I love Jeff Daniels. Partly because he lives in Michigan – my home state – and says he lives here in order to stay outside of the L.A. madness. Can’t blame a guy for that.

paper-man-poster“I just never did buy this idea that you have to live in Los Angeles to be an actor,” he said once. “I think Michigan keeps you sane and on an even keel through the ups and downs. In Michigan, I do fireworks, shovel snow and live life.”

Sounds like me and my family. Shovel snow in the winter, and go to the beach in the summer. And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him around Traverse City.

I just finished watching him in ‘Paper Man,’ a movie I admit I never heard of until a publicist sent it to me. He plays Richard Dunne, a washed-up writer who goes to Long Island to try and write. He and his brilliant doctor-wife (Lisa Kudrow), are on the outs, and he ends up connecting with a teenager, (Emma Stone), one of my favorite actors these days.

Richard has an imaginary superhero friend, played by Ryan Reynolds, which is interesting because you wonder if he was just getting warmed up to play the Green Lantern this year. Reynolds wears a shiny blue, red and yellow outfit, and his hair is reminiscent of Spike in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’


One of the other players is Kieran Culkin, brother of Macaulay, not to mention five other siblings. Kieran is just so interesting to look at. Whenever he’s on screen, I can’t take my eyes off him. He reminds me a little of  Emilio Estevez in his younger days. Edgy and damaged. Culkin was the best thing about ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.’

Anyway, ‘Paper Man’ is one of those peculiar indie movies that doesn’t fit nicely into any one category, which is totally refreshing when you see as many commercial movies as I do. Richard is both losing his mind and finding it at the same time, and Emma Stone is the only one who understands what he’s going through.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say if you like movies like ‘Lebanon, PA,’  ‘Lars and the Real Girl,’ ‘Garden State,’ or ‘The Darjeeling Limited,’ you might like this movie.

Plus, it has lines like this: “If only everything n the world could be covered in butter. What a world that would be. What a buttery world.” I often have thoughts like that myself.

‘Paper Man’ is rated R for language and a scene of sexuality. Released in 2009. On DVD and Blu-ray.

Images: MPI Media Group



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