Sidewalk’s Snowy Day Recs

Stuck at home for reasons other than a pandemic? Here are a few apropos snow day cinematic programming suggestions via the Sidewalk Cinema/Film Festival and creative director, Rachel Morgan

 

Classic Snow Day Selects

 

THE THING (1982) 

Director: John Carpenter

THE THING is about as winter as it gets. Plus, Kurt Russell’s beard is something to be seen. 

It’s Antarctica and there’s a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims. Fun. 

Watch On: Amazon (paid), iTunes, Google Play 

Note: The 2011 remake is available via HBO 

 

PRAIRE LOVE (2011)

Director: Dusty Bias

A 2011 Sidewalk select by alum (and Alabama filmmaker) Dusty Bias. 

PRAIRIE LOVE is a gorgeous and Coen-inspired deep winter thriller. 

“Three lost souls look for love on the North Dakota tundra.”

Watch On: Tubi

 

THE ICE STORM (1997)

Director: Ang Lee

This classic, Ang Lee period piece is covered in snow and pitch-perfect production design. Beware, this one is a gut punch. 

A look at a suburban Connecticut middle-class family in the era of the 1970s’.

Watch On: Amazon, YouTube, iTunes

 

HANNA (2011)

Director: Joe Wright

Featuring a very young Saoirse Ronan and an always amazing Cate Blanchett! It’s rural northern Finland and it’s snowy and cold. 

“A sixteen-year-old girl who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.”

Watch On: Peacock, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

 

ATOMIC BLONDE (2017)

Featuring a cold winter look and a ton of bisexual lighting, plus it takes place during the Cold War and is straight-up cold. Did I mention Charlize Theron?! ATOMIC BLONDE is notorious for its super-long take action scene, digitally made possible, but still noteworthy. 

“An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.”

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube, Google Play

 

A SIMPLE PLAN (1998)

Director: Sam Raimi

Another Coen-inspired cold one via Sam Raimi, A SIMPLE PLAN is surprisingly good. If this synopsis doesn’t prove that it’s Coen Bros inspired, I don’t know what would: “Three blue-collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash and make a plan to keep their find from the authorities, but it isn’t long before complications and mistrust weave their way into the plan.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Pluto, YouTube, Google Play

 

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

It’s cold and you’re stuck inside with Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Dern, but don’t worry Tarantino keeps it entertaining. 

“In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.” 

This one will burn up almost 3 hours of your snow day/night. 

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon

 

CAROL (2015)

Director: Todd Haynes

Any excuse to put this masterwork on a list… if you’re in a city during the snow (or just wish to be) this is a perfect choice. 

Department store and aspiring photographer, Therese, is lucky enough to have the older and very much more established Carol Aird acquire a crush on her in 1950s New York. 

Watch On: Netflix, Vudu

 

HOT DOG… THE MOVIE (1984)

Director: Peter Markle

The goofiest and most ridiculous film on the list (and this list includes SKI SCHOOL). 

“Harkin Banks heads to skiing championships in California. A teen runaway tags along as he parties and competes with friends and foes.”

Watch On: YouTube

 

SKI SCHOOL (1990)

Director: Damian Lee

Early 90s’ antics! It doesn’t have to be good to make this list – the percentage of party in this one is high and that’ll do. 

“Rival groups in a skiing school do battle on and off the piste. One gang are rich and serious, the other group are party animals.”

Watch On: Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime

 

The “We’re At That Point” Category

Getting a little tired of your pandemic crew…

 

THE SHINING (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Well, this is an obvious choice, but one too obvious not to mention and always “fun” for a snow day, but a pandemic snow day…

No synopsis needed. 

Watch On: HBO Max, Sling TV, Amazon Prime

 

FARGO (1996)

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Another one we didn’t need to mention but did anyway, it’s perhaps the perfect snow day film after all. 

No synopsis needed. 

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Fubo TV

 

THE LODGE (2019)

Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

Looking for something that’s no fun at all? Look no further. A Sidewalk Cinema selection and mental-health-challenger starring Elvis’ granddaughter. 

“A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.” We kinda dare you to watch it…

Watch On: Hulu, YoutTube, Google Play

We argue about THE LODGE on episode 35 of the Sidewalk SideTalks podcast here.

 

The “It Could Be Worse” Category

 

THE REVENANT (2015)

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Thanks to Leo’s constant complaining (and Oscar begging), you probably know how cold this one is, even if you haven’t seen it. You’d almost think he didn’t get a (very, very big) paycheck – “frostbite”, blah, blah, blah.

“A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.”

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Cinemax, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon

 

ALIVE (1993)

Director: Frank Marshall

Say you were to survive a plane crash – you’d hope you’d end up on a tropical island, right? But… Oh and there’s no food, just bodies, what does one do?… based on a true story. Yep.

“A Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the snow swept Andes are forced to use desperate measures to survive after a plane crash.”

Watch On: Sling TV, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon

 

MISERY, Kathy Bates, James Caan, 1990, (c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

MISERY (1990)

Director: Rob Reiner

Based on a Stephen King novel and with an Oscar-relevant, chilling, powerhouse performance by Kathy Bates, MISERY is next level snowed-in. 

“After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.”

Watch On: Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime

 

Need To Warm Up?

Want to go the opposite route and forget about the cold… It’s like Christmas in July.

 

SUMMER OF SAM (1999)

Director: Spike Lee

It’s hot as hell in New York – how hot? Serial killer hot. This one has all of the typical Spike Lee content and context, plus Mira Sorvino.

“Spike Lee’s take on the “Son of Sam” murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.”

Watch On: iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime

 

THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017)

Director: Sean Baker

It’s Central Florida hot. THE FLORIDA PROJECT is another one that frequently lands on rec lists in one form or another, but it’s justifiable – one of the greatest films of the last 20-year. Quick trivia, THE FLORIDA PROJECT was what Disney World was originally referred to in its early stages. 

“Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.”

Watch On: Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play

 

BODY HEAT (1981)

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Kathleen Turner is hot and William Hurt has a mustache. 

“In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.”

Watch On: YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime

 

HOT SUMMER NIGHTS (2017)

Another Sidewalk Film Festival selection, HOT SUMMER NIGHTS  is a quick-paced popcorn and gummy bears action-romance-coming-of-age, steeped in nostalgia, movie of the summer, 2017.

Taking place in the summer of 1991, Daniel, having recently lost his father, is sent to live with his aunt on Cape Cod. He makes fast friends with the drug-dealing, troublemaker Hunter and, despite being warned, falls fast for his little sister McKayla. As you may have already guessed, things get out of control pretty quickly. 

 

BARTON FINK (1991)

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Proving the Coens don’t just deliver winter landscapes, BARTON FINK reflects heat so crippling it contributes to writer’s block.

“A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.”

Watch On: YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime

 

WILD THINGS (1998)

Director: John McNaughton

Perhaps the most fun selection on the list. There’s no snow in The Glades, but there is Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Bill Murray, and even Theresa Russell and Robert Wagner, plus a whole lot of complicated drama.

“A police detective uncovers a conspiracy behind a case involving a high-school guidance counselor when accusations of rape are made against him by two female students.”

Watch On: Tubi, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon, iTunes

We talk a little about WILD THINGS & Bill Murray’s contribution to the film on Episode 52 of the SIdeTalks podcast: https://soundcloud.com/sidetalkspodcast/sidetalks-52

 

DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)

Director: Spike Lee

Spike Lee loves to include the dead heat of the summer as a theme and in DO THE RIGHT THING the summer, city heat contributes to the acceleration of the plot. Thirty-plus years old and the film is still incredibly relevant. 

“On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone’s hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.”

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Fubo, Amazon Prime

 

SOUTHLAND TALES (2006)

Director: Richard Kelly

Set during a three-day heatwave and completely bonkers. Look at this cast: The Rock, Janeane Garofalo, Cheri Oteri, Miranda Richardson, Mandy Moore, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, Jon Lovitz, Bai Ling, and Sidewalk alum Beth Grant.

“Just before a huge 4th of July celebration, an action star-struck with amnesia meets up with a porn star who is developing her own reality TV project and a policeman who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.”

Watch On: Vudu, Amazon, YouTube

Corey discusses SOUTHLAND TALES on episode 57 of the SIdeTalks podcast: https://soundcloud.com/sidetalkspodcast/sidetalks-57-5-6-7-steep-drop-in-quality-3-2-8-1-and-4

 

FALLING DOWN (1993)

Director: Joel Schumacher

The inciting incident is the protagonist’s car’s air conditioning breaks in the middle of an oppressive LA heatwave, the final straw that pushes him to the brink. This one did not age well.

“An ordinary man frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.”

Watch On: YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu

 

DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Based on an actual incident, the real bank robber, John Wojtowicz, watched THE GODFATHER to get ideas the day he robbed the Chase Manhattan bank – both Al Pacino and John Cazale, who star in the film also starred in THE GODFATHER. “Three amateur bank robbers plan to hold up a bank. A nice simple robbery: Walk-in, take the money, and run. Unfortunately, the supposedly uncomplicated heist suddenly becomes a bizarre nightmare as everything that could go wrong does.”

