A suicidal gay uncle, an unspoken emo brother who dreams of flying jet fighters, a motivational-speaking dad who always seems to be out of touch, a seven year old out of shape pangeant-contesting "super-freak", and a heroin-addicted grandpa with the power to spout out Oscar-worthy expletives, all capped off by a mom who tends to serve popsicles for dessert.
Everything you need to provide a big yellow vehicle such as this one with a solid push.
I pretty much ignored this film when it was first released. I watched on it's first airing on TV, & I literally couldn't believe at how good it was. So I went out & rented it, & yep, I was right. It's that good.
The story is just perfect from beginning to end. And Kathy Bates, IMO, turns in an even better performance than she did in Misery. The plot may tend to come off as a bit complicated, but the movie does a great job of walking the viewer thru the intermingling flashbacks & varoius plot points that show the main character's journey to save her daughter from the father's "parental indulgences" & how that struggle can lead us to find strength in the most unlikely of places.
Lemme tell you something,
no matter how sane a character you cast Mariah Carey in a movie about dysfunctionality,
you still gotta make the other main characters in the film as effed up as possible just to make the viewers buy into her the credibilty of her role.
"Since then he's been slappin' the salami, no offense..... apparently he's goin' for a world record.... anyway, uh, he was afraid there was somethin' wrong with him, like he was a pervert or somethin'. I told him 'That's just what little dudes do. We've all done it'."
"... you need a license to buy a dog or drive a car, hell you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any butt-reamin' @sshole be a father."
In this family, dysfunctionality is a form of functionality.
Stretching mom out on a torture rack or throwing the baby out of a third story window is simply a way of communicating "You're okay, I'm okay".
And one of the advantages that comes with having the last name of Addams is that, no matter how many family-friendly games of tag you play,
your cousin will always be Itt.
Oh sure, maybe your family isn't as effed up as the one in this movie (or maybe, your family is worse). But, after viewing Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, you'll be left with the perfect feeling of indigestion, bitterness & hopeless depression that can only come after a family feast of dead bird, pumpkin pie & gelatinous cranberry sauce from a can.
As far as Thanksgiving films go, this might not be the most positive,
but let's be honest...
There are so few Thanksgiving flix, let alone quality Thanksgiving flix.
An eccentric who takes the idea of artistic integrity to it's most purest/extremist definition. Watching this guy talk about how he practically discovered his sexuality by riding his aunt's leg as a child, one can easily come to the conclusion of just how "weird" Crumb is. And yet, after you "meet" his family, it is he who comes off as the most normal one of the bunch.
With names like Gene Hackman, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller & Angelica Houston,
it's no surprise that as far as dark comedies go,
The Tenenbaums are what you might call the royal family of aristocratic & eccentric dysfunction.
A family portrayal that depicts how even the most ordinary people are not very ordinary.
Trying to live a life of normalcy can often be much more of an emotional household hindrance than it is as a sign of achievement of the American dream.
Before I ever saw this movie,
I thought that Mary Tyler Moore was one of the most beautiful, heart-warming human beings ever to be onscreen.
After I watched Ordinary People,
I couldn't stand to even look at her.
Now that's acting.
There are 3 scenes in this movie that make it such a standout for me: confidence man, Paul "Poitier's" (Will's Smith) observations on Catcher In The Rye & the nature of creativity; the phone call dialogue between he & Ouisa Kittredge (Stockard Channing): & finally, Oiusa's heartfelt speech about people's tendency to turn meaningful experiences into throwaway anecdotes.
Who would've thought that a film with this much philosophy could be this entertaining? Plus, not only is this a performance by Will Smith that first revealed his ability to act against other other big screeners, but this is also one of Stockards finest efforts. At this point in her career, she has honed her craft to the point where, in this particular movie, it really allows her to shine. I don't used the word under-rated when it comes to subjects that are based so much on relativity/subjectivity, such as the catergory of films, but if I could, this movie would be one of the main ones that would inspire me to do so. I really, really like this movie alot. Great performances by Will Smith & Stockard Channing along with Mr. Donald Sotherland coming in to provide the final piece of high mark acting to a high quality level movie.
The family that loves together stays together.
Or, if taken too far,
just completely crumbles together.
A grey, sodden story of family disorder that's as bleak as the subject matter can be,
& provides for some really good acting (particularly Lara Belmont), not to mention an excellent directorial debut by Tim Roth.
Personally, I think that this is a movie that tries to remind us that we have the ability to keep life in perspective, but usually don't. I think that what AB tries to say with it's message, especially at the end is much bigger than most of us realize. This is a film that I hope I can remember to watch every 4 or 5 yrs of my life, just as a reminder to "something" that I genuinely believe we all already know, but hardly ever allow it's awareness to surface during the course of our lives.
