Sommer vorm Balkon

I volunteered last night to take a (what do we collectively call them? A gaggle? A school? A herd? A giggle?) couple of teenagers (15, 16, and 17) to the video store to rent a film for family viewing, i.e. for the teenagers and their aging parents. I gave the parents of T15 and T17 a key to the apartment so they could get food set up, because I was sure it would take a while.

WiseKid wanted something with action or horror. T15 wanted a love story. T17 wanted something serious or educational. I suggested humor, all three turned up their noses, no kid stuff, please. We walked around and around, found a few more or less passable ones, but they were already all rented.

WiseKid suggested Schulmädchenreport, T15 ran through the foreign language stuff, T17 was bored and I was amused at all the people answering their mobile phones "Hi, I'm at the video store right now!".

We finally agreed on the German film Sommer vorm Balkon (2005), (Summer in Berlin) because WiseKid had auditioned for the part of Rico, which had been exciting, but he didn't get the part, obviously.

Turned out to be a good choice, even though the parents of T15 and T17 had already seen it, they said it was hilarious and would love to see it again. There are two friends, Katrin and Nike. Katrin is the alcoholic, out-of-work, single mother of a young teenager and Nike, who lives in the same house, works as a home helper for the elderly. Nike cleans, makes beds, changes diapers, makes people take their medicine, and then takes time to speak with them or read to them - and gets into trouble at work for this, as she is not paid to read aloud to them.

Both Katrin and Nike are looking for a man. Nike settles on an outrageously horrible truck driver who is quite the male chauvinist pig. They go through a number of episodes during the summer, some extremely funny, some quite sobering. They survive in Berlin, but just barely

Niko only has a bit part and does not say more than WiseKid had to learn for the audition. We all agreed that the kid they chose didn't do a good job, which pleased WiseKid.

For dessert we watched Tim Burton's Frankenweenie. What a riot! Genius kid brings his dead dog back to life with lots of commentary on American surburban life. The short film is hidden deep within the bonus material for the Nightmare before Christmas.

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