Watch On: HBO Max, Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

‘Tis the Season at Sidewalk – Holiday Film Recs

While we have several incredible films screening this holiday season at the Sidewalk Cinema, including GREMLINS and WONDER WOMAN 1984 (releasing on Christmas Day – we’re beyond excited), thanks to the pandemic we aren’t hosting a full holiday series line-up this season. Therefore, I thought I’d pass along a list of suggestions for holiday movie fare, especially for those who are quarantining to be with friends/fam or can’t make it out to the cinema this season. Perhaps some of these titles will end up in the Sidewalk 2021 holiday series (fingers crossed – they’ve been that way for a while). 

Happy Holidays and here’s hoping for a much Happier New Year!

 

Quick note: Skipping over the most obvious choices like HOME ALONE, DIE HARD, CHRISTMAS VACATION, A CHRISTMAS STORY, Etc… they’re all great, but they get enough love. 

LESS THAN ZERO (1987)

Dir. Marek Kanievska 

Filled with over-the-top Los Angeles holiday parties of all varieties, college-aged angst, rich people probs and lots of cocaine, LESS THAN ZERO is an 80s’ time capsule based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Plus it features the sleaziest James Spader of all eras.

 

THE APARTMENT (1960)

Dir. Billy Wilder

A Christmas Eve office party sets the narrative in motion and takes it through New Years’. The main premise: to climb the corporate ladder, Bud lets his managers switch off borrowing his apartment for their extramarital affairs. Unable to occupy his own apartment when in such use, his neighbors assume that Bud is the playboy. Antics and romance ensue. 

 

BATMAN RETURNS (1992)

Dir. Tim Burton

Superhero holiday! You know the one – the Michael Keaton Batman, white gold Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman Batman. It’s the typically dark and gritty and city Batman, but with the magical glow of Christmas lights elevating the vibe. There’s a lot of Christmas in this one, sometimes it’s creepy Christmas, but as 2020 has really proven, the holidays can be like that. 

 

EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS (1977)

Dir. Jim Henson

This is about as family-friendly as it gets. Clearly more of a made-for-TV-special than a true film, it’s still worthy enough to make the list. I love it for many reasons, but on top of that tally lands the Riverbottom Nightmare Band, the traveling fish in a tank, plus those sets! EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS is Jim Henson produced-directed with songs by Paul Williams. The original special featured an introduction, as well as some narration, by Kermit the Frog. However, in 2004 The Jim Henson Company sold the rights to the Muppets to The Walt Disney Company, and thanks to Disney doing what Disney does, Kermit’s scenes and narrations have been omitted. Some subsequent releases have restated much of the Kermit element, it’s fun to watch out for the different versions. Confession – even as a kid I really wanted Riverbottom Nightmare to win – fair is fair, they’re way better.

 

GO (1999)

Dir. Doug Liman

It doesn’t necessarily have to be good to make this list… This premise alone will do it: a 90s’ era drug deal goes bad at a Christmas Eve rave called Mary Christmas. A.Christmas.Eve.Rave.

 

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)

Dir. Tim Burton

Another Tim Burton holiday moment. Not wholly a holiday film, but the last third of the movie really hits it out of the park with its most memorable visual moments – the cinematography basks in a snow-covered holiday glow, it’s a little like being inside a slightly eerie, but beautifully magical snow globe.  

 

THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (1994)

Dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

More fantastical holiday cinema, this brilliant Coen Brothers film takes place during the Christmas season leading up to New Year’s Eve and, of course, is all about the invention of a particular toy – the hula hoop. Fun casting fact: Tom Cruise was almost set to star as Norville Barnes, but the Coens insisted on Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh won the role of Amy Archer over Ellen Barkin, Nicole Kidman, Winona Ryder, and Bridget Fonda. THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is the only PG-rated movie directed by the Coen Brothers. 

 

LETHAL WEAPON (1987)

Dir. Richard Donner

Action-heavy and, at times, dark af – the film opens with “Jingle Bell Rock” playing happily over credits and quickly moves to suicide, a cocaine bust that results in a full-on shoot out at a Christmas tree lot and widower cop, Martin, with a gun in his mouth ready to end it. Amazing premise – a suicidal cop who’s not afraid to die. At the time thought to only be worthy of action fodder, the suicide scene landed Mel Gibson the lead role in Franco Zeffirelli’s HAMLET (1990). 

 

EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

Dir. Stanley Kubrick

Leave it to Stanley Kubrick to bring us one of the darkest films on the list and that’s saying a lot. A Christmas party gone wrong leads to marital confessions and a wandering, contemplative late night on the town. The socially distanced tail end of 2020 is an interesting moment to revisit this one – framed by random human interactions and anonymous sexual encounters with the holidays as the backdrop, the context of the current era really doubles down on Kubrick’s powerful subtext. 

 

BRAZIL (1985)

Dir. Terry Gilliam

If you’re looking for something way, way different than the average holiday film slate, BRAZIL is a great choice. It’s dystopian, sci-fi fantasy, black-comedy holiday, and visually off the damn charts. River Phoenix’s favorite movie.

 

WHITE REINDEER (2013)

Dir. Zach Clark

More cocaine Christmas… a holiday tragedy in suburban Virginia leads Suzanne on a mission of sorts to buy herself out of unhappiness and track down and befriend her newly deceased husband’s dancer-mistress, Fantasia. Starring Sidewalk alums Lydia Hyslop, Anna Margaret Hollyman, and Melodie Sisk, WHITE REINDEER delivers more Christmas spirit than you might think. One of the few holiday films to screen at the Sidewalk Film Festival, specifically Sidewalk 2013.

 

THE THIN MAN (1934)

Dir. W. S. Van Dyke

Another rarity – a Christmas murder mystery. Nick, a retired detective, and his wealthy wife, Nora, are visiting New York City from Los Angeles for the Christmas holidays. The festive celebration doesn’t last long as Nick is pulled back to duty to investigate a missing person case that quickly turns into a murder case. Not only is it a black and white comedy-murder caper set against the background of the holidays in 1930s New York, but it also contains lines such as Nora: “They say you were shot in the tabloids.” Nick: “They never got near my tabloids”. There’s also a cute dog. 

 

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940)

Dir. Ernst Lubitsch

We had you at YOU’VE GOT MAIL is an adaptation of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. In line with such – with Christmas approaching, two gift shop employees can’t stand each other, but are totally smitten with their respective pen pals… you see where this is going. 

 

ROCKY IV (1985)

Dir. Sylvester Stallone

Another rare option – a Christmas-Sports movie with Boxing, anti-Russian propaganda, the Cold War, and Dolph Lundgren and Brigitte Nielsen…  2020 seems like the perfect year for this one. Written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, it also features a robot dressed as Santa Claus

 

Selects From The 2019 Sidewalk Cinema Holiday Series

 

ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955)

Dir. Douglas Sirk

We screened this beautiful mf last December. More vibe than strict holiday fare, the Douglas Sirk masterwork ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS is the story of a well-to-do widower, Cary Scott, who falls for the not-so-well-to-do hunk Ron Kirby. Cary’s college-age kids are brats and demand that the relationship ends. No surprise, the country club crowd isn’t too kind either. In addition to several beautifully captured holiday scenes, what better a season to question societal norms and acknowledge just what a pain in the ass family can be? Plus Technicolor has never looked so damn good, dozens of frames from the film also work just as well as paintings. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS perfectly captures the seasonal spirit and holiday landscape with all of the wonder, sadness, melodrama, and beauty that it brings. 

 

TRADING PLACES (1983)

Dir. John Landis

Do you ever feel like the 1 percent are gambling with your livelihood? In 1983, director John Landis made a comedy that suggests that it might not be entirely just paranoia. In TRADING PLACES, Dan Aykroyd’s uptight stockbroker and Eddie Murphy’s streetwise hustler swap lots in life one holiday season, thanks to manipulation by the wealthy Duke brothers. But when the two find their lives have been experimented upon, they team up with Jamie Lee Curtis’s free-spirited sex worker to bring the wealthy brothers down. Filled with quotable one-liners, memorable performances, and deeply silly screwball action, TRADING PLACES stands still as one of the most enjoyable “Saturday Night Live” star vehicles, cementing Murphy’s status as one of the most important stars of the 1980s.

 

CAROL (2015)

Dir. Todd Haynes

Words do no justice regarding this perfect film. it’s unforgettable, gorgeous, mesmerizing… – like the holidays, it’s at times fun and beautiful while also semi-melancholic and yet strangely hopeful. It also has an interesting drunken effect like the season can sometimes have and sort of stays with you for a while in a dreamy fashion. It’s truly dazzling. Plus we appreciate an LGBTQ holiday film!

 

TANGERINE (2015)

Dir. Sean Baker

Speaking of LGBTQ holiday fare – celebrate the holidays with two magnetic transgender sex workers in Sean Baker’s marvelously warm and propulsive TANGERINE set on and around the streets of Hollywood one sunny Christmas eve. An uncontrollable force of nature, Sin-Dee gets out of jail and catches word that her boyfriend, Chester has been cheating on her. Despite her closest friend, Alexandra, warning her to relax, Sin-Dee goes on a Hollywood rampage to find the woman her boyfriend has been seeing. Baker shot the entire film on the iPhone 5S; each frame is soaked in the vivid colors of a LA sunset. The result is an intimate and raw but lovely story about friendship and grace in a subculture that, in the past, has rarely gotten such a humane portrayal. TANGERINE is an energy-packed powerhouse of a film. 

 

BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

Dir. Bob Clark

Christmas-sorority-house-stalking-killer stuff! This 1974 cult classic stars Margot Kidder and Olivia Hussey. Oh and, yes, it is directed by that Bob Clark, the same dude who directed A CHRISTMAS STORY (and PORKY’S). After all, we sometimes need a little break from all the Christmas time life-lesson yarn.

