Socially awkward film characters try to find their way

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Dumbo

Social situations have never been my thing. Insecure as a child and shy as an adult, I feel more comfortable around family and close friends than in situations where I am encouraged to meet-and-greet. I understand that this reluctance to forge new relationships often leaves the impression of my being awkward and often a little cold.

 

Fortunately, my job requires that I interact publicly on a regular basis, so the level of discomfort I feel (and cause) in social situations is far less than it was in my younger days. Still, I'm pretty sure my neighbors regard me as the odd, quiet guy on the corner. Sorry about that, neighbors.

Still, I'm in pretty good company. Below is a list of movies featuring characters that couldn't quite pull it together in social situations.

ED WOOD (1994): Based on the true story of the cross-dressing director who became famous for making the worst movies of all time, this Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration strives to find the heart and soul of an artist whose talent, and social skills, never quite matched his enthusiasm.

HIGH FIDELITY (2000): There is a subspecies of human that really can only interact within the safe space of a record store. There, in fact, but for the grace of God, go I. In this film about love, life, music and the obsessive list, John Cusack stars as the owner of an independent music store who, while adept at waxing poetic about bands, finds that his ability to maintain a meaningful relationship could use some work. It turns out enthusing about movies and music is only a vague simulation of actual conversation.

DUMBO (1941): In all fairness, Dumbo was very young, a baby really, and an elephant. Ear issues or not, those both seem like pretty good excuses for some social ineptness. Besides, who needs to be able to cruise the cocktail party when you can fly?

PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990): It's possible that this movie about a painfully shy high school student who finds his voice on pirate radio hasn't quite held up as well as it might. Still, there's a real sense of honesty in the idea that those who can't communicate in traditional ways often find an outlet to have their voice heard. The music in this one is great as well.

CARRIE (1976): Part of the issue with being socially awkward and young is that there are times when kids can be cruel. Kids, learn a lesson from Carrie. That odd kid at the back of the class that becomes the target for ridicule just might use mysterious mind powers to lock gym doors and unleash a telekinetic tail kicking. Who is laughing then?

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

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