My Girl Blu-ray Review
Back in the good old days of UHF TV, there would be plenty of movies from the 70’s through 80’s that would run all day long on weekends. Since I wasn’t quite old enough to enjoy anything besides cartoons and easily digestible live action stories, I would generally keep it on my local UHF station that broadcasted cartoons, followed by forgettable bygone movies. One of their big exciting premieres one day was MY GIRL. This wasn’t my gateway movie to adolescence nor did it hold a special place in my heart, but even now I can see why so many other people within my age range cherish this movie.
Vada (Chlumsky) is an awkward girl. She’s a tomboy, the beginnings of a hypochondriac, attends a writing class for adults, and feels perfectly at place growing up around death. You could almost say she’s a character that’s too outlandish to exist. Her level of maturity clearly has been brought on early by the death of her mom and the fact that her father is a funeral director. She makes do with this macabre life, but it’s further complicated by the fact that she’s on the cusp of adolescence, so she’s beginning to experience conflicting emotions and slowly losing control of them.
Before the unfortunateness, that is the ending, we watch her life in the summer of ‘72. Her father (Akroyd) befriends and eventually becomes smitten with the new make-up artist at the funeral home, Shelley (Curtis). She develops a crush on her writing class teacher and hangs out with the most unpopular guy at her school, Thomas (Macaulay Culkin). While this is obviously a nostalgic movie that speaks from the heart, there’s much more to it than a sappy family drama worthy of ABC Family. It feels more personable to the viewing audience. Vada speaks some hopeful universal truths, but we have to watch her experience some of the more harsh lessons of life.
Vaga embodies a lot of what you want in a coming age of movie where one learns about love, life and death. She carries with her the carefree bliss of childhood, but it slowly transitions in a cruel way. Watching this now, I have to hand to Chlumsky for giving us such a thoughtful portrayal of the young girl growing up in Middle America. Akroyd and Curtis are equally good in this movie. As for Culkin, I feel like you can take it or leave it. His time to shine wouldn’t come until HOME ALONE.
Sadly there’s nothing in MY GIRL for me or anything that will make me wistful. I can admire all the effort that went into this story and making sure that it clicked on all cylinders, but I can’t relate. I will say I enjoyed this movie way more as a kid, so in a way it spoke in a profound way to me, but not so much anymore. Maybe one day that evocative feeling I felt when first watching this years ago will find its way back into me. But for now I can appreciate something that speaks so honestly about life.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) This presentation captures the warm beauty of summer and there’s really no loss on the picture quality. You might notice a few problems whenever the story calls for our characters to interact at night, but other than that this is great looking film.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is really balanced out on this movie. The soundtrack is definitely a step back in time and matches the story well.
Audio Commentary: Very rarely do commentary tracks feature the writer, but it does offer a dose of insights you generally don’t expect, such as the real life experiences that helped craft the narrative as well a highlight of the themes. It also gives us some insight into how difficult this movie was to get released followed by her life since the movie.
A Day on the Set: This is two different packages of photos. It’s a collage of on-set footage from two specific scenes which it titles as “Kiss” and “Bingo!”. Fairly self-explanatory.
Original Behind the Scenes Featurette (6:01): This is an aged behind the scenes look at the making of this movie. It’s kind of a throwback to how bonus making of content use to be; Short and to the point, and also narrated for some odd reason.