Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend.

This week features a ring master with an anger problem, a cross-dressing grandma(n) with a big family, French Canadians in the Middle East and enough product placement to choke an E-CyboPooch.

Plus, if you see something you like, you can click on the image and buy it over at Amazon.

BIG FISH (2003)

Double Feature With: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS

The Pitch: It’s incredibly easy this weekend to get lost in the magical realism of the circuses of the early 20th century. Water For Elephants is a good, not great, movie, but watching it alongside Big Fish is certain to make the flaws even more apparent. For one, no werewolf ring master. To ensure as much enjoyment as possible, watch Elephants first.

Both are vibrant stories of love and meaning, and one of them even features a voice over that works. Plus, any excuse to celebrate Tim Burton’s discovery of primary colors is a good excuse.

For braver souls, watch The Last Circus for the triple feature.

How to See It: Requires a rental

MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER (1972)

Watch Instead Of: MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY

The Pitch: If you’re going to evoke The Godfather in your marketing, you’d better be prepared for people to make the quality connection, and that’s a connection that no one walks away from with their legs intact. Of course, Tyler Perry’s marketing team also evoked The Brady Bunch, so I guess a triple feature is in order.

If you’re looking for family drama with some actual substance, close the double doors on Madea and stick with the classic.

How to See It: Requires a Rental

MAELSTROM (2001)

Double Feature With: INCENDIES

The Pitch: The release of the Oscar-nominated flick that Robert Levin calls a “fine achievement of bold, deeply felt cinema” is a great reason to discover another Oscar-nominated film from writer/director Denis Villeneuve. Maelstrom is the story of a woman trying to pull her life together after crashing her car into a river. Incendies is the story of a woman and man trying to pull their lives together after their mother’s will sends them to the Middle East to learn the truth about their twisting family tree.

How to See It: Requires a rental

F FOR FAKE (1973)

Double Feature With: POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD

The Pitch: While Morgan Spurlock humorously uncovers the deception of marketing in films, Orson Welles’s last film uncovers the deception of art and filmmaking itself.

Welles’s exploration is an historical counterpart to Exit Through the Gift Shop that infuriates as much as it delights, and the Criterion comes with its normal overload of information and special features. I can think of no better way to follow up a documentary that questions advertising than with a documentary that questions documentaries.

How to See It: Requires a rental

Come back next Friday for more alternative box office tips


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