 

A SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS (1986)

Dir. Henry Winkler

Dolly. Do we need to say more? No, we don’t. Dolly IS Christmas and she’s also saving all of us – celebrate her. A SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS

is directed by Henry Winkler aka The Fonz. 

 

 

 

Bonus – It’s Not A Film & It Has Thanksgiving In The Title But…

 

A VERY GAGA THANKSGIVING (2011)

Dir. Lady Gaga

A VERY GAGA THANKSGIVING makes for incredible holiday background media wallpaper. It originally aired on November 24, 2011, and is lush and classy and seasonally appropriate as hell. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta AKA Lady Gaga hangs out in various gorgeous settings with friends and family and discusses her holiday traditions and inspirations and, of course, performs some uniquely arranged versions of some of her hits, as well as holiday standards like “White Christmas” and not-so-standards like “Orange Colored Sky”. The set design is absolutely incredible and it’s, overall, a lovely production perfect for distracted holiday time viewing/listening. 

 

– Rachel Morgan

Creative Director

Halloween Series at the Sidewalk Cinema

Rachel Morgan, Sidewalk’s Creative Director, brings you the films of the 2020 Sidewalk Cinema Halloween Series Presented by Senator Bones.

 

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Halloween season! Okay so there’s a pandemic, winter is coming, it’s the most aggressive election year ever, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and things are straight-up weird – I kept all this in mind while programming our micro Halloween series this year – how could I not. Therefore, I landed on four titles that support, confront, and/or challenge concepts related to normalcy. Here are a few thoughts on the titles and the selection process.

The Halloween staple PRACTICAL MAGIC straight up embodies the deep fall – it delivers comforting familiarity in a disarming era. Plus, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, midnight margaritas, witchy b.s., kitchen dancing, and hyper 90’s vibes. Fun fact to watch for: in the scene in which Gillian and Sally get drunk with their aunts, the actors actually did get drunk… via full on bottom shelf tequila that Nicole Kidman brought to set.

POLTERGEIST is in my top 10 all-time-favorite horror films and in my top 20 – period. The (not-so-subtle) subtext: capitalism doesn’t lead to true happiness, it’s actually a threat to such. The irony: the corporate ladder crawl and all the related monetary rewards don’t really dazzle your fam, they suck them into the terrifying abyss. Plus, there’s the brilliant, timely narrative: the desperate fight to restore normality and the misguided, false reformation – which seems especially apropos for this very moment. Of course, if you’d rather just watch this one for its 1980’s suburban nostalgia, iconic lines, crystal clear cinematography, and jaw-dropping trick shots, we’re here for that. Plus a heartfelt bow to the beautiful, talented, bright Dominique Dunne who we lost way too soon. Sidenote: an interesting connection in the series – PRACTICAL MAGIC director Griffin Dunne is Dominique’s brother.

More in the mood to embrace the chaos? We got you. Robert Eggers’ THE WITCH is by far the youngest in the series and delivers a beguiling hyper-witchy, autumnal landscape. Eggers’ drops us dead in the middle of the season while putting the audience in a discomforting headlock of fuckery. Mesmerizing, committed, meticulous, magical in the worst way, and built to stand the test of time. THE WITCH is worthy of an annual viewing and if you’ve never seen it before do not miss this opportunity to experience it on the big screen with big sound.
Finally, THE LOST BOYS, who doesn’t love a coming-of-age vampire allegory. The only thing possibly more life-altering and icky than puberty – becoming a vampire. Innocence lost – you better believe it – and yet, somehow, someway, with courage, tenacity, love, and some humor, we’ll make it through. While not in the top ten of the most common Halloween titles, I would argue that THE LOST BOYS has all the comfortable elements to denote a seasonal classic. Need a few more reasons/excuses? Here you go: The Coreys. West Coast vampires are pretty darn awesome, a lovably ridiculous soundtrack, Jason Patric’s on the nose Jim Morrison impersonation, and, of course, the amazing over-the-top opening sax solo. Plus Kiefer Sutherland has never been and will never again be this pretty. We lost Joel Schumacher this past summer – let’s celebrate his work.
I recently visited the Regal Cinema on its last open afternoon. Most of the concessions were sold out and employees looked visibly upset. They didn’t even turn on the neon and, yet, they continued to clean the windows and collected my rewards number for the points that I acquired on the visit. While I sat in the theater waiting for the film to start I thought how surreal, how sad… how heartbreaking (I won’t say that I cried, but I won’t say that I didn’t). However, as soon as the film hit the screen, I disappeared into the narrative and was carried away by the giant images, the beautiful light, the immersive sound. I was truly transplanted from the moment, from the era. Leaving I thought: there’s some irony – the power of cinema just made me feel better about the loss of so many cinemas. Damn. Join us at Sidewalk during this change in the seasons and safely take comfort in the brief break from the times – I attest it works.” – Rachel

 

Sidewalk’s Pride Month Picks

It’s Pride month and many events have been canceled or postponed, but PRIDE is not canceled, so why not celebrate by watching a few stellar LGBTQ films! Sidewalk programmers have put together an extremely comprehensive list of many of our favorites, along with some fun extras. We’ve included classics, as well as many titles that you may not have heard of, plus lots of surprises. The list is broken down into LGBTQ sections with PG films and a fun “in the closet” section at the end. This list has excluded episodic content and only highlights feature films. Let us know what you like! Happy, Happy Pride!

The + means the film can be considered indie. 
The * means that the film is a festival selection. 
The # means the film was a cinema selection
The / means the writer and/or director was a Sidewalk Film Festival alum.

 

L

 

GEMINI (2017) + /

A brilliant neon-soaked modern noir set in contemporary Hollywood, director Aaron Katz’s sly, subversive hangout thriller follows the fraying relationship between a famous actress (Zoe Kravitz) and her personal assistant (Lola Kirke). We don’t want to spoil much about this one, but it’s worth the investment of your time and attention — and features one of the best scores of the past few years from the prolific film composer Keegan DeWitt.

The GEMINI soundtrack is available on vinyl: https://lightintheattic.net/releases/4153-gemini-original-motion-picture-soundtrack

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

THE FAVOURITE (2018)  /

One of the best films of the last 20 years, THE FAVOURITE is Yorgos Lanthimos’ brilliantly odd dive into the18th century England. You owe it to Emma Stone to watch THE FAVOURITE – her organs shifted after wearing a corset for a month during the making of the film. “A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.”

Here’s an article from Harpers Bazaar about the real Queen Anne: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/entertainment/a26140377/the-favourite-queen-anne-true-story/

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

VITA & VIRGINIA (2019) * # +

Adapted from the 1992 play of the same name, Vita and Virginia traces the turbulent (to say the least) romance, friendship and professional relationship between literary icon Virginia Woolf and poet and novelist Vita Sackville West. Moving from their first encounter to beyond the collapse of their romance, the film time travels through1920’s England. The locations are breathtaking, including numerous scenes shot on location at Knole House, Vita Sackville-West’s magnificent 365 room family estate.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

BARE (2015) * +

Bored with small-town life, Sarah is thunderstruck by the entrance of an outgoing, exciting troublemaker, Pepper. What begins as an intoxicating collision of two very different lives quickly begins to evolve into something more substantial, but, like any collision, there’s fallout. Natalia Leite’s feature directorial debut magnificently captures the excitement of insoluble crushing and places it against the backdrop of the wondrously neon-highlighted desert. Featuring Paz de la Huerta and Dianna Agron (best known for GLEE) in her first feature film lead role, Bare premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and screened at SHOUT 2015.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, Sling TV

 

 

DISOBEDIENCE (2017) +

An inter-Rachel romance! Based on the novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, “A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.” Director Sebastián Lelio has stated that there was “tremendous electricity” between Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz – dang!

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST  (2018) * +

1993: When Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) is caught making out with a girl at prom, she is sent straight to Gay Conversion Therapy Camp God’s Promise. Mixing dark humor, deadpan timing, and a bittersweet earnestness, Desiree Akhavan’s adaptation of the beloved novel by E.M. Danforth gently prods away at the hypocrisies, manipulation, and exploitation that underlie homophobia, be it societal or internalized.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

SET IT OFF (1996)

Lesbian character Cleo Simms (played by Queen Latifah – her first leading role in a feature film) lands SET IT OFF on the list. “Desperation drives four inner-city women to bank robbery in Los Angeles, then they start mistrusting each other.”

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

 

THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE (2014) * +

A birthday outing with friends turns into a horrific fight for survival after the partying bros become trapped in a house with a family of malevolent women who enjoy a pin-up lifestyle and a special diet. THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE stars Shout and Sidewalk multi-alums Farah White, Melodie Sisk, and Frank Mosley along with Brina Palencia, Samrat Chakrabarti, and Belladonna. Lesbian horror!

Watch On: Amazon Prime, iTunes

 

 

BOUND (1996)

Okay, so it’s not the greatest film ever and it’s pretty darn campy, but it’s also really fun… oh and Gina Gershon – plus it’s directed by Lilly and Lana Wachowski. Ex-con Corky (Gershon) joins forces with Violet in an effort to steal millions of dollars of mob money and blame it on Violet’s jerky boyfriend Caesar. Gina Gershon claims her influences for the role were James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Clint Eastwood.

