When Rian Johnson suggested Paper Moon for this week's Cinematical Movie Club, I thought it was a great choice. In some ways, it's a lot like The Brothers Bloom, a funny story of cons that shines because of its characters. Both thrive on interpersonal interactions and character quirks. But these days, it is more than a notable Peter Bogdanovich feature that won Tatum O'Neal the honor of youngest Oscar winner. It's one of the many Hollywood stories where the glitz and glamor of showbiz covers a troubled reality. Drugs, abuse, and neglect are prominent in the story of the O'Neals, which seems to be ongoing with continual drug busts and even Ryan O'Neal accidentally hitting on Tatum.
None of that is present in the film, and in fact, Paper Moon offers a prime example of defying circumstances and coming out strong. Where Tatum's childhood woe is still on-going, her 9-year-old Addie is strong and unstoppable. Of course, growing up under the care of prostitute mother has left Addie with little sense of the law's morals. There's no struggle with right and wrong as she overhears her maybe-father' Moses' (Ryan O'Neal) cons. She simply wants in on the action.