Or maybe I'm just looking at things bigger than what they really are in this movie.
Which could easily just be a side effect of the one-too-many times that I kept pressing the pause button during Thora Birch's naked breasts scene.
A neglected high school girl summons up the courage to ask the boy of her dreams out to the prom. And when he turns her down, she ends up summoning her effed up parents to help her capture the boy's heart. With the intent of drilling the idea of her undying love into his head.
A date movie in which the term "getting lucky" means "getting out". Alive.
The movie celebration of the season! Big sis is getting married! So put on a bridesmaid outfit, a sarcastic smirkiness for drama, carry in a burden of a lifetime of simmering family tension & denial, & then get ready to cut some cake. And maybe reopen a few emotional wounds or two.
Makes me can't effin' wait til effin' Christmas with my effin' family.
With their consecutive lives falling apart, two brothers scheme to rob a jewelry store owned by their parents. Hoping that the money will improve each others situation with the belief that the insurance will cover the loss to the store.
However, this being a movie, you know things are going to go awry. As the plans, then the robbery itself fall apart,
the brothers find their relationship with each other, with their father & just with their lives falling deeper in dysfunction.
A great film with a great cast directed by a great director, Sydney Lumet, in his last directorial outing.
A community from Small town U.S.A. comes together for one of their own.
one of their own that came "outta the the abandoned basement of society", which we have all seem to deny exists. Until, that is, the media comes arunnin' to shine it's light of "subjective truth" upon it.
A story that starts out macabrely weird & ends up macabrely moving.
And speaking of an evil family full of rednecks......
If anybody in this household (particularly, anyone who wears a mask of leathered flesh on his face) ever wants to borrow any of your tools (particularly any that you have to yank to get started), don't expect to ever see it again.
A father/daughter relationship of superheroic proportions.
And not until the daughter can slice the bad guys into bits, shove their teeth into their brains & shoot expletives with as much precision as a bullet in between the bad guy's eyes can she expect to be truly considered as Big Daddy's lil' hit girl.
Ever since The Godfather, it seems like mafia families just don't get it.
Living "the life" means "la familia" of the mob gets priority over the family of your blood.
And making the life of "la familia" a family bizaness, usually translates into the idea that the family that shoots together, dies together.
Next thing you know, you won't be able to tell whether you're at a family reunion or at a family funeral.
This is simply one of those movies that I really enjoy that never really gets much mention anywhere. Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffin & Phillip Seymour Hoffman are a great cast of actors playing a great cast of characters in this film. And each one is a piece of a puzzle that, despite their sharp edges, all still fit in perfectly.
In an effort of a getaway, a french group of young robbers seek to rendezvous near the border.
And they find it at what appears to be a quaint, family-owned inn.
However, they quickly come to realize that the family runs the inn as a place where "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave."
The Great Santini is a hero, an honored war veteran & an iron fisted father who thinks everyone should be as pasionately competitive as he is.
However, his oldest son is growing into an adult. And in the process, he's getting tired of following orders, being called a sports fan & having his head used as a basketball court. But through it all,
what he really wants is to find out what is it that truly makes his dad, "Santini", so great.
Most fathers like to bond with their sons through playing catch or taking 'em fishing. For this family, Dad hands you a gun and teaches you how to aim it at a squirrel & blow it's nuts off.
In this household, the family name is carried on by picking up a sniper rifle and aiming it right between a target's eyes.
In public schools everywhere, for every one popular girl that we see, there are probably 20 plain jane girls like Dawn Wiener lurking anonymously in the background.
Welcome to the Dollhouse follows the life of this 7th grader as she struggles to find her place in a family in which she is virtually non-existant (with the exception of being compared as a bad example to the beloved & favorited ballerina primadonna sibling) & in a junior high school where her only purpose is serving as a door mat for the class bullies.
This film is a hard-nosed depiction of those who are quietly & easily overlooked & who tend to make up a larger percentage of the student school population than many of us want to or even care to notice.
What happens when you don't find out until it's too late that the leader of a vast galactic Empire who has been corrupted by the darkside is really your dad, and
that a beautiful Princess that you have the hots for is really your sister?
Well, for the first part, you turn your life over to the Force, lead a rebellion against the Empire until your dad sees the light & dies a hero.
just pretend that the second part never really happened.
The Mighty Celestial's rating:
This is a list of some of my favorite movies to watch about familes that are either like mine or worse.
These aren't necessarily those of this genre which I consider to be the best, just my personal fave.
Some other well-known dysfunctional family films that I haven't seen yet:
- Meet The Fockers
- The Squid & The Whale
- Home For The Holidays
- The Ref
- What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
- Animal Kingdom
- The Croods
- The Joy Luck Club
- Cat On A Hot Tin Roof