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Crackle, Pluto TV

 

 

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (2019)  #

Possibly the best film of 2019 – perhaps of the last decade. Gorgeous, breathtaking, mesmerizing, other-worldly and spectacularly romantic. We were incredibly proud to screen PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE at the Sidewalk Cinema. Directed by Céline Sciamma – in 18th century France a young painter, Marianne, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse without her knowing. Therefore, Marianne must observe her model by day to paint her portrait at night. Day by day, the two women become closer as they share Héloïse’s last moments of freedom before the impending wedding.

Here’s a great article from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/movies/portrait-lady-fire-celine-sciamma.html

And a great BTS article focusing on cinematographer Claire Mathon: https://www.indiewire.com/2020/02/portrait-of-a-lady-on-fire-cinematography-claire-mathon-celine-sciamma-1202214143/

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

MARGARITA WITH A STRAW (2014) +

Inspired by director Shonali Bose’s sister, “a rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to study in New York, unexpectedly falls in love, and embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-discovery.”

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Tubi, iTunes

 

 

HEAVENLY CREATURES (1994) +

“Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.” Directed by Peter Jackson and starring Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet in their feature film debuts, HEAVENLY CREATURES is based on the true story of the 1954 Parker–Hulme murder case in Christchurch, New Zealand. The film’s tone is eerie thanks to amazing, thoughtful cinematography, but also perhaps because almost all of the film’s locations were the actual places where the events occurred. Also notable, Juliet Hulme was revealed to be mystery writer Anne Perry who came forward and revealed her real identity in 1994 during the production of HEAVENLY CREATURES.

Here’s Anne Perry’s novelist website: http://www.anneperry.co.uk/

Watch On: This one is harder to find at the moment, it’s not available streaming and the DVD/Blu-Ray options are out of print, there are some options on Ebay

 

 

TORMENTING THE HEN (2017) * +

Claire, a New York playwright, is invited to the Berkshires to present her work. She brings along her girlfriend, Monica, a Brazilian environmental engineer. Their idyllic retreat is soon interrupted by an unnerving neighbor, Mutty, whose lack of social boundaries and penchant for lawn mowing gradually chips away at Monica’s sanity. Difficulties regarding connecting to others, outside of one’s own cultural, ethnic and sexual orientation, lead characters to clash and collide. Misunderstandings spiral into something more sinister and sun-drenched, hazy summer days grow darker.

Watch On: Amazon Prime

 

 

CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (2014) +

We had you at Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart! “A film star comes face-to-face with an uncomfortable reflection of herself while starring in a revival of the play that launched her career.” We’re not sure if we believe this, but Juliette Binoche claims that she took a role in the film GODZILLA to “believably deliver a line from the CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA script about acting in blockbusters.” Director Olivier Assayas has claimed that CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA is a companion piece to PERSONAL SHOPPER (featured in the “These Films Are So In The Closet” section below) – the two would make a great, albeit extremely subtle, Pride double feature.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Sling TV, iTunes, Vudu

 

 

WHEN NIGHT IS FALLING (1995) +

“An uptight and conservative woman, working on tenure as a literacy professor at a large urban university, finds herself strangely attracted to a free-spirited, liberal woman who works at a local carnival that comes to town.” WHEN NIGHT IS FALLING received mixed reviews upon release, including two thumbs down from Siskel & Ebert, but there’s a hang-gliding date and a heavy circus theme, so it makes the list. AfterEllen’s most recent review states, “one of the worst movies I have ever loved with a full-hearted, unconstrained passion. It has virtually no redeeming qualities, and yet I challenge even the most intellectually rigorous critic not to delight in it.”

Watch On: Pluto TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

CAROL (2015) + #

Adapting Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt as a brilliant love story, Director Todd Haynes’ CAROL is dreamy and entrancing. Set during the holiday season in 1950s New York City, Carol is the story of the whirlwind romance between shopgirl Therese (Rooney Mara) and the titular socialite (Cate Blanchett). Featuring a memorably lush score from Carter Burwell and period-appropriate Super 16mm film by cinematographer Ed Lachman, CAROL is top-notch on every possible level — one of the best films of the last few decades (dare we say all-time) and featuring some of its strongest, most sensitive performances.

Here’s a link to the start of a hilarious series of articles from Autostraddle. “30 Days of Carol”: https://www.autostraddle.com/30-days-of-carol-day-one-ranking-my-best-carol-posts-412949/

One of my favorites of the 30, “Ranking Carol’s Best Pickup Lines”: https://www.autostraddle.com/ranking-carols-best-pickup-lines-386471/

Watch On: Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes

 

 

PARIAH (2011)  +

“A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.” Directed by Dee Rees (director of MUDBOUND), PARIAH premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won the Excellence in Cinematography Award.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu

 

 

GIA (1998)

Starring Angelina Jolie and Faye Dunaway, “The story of the life of Gia Carangi, a top fashion model from the late 1970s, from her meteoric rise to the forefront of the modeling industry, to her untimely death.” Many consider Gia to be the “first supermodel” (though Janice Dickinson will argue that moniker belongs to her). During her modeling career, Carangi became addicted to heroin, and she died of AIDS-related complications at 26, becoming one of the first famous women to die of the disease. Cindy Crawford has claimed that Carangi carved the way for her career, in part due to her resemblance to Gia. Crawford rose to prominence the same year that Carangi died and was often called “Baby Gia” within the industry. GIA focuses on Carangi’s relationship with a make-up artist named Linda, but she has been romantically linked to fellow models Julie Foster and Janice Dickinson and makeup artist Sandy Linter.

Here’s a great site focusing on Gia Carangi : https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/g25904023/gia-carangis-secret-moments/

Here’s Gia Carangi’s 20/20 Interview: http://www.giacarangi.com/gia-carangis-abc-tv-2020-interview/

Watch On: Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu

 

 

MONSTER (2003)  +

“Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach sex worker who became a serial killer.” Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film brings empathy and grace to Wuornos’ complicated life story and received a great deal of criticism due to such. Trigger warning of course – true to the life that the film is accounting, there is a great deal of really horrific violence and sexual assault.

Watch On: Sling TV, Crackle, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, Tubi, Pluto TV

 

 

MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

A two and a half hour David Lynch, surrealist lesbian film! “After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.”

David Lynch has his own coffee and it goes really well with a screening of MULHOLLAND DRIVE:

https://www.allegrocoffee.com/shop/coffee/david-lynch-signature-organic-espresso-roast/

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu

 

 

BLOCKERS (2018)

This makes the list thanks to one of the main characters. We were impressed with the inclusion of the queer storyline in such a basic, mainstream comedy. “Three parents try to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu

 

 

JULES OF LIGHT & DARK (2018) +

“Two young lovers, Maya and Jules, are found wrecked on the side of the road after a party by a loner roughneck, Freddy. During rehab, their relationship falls apart, and Maya forms an unlikely friendship with Freddy.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

THE RUNAWAYS (2010)

A high-energy “coming-of-age biographical film about the 1970s teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways. The relationship between band members Cherie Currie and Joan Jett is also explored.”

There are some amazing photo archives of The Runaways, here’s just one: https://archive.photofeatures.com/gallery/The-Runaways-Photo-Archive/G0000bNckCRIv7Ug/

Watch On: Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

 

L Documentaries:

 

ALABAMA BOUND (2017) * +

The courageous story of lesbian couples struggling to thrive in Alabama is poignantly portrayed in this moving documentary about the slow, but steady progress of LGBTQ rights. Directors Lara Embry and Carolyn Shere, both Alabama natives, also skillfully spotlight Representative Patricia Todd, at one time the state’s only openly gay legislator. Todd stood on the frontlines, fighting some of the heaviest battles facing LGBTQ Alabamians. ALABAMA BOUND is one of the all-time most riveting and heartfelt documentaries regarding queer life in the South.

Watch On: Check the films website for upcoming screenings and broadcasts: https://www.alabamaboundfilm.com/

 

 

SHAKEDOWN (2018) * +

SHAKEDOWN follows the story of the Shakedown Angels — exotic dancers who performed primarily for queer women in Los Angeles underground gay clubs in the ’90s and early 2000s. Led by party promoter and self-described stud “Ronnie-Ron,” the Shakedown Angels’ performance personas develop a cult-like fan following. As documentarian Leilah Weinraub takes viewers into intimate backstage spaces, you get a glimpse of a distinctive Los Angeles subculture that no longer exists in the same form.

Watch On: Via the films website: https://shakedown.film/

 

 

TIG (2015)

Directed by Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York and Jennifer Arnold, TIG chronicles comedian/actor Tig Notaro’s trials and tribulations dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, as well as her attempts to become pregnant with fiancée Stephanie Allynne (who, most recently, starred in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q).

Watch On: Netflix

 

 

OUT IN THE NIGHT (2014) * +

An August night in 2006, a fight broke out between 7 black lesbians and a 28-year-old man in New York City, which ended in the man being stabbed. While the local papers were quick to label the women as a “seething, Sapphic septet”, OUT IN THE NIGHT tells a different story involving self-defense in the face of violent harassment. While the film subtly reflects on the racism, homophobia, and sexism in the American judicial system, there is an intense focus on the personal experience of queer women moving through a flawed system. OUT IN THE NIGHT won the Best Documentary Feature award at the 2014 New Orleans Film Festival and screened at the 2014 SHOUT FILM FESTIVAL

Watch On: Vudu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

EDIE & THEA: A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT (2009) +

“After 42 years, Edie and Thea are finally able to get married. From the early ’60s to the present day, the tireless community activists persevere through many battles, both personal and political. As Edie says, ‘We just went on with this talent we have for wrestling joy from the shit’. Directors Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir (THE BRANDON TEENA STORY) return with a love story of two remarkable women whose commitment to each other is an inspiration to us all.”

