If you are looking for a good film to take the whole family to see you will flip for Flipped. The movie opens nationwide today (8/27) and Catholic Exchange writer Mark Armstrong had a chance to talk to Producer/Director Rob Reiner about his latest project. Reiner is probably best known for his role as Michael in the 1970’s TV sit-com All in the Family. That role earned him two Emmy Awards. As a director, Reiner has won Oscar or Directors Guild nominations for Stand By Me, A Few Good Men and When Harry Met Sally.
Armstrong: It sounds like those people who liked the movie, Stand by Me, are going to like this new movie, Flipped.
Reiner: I think so, but in this case it is much more of a family film. Even though Flipped takes places during the same time period as Stand by Me, and covers the same age, 12-13 year olds, that critical time in life, these films really are companions in a way. Stand by Me really focused on the strong bounds of friendship that boys have at that age, Flipped is about those powerful, confusing feelings when you first fall in love.
Armstrong: What exactly does Flipped mean?
Reiner: Number one it is the feeling you have when you first fall in love, you flip over somebody. Secondly it is the flipping back and forth between the two different points of view, the boy’s and girl’s point of view in the movie.
This movie is also about two families who live across the street from each other and the values that those two families impart to those kids. Each family has a different set of values that contribute to the upbringing of their kids.
Armstrong: Did you have a relationship, a first love, like the one in the movie when you were growing up?
Reiner: Absolutely! You never forget your first love. I think that is what makes the film work so well because it is a strong powerful feeling. In Stand By Me there is this line at the end, ‘you never have friends like when you were 12.’ And it is true, you remember back to those childhood friendships. In this case, I don’t think anyone forgets the first time they fell in love or the first girl they had a crush on. So, yes, it was exactly what I felt like when I was going through that.
Armstrong: You grew up in a movie-making family, so wasn’t your experience different than the small town Americana portrayed in the movie?
Reiner: I don’t think it was that different, because it is the same regardless of what household you grow up in, and this was an interesting lesson that I learned years ago, when I made Stand By Me. After seeing that film, somebody came up to me and said, ‘Boy I loved that movie it reminded me of my childhood.’ And I said, ‘Oh you grew up in a rural area?’ And he said, ‘No I grew up in Manhattan.’
I realized at that point it wasn’t about where you grew up or who you grew up with, it was about the feelings you had when you made those connections with the friends you had then. It doesn’t matter whether you are from a rich Hollywood background with a famous father, or a poor background without the famous father; the feelings that you have are the same when you fall in love when you are 12-years old.
I had those feelings when I was 12-years old, with Kathleen Schrillo and I will never forget her. She lived a couple of blocks from me. She was a Catholic girl, I was a Jewish boy and I loved her dearly. She looked like Hayley Mills from Parent Trap. She had this blonde curly hair and she was a Tom-boy. We had exchanged ID bracelets and I remember going to try and kiss her and she hit me with a hairbrush!
Armstrong: It seems like Hollywood is making more family oriented movies these days. Is there a trend taking place?
Reiner: I hope so! These are the movies that I like to make. I like to watch a movie and not feel like it is just for kids or just for adults. I think this is a movie both kids and adults will enjoy together.
At the end of the day these are businesses and they need to make money at the box office. And all they these big conglomerates care about is the bottom-line. So if they can get some picture that can make money, that’s what they look for. Last year there was Blind Side and that did enormous business and so there are films out there that can attract families to the box office.
I guarantee you that Flipped is a movie you can take your whole family to and enjoy it and not have to worry about it.
The making of the movie was a family experience as well. Because there were young people on the set—not only the actors but often Reiner’s children and those of the cast—Reiner said he established a Swear Box to discourage profanity, with a $20 fine for each violation. It was no joke, according to one cast member “Sometimes, you don’t even realize what you’re saying. I forgot a line one time and let fly with a filthy word and I paid up. But, I must say, I’m not the only one who contributed to that box.”
One crew member was so startled to be flagged and fined that he unconsciously responded with a follow-up curse, immediately doubling his penalty and breaking up everyone within earshot.
The kids involved in the filming of the movie loved it. One said, “Every time someone swore Rob would jump up and say, ‘You owe $20!’ Honestly, he was the coolest. He always made everything more fun than you thought it could be.”
Flipped is rated PG by the MPAA for language and some thematic material. www.flipped-movie.com