The Skeleton Twins

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in the Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins is the kind of movie that you can watch and know, with 100% certainty, that it premiered at Sundance. It features big-time comedic actors turning in subdued, “against type” performances in a story heavy on melancholy and dark themes, which wraps up said themes in a suspiciously tidy fashion that runs counter to real emotional insight. It’s perfectly suited for the limousine liberals who flock to Park City each year, looking to be engaged but not challenged in any big way. All of this might sound harsh (because, well, it sort of is), but The Skeleton Twins actually isn’t bad — just aggressively average. Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader plaly Maggie and Milo, twins who were once thick as thieves, but who haven’t spoken in ten years. They’re brought back together after Milo unsuccessfully tries to kill himself (and hearing news of this interrupts Maggie’s own suicide attempt). Milo moves in with Maggie and her husband Lance (Luke Wilson) to recuperate, and the two brood over their lives and what exactly went wrong with them.

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The Skeleton Twins

In the middle of all the drama and intense suicidal issues that make up The Skeleton Twins, Bill Hader’s Milo breaks into song, but it is not Hader’s voice ringing out, it is Starship’s Mickey Thomas explaining that “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” It’s an excellent moment, delivering a greater impact than it would have had the song simply played over the scene. From musicals to pop montages, we frequently see the lyrics of a song say things a character cannot (or will not) say, which allows each film to get a character’s internal emotion across without direct action. But when a character embraces a song by lip-synching to it, it lets the characters play along. What’s more, a character’s awareness of a song typically heightens a song’s impact because it seems (at least) to come from the character instead of the production team. It can be a powerful illusion. There are a bunch of great songs featured in The Skeleton Twins (Blondie‘s “Denis,” Randy & The Rainbows “Denise,” and John Grant‘s “Outter Space), but Starship’s tune stands out because it is a song Milo chose to not only play, but perform to. He could have launched into a funny or serious or moving monologue directed at his sister Maggie (Kristen Wiig), but all he really wants to do is cheer her up. Cue the 1980s pop hit.

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The Boxtrolls

Summer 2014 has come to a thudding close. These past four months have had their ups and downs, but overall this summer wasn’t as bad as the headlines are making it out to be. Despite a significant dip in attendance, there were all kinds of good movies. If you were disappointed by a film this summer, odds are that whatever film you saw next likely left you satisfied. Plus, even though there wasn’t a ton of originality this summer, at least there was variety. This fall is packed with both variety and originality. The remainder of the year should get any film fan excited since we’ll be seeing films from Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Bennet Miller and other beloved storytellers. We’ll have reviews for some of those films as festival season rolls along, so keep an eye out. All of that kicks off this month. So let’s get started with the 10 must see movies this September.

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Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig in the Skeleton Twins

After reigning supreme on Saturday Night Live for seven years, Kristen Wiig made her voice in film loudly and rightly known in 2011 with Bridesmaids, which she starred in and cowrote with Annie Mumolo. Punching giant cookies, wooing Irish cops and forcing her friends to defecate in sinks at bridal salons set her up as an invaluable asset to a host of comedies and dramedies in the years since, like Friends with Kids, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Girl Most Likely. Meanwhile, Bill Hader, probably one of the greatest talents from the SNL stage, has always had a healthy career as a bit player in comedies. While he hasn’t had a vehicle like Bridesmaids yet to largely showcase his worth, he’s been the supportive wing man, henchman, insert-assistant-title-here, delivering the best lines and effectively stealing the show in everything from Superbad to The To Do List. But his side-character status might be changing to leading man now that he’s teamed up with his former TV costar. (This is what I’ve been waiting for since watching Hader burst into tears during Wiig’s “Ruby Tuesday” sendoff from SNL in May 2012. When Hader cries, I cry.) The duo plays siblings in Craig Johnson‘s The Skeleton Twins, a dramedy that puts less focus on their wacky and slapstick energy and more on subdued and quiet humor. But that doesn’t mean things can’t be as weird as always. The first trailer for the film shows the estranged brother and sister reuniting after 10 years of not talking or seeing […]

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laggies

There’s no science when it comes to picking the big winners at a film festival before the first film strip unfurls (or someone hits play on a digital file, as is most often the case these days), no proven method to the madness, no guaranteed formula to finding the best of the best. It’s a gamble every single time, and that’s precisely where much of the joy in attending a film festival comes from. That discovery, maddening as it may seem. This year’s Sundance Film Festival is predictably stuffed with all manner of films and talents – from the star-studded to the utterly up-and-coming – and while it’s certainly easy to pick out pictures that “sound” like they might be good or at least feature “bankable” talent, there are always a few sleepers that sneak in and captivate an unsuspecting audience. That all said, we here at Film School Rejects have attempted to apply our expertise and our personal interests to this year’s festival in order to pick out a handful of films that just might be the best of the fest, but that are at least guaranteed to send us running into a theater to see them once the festival kicks up. It’s time for Sundance! And it’s time for films! It’s even time for anticipation! And now it’s time for some anticipated Sundance films!

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Garrett Hedlund

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that was compiled today with the help of Daft Punk musical accompaniment. You may not remember much about TRON: Legacy’s story, because other than its glowing lights and its pumping soundtrack, that 2010 sequel to Disney’s cult classic TRON was pretty dull. So, let’s refresh your memory. The movie starred Garrett Hedlund as the son of Jeff Bridges’ character from the first film. He went into the computer world, found his dad, and then there was a big battle. Remember all this? Good, because Next Movie just confirmed that Hedlund will be back for whatever TRON 3 ends up being called. Disney apparently started getting a script together for a third film just last week. This, of course, means that we’ll all now be keeping our eyes open for the real news regarding this new sequel: whether or not Daft Punk is coming back to do another soundtrack.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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