Gaby Hoffmann

Uncle-Buck-Scenes

Maybe it’s because the anniversary fell on the weekend, but it’s shocking how few tributes there are to Uncle Buck turning 25. I know, it’s only John Hughes‘s second-highest-grossing movie as a director (out of eight), and only currently (according to Rotten Tomatoes) the ninth best-reviewed of his movies in any creative capacity (out of 31). I understand that it’s a fairly insignificant comedy without a lot of cultural or historical relevance. It’s just Mr. Mom (scripted by Hughes) without the social contexts of the recession and the rise of women in the workforce that makes that movie an important piece of American cinema. It’s a sitcom that didn’t even translate well to television. A saccharine family film that’s actually not that appropriate for children — and that’s after a cut was made to the theatrical version due to parent complaints (the drunk clown scene was apparently more profane). Uncle Buck might suffer for being sort of sandwiched between two more popular movies: Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which may have inspired John Candy‘s role here, and Home Alone, which is said to have been inspired by a scene with Macaulay Culkin in this movie. Yet speaking of Culkin, he’s one of the reasons that Uncle Buck deserves more recognition. While the movie is primarily a vehicle for Candy and his sloven, ignorant and occasionally violent childcare shtick, it’s most notable for its youngest players, namely Culkin and Gaby Hoffmann, who own every scene they’re in, with or without their large co-star. Their performances are mainly limited to reaction shots, […]

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Obvious Child

Editor’s note: Our review of Obvious Child originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited release. Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) has a problem with sharing – specifically, she shares too much when she’s on stage doing stand-up comedy; her act is peppered with scatological humor, jokes about other bodily fluids, and personal information about her romantic life. It’s not something her boyfriend Ryan (Paul Briganti) likes so much, which is probably why he thinks it’s appropriate to break up with her after one of her sets, at the bar where does her comedy, in the joint’s grubby communal bathroom. While staring at his phone. And confessing that he’s been banging her friend Kate. Perhaps Donna’s actual problem is that she’s been saddled with a heartless douchebag boyfriend for quite some time, but all that sharing can’t be helping so much (or can it?). Slate shines as Donna in Gillian Robespierre’s feature debut (Robespierre is also responsible for the film’s screenplay, which she penned with input from Karen Maine, Elisabeth Holm, and Anna Bean), taking what could be a very expected character (a shiftless Brooklyn hipster) and a very standard plotline (after losing her boyfriend, she also loses her job, has a one night stand with a stranger and gets knocked up) into something witty, funny and real. Robespierre’s Obvious Child smacks with relatability, believability and an honesty that’s rare these days, while also tackling a big social issue (that […]

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Crystal Fairy

Editor’s note: Our review of Crystal Fairy originally ran during this year’s L.A. Film Fest, but we’re re-posting it as the film opens in limited theatrical release this Friday. We all want to lose ourselves sometimes. To find those perfect moments where you do not have a care in the world and you feel close and in harmony with all those around you. But rarely can you manufacture or plan for these moments, they simply happen. Uptight and pretentious Jamie (Michael Cera) is a person who definitely needs a moment like this to loosen him up, but he is so desperate to achieve what he believe will be a transformative high, he is missing the possibly more meaningful moments leading up to it. Jamie is living abroad in Chile and his boorish behavior is the epitome of a “rude American.” He is entitled and says everything he is thinking, but his good natured roommate puts up with it, despite the fact that Jamie clearly only wants one thing from him – to drive him to the beach to finally imbibe in some San Pedro cactus.

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