Friends with Kids

2012-overlookedmovies

The movies listed here aren’t necessarily the year’s best, but they’re still great movies that never found an audience during their theatrical run for one reason or another. At least one of those reasons is you, but instead of berating you for failing to support the films while they were in theaters and needed your help, we’re hoping to point you in their direction now. (Which reminds me… go see Jack Reacher!) But first, a few qualifications. I’ve excluded movies that played in fewer than 100 theaters since that’s the distributor’s fault. I’m not featuring films that made over $30m, and I’m not including subtitled foreign releases which the masses avoid by default. These are only films that had a real chance of making a lot more money, so while I wish more people saw the LCD Soundsystem concert doc Shut Up and Play the Hits, I’m not surprised that it only made $510k. So here are 12 great movies that failed at the box office but deserved much better (and should be sought out immediately on Blu-ray/DVD, streaming, whatever)… and 6 terrible flicks that you were right to avoid.

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Culture Warrior

It’s nothing new to say that the term “independent filmmaking” has come to no longer reference the actual practice of making films outside the studio system, and alerts more directly to an aesthetic of hipness. That the cute-and-quirky consecutive multi-Oscar nominees Little Miss Sunshine and Juno were similarly marketed by Fox Searchlight as “independent films” despite the fact that the former was actually produced independently and the latter was funded by studio dollars, effectively put the nail in the coffin for actual independent filmmaking to have any meaningful visibility. Meanwhile, first-time directors who make their name at Sundance like Marc Webb, Doug Liman, and Seth Gordon quickly reveal themselves to be aspiring directors-for-hire rather than anti-Hollywood renegades. Tom DiCillo, Hal Hartley, and Jim Jarmusch seem ever more like naïve, idealist relics each passing year. It’s clear what the blurring of the lines between independence and studio filmmaking has meant for the mainstream: as my friend and colleague Josh Coonrod pointed out last week, it renders “platform release” synonymous with “independent,” it means that movies featuring Bradley Cooper and Bruce Willis are the top competitors at the “Independent” Spirit Awards (see the John Cassavetes Award for actual independents), and it means that Quentin Tarantino is, for some reason, still considered an independent filmmaker. American independent filmmaking has lost its ideological reason for being. But when it comes to films that are actually independently financed – films for whom the moniker is less an appeal toward cultural capital and more an accurate […]

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Blu-ray Spotlight

As many a dedicated FSR reader will note, there has long been a column on this site called This Week in Blu-ray. The operative statement that illuminates the lack of effectiveness in its run is “week,” as it’s never been the most consistent feature we’ve run on this site. So as we do from time to time, we’re going to allow it to evolve into something new. Blu-ray Spotlight, it’s replacement, is a different concept for my coverage of the world of high definition home entertainment. This week, it will look similar to old entries. Reviews of the Blu-ray releases of the day. In coming weeks and months, we’ll expand it a bit to look at Blu-ray technology, news and other topics within the realm of home entertainment. Bigger releases (like the upcoming release of Jaws) will get the more in-depth treatment they deserve and we may even mix in a few giveaways. In the end, it will ultimately still serve the mission of highlighting the best of the world of Blu-ray. So lets get started, shall we? Pick of the Week Full Metal Jacket The Pitch: Stanley Kubrick’s classic Vietnam exploration explodes on its 25th Birthday. As you’ll see below, it was incredibly difficult for me to not place High Fidelity as my Pick of the Week. I love that movie fully and unabashedly. But the release quality of Warner Bros.’ 25th Anniversary Edition of Full Metal Jacket is far too strong. A brand new HD remaster of the film provides beauty, a […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! I’d apologize for the title above, but those are actually legitimate elements of four of the releases below. Okay, maybe the Susie Salmon one is sophomoric wordplay related to the otherwise boring Salmon Fishing In the Yemen, but the others are completely legit. I swear. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Inbetweeners: The Complete Series When Will’s mother moves him from private to public school he thinks his life is over, but thanks to three new friends he’ll be wishing it really was. Will’s anal, Simon’s a bit too gullible, Jay’s an irresponsible tool and Neil is a bit of an idiot. Together they’re hilarious. This UK series ran for three seasons, and each is literally better and funnier than the last. Each episode is essentially what the American Pie movies think they are… crass, heartfelt and funny as hell. [Deleted scenes, outtakes, commentaries, featurettes]

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At a certain age, everyone has them – people they love, friends they’ve grown up with, beloved compatriots that have turned into frazzled, mewling monsters. Let’s call them what they are – Friends With Kids. In Jennifer Westfeldt‘s film, she stars as one half of a non-couple with no kids – her Julie Keller has a great apartment and a great job and a great pack of friends, but she’s nowhere near the stage of life when she’ll announce at a dinner that she’s pregnant, or move to Brooklyn to have more space for the rugrats, or to turn into a shell of herself after months of no sleep and no sex and a crying baby. Her best friend, Jason Fryman (Adam Scott) is in the same boat – a bit of a playboy, he’s loose with both his morals and his money, and in absolutely no state to settle down and have a kid. Which doesn’t quite explain how much they both secretly want to. When the other four members of their inner circle (including Bridesmaids veterans Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, and Kristen Wiig), already paired off and married, start having children, Julie and Jason are both struck by two thoughts. One – they want kids. Two – they don’t want to have them the way their friends have them. All Julie and Jason can see is the disintegration of romance, beaten down by babies screaming for binkies, lack of sex, and abject exhaustion – which is why […]

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Perhaps you watched Bridesmaids and wondered to yourself, “self, I wonder what it would be like if Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm’s characters had a functional romantic relationship. And, perhaps what it would be like if Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd‘s characters were married with kids. And maybe Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt could be there, too.” Fine, if you wondered about any of that, it was probably just the first part – but, hey, bonus! Actress Westfeldt has already penned two romantic indies that she’s also starred in (Kissing Jessica Stein and Ira & Abby), and she’s pulling triple-duty on her next, the amply-titled Friends With Kids. The film follows just that – three very different couples who are all at different points in their lives, particularly when it comes to child-rearing. While Wiig and Hamm are newlyweds and Rudolph and O’Dowd are married parents, Scott and Westfeldt play best friends who decide to have a kid together, even though they’re not romantically involved. As the film’s first trailer shows, that kid comes – followed by a romantic interest for both of his parents. Stock up on your folic acid and check out the film’s first trailer after the break.

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