Iwas ten years old and at Sierra McCoy's birthday party. Sierra, a flirtatious girly girl, had recently begun dating my object of affection, Chris Knox. Needless to say, I was not thrilled to be there. After a routine meal at Pizza Hut, we huddled into a crowded van and headed to the movie theater. On the way, I sang "Wishin' and Hopin'" (from My Best Friend's Wedding) to myself as I formulated devious plans to split up Sierra and Chris. Due to someone's poor planning, the only semi child appropriate movie at the theater was...
None of the other girls really gave a shit what movie we saw. They were still hyped up on sugar and grease. I, on the other hand, in my pubescent despondency, needed cinema solace. And a movie I vaguely understood to have something to do with the 50's was pretty much perfect.
David Wagner (Tobey Maguire), a single and lonely nerd, routinely escapes his dismal 90's existence by watching the 1950's sitcom Pleasantville. His twin sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) is the exact opposite; an airhead slut who embraces her decade. One night while fighting over the remote control, David and Jennifer are sucked into the black and white TV world and and find themselves as Bud and Mary Sue Parker, the children of George Parker (William H. Macy) and his wife, Betty (Joan Allen). While David tries to blend in, well versed in the rules of the sitcom, Jennifer is reckless and brings some much needed color to the pristine and pleasant town.
Back in 1998, when I sat in that darkened theater, alienated from my friends, I found a kindred spirit in David Wagner. He was awkward and endearing and obsessed with the 50's, just as I had been just a few years prior. It was very comforting to find a male who felt the same way I did, who was chivalrous and romantic and could spout off trivia without shame. Plus, he's drop dead sexy.
This is the movie that introduced me to Tobey Maguire, my favorite actor and biggest celebrity crush. It pleases me very much that I got in on close to the ground floor. Tobey had previously done some TV work, starred in the indie Joyride (no, not the one with Paul Walker), and had a supporting role in The Ice Storm. But Pleasantville, the first of his nerdy-and-thoughtful-young-man roles, pushed him into the public eye and my hormonal ten year old heart.