plane movies: safety not guaranteed

I will never love anything or anyone as fiercely and purely as Aubrey Plaza pretends to love things.

In Parks and Rec, as angry teen April Ludgate, her love for her husband, Andy Dwyer (and it's totally not weird that someone I just described as an angry teen has a husband, just go watch the show already), for their dog, Champion, and for Leslie Knope as her surrogate mother-figure are all incredibly humanizing and wonderful.

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the love she feels in Safety Not Guaranteed blows all of those out of the water.

I promise you, I'm not a plane crier. I'm not just saying this because I watched it on my way back to New York after Thanksgiving, after some incredibly awesome and emotional and weird experiences with my family and friends. And it's not just because I love Aubrey Plaza, and Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl), and another person who shows up at a point whom I will not name, because spoilers.

This is honestly one of the best movies I've watched in the last few years, if not ever. Especially comparing it to the last mumblecore-y thing I watched - whereas with that, I felt like I had seriously wasted the $3.30 I effectively spent to see that movie, for this one, I spent $6 to watch it once on a plane and I fully plan to purchase it outright (for $12.99 - come on, instant video, why aren't you cheaper than physical things?!) and watch it over and over and over again. For reference, the only other things I own (on Amazon instant) are like, Mad Men seasons, Wristcutters, and Easy A. And Hocus Pocus. Let's be real.

The basics of the story are pretty standard these days - a post-collegiate girl (Plaza, as Darius) works her ass off at a thankless (and income-less) internship to prove herself, until she gets involved with a HUGE STORY. In this case, though, the story that she's working is a mysterious ad someone posted in the classifieds, looking for a time-travel companion.

I don't think it ruins the story to tell you that you will see Darius fall in love. And believe it. I felt it with my whole body. At one critical kiss, I actually felt pain in my stomach, like someone had punched me, I felt it so hard. Aubrey Plaza is just excellent at falling in love. She displays this earnestness and innocence that you wouldn't think someone over the age of 14 is even capable of feeling, but it makes you wish you could feel it too.

And a little bit, you do. There are other excellent elements to this story - Jeff and Arnau's relationship explorations acting as foils to Darius's, a random sweet moment in the stockroom of a supermarket, and some seriously heart-crushing disappointment, as well as effortless pacing and a third act that leaves you unbalanced - but the best part, to me, is the love story. Not even the love story - just Darius loving someone.

The movie opens with a little narration by Darius that I think nicely sums up the concept of this movie - when you're a kid, you believe that good things can happen, because nothing has happened to destroy that belief for you yet. In the end, I think all this movie wanted to do was give a little bit of that feeling back to Darius, to an incredibly embittered Jeff, to us.

And I think that is a wonderful thing.