Duncan (newcomer Liam James) is a lonely, shy kid who hasn’t really ever been treated with respect. His mom (Toni Colette) has been dating this guy Trent (Steve Carell) for a while, and they’re spending a month or so at the beach, at Trent’s shore house, during summer 2013.
Trent is a big douchebag… alpha-male-type, trying to weasel his way into possibly becoming Duncan’s stepfather…. and Duncan rightfully hates his guts. His mom seems oblivious to how awful Trent treats Duncan on a day-to-day basis, and Duncan harbors a lot of resentment.
Duncan seems stuck at the shore house shortly after arriving, while everyone is out having fun and basically ignoring him. But as luck would have it, he finds a girl’s bike, and soon fearlessly explores the beach town on it. He immediately meets a great, funny guy named Owen (Sam Rockwell), who offers Duncan a summer job at the water park, which Owen manages. In mere days, Owen becomes much more of a father figure to Duncan than Trent could ever hope to be. Even with Owen’s immaturity, he treats Duncan with complete respect and realizes the potential in the kid.
What happens next? Tons of fun, occasionally heartbreaking, and heartwarming stuff. As usual, I won’t spoil anything for you. You have to watch it, and, if you know anything about me, I always recommend great movies, which seem to be quickly forgotten about (and shouldn’t ever be).
The film just hits on all levels, from the great soundtrack to the top-notch acting by every single character. Sam Rockwell is infinitely charming with his immature, sarcastic, jaded dialogue and interaction with his co-workers. You’ll want to find a friend just like him in real life. And Liam James… man, you just feel every single emotion, watching him on-screen. This is a boy/character who has been through the ringer of life, and he’s not even 15, yet. Annasophia Robb also provides a refreshing contrast to Liam James’ overall bummer vibe.
It’s summer as I type this (June 15th, 2015), so make this the next film you see! It is a perfect summer film.
The film is the writing and directorial debut of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Nat Faxon plays a minor role in the film as an employee of the water park, and Owen’s friend Roddy. Quick search showed me that Jim Rash won an academy award for the screenplay of The Descendants (2012), so these guys are definitely on the map. If this film is any indication, I can’t wait to see what else these guys do. Over time, I know this movie will make these guys household names, in the same way John Hughes is.
Brief summary: I’ve seen this a small handful of times, but it’s always enjoyable. The ever-charming and sexually promiscious Ari Graynor and the stoic, nerdy, and sexually repressed/inexperienced friend Lauren Anne-Miller (Seth Rogen’s wife in real life) play two New Yorkers, struggling with employment issues. They reluctantly get a place together, even after an experience in the past made them strongly dislike each other.
After a short time of living together, Lauren (Lauren Anne-Miller) finds out one night that Katie (Ari Graynor) started a small phone sex operation, and she is absolutely disgusted. Soon after that, Lauren loses her good job, and after several fruitless job searches, offers to help Katie get more customers, as her business manager and tech adviser, for a third of Katie’s profits. Their gay friend Jesse (Justin Long) has no clue what they’re up to, and his scene-stealing scenes and dialogue are always hilarious. Mark Webber is also in the film, and plays a hipster indie filmmaker (and also Ari Graynor’s love interest).
Like Superbad, the film has its raunchy moments, but they’re always delivered with a classy, self-aware sense of humor. There are parts which may offend the faint-of-heart, but I don’t think that’s you, dear reader. After all, you’re on a blog which proudly features films which aren’t always G-rated or “safe.”
This is a great, light-hearted “summery” film, in the spirit of all the great Judd Apatow films (Superbad, Adventureland, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, etc)…. a great soundtrack, great acting, and lines that will definitely make you chuckle or laugh out loud. Definitely recommended.
Brief summary: I think the tagline and reviews say it best…
“Kids can be mean, adults can be meaner.” and “Mean Girls for adults! Few recent movies are as darkly funny.”
Meris Canfield has a shallow, annoying husband, whose new friends can’t be bothered with someone as “plain” and “boring” as her (Meris). Without spoiling anything for you… Meris goes through a huge transformation, and makes some new (and very interesting/troubled) friends. What will become of Meris’ life and new friendships?