Watch On: Tubi, Amazon Prime

 

 

HIT SO HARD (2012) * +

A documentary profile of Hole drummer Patty Schemel. The film tracks Schemel’s career and focuses on her near-death struggles with fame and addiction. HIT SO HARD also details Schemel’s coming out and features interviews with other female drummers (including Nina Gordon, Kate Schellenbach, Gina Schock, Debbi Peterson, and Phranc) and looks at inequalities in the music industry. Plus there’s a wild interview with Courtney Love during which she eats a box of cookies.

Watch On: This one is harder to find, but there is a DVD for purchase via Amazon or via Roku Reelgood App

 

 

WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME (2017) * +

Celebrated director Nick Broomfield is known to mesmerize with his documentary work by providing a haunting and revealing peak behind the curtain in regards to fascinating and enigmatic figures. WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME skillfully covers Houston’s background and rise to fame, focusing on the controlling record industry, her marriage to Bobby Brown and, most-talked-about, the intimate 18-year relationship that Houston had with best friend, creative director and lover Robyn Crawford. Compiled of current and archival interviews, breathtaking performances and never-before-seen footage, the documentary is captivating for Whitney fans and non-fans alike. By the film’s end there is no question, Houston possessed a genuine and rare talent and tenacity, she was a veracious superstar, avoidably lost too soon and not simply the caricature of excess that tabloid headlines reduce her to. The film was the 2017 SHOUT opening night selection.

Watch On: Hulu, Showtime, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu

 

 

 

We Know, We Know:

 

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (2013) +

This one is problematic. One of the most talked about, panned and applauded lesbian films of the past two decades… the controversy is mostly focused on its 7-minute sex scene – not only because of the run time or because the director took ten days to shoot it, along with over a hundred takes, but because both actors have spoken out against the director and the process of shooting that particular scene. Author Julie Maroh, whose comic-book novel the film is based on, has said about the film: “It appears to me that this is what was missing on the set: lesbians.” Burn! All this said and considered, the film still manages to land on list after list during Pride month and beyond and it certainly cleaned up at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival – it was the first time ever that the Palme d’Or was awarded to both actors and the director (it’s usually just given to the director). At 19 actor Adele Exarchopoulos is the youngest person to ever win the Palme d’Or and Exarchopoulos and co-star Lea Seydoux, were the second and third women in history to ever receive the award. Lots to consider. Here’s an article for starters: https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/la-et-mn-blue-warmest-color-20131121-story.html

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu

 

 

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (2010) +

Another obvious choice, “Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their biological father into their non-traditional family life.” Co-written, produced and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, director of HIGH ART, LAUREL CANYON and an episode of THE L WORD, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including BEST MOTION PICTURE and it won the 2011 Best Motion Picture Golden Globe.

Watch On: Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

 

 

G

 

 

BEACH RATS (2017) * +

Handsome 19-year- old Frankie stumbles recklessly through the summer, his first without another year of high school ahead. He runs around with friends, drinking and drugging, he reluctantly gets a girlfriend and, more than anything else, he wrestles with his sexuality. Moving from chat rooms to the passenger seat of stranger’s cars, Frankie’s life seems to be teetering on the verge of explosion. His father is dying of cancer, his future is unclear and his behavior is dangerous. Director Eliza Hittman’s presentation of dark, drunken and dreamy corners of Brooklyn feel like perilous foreign landscapes. The film’s cinematography (Hélène Louvart) and direction is poetically hypnotizing. The feminine approach behind the camera, combined with the masculine bodies that consistently fill the frame, flip the typical rubric and the result is a unique, androgynously beautiful, incredibly watchable work of art. BEACH RATS is a welcomed warning sign that the LGBTQ cinematic landscape is changing. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and we were honored to have it as the Closing Night Film for SHOUT 2017.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube

 

 

 

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (2016) * +

Family, classmates, and church friends gather to celebrate Henry Gamble’s 17th birthday with a party that rivals Mrs. Dalloway’s in sexual and emotional tumult. Struggling to reconcile his conservative Christian upbringing and blossoming gay identity, Henry floats between the conflicting worldviews of his party guests. As day stretches into night and once polite small talk grows in intensity, Henry’s pool party reveals its attendees’ clandestine affairs and discomforts. Writer/director Stephen Cone depicts evangelical church culture with striking precision in this familiar story of suburban secrets and lies. HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY won the Best Feature award at the 2016 Shout Film Festival.

Watch On: Amazon Prime

 

 

MOONLIGHT (2016) + /

Memorable Oscar award-winner, written and directed by Sidewalk alum Barry Jenkins and starring Bessemer native and Sidewalk favorite André Holland. “A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.”

Here’s an article on the cinematography of MOONLIGHT: https://www.indiewire.com/2016/10/moonlight-cinematography-color-barry-jenkins-james-laxton-alex-bickel-1201740402/

Here’s a great video on such (as well as Jenkins’ IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYh_lrwZXmo

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

GAYBY (2012) * +

Jenn and Matt are best friends from college who are now in their thirties. Single by choice, Jenn spends her days teaching hot yoga and running errands for her demanding boss. Matt suffers from comic-book writer’s block and can’t get over his jerky ex-boyfriend. They decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together… the old-fashioned way.  Can they navigate the serious and unexpected snags that they hit as they attempt to get their careers and dating lives back on track in preparation for parenthood? GAYBY is an irreverent comedy about friendship, growing older, sex, loneliness, and the family you choose. Based on the celebrated short film of the same name that screened at Sidewalk in 2012 (as well as at over one hundred other film festivals), Gayby is relentlessly hilarious, admirably hopeful and surprisingly poignant.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Tubi

 

 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (2018)

“Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, the best-selling celebrity biographer (and cat lover) who made her living in the 1970’s and 80’s profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estée Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee found herself unable to get published because she had fallen out of step with the marketplace, she turned her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant).”

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

STRANGER BY THE LAKE (2013) +

“Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel, an attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this but wants to live out his passion anyway.”

Watch On: Sling TV, Amazon Prime

 

 

A SINGLE MAN (2009) +

Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, “An English professor, one year after the sudden death of his boyfriend, is unable to cope with his typical days in 1960s Los Angeles.” A SINGLE MAN is fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford’s directorial debut. While certainly capable, Ford did not design the costumes, Arianne Phillips did.

Here’s a fun architectural analysis of A SINGLE MAN: https://www.intjournal.com/0913/a-single-man

And here’s a great, very short visual essay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVJcFGCFeio

Watch On: Netflix

 

 

OTHER PEOPLE (2016) * +

A selection of the 18th annual Sidewalk Film Festival, SNL writer Chris Kelly based OTHER PEOPLE on his own personal experience moving home to care for his mother as she was suffering from cancer. The film has a lovely and sharp balance of humor and sentiment.

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

G Documentaries:

 

 

DO I SOUND GAY? (2014) * +

On the heels of a break-up journalist David Thorpe makes his way through the typical post-relationship self-deprecation list. Most notably he discovers that he intensely dislikes the stereotypical “gay voice” and confronts the fact that he, himself, “sounds gay”. Margaret Cho, David Sedaris, George Takei, Dan Savage and numerous others help him question what it means to posses a stereotypical “gay voice”? And why does it exist in the first place? All while Thorpe works to repair his own vocal inclination. DO I SOUND GAY? is an excessively watchable, incredibly entertaining, surprisingly intriguing documentary.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

AN HONEST LIAR (2015) * +

A feature documentary about the world-famous magician, escape artist, and world-renowned enemy of deception, James ‘The Amazing’ Randi. AN HONEST LIAR brings to life Randi’s intricate investigations that publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi-religious fervor. A master deceiver who came out of the closet at the age of 81, Randi created fictional characters, fake psychics, and even turned his partner of 25 years, the artist Jose Alvarez, into a sham guru named Carlos. But when a shocking revelation in Randi’s personal life is discovered, it isn’t clear whether Randi is still the deceiver—or the deceived. AN HONEST LIAR screened at the 2014 Sidewalk/Shout Film Festival and won the Best Shout Film award.

Watch On: Amazon Prime

 

DREAM BOAT (2017) +

“On a cruise for gay men, five passengers of different nationalities take a break from their families and cultures to party and reflect on life.”

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

DEEP SOUTH (2012) * +

“DEEPSOUTH is a documentary about the new American South, and the people who inhabit its most quiet corners. Beneath layers of history, poverty and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive. Josh, a college student, seeks the support of an underground gay family miles away from his suffocating Mississippi Delta hometown. With no funds and few resources, Monica and Tammy try tirelessly to unite reluctant participants at their annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana. Kathie, an Alabama activist, spends 120 days a year on the road fighting a bureaucracy that continues to ignore the South.” DEEPSOUTH was the winner of the 2012 Shout Best Film award.

Watch On: Amazon Prime

 

 

TOM OF FINLAND (2017) +

“Award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski brings to the screen the life and work of artist Touko Valio Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland), one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture.”

