What do you like to do over your Labor Day weekend? Although I enjoy a good barbecue, I am also quite fond of the movie marathons that often air on holiday weekends. One of my best Labor Day weekend movie memories is the time they played all of the original Planet of the Apes movies. It was probably 1998 or 1999, there was a big storm, and my siblings were shorter than me for that brief moment in history. I’m not sure what’s on TV this weekend, but if you need a few end of summer movie suggestions, here’s what I’ll be lounging around and watching:
The Way Way Back
Shy teenage Duncan (Liam James, or the son from The Killing, as you might know him) suffers in silence while vacationing with his mother (Toni Collette), her cruel boyfriend (Steve Carell), and their dysfunctional friends in a small beach community. Things begin to turn around when Duncan gets a job at a waterpark and befriends the park manager, played by Sam Rockwell. For the first time ever, Duncan gains some confidence and a sense of belonging. He also summons up the courage to talk to his crush, played by Anna Sophia Robb (of Soul Surfer and Because of Winn Dixie– watch that if you really want to cry. Why do you want to cry?). Will Duncan be able to “hold on to that feeling” when its time to go home? It’s good stuff. You’ve never seen Steve Carrell be so mean, or Sam Rockwell be so cool. Or maybe you have. I don’t know. If you need more reasons to watch this movie, Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph are part of the excellent supporting cast.
Wes Anderson’s movies are pure magic, and that is a fact. Everything from the cinematography to the dialogue is perfect. You’ll want the music to be a soundtrack to your life. It takes place in 1965 on a small island near New England. Twelve year old orphan boy scout Sam (Jared Gilman), and Susie (Kara Hayword), a bookworm prone to violent outbursts, run away together and plan to get married. The town bands together to search for the kids before a huge storm hits the island. A couple of of Wes Anderson’s usual suspects are in this movie, such as Bill Murray, and Jason Schwartzman. Its always nice to see costars from his movies reunite. This movie poses the questions, what is appropriate to pack for a runaway camping trip with one’s pen-pal? Who doesn’t enjoy dancing to Francois Hardy on the shore that you just named? And who can’t relate to enjoying books about girls with powers? This film also includes the classic lines:
“Was he a good dog?”
“Who’s to say? But he didn’t deserve to die.”
No movie list ever would be complete without at least one Cameron Crowe movie. I know that he has not been super successful lately, but that will never eclipse all of the great cinematic gifts he has given us. You know that from the moment you saw Say Anything, you compared all of the boyfriends you ever had to Lloyd Dobler. You also compare every character John Cusack ever played before and after this movie to Lloyd Dobler. Here’s the plot: Lloyd falls for the unobtainable class valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). Much to the surprise of Lloyd’s best friend (the fantastic Lili Taylor- in my favorite role of hers- besides the time she guest starred on The X-Files) and Diane’s father (John Mahoney), she returns his feelings. Her father disapproves and worries that Lloyd will distract her from her scholarship to a program in England. They spend a magical summer learning to drive stick and making out in the rain to a very 80’s music score. And of course, Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. Will their relationship survive her father’s disapproval and his legal trouble? Sometimes you don’t want to “buy anything, sell anything, or process anything as a career”, but you do know who you want to spend your life with. And it’s definitely not Joe. Watch, you’ll understand.
I hope everyone eats a few hotdogs, watches some good movies, and has a fabulous long weekend!