1. The Descendants
Did you ever worry that you were dead inside? That a MacBook Pro lived where your heart should be? No worries! If you watch Alexander Payne’s new film, The Descendants, you’re bound to feel something. It’s a film that’s nothing but emotions! It’s about a man who has just found out his wife is cheating on him. He would confront her about it, but oops she’s in a coma! Instead, he just has to yell at walls and his children to get the aggression out. It’s not an enviable position to be in. Nope. I would not be jealous of George Clooney… for once.
Alexander Payne has a knack for making films that are so real and raw that they often feel like documentaries. The Descendants is no exception. There are no explosions, nudity or drugs. It’s relatively quiet, which makes the big “a-ha!” moments all the more powerful. And there’s no happy ending tacked on at the end either. The message is defiantly realistic: Families are screwed up and there’s a lot of resentment next to all the love. Ah, how refreshing!
In all honesty, I’m not sure if I even liked Shame but it stuck with me for days afterwards, which is a lot more than I can say for most films. Everyone’s talking about it because it has an NC-17 rating and, even though there’s a lot of sex and penis in this film, it’s never actually sexy. There is no joy in the sex that Michael Fassbender’s character has. On the contrary, it’s pure misery. It’s a very American thing to do — make a movie about sex and show no joy coming from the act. Sometimes I think our collective head would explode if we showed promiscuity without consequence. What a novel idea! In any event, seeing the agony attached to something that is supposed to bring you ecstasy is interesting. Plus, Michael Fassbender’s dick is huge. So bye.
3. Young Adult
Let me say something upfront. This movie isn’t perfect. In fact it’s quite flawed but somehow the film manages to make that work in its favor. Charlize Theron does an amazing job playing a female character who’s downright unlikeable. It’s a revolutionary concept actually — creating someone who has a vagina with few redeeming qualities — but screenwriter Diablo Cody goes for it in her third feature film, Young Adult. Imagine if the lead character, Mavis, was deplorable and didn’t look like a supermodel. Now that would be truly progressive! But we’re not there yet as a society so in the meantime, we must swallow the bitter pill that is Charlize Theron acting like a narcissist. Patton Oswalt does an amazing dramatic turn as a handicapped nerd and Patrick Wilson plays a DILF so, yeah, go see it. You will have an opinion about it no matter what. Guaranteed reaction!
4. We Need To Talk About Kevin
I haven’t seen this yet but everyone is losing their minds over it so I figured I should include it. The premise seems interesting. A couple raises a boy who turns out to be a murderer and they’re like, “What? Didn’t see that one coming.” This idea that you could give birth and raise someone who becomes a monster seems intriguing. What if you legitimately are afraid of your child? Are you allowed to hate who they are? Some interesting ideas going on in this little indie. Plus, Tilda Swinton is God.
5. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel of the same name, the title of this film irks me but I’m looking past it because I legit tear up every time I see the trailer. From the looks of it, it just seems to be about a young boy running around New York City while laughing, screaming, and crying, but whatever. I’m sold. Sold and already sobbing.