Here’s the Tom Of Finland store: https://tomoffinlandstore.com/

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY (2018) +

One of our favorite Sidewalk ScreenTalk selections of the past few years, LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY profiles the legendary, charismatic and incredibly talented make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin. Featuring interviews with Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Tori Amos, Cher, Linda Evangelista, Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Moss and the list goes on… The documentary chronicles Aucoin’s struggles growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana, his rise to fame and his unfortunate untimely death at the height of his career. A quick side note, Aucoin’s parents eventually came to accept his homosexuality and started the Lafayette chapter of P-FLAG.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, iTunes

 

 

I AM DIVINE (2013) +

A documentary profile of Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine. The film traces Milstead’s life and explores how Divine became filmmaker John Waters’ cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

Here’s Divine’s official website: https://divineofficial.com/

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

 

STRIKE A POSE (2016) +

A Sidewalk ScreenTalk selection, “In 1990, seven young male dancers joined Madonna on her most controversial Blond Ambition Tour. STRIKE A POSE profiles this group of dancers decades after the tour has ended – it is a dramatic tale about overcoming shame and finding the courage to be who you are.” STRIKE A POSE would make a terrific double feature with the 1991 documentary MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE in which the dancers are featured and from which many clips are used to construct STRIKE A POSE.

Here’s a 25 year look back at MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE: https://www.papermag.com/madonna-documentary-truth-or-dare-1982808566.html

Watch On: iTunes, Tubi

 

 

CIRCUS OF BOOKS (2019) * +

This documentary tells the fascinating story of Circus of Books, a beloved focal point of the West Hollywood gay scene owned and operated by a straight Jewish couple who became two of the biggest gay porn distributors in the country — all while keeping their business completely separate from their faith, friends and children. Told mostly by the family and Circus of Books’ employees, this surprisingly textured film digs deep into the struggles to preserve and expand America’s fundamental freedoms. CIRCUS OF BOOKS won the Best Documentary Feature Audience Award at the 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival.

Watch On: Netflix

 

 

SMALL TOWN GAY BAR (2006) * +

An intimate look at two gay bars in the rural Deep South, Rumors in Shannon, Mississippi, and Different Seasons/Crossroads in Meridian. The documentary also examines the brutal hate crime murder of Scotty Joe Weaver in nearby Bay Minette, Alabama. Directed by Shout/Sidewalk multi-alum, Malcolm Ingram, SMALL TOWN GAY BAR premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and was the Grand Jury Award winner for Best Documentary at Outfest 2006.

Watch On: Vudu, Purchase DVD via Amazon

 

 

We Know, We Know:

 

 

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005)

“The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.” Perhaps the best known gay film to date, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is also controversial due to the casting of two straight celebrity-level actors to play the lead roles. The film is an adaptation of a 1997 short story by Annie Proulx. The screenplay was written by producer Diana Ossana and author Larry McMurtry.

Watch On: Hulu, Starz, Sling TV, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

TORCHSONG TRILOGY (1988)

A classic. “Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein re-creates his role as Arnold Beckoff in this film adaptation of the smash Broadway play TORCH SONG TRILOGY. “The story chronicles a New Yorker’s search for love, respect and tradition in a world that seems not especially made for him.”

Watch On: HBO

 

 

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017) # +

Super obvious! Gazing upon the oh so precious Timothée Chalamet being balanced by the sheer weight of Armie Hammer makes this a no-brainer… plus it was the 2018 Best Picture Oscar nominee and winner of Best Adapted Screenplay, pretty impressive for mainstream Hollywood to acknowledge an Italian directed film about a May-December romance between two annoyingly attractive men. Then again, who doesn’t want to watch Armie Hammer awkwardly dance and not-so-awkwardly make out with Timmy Chalamet?

Here’s a CALL ME BY YOUR NAME style guide via Esquire: https://www.esquire.com/uk/style/a15334834/call-me-by-your-name-style-guide/

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

 

B

 

 

PRINCESS CYD (2017) * +

Nine years after a cryptic family disaster, 16-year-old Cyd arrives in Chicago to spend the summer with her aunt Miranda, a famous author. The film moves meditatively, as Cyd and Miranda come to understand each other and Cyd processes the losses in her family. Meanwhile, Cyd explores her gender and sexual identity with Katie, who she meets and quickly forms a close relationship with. Skillfully written and directed by SHOUT/Sidewalk all-star alum, Stephen Cone, PRINCESS CYD is a beautiful, ruminative exploration of romantic, familial, and self-love.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (2014) * +

Written, directed and starring Desiree Akhavan, “Shirin (Akhavan) is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, politically correct bisexual and hip young Brooklynite but fails miserably in her attempt at all identities. Being without a cliché to hold onto can be a lonely experience.” Desiree Akhavan also has a wonderful episodic series on Hulu, THE BISEXUAL.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Pluto TV, Tubi, iTunes

 

 

THE DREAMERS (2003) +

Directed by the legendary Bernardo Bertolucci, “A young American studying in Paris in 1968 strikes up a friendship with a French brother and sister. Set against the background of the ’68 Paris student riots.”

Watch On: Cinemax

 

 

 

PERSONAL BEST (1982)

“The intertwined lives and loves of three highly-ranked athletes striving for the national team; Chris bounces between the beds of male coach Terry and her friend, competitor, and role model Tory.” PERSONAL BEST is directed by Robert Towne and stars Mariel Hemingway, Scott Glenn and real-life track star Patrice Donnelly.

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

HIGH ART (1998) +

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko and starring Ally Sheedy and Radha Mitchell, HIGH ART is based on photographer Nan Goldin’s life and work and premiered to rave reviews at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. “A young female intern at a small magazine company and a drug-addicted photographer slowly fall in love while exploiting each other to advance their respective careers.”

Explore some of Nan Goldin’s amazing photography: http://www.artnet.com/artists/nan-goldin/

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

THREE OF HEARTS (1993)

Yikes! There’s some offensive stuff here, but it’s a ridiculous throw back and that cast: William Baldwin, Kelly Lynch, Sherilyn Fenn, Joe Pantoliano.. Plus that tagline, “Just your average girl meets girl, girl loves girl, girl hires boy to get girl back story.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

ATOMIC BLONDE (2017)

“An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.” Controversial, we know, many have accused the film of being exploitative, but many have embraced the action film. Actor Charlize Theron has said about her characters bisexuality, “I just loved it, for so many reasons: My frustration of how that community is represented in cinema, or lack thereof. And also, it made perfect sense. It just suited her.”

Watch On: Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

T

 

 

TANGERINE (2015) * # +

Sean Baker is one of our favorite contemporary directors on the Sidewalk programming staff, and we opened the 2015 SHOUT festival with this beautiful verite comedy, shot by Baker on an iPhone (or really several iPhones). It follows two trans sex workers, Alexandra and Sin-Dee (dynamite performances from both Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), on one sunny Christmas Eve in Los Angeles; when Alexandra spills the news that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend is cheating on her with a cisgendered woman, she goes on the warpath to find them both.

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

TOMBOY (2011) +

From director Céline Sciamma (PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE): “A family moves into a new neighborhood, and a 10-year-old named Laure deliberately presents as a boy named Mikhael to the neighborhood children.” TOMBOY was a nominee for Outstanding Film at the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards and winner of the Teddy Award at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes

 

 

GUN HILL ROAD (2011) + /

Directed by Sidewalk/Shout alum Rashaad Ernesto Green. “An ex-con returns home to the Bronx after three years in prison to discover his wife estranged and his child exploring a gender transformation that will put the fragile bonds of their family to the test.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, Tubi, YouTube

 

 

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2001) +

It all began as an off-Broadway musical in 1997, which got its start via live band karaoke nights. Off-Broadway HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH quickly achieved “cult status and critical acclaim” which then led writer/director/star John Cameron Mitchell to parlay such success into a feature film version of the narrative. “A transgender punk-rock girl from East Berlin tours the U.S. with her band as she tells her life story and follows the former lover/band-mate who stole her songs.” A historically relevant piece of trivia: The original off-Broadway production of HEDWIG started in the ballroom of The Hotel Riverview (now The Jane), a space that once gave shelter to the surviving crew of the Titanic in 1912. For this reason the film features Titanic imagery throughout.

Here’s a fun “10 Things You Didn’t Know” article about the film: https://www.stlmag.com/culture/theater/10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-hedwig-and-the-angry-inch/

Watch On: HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube

 

 

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP (1982)

This is a bit of an odd one to hit the list and the content is minor, but important all the same. Based on the 1978 novel by John Irving, “A struggling young writer finds his life and work dominated by his unfaithful wife and his radical feminist mother, whose best-selling manifesto turns her into a cultural icon.” John Lithgow co-stars as transgender former football player Roberta Muldoon, a role for which he was received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 55th Academy Awards. According to GLADD, the character “Roberta is considered by many to be one of the first sympathetic transgender characters in a film made for a mass audience.” Lithgow has stated, Roerta is “a person who is utterly unaffected, she feels more herself than she’s ever been and, in that sense, it was revolutionary.”

