"f I knew what I was going to do that far down the road, there’d be no point in doing it.”
August 31, 2007 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I never saw Simon Birch but I found this interview Roger Ebert did with Ian Michael Smith really amazing. I don't know if it was how comfortable Ian is with sci-fi-ing up his body, how the two of them used technology to overcome their current physical conditions, the discussions of "disability blogospheres" or just how happy Roger seems to be in this conversation but the whole thing made me smile...and something made me think MeFi would agree.
posted by Brainy (15 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Hooray Ian for being at MIT. I work in Cambridge, and hope I come across him some time! Simon Burch is the most heartwarming movie I've ever seen. Just my two cents.
posted by WaterSprite at 8:17 PM on August 31, 2007

I met Ian once. He's a fantastically nice fellow. A good actor, too, but I can understand his wanting to move on instead of doing Simon Birch-type roles over and over again.

As for Simon Birch itself - it's a shameless damn tearjerker. Shameless.
posted by Iridic at 8:27 PM on August 31, 2007

That was nice. It's good to see more outward-facing people with disabilities transcending "gee, ain't I cute?" and becoming recognized as multifaceted people. Just like the difference between Simon Birch and Ian today.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:38 PM on August 31, 2007

Do not anthropomorphize MeFi. It HATES it when you do that.
posted by spock at 10:01 PM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by serazin at 11:05 PM on August 31, 2007

I have recently become fascinated, for obvious reasons, with the varieties of human communication. Now sitting before me was a man who uses himself as a lab for electronically-assisted living.

i was a caregiver for a lady that was nonverbal and quadraplegic, from birth. aside from regular day to day care i also helped her do her research study for a phd in developmental psychology. she communicated using her eyes, different locations represented letters of the alphabet. H or W = my hair, T = table, A or O = my armpit, etc. she also used her computer via morse code, tapping it out with her head, using the head switches at her temples, which she also used to steer her wheelchair. when she gave talks at seminars i would translate, doing a Q & A was something else, when we had a rhythm going i was able to anticipate what she needed to say almost as fast as she needed to say it, it was a heady experience when we were on the ball (it took a few years to get to that point).

anyway, not that that means anything and pardon the derail. it's just been a few years and that made me think of it and thought i'd share. 'scuse me now.
posted by andywolf at 11:43 PM on August 31, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have to admit that I avoided this movie because it is based on A Prayer for Owen Meany, a book that I love very very much. While reading it, in fact, I couldn't stop my 20th Century American mind from wondering what a movie adaptation would be like, but ultimately decided that my imagination would have to suffice - no cimematic depiction would ever be appropriate for what Owen Meany looked like (or, more importantly sounded like) in my mind.

Lo and behold, now this movie - which, as I understand it, John Irving disowned eventually - gets a thumbs up here on the blue. So - is it worth it to risk compromising my image of Gravesend? Or should I continue to honor my reluctance?
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:45 PM on August 31, 2007

I hated it, personally.
posted by stammer at 1:05 AM on September 1, 2007

If A Prayer for Owen Meany meant anything to you, you'll probably hate Simon Birch.
That said, I liked the post and I'm glad to hear about Ian Smith's post actor life. He sounds like a good guy.
posted by maryh at 2:51 AM on September 1, 2007

fingers of fire, everyone I know who read the book hated the movie. I have avoided it. But I liked the interview posted here.

What maryh said.
posted by jiiota at 4:49 AM on September 1, 2007

Simon Birch is the film that convinced me, once and for all, that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that Hollywood cannot fuck up.

Good to hear about the kid, though.
posted by Optamystic at 4:50 AM on September 1, 2007

(I haven't seen Simon Birch, but its director has two other films to his credit -- Daredevil and Ghost Rider. The former is one of the worst movies I have ever seen; the latter -- which I skipped because a seven-year-old kittens for breakfast felt the same way about Ghost Rider that I'm sure some of you feel about John Irving, and so I knew the movie would bum me out -- is, from what I understand, at about the same level of quality. So I'd be wary of anything he did, just as an FYI.

Doesn't take anything away from Ebert's article or the general awesomeness of Ian Michael Smith and his cheerful ongoing triumph over adversity, though.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:23 AM on September 1, 2007

Actually Andywolf, that was as much my point as anything about the movie or Ebert. The joy Ian seems to have at augmenting his body is wonderful as is how excited the professors at MIT were to have new toys to play with.
posted by Brainy at 8:42 AM on September 1, 2007

i was tempted to see the movie until someone mentioned the director of ghost rider and daredevil directed it. dd was awful, but ghost rider is easily high in my top five of worst movies ever, absolute garbage.
posted by andywolf at 3:34 PM on September 1, 2007

please don't bother, fingers_of_fire. A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my all-time faves and the movie is sappy and one-dimensional. I fully understand why Irving disowned it. if you're interested, The Cider House Rules got much better big-screen treatment.
posted by killy willy at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2007

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