Monday, May 28, 2012

A Movie(ng) Afternoon: We Bought A Zoo

Friday night.  Homemade sour cream, chicken, green chile enchiladas.  Hubby's work compadre expected for dinner, (our first non-family dinner guest in our new house.)  Awesome playlist created and dancing on the fragrant, evening air.  Some tasty, local brew and Captain Morgan, (apple soda for Emily.)  ...  Phonecall.  Vehicle trouble.  Lots of time passes... waiting.  Another call.  Company not going to make it tonight.  Bummed.

Trying to lighten the mood, I sent the daddy/daughter duo to pick up a movie while I popped the enchiladas into the oven and cooked up the refried black beans.  All would not be lost!  Yes, we were all pretty disheartened at the loss of our amigo joining us for dinner, but no need to feel down.  Redbox to the rescue again!!

We Bought A Zoo in hand, my beloveds returned to a warm house filled with delicious smells of corn tortillas, cheese and cilantro.  We stuffed our faces and due to the now-late hour, we had to retire for the night and decided to embark upon our film journey the following day, (after all, it was a three-day weekend.)

The next morning was a delight.  Seeing how excited my eldest daughter was to be going on her date with Daddy brought an unexplainable joy to my indubitably sappy, mother's heart.  Their bi-monthly planned day consisted of a trip to the park and an intermission for ice cream before returning home to learn a "routine" that would be performed for me later.  (Emily just loves choreographing cheers, dances and plays to perform with friends... but this time... Dad.)

After my very full morning with the baby and a little extra "me" time to take a hot bath then play with some long-overdue and stagnantly-awaiting art, I was ready to settle in for a little movie watching in the mid afternoon, (as was the ol' man after quite the eventful day with the energetic little imp.)  I laid the little one down for a nap, put out some Club crackers and Tillamook Cheddar and we were ready for our trip to the Zoo.

I love it when I am watching a film and suddenly there is a major point with which I can seriously relate.  Like the main character, Benjamin Mee, I too lost a spouse to illness.  It's a bumpy, scary and LONG road to recovery.  Matt Damon portrays the struggling partner left behind with a hefty plate of two children, (one a troubled teen,) and full-time job to nurture/maintain in the wake of tragedy.  As per usual, Mr. Damon plays the part masterfully and believably.  From the start, I was empathetic and feeling his every, conveyed emotion.  Seeing his late wife everywhere... everything a trigger to frustrating sadness, his 14-year old son falling deeper and deeper into a dangerous, downward spiral of trouble and depression, quitting his job and refusing to take his journalistic talents online versus the field, (where he loved and lived to be,) this man needed a desperate change.

Deciding to relocate and just "start over," he and daughter Rosie, tag along with a real estate agent in search of the perfect new beginning,
Rosie Mee played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones
finding what he thinks to be the exact location of said fresh start in a beautiful fixer-upper ranch-style home set on a lush, scenic plot of 18 acres.  Little does he know in all his eagerness and immediate desire to purchase the property that it's not just a house on some lovely land... but a Zoo.  After this news becomes known and that the sale of the house also includes the animals, (or else their unfortunate demise is imminent,) Benjamin's hopes are dashed.  But, after witnessing the unquestionable light in his 7-year old's eyes at the idea of living on and owning a Zoo, he feels he is seriously being led to buy.  And, he does.

Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee with Spar the tiger
The tale is weaved with strands of humor, laced with very realistic elements of truth, love and sorrow and made complete with a rather wonderful, charismatic cast.

Scarlett Johansson as Kelly Foster

One rather refreshing surprise was Scarlett Johansson, who normally just rubs me the wrong way, (an absolute stunning beauty but boring actress.)  Well, I am never one to remain silent when my opinion is altered.  I had forgotten she starred in this film and the soddy smirk on my face was definite evidence as to my lack of enthusiasm for this fact when the movie started.  HOWEVER... what a nice change from her usual bimbo-ish, I'm-so-freaking-gorgeous-I-don't-have-to-act-well roles.  She seriously made me like her in this single afternoon.  Playing Kelly Foster, the head zookeeper, she nailed the character.  Even her more masculine, outdoorsman-type walk suited the part.  I was shocked and impressed.

In conclusion, I am recommending this movie to ALL.  It was beautifully made and well acted and terrifically scripted.  My husband liked it so well, he raced over to the computer afterwards to do some more research.  (That's how I always know he liked a movie; he dives in deeper.)

The REAL Benjamin Mee with Matt Damon
Oh!  And did you know it's a true story?  Yea!  Based on actual events and a real-life place called Dartmoor Zoo in the Southwest region of England in Devon.  That's right... and the real Benjamin Mee wrote this charming little story, (the book, not the movie, but what this movie IS based upon.)

It's a comedy.  It's a drama.  It's a family film.  It's an animal lover's mantra.  It's fun.  Just watch it.  You'll see.


  1. lol, i know what you mean about Scarlet Johansen, she even seems off-putting in interviews, kinda snotty i dunno. She looks nice tho :D i can relate to your hubby's reaction to a good film, you GOTTA find out more!

    1. Yes, she IS beautiful. I used to think she was one of the most gorgeous things out there... but not so much after seeing her massacre her roles in "He's Just Not That Into You" and "Lost in Translation." I was thinking, "What's the deal with her?" I miss her being a cutie little girl in things like "The Horse Whisperer." Oh well, she DID impress me in THIS movie, however... I admit. But, it still doesn't make up for her other boring ventures.

  2. She's not a bit boring as the Black Spider in The Avengers! She's a twin, did you know? Her twin brother accompanies her often to premiers and such. They look adorable together.

    Nice post!

    1. Well, I haven't seen her in The Avenger's yet, but her role as the same character "Black Widow" in Iron Man 2 left me unimpressed. Although, I LOVE her with red hair and green eyes for sure!
      I actually seem to remember that I knew she is a twin. He is just as gorgeous as she is.

      Thanks for commenting!