This movie is pretty much one of the best indie/low-budget films I’ve seen in recent years… insanely good character development, creative editing and direction, the whole nine. Rid Of Me would be in the top of any list of great indie films from 2000-present. Don’t sleep on it.
Brief summary: Johnny Rizzo is a passionate late-night sports radio talk show host in his mid-twenties from Oakland, CA. His girlfriend/fiancee is impatient, shallow, and annoying, and could care less about his dreams or passion. His fiancee convinces Johnny to change his career entirely and take a job working for a NYC-based cardboard-box-manufacturing company, so he could finally begin to make a good living. While in NYC, he connects with his uncle Terry (who’s a bit of a womanizer, and a douchebag). Terry can’t understand why Johnny would even consider abandoning the job he loves, just to please his fiancee, so Terry tries to set Johnny up on a blind date with a gorgeous, laid-back emerging tennis star named Brooke. Johnny of course, won’t have any part of it, as he is completely loyal to his girl. While in New York, Johnny has a bit of an identity crisis, and tries to break up the fight between his logical thoughts and his innermost desires.
As common with Edward Burns films, Nice Guy Johnny is a heartfelt, realistic character study. Edward Burns (my personal indie film hero, next to Hal Hartley, who is my indie film GOD), made this film for less than $25,000 and it seems like a much higher-budget film…. due to the acting, cinematography, music score, etc. If you have ever been passionate about anything in your life, and had people constantly fight you along the way (whether saying something like “get a real job” or “grow up” or anything similar), definitely watch this completely underrated film. Hats off to Edward Burns, for always delivering the real, when it comes to independent movies. I fuckin’ love his stuff, and so should you.
Brief summary: There are films which try to emulate the “John Hughes vibe”, and there are films which nail it, in their own unique way. Skateland fits in the latter category.
Everyone loves John Hughes films. They’re funny, sharp, with characters you care deeply about, and music which kicks ass. Skateland isn’t like a John Hughes film at all, though….. it’s a lot more serious, and it’s a lot slower-paced, but just as engaging, and with characters you totally care about.
So…. here’s the basic plot (slightly modified from wikipedia): Skateland takes place in a small town in Texas in 1983. The film follows a 19-year-old named Ritchie who spends most of his time at the local rollerskating rink where he works and hangs out with his friends, Brent (a respected motocross biker), Brent’s sister Michelle, and their friend Kenny. Ritchie is struggling trying to figure out his future, when tragedy strikes and forces him to make some important decisions in his life.
I’ve seen this film about ten times over the last year and a half. I love it so much. The music alone makes this film worth watching. It has a LOT of great 80s new wave/modern rock songs in the film… from Blondie’s “The Tide Is High” to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”… all the way to “Space Age Love Song” by Flock of Seagulls, and Modern English’s “I Melt With You”…. fantastic soundtrack.
And… it must be said that Michelle (played by the absolutely flawless Ashley Greene) is every 80s guy’s dream…. She’s truly the girl next door: she’s cool, sweet, loves good music, and she’s got that look that just screams “the perfect 80s girl.” Her green eyeshadow in a few different scenes is something to behold…. whew. My heart just goes pitter-patter when seeing her in this film…. those eyes. That nose. Those lips… that face. Here’s a screencap:
I highly recommend Skateland, especially if you were born in the 70s (like me) and feel nostalgic about the 80s and love/miss those classy 80s girls (like me). Passionately written and beautifully directed by Anthony Burns.
Brief summary: Asshole-ish indie rock star Ethan gets a surprise at one of his shows, during a current tour: he learns he might be the father of a 13-year old daughter named Janie. Her drug-addict mother gives Ethan the news, and this is right before his performance. I won’t ruin the rest of the movie for you… but a few things you can count on: fights, great music, lies & betrayal, truth and jail time, travel, and psychotic mothers. Curious? You should be.
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot… EXCELLENT music/songs written by Eef Barzelay of indie legends Clem Snide. And, of note… all of the songs in the film were played and sung by Alessandro Nivola and Abigail Breslin (that always impresses me when actors/actresses perform/sing for real, in movies, instead of faking it.).
Definitely check out this underrated gem of indie filmmaking, written and directed by David M. Rosenthal.