I have to immediately preface this post by saying there will be absolutely no way I can give my complete opinion on this movie/but mainly the characters in it without giving away major plot points, or at least hinting at them. So if you have yet to see Daydream Nation (Michael Goldbach), well first I highly recommend going and watching it because I think it’s fantastic, but what I really mean is if you don’t like too much information given away prior to seeing a film, then maybe you should wait to read this.
Sometimes, I will go see a movie if I hear a lot of positive reviews, even if I wasn’t too intrigued by the trailer. Then there are times when I see a trailer and know immediately that I will be watching a film as soon as it is released because I expect to love it. These situations are even better when I’m right. Such was the case with Daydream Nation (2010). I love Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s  is one of my favorites), so her participation was already incentive to see it. Then I read that Joe Leydon from Variety said that Daydream Nation “suggests Juno as reimagined by David Lynch,” (imagine some non-linear storytelling and a lot of flashbacks) and that was all I needed to permanently pique my interest.
So anyways. Slowly but surely getting to the point, I loved the movie. High school student Caroline Wexler (Kat Dennings) moves to a new school. Bad enough already, but this school is in a small, middle-of-nowhere town, where everyone knows everyone and there’s absolutely nothing to do. I can already relate. Well Caroline decides to solve the problem of boredom her own way, and really, who could fault her? Not I. She seduces her teacher, Mr. Anderson (Josh Lucas), but also sleeps with the endearing Thurston Goldberg (Reece Thompson). All this you can find in the trailer for the film, by the way. And if this sounds to you like a typical, boring teenage coming of age film or something of the sort, it’s not.
Now I must admit that I did a complete 180 while watching the movie. I initially thought that Thurston was slightly clingy and presumptuous (though still cute), while Mr. A was fun and possibly even charming. But boy was I wrong about him. This guy turns out to be be the most pathetic, self-pitying and self-absorbed jerk. The best scene exemplifying this is when Caroline narrates his manuscript that he has her read. It is a fictional autobiography with her as the ethereal heroine who saves him by being the perfect sex object. What…an ass. Who does he think he is anyway? Luckily, she immediately realizes that if he knows her so little it’s clearly not an ideal situation and bolts out of there. Good for her. Any man who can’t function on his own needs a reality check. Immediately. And it gets worse. This selfish, jealous egomaniac who has been obsessed and paranoid about getting caught up until this point, now decides to tell Thurston about his –albeit now over– relationship with Caroline to sabotage theirs. Unbelievable. Now I am perfectly aware that this is a completely realistic scenario and that there are indeed people out there who exist to do nothing than further their own interest, but it infuriates me nonetheless.
Luckily though, Caroline is the type of woman we should all aspire to be like. She shows up at Mr. A’s house and demands to know what he told Thurston. It blows my mind that he tries to make himself blameless in the situation by saying that the only reason she breaks things off with him is because she is succumbing to social pressure. It’s not too difficult to imagine someone being pressured into an unwanted relationship, but when Mr. A threatens suicide, Caroline walks away. Thank God. Because what would we do with someone who can’t stand up to some good old-fashioned guilt tripping, right? Not to mention hanging up on him when he calls her after to tell her that he’s shot himself. Kudos to her. And kudos to Thurston for having some common sense, ultimately believing Caroline and not letting Mr. A’s revelation ruin things between them. Because there’s no way she could have predicted how everything was to turn out, and as soon as she realized what she was doing and her true feelings, she rectified the situation immediately. In all honestly, can you ask for any more? (As a side note, I don’t think Mr. A even deserved to end up with the gym teacher, but alas, you can’t have everything.)
All in all, I think this movie is absolutely great. It’s a non-sugarcoated depiction of how the decisions we make can go in so many directions that we did not expect and how those decisions affect not just us, but also those in our close proximity. All of us do things that we don’t think through completely now and again, and Daydream Nation is a fun, edgy way of showing what can happen when our actions don’t go exactly as planned.