Here’s an article from the Paris Review, looking back at THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP with a 40-year perspective: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/08/23/garp-forty-years-later/

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube

 

 

T Documentaries:

 

 

CALL HER GANDA (2018)  * +

In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina woman, was found murdered, and all evidence pointed to a young U.S. serviceman as the culprit. The subsequent trial had international repercussions, rocking the relationship between America and the Philippines and sparking protests over transphobia and the neo colonial mindset of the U.S. military. This shocking documentary examines the impunity with which American soldiers are permitted to behave in the Philippines — for which the trans community has paid a heavy and tragic toll.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

MAN MADE (2018) * +

Welcome to the world of competitive bodybuilding for transgender men, where a resilient community competes, builds each other up, and works towards self-actualization. We follow four trans men in their challenging journeys to competition day; seeing how their relationships, self-image, and bodies change as they work towards their goals. MAN MADE is truly a moving look into this competitive, yet nurturing and accepting world.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

KIKI (2016) * +

Sara Jordenö’s striking documentary follows several members of the Kiki scene, New York’s gay ballroom movement, one that is composed of a complicated system of teams or “houses” that compete in voguing competitions for cash and bragging rights. However, as the documentary explores, the Kiki scene isn’t just about dance competitions (though with such talent and enthusiasm that might be enough), but, at its heart, is about companionship, protection, activism and chosen family. Touring through New York gymnasiums, rec centers, bodegas and piers, Kiki is visually stunning and truly represents the landscape that is the birthplace of the scene. The documentary offers the enjoyment of ballroom alter egos, extravagant costumes, and moments of hilarious snark, but also reminds us that HIV/AIDS is not a thing of the past and the concerns facing transgender teens, especially those who are non-white, remain mostly unheard.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

BOY I AM (2006)  * +

“While female-to-male transgender visibility has recently exploded in this country, conversations about trans issues in the lesbian community often run into resistance from the many queer women who view transitioning as a “trend” or as an anti-feminist act that taps into male privilege. BOY I AM is a feature-length documentary that begins to break down that barrier and promote dialogue about trans issues through a look at the experiences of three young transitioning FTMs in New York City – Nicco, Norie and Keegan – as they go through major junctures in their transitions, as well as through the voices of lesbians, activists and theorists who raise and address the questions that many people have but few openly discuss.”

Watch On: Kanopy

 

 

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON (2017) * +

Marsha P. Johnson was a leading transgender activist in the 1980s: present at the Stonewall Riots alongside Sylvia Rivera. Her death rocked the New York LGBT activist scene, with many of her peers skeptical of the NYPD’s ruling that she committed suicide. In this gripping documentary, we follow activist Victoria Cruz as she tries to solve the mystery of Marcia’s death. David France, the director of HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, brings us this riveting film that’s part tribute, part whodunit, and part call-to-action.

Here’s a link to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute: https://marshap.org/about-mpji/

Watch On: Netflix

 

 

MY PRAIRIE HOME (2013) * +

With only an acoustic guitar and a laptop, transgender singer/songwriter Rae Spoon embarks on a modest tour across the vast and blue-skied plains of Canada, facilitated by Greyhound buses and generic motel rooms. Delicately observed through Spoon’s contemplative moments, MY PRAIRIE HOME takes an impressionistic approach to its subject, thwarting the expectations of a traditional music documentary. The film poetically weaves together Spoon’s personal history of an evangelical household back in Alberta, a troubled family life, and a forbidden first love – all of which left indelible marks on their lyrics and are brought to life through playful, music-video–like visual sequences. Within the first moments of the film, director Chelsea McMullan visually cues the audience to subvert its expectations, preparing us to spend intimate time with her subject, who sees the world in their own way. A particular joy comes from delving into an artist’s world of music and musings; discovering Rae Spoon is this film’s biggest reward.

Here is Rae Spoon’s website: http://www.raespoon.com/

Watch On: iTunes

 

 

We Know, We Know:

 

 

PARIS IS BURNING (1990)  +

Another famous, but problematic, for many, film – most notably because the director is a white, cisgender, queer woman – Jennie Livingston. “A chronicle of New York’s drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.” PARIS IS BURNING won the Outstanding Documentary Film at the 1992 GLAAD Media Awards and the prestigious Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. The film is also part of the Criterion Collection.

Watch On: iTunes, Criterion Blu-ray and DVD

 

 

THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT (1994)

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT ends up on almost every annual pride list. “Two drag performers and a transgender woman travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret.” There are numerous problematic elements, including in the film’s credits. PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT is covered in awards, including the 1995 Academy Award for Best Costume Design, the1995 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film and Outstanding Narrative Feature at Outfest 1995.

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

BOYS DON’T CRY (1999) +

One of the most famous transgender relevant films of all time, it is important to note that BOYS DON’T CRY features a great deal of violence and trauma and has been accused of being transphobic by some. Director Kimberly Peirce is genderqueer and BOYS DON’T CRY evolved from a short film that was Peirce’s thesis project at Columbia University. “A young man named Brandon Teena navigates love, life, and being transgender in rural Nebraska.”

Watch On: HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

BEFORE STONEWALL (1984)  +

Another classic that hits all the annual lists, “The history of the Gay and Lesbian community before the Stonewall riots began the major gay rights movement.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, iTunes

 

 

 

Q

 

 

RAW (2016) +

Queer horror! Once again, a lot to unpack! “A young woman, studying to be a veterinarian, develops a craving for human flesh.” RAW is clearly influenced by director Abel Ferrara’s 1995 film THE ADDICTION starring Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken and Annabella Sciorra – which could also make this list and would make a great double feature with RAW.

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Prime

 

 

 

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014)  +

Like the film’s director, Ana Lily Amirpour, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is hard to pin down, it has been described as ““the first Iranian Vampire Western”, it’s also been referred to as a “noir, spaghetti western”,  “Iranian New Wave”, “pulp”, “trans-national”, “”political”, feminist-romantic.” Ambiguous, unique, daring, visionary. Here’s a great, short article from Bitch Media: https://www.bitchmedia.org/a-girl-walks-home-alone-at-night-feminist-film-review-farsi-iran

Watch On: Google Play, Sling TV, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Prime

 

 

SHIRLEY (2020)  + /

Sidewalk alum, director Josephine Decker’s fifth narrative feature focuses on a particularly complicated era in author Shirley Jackson’s interesting life. “A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.” Decker is also the co-director of the 2008 documentary BI THE WAY

Here’s a New Yorker article on Shirley Jackson: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/17/the-haunted-mind-of-shirley-jackson

Watch On: Hulu, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime

 

 

BLACK SWAN (2010)

“A committed dancer struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.” This ones complicated – dual personalities, good vs. evil, doppelgangers and sex with a nemesis. How queer is BLACK SWAN? – the verdict is out.

Here’s a fun article on the (controversial) costumes from the film: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2011/01/from-sketch-to-still-the-visual-history-of-rodarte-in-black-swan

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

NEON DEMON (2016)

An early Indiewire headline says a lot: “The Neon Demon’s First Reactions: Walkouts, Yelling at the Screen and a Five-Star Review in Cannes”. “An aspiring model, Jesse, is new to Los Angeles. However, her beauty and youth, which generate intense fascination and jealousy within the fashion industry, may prove themselves sinister.” Please note The Washington Times called NEON DEMON “depraved” and even used the word “smut” and the New York Times branded it “puerile” and “offensive.”

Here’s a cool article on sets from the film: https://filmandfurniture.com/2016/10/neon-demon-film-sets/

And a pretty hilarious article on the directors (Nicolas Winding Refn) commentary track on the film: https://filmschoolrejects.com/commentary-the-neon-demon-b0e2a75f0c6f/

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

 

AXOLOTL OVERKILL (2017) * +

Set against the backdrop of wild Berlin, a troubled young teenager struggles to cope after the death of her mother. Unsupervised and undisciplined, she drifts in and out of relationships, testing her emotional and sexual limits. Shown through tense, occasionally humorous, and otherworldly vignettes, Axolotl Overkill offers a female perspective on the angsty self-destructive anti-hero. Director Helene Hegemann adapts the screenplay from her own novel. The title references the unusual lifecycle of an axolotl, an amphibian that reaches maturity without metamorphosis.

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

 

SUSPIRIA (2018)

More of a reimaging than a remake, there are a lot of mixed feelings about SUSPIRIA 2018. This film also contains a great deal of violence, but… Tilda Swinton has the strangest crush on Dakota Johnson so it makes the list. Trigger warning through the roof – Dakota Johnson has claimed that the intensity of the shoot led her to seek therapy. “A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.”

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

 

BOOKSMART (2019)

We love Olivia Wilde’s feature debut at Sidewalk. And it’s streaming on Hulu, so if you haven’t gotten on board with this brilliant comedy yet, now’s the perfect time. It follows two overachieving high school seniors (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) who, on the verge of graduation, try to pack all the partying they never did into one wild night. Mayhem ensues.

Here’s a fun article on the film’s costumes: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/5/30/18645970/booksmart-movie-olivia-wilde-beanie-feldstein-costumes

Watch On: Hulu, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

SKATE KITCHEN (2018) * +

THE WOLF PACK (Sidewalk 2015) director, Crystal Moselle’s narrative debut, SKATE KITCHEN stylishly conveys the story of outsider Camille who makes fast friends with a group of fellow skateboarders. Similar to the backstory regarding THE WOLF PACK, Moselle randomly met the core cast of non-actors on a train. She enlisted them for a short film, expanding the relationship for SKATE KITCHEN.  A candid urban coming-of-age tale, the film also explores the challenges faced by young women moving within unavoidable male-centric spaces and the incredible importance of female friendship in modern America. The new HBO series BETTY was created by Moselle, based on SKATE KITCHEN and includes most of the cast of the original film.

Here’s the actual Skate Kitchen’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theskatekitchen/?hl=en

Watch On: Hulu, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

THE HUNGER (1983)

“A love triangle develops between a beautiful yet dangerous vampire, her cellist companion, and a gerontologist.” Starring Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon and David Bowie and featuring Bauhaus!

