Song of the Day #4,214: ‘Hate It Here’ – Wilco

Best Movies of the 2010s
#11 – Boyhood (2014)

How often do you see a movie that is unlike anything else ever made?

The unique achievement of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood — that it was shot over 12 years, capturing its main character’s entire childhood in two and a half hours — would make it worthy of this list almost regardless of its quality.

But Linklater used his storytelling conceit to tell a deep, poignant story about the life of an ordinary kid without succumbing to sentimentality or melodrama. He found poetry in the everyday moments that build up to shape a life.

At one point in the film, young Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) asks his father (Ethan Hawke) if magic is real. Mason Sr. replies that there might be no mystical beings, but why isn’t something like a blue whale just as impressive? A massive mammal that lives underwater and has a heart the size of a VW bug — is that not just as wild and majestic as an elf?

The scene is a lovely metaphor for the film itself, which finds magic in the mundane. Family dinners, first days of school, high school parties, summer vacations. As Mason Jr. says in the film’s last line (in a moment of trademark Linklater philosophizing, aided by a pot brownie), “It’s always right now.”

Boyhood is a movie about how all of those “right nows” add up to form a young person’s life.

When I made my first pass at this list, I had Boyhood slotted in the top five. After a rewatch (my first complete revisit since I saw it in theaters), it slipped just out of the top ten. For some reason it felt less profound and overwhelming than it did upon first viewing. I’m not sure why.

I’ve watched my four favorite Linklater films (Before Sunrise, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunset and School of Rock) countless times and they just get better and better. I’ll have to wrestle with how and why this movie is different.

But regardless of that slight reassessment, it still easily ranks as one of my top films of the past decade.

[Verse 1]
I try to stay busy
I do the dishes, I mow the lawn
I try to keep myself occupied
Even though I know you’re not coming home
I try to keep the house nice and neat
I make my bed I change the sheets
I even learned how to use the washing machine
But keeping things clean doesn’t change anything
What am I going to do when I run out of shirts to fold?
What am I going to do when I run out of lawn to mow?
What am I going to do if you never come home?
Tell me, what am I gonna do?

[Chorus]
I hate it
I hate it here
When you’re gone

[Verse 2]
I caught myself thinking
I caught myself thinking once again
Have to try to keep my mind out of this
Try not to pretend
I’ll check the phone
I’ll check the mail
I’ll check the phone again and I call your mom
She says you’re not there and I should take care

[Chorus]
I hate it here
When you’re gone
I hate it
I hate it here
When you’re gone

[Outro]
I try to stay busy
I take out the trash, I sweep the floor
Try to keep myself occupied
Because I know you don’t live here anymore

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,214: ‘Hate It Here’ – Wilco

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    As someone who is not such a fan of Linklater’s films nor a big fan of Ethan Hawke, I went into this movie with a fair amount of skepticism, though I was intrigued by the concept. So, with relatively low expectations, I came away really liking the movie, including Hawke.

    Still, I have had no desire to see this movie again (although that is true of 99% of the movies I’ve seen). Perhaps for you the magic of the mundane (3 hours worth no less) just becomes a bit less magical on repeat viewing.

  2. Peg says:

    I was fascinated by the idea of how this movie was done. I watched it alone on TV and was glad I experienced it. That said I don’t have any desire to see it again. I have become an Ethan Hawke fan though.

  3. Amy says:

    This was the first film on your list where I thought, “Of course!” Likely for the reasons you mention about the achievement of making the film itself but also because, a bit like Moonlight more recently, this film so powerfully and intimately shared the life of its protagonist. Watching the film felt as if you’d been invited into someone’s home to share their most personal (and, yes, sometimes mundane) moments. I never wanted either film to end, though I can appreciate why the experience of rewatching such films is less special. Both Boyhood and Moonlight would be in my top 10 for the decade.

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