okay.

Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin are one of the best ensemble casts of any movie. Ever. Their chemistry together is beautiful. They are a family and I enjoy watching every smile, laugh, tear and swear word that they muster up. It’s such a sweet, sweet story and I highly recommend it to anyone that has not seen it.

Even today, the message of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is very relevant in my life. The following quotes by Paul Dano’s and Alan Arkin’s characters sum it up best:

“You know what? Fuck beauty contests. Life is one fucking beauty contest after another. School, then college, then work… Fuck that. And fuck the Air Force Academy. If I want to fly, I’ll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and fuck the rest.

“A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning he doesn’t even try.”

Amen.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Alan Arkin (winner), Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Michael Arndt (winner), Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Abigail Breslin (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Toni Collette (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Alan Arkin (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Original, Michael Arndt (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Abigail Breslin (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Toni Collette (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (winner), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Alan Arkin (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Abigail Breslin (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actor, Paul Dano (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actress, Abigail Breslin (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer, Michael Arndt (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Alan Arkin (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Comedy Movie (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (nomination), Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature (winner), Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Director, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (winner), Film Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, Michael Arndt (winner), Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, Alan Arkin (winner), Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, Paul Dano (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for New Generation Award, Michael Arndt, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, Michael Arndt (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor, Alan Arkin (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best First Film, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, Steve Carell (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay, Michael Arndt (nomination), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, Marc Turtletaub, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay, Michael Arndt (winner).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Hulu, DVD Availability.

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