July 14, 2006

You Always Remember Your First


Two little indies that premiered at this year's Tribeca Film Festival are getting wider theatrical release this weekend, The Groomsmen directed by Ed Burns and Mini's First Time. Cinecultist interviewed the director of the later, Nick Guthe, a Brooklyn native for Gothamist this week. During our conversation when Nick mentioned he knew Noah Baumbach when they were kids in Brooklyn, CC had to hold ourselves back from exclaiming, "oh we've been in his apartment." It was for the Day Job and we were happy to note that Baumbach and wife Jennifer Jason Leigh who we also met, drinks coffee from a French press. However, despite the innocence of this connection, we thought it sounded a bit stalker-ish in our head and thus refrained. Though of course, we can share you guys.

Anyhow, despite wanting to support the indie directors and always enjoying chatting about their process and our mutual love of New York movie going, there is a reason why certain movies are going to stay little movies with minimal exposure and distribution. Mini's First Time, while having the distinction of being the least annoying of Nikki Reed's performances we've been forced to sit through, isn't a great film. It's perfectly passable and if you're into seeing sexually adventurous high school girls trying to be sophisticates (which granted, there are a lot of people who do) then you may really enjoy this movie. However, there seems to be something creepy and retrograde about it being the center piece of yet another indie flick.

Zee premise: Mini (played by Reed) is our narrator, telling through flashback the story of her last year in high school and how she learned so much through her various firsts. Her mother, Diane (Carrie-Anne Moss) had her while she was a struggling actress to milk child support out of a big name producer but according to Mini, the sex-pot shopaholic never really wanted her around unless Mini was mixing her strong, blended drinks. Mini gets along tolerably well with her stepfather, Martin (Alec Baldwin), a PR exec though their relationship changes considerably when Mini who's gone the Belle du Jour route seduces him as a high price escort. After Martin falls for Mini, the two begin to conspire to drive Diane crazy and get her committed.

Moss and Baldwin are always good actors and they hold their own here. However, the little feminist voice in our head kept raising it's hand to ask, Don't movies like this really do a disservice to the young starlets they are applauding? Mini's in charge, she's the smartest one in the room and the voice of the narrator who forces us to identify with her. But despite this celebration of young womanhood, we're all essentially leering at her because her sexuality is so on display. Isn't it sort of sad that this is how we want to be entertained and this is how girls become stars? Cinecultist isn't some prudish purist, titillation and defying taboos are all good in their own way. But shouldn't we question these constructs anyway?

Posted by karen at July 14, 2006 11:41 AM