Bad Haiku for a Great Movie: What If (2014)

“Awkward first meeting–

Doctor and animator–

Grows for a life time.”

Can I have a Fool’s Gold?

Why is Adam Driver in this a more extrovert version of the Adam that he is in Girls?

Why do I so much feel the British-ness (more than in HP) and physical smallness of Daniel Radcliffe?


‘Ruby Sparks’ is soft, fresh and gripping.


There’s always something cute and fresh about a well-developed coming-of-age story. Coming-of-age is a genre whose principal character is around adolescence to young adulthood with some issues going in himself and some taste of young love. Probably the some-sort-of father of the genre is J.D. Salinger, with his sad, rough, engaging portrayal of Holden Caulfield in Perks. And of course there’s J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. You get the gist.

I don’t think Ruby Sparks does belong in the genre but does definitely feel like one. Ruby Sparks lead actress Zoe Kazan wrote the screenplay, with her real life boyfriend Paul Dano as the lead guy. Kazan developed the material so well; there’s much investment on the characters no one comes across as your regular movie stereotypes.

For the synopsis, here’s one from Wikipedia.

Now I will discuss my like points:


1.  Calvin’s wardrobe!

Calvin wears clothes I so can relate. Most of the time it’s just how I want to dress myself up but just can’t coz: (1) I’m stout I can’t pull everything up, (2) it’s hot where I live I can’t possibly go out in layers, (3) I’m not rich, I would have to wear everything again. It helps that Dano in real life has a nice sleek nerd hair.

One day I hope when I could possibly relocate to somewhere colder, I get to wear much in layers. Most especially in beige.


2. Dano and Kazan, both very engaging.

Dano as Calvin is very apt. To think he’s 28, I’m pretty much convinced he’s 19 or something. He has the sleek geek attitude in him, you know, he’s in league with the Hollywood guys who get these roles as Daniel Radcliffe (HP), Logan Lerman (Perks) and that guy in Killers as Wesley Gordon or Dr. X in X-Men First Class.

Kazan is cute, odd, and nicely kitsch as Ruby, the leagues of Emma Watson, Emma Stone, Isla Fischer, Zooey Deschanel, Carey Mulligan. She wrote the material after all, she’s a true embodiment of the character.

As a couple, there’s something both very hippie and yuppie about them. Hippie coz they get to wear cute neutral-colored clothes, and they’re both artists. Yuppie coz they care about their careers although we don’t get to see Ruby do some work.

3. Calvin’s mom and stepdad!


Everybody gets to be cute and odd in this movie. The mom was some environmentalist, gardener of some sort, the likes of all-natural hippie lifestyle. She’s pro-weed so we don’t have problems.

And of course there’s Antonio Banderas whom I haven’t recognized as he was. He was the mom’s lover who’s pro-weed, pro-experience-doesn’t-matter-if-you-were-in-or-not-in-school, and a weird furniture maker. How he had looked so aged in this movie is… After all he was steamy in Time Traveller’s

4. The locations!


I’d love to live in Calvin’s house. In the same or like neighborhood. I like how layered it gets, very minimal, and young it looks. It looks very much of a house without a woman in it. No flowers! No gold! No pink! All white, natural beige from wood, some grays! And there are tall non-fussy greens flourishing outside.

While I don’t think I could live with some sort of that house, I love all the greens in Calvin’s mom’s garden. Very spa-ish.

Well, I like the trees and the mist where they take Scottie for potties, but I’ve seen and have been to better ones so pass!

5. Scottie’s so cute!

Scottie, Calvin’s dog, is the star! I laughed so much on that gimmick about stepdad (Banderas) making an impression of Scottie! The dog was so charming hahaha.

6. The climax!

There’s some directing shining moment out there. Great Hitchcock moment out there.

7. The Magical Typewriter!

Not that it’s really magical. It’s just when he writes there it can directly affect Ruby’s behavior.

I’m thinking I should get one. But maybe in some years time. A typewriter makes up most of every geek moment of every movie about writers (Charlie in Perks had one; the editor in that movie about paintings, women in university, had one)


It’s quite sad the movie didn’t get as much ticket sales as it should, coz I think this is a gem. It’s full and very satisfying. I should have watched this at some movie house. That’s just how I think this movie should’ve been supported.



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