Watch On: HBO, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (1991)  +

Directed by Gus Van Sant, “Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.” Very loosely based on Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V and starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO is considered a landmark film in the 1990s New Queer Cinema movement. Van Sant had great trouble getting the film financed and Phoenix and Reeves agreed participation is what led to the film being made. River Phoenix’s agent initially refused to pass the script along to his client so Keanu Reeves rode his motorcycle from Canada to Gainesville, Florida (Phoenix’s hometown) to hand deliver the script and convince his friend to star.

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

KNIVES AND SKIN (2019) * +

A Sidewalk 2019 selection. Big River is living in the shadow of missing teenager Carolyn Harper. Haunted and sad, the town is stuck in a chaotic funnel cloud of grief and looming doom. It’s easy to draw comparisons to TWIN PEAKS and DONNIE DARKO and even RIVERDALE, along with vibes of the original “Serial” podcast, yet KNIVES AND SKIN is wholly original — beautiful and gross, feminine and androgynous, hopeless and joyous and brutally relevant in its poetic investigation of a doomed world.

Watch On: Hulu, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

A Few PG Selections

 

LOVE, SIMON (2018)

PG-13

An adaptation of the book Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda, LOVE, SIMON is the first film to feature a gay teenage main protagonist produced by a major Hollywood studio. “Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.”

Watch On: Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002)  +

PG-13

Perhaps the most pristine cinematography on the list – directed by Todd Haynes, “In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.” The film “explores race, gender roles, sexual orientation, and class in the context of 1950s America.” FAR FROM HEAVEN shows the heavy influence from the work of Douglas Sirk, most notably the amazing ALL THE HEAVEN ALLOWS.

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes

 

 

ORLANDO (1992)  +

PG-13

Loosely based on Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel “Orlando: A Biography”: “after Queen Elizabeth I commands him not to grow old, a young nobleman struggles with love and his place in the world.”

Watch On: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

3 GENERATIONS (2015)

PG-13

“After Ray decides to transition from female to male, Ray’s mother, Maggie, must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent.”

Watch On: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975)

PG

“During a rural summer picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls’ school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.”

Watch On: HBO, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

HEARTS BEAT LOUD (2018) * +

PG-13

Nick Offerman plays a widower and career record storeowner whose daughter, played by the amazing Kiersy Clemons, is gearing up to start school across the country. After a song that they record as a goof goes viral, Offerman tries to persuade his daughter to form a band, both to satisfy a lifelong dream of his own and to hold on to the one lasting relationship in his life. Featuring extremely likeable original songs and a great supporting cast (Ted Danson plays a bartender!), HEARTS BEAT LOUD truly earns its reputation for being a heart-warming crowd pleaser.

Watch On: Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play

 

 

 

THESE FILMS ARE SO IN THE CLOSET

Each one of the following film descriptions could start with “come on”. The gay content is barely hidden and/or it would be a way more interesting film if the gay content were more prevalent or overt, because gosh darn it’s there!

 

 

LITTLE DARLINGS (1980)

A little summer camp fun – Ferris and Angel have a competition to see which of the two can loose their virginity first. Kristy McNichol plays Ferris who, in the opening scene, in the butchest manner possible, pulls a cigarette from a rolled-up sleeve and racks a dude who tries to talk to her and Angel is played by an at-her-most- androgynous Tatum O’Neil – there’s even a fedora. The sexual tension between the two young women is off the charts and culminates into a strangely erotic food fight in which Angel rubs pancakes slowly on Ferris’ ches. Plus the film ends with a very suggestive “best friend” reference. Oh and side note: Matt Dillon has never been as pretty.

Watch On: Tubi, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

 

 

PRETTY IN PINK (1986)

Movie stills from “Pretty in Pink”.

As acknowledged at our recent drive-in screening of PRETTY IN PINK, Steff clearly has a crush on Blaine, hence his issue with Andie – there’s really no other explanation for his douchey behavior. Also Duckie is clearly gay (but yet in love with Andie), even Molly Ringwald has publicly noted such.

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

OCEAN’S 8 (2018)

Lou (Cate Blanchett) and Debbie (Sandra Bullock) are clearly a couple – all the references and hints are right there. Plus Lou’s name is Lou – that smoky eye, that blue suit, the leather pants and all those vests, come on! OCEAN’S 8 is also a lot more fun to watch with this read of the characters.

Here’s a Vice article titled “Every Outfit Cate Blanchett Wore in ‘Ocean’s 8’ Made Me Gayer”: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7xm7ee/cate-blanchett-oceans-8-fashion-gay

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu,YouTube, Google Play

 

 

PERSONAL SHOPPER (2016) +

I don’t know about you, but I can watch Kristin Stewart text with a ghost for days… “A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.” Fun trivia – one of the dogs in the film is named Bella, a TWILIGHT reference for those in the know. According to howgayisit.com: “There is no evidence for the protagonist of this movie being gay other than the fact that she is played by Kristen Stewart which is evidence enough.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Sling TV

 

 

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)

For one the character Plato is so obviously gay. It has been said that James Dean was very much in the know regarding such and supposedly told Plato actor Sal Mineo, prior to filing a scene at the abandoned Getty Mansion, “Look at me the way I look at Natalie.” Actor Sal Mineo was gay and, of course, James Dean was rumored to be bi-sexual. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE is also a study of American male masculinity, making the film mulit-layered and incredibly interesting, especially considering the casting.

Here’s a brief article and video on “What Makes “Rebel Without A Cause” Such A Gay Classic?”: http://www.newnownext.com/what-makes-rebel-without-a-cause-such-a-gay-classic/07/2016/

And here’s a paper titled ““What it Takes to Be a Man”: A Comparison of Masculinity and Sexuality in Rebel without a Cause and River’s Edge”: https://digitalcommons.ric.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1030&context=honors_projects

Watch On: Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, Sling TV

 

 

HIGHER LEARNING (1995)

Well, it’s not exactly in the closet, but the lesbian storyline is by far one of the strongest threads of the film and yet one of the most brief. Such wasn’t the original intent of the production, HIGHER LEARNING “was heavily cut upon its release, eliminating much of the romantic relationship between Taryn (Jennifer Connelly) and Kristen Connor (Kristy Swanson)“. Synopsis: “People from all different walks of life, encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube

 

 

 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (1991)

Perhaps the most outrageously in the closet from this list! Idgie and Ruth are clearly a couple. A lesbian relationship between Ruth and Idgie does, of course, take place in Alabamian (and out lesbian) Fannie Flagg’s novel from which the film is based. Actors Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson along with, Fannie Flagg were all strong advocates for depicting the lesbian relationship between Ruth and Idgie in the film. Director, Jon Avnet, and the films producers, however, decided to cut such and make the characters just friends. Avnet has said that he considers the food fight scene “as an analogy for a love scene between the two that he chose not to include”. Bummer.

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Starz, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube

 

 

TOP GUN (1986)

You’ve heard the theory… there’s certainly enough there to make for a very dangerous drinking game. Here’s Quentin Tarantino (ugh) – as Sid in the film SLEEP WITH ME – laying it all out (beware lots of language NSFW): https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=NzY9a-WmE6o&feature=emb_logo

Of course there are plenty of other videos out there making pretty strong cases. Still don’t buy it… The fact that star Kelly McGillis is an out lesbian and looks really amazing in a bomber jacket also helps the film make the list.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, Sling TV, fuboTV, Philo, AMC

 

 

A SIMPLE FAVOR (2018)

Paul Feig goes big, broad and melodramatic with this comic thriller that subtly lampoons the “missing white woman” subgenre of airport fiction while indulging in its most enjoyable tropes. A fantastic Blake Lively stars as the mysterious woman who goes missing; her friend (Anna Kendrick) then devotes her time to discover the truth about her disappearance while also suspiciously starting to adopt her lifestyle. This thing twists and turns like you won’t believe. The queer/bi-sexual content is minimal, but the tension is high and dang Blake Lively looks good in a tux – regardless this one confirms that all romantic relationships are pretty stupid anyway.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Sling TV

 

 

SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL (1987)

A two-second look at Watts (played by Mary Stuart Masterson – and, yes, the characters name is Watts) and you’ll see why everyone is so confused if you didn’t already. SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL is basically a role reversal of PRETTY IN PINK with Watts as the Duckie, so, of course, she’s clearly queer. There’s zero chemistry between Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz) and Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson) and we’re all secretly wishing Watts and Amanda would just run off together and leave Keith with his own weird attempt to buy a hot girlfriend.

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, PlutoTV

 

 

 

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE (1985)

Called “the Gayest Horror Film Ever Made” and that’s saying a lot… Here’s a Buzz Feed article regarding just how gay the second NIGHTMARE is: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/louispeitzman/the-nightmare-behind-the-gayest-horror-film-ever-made

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

 

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 star Mark Patton is also profiled in the documentary SCREAM QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, which focuses on just how gay the film is and how such impacted Patton’s life as a once Hollywood closeted and then later out gay man. SCREAM QUEEN! was the 2019 Shout Opening Night selection.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

WONDER WOMAN (2017)

Just how queer is Wonder Woman? Where to begin?… She was born on the female-only paradise island of Themyscira. Wonder Woman comic book writer Greg Rucka has stated, “Wonder Woman must be queer”, “it makes no logical sense otherwise” and has further said, “Themyscira is a queer culture. I’m not hedging that”. William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman’s original creator, was an “outspoken feminist, swinger, S&M practitioner, and firm believer in the superiority of women”. The original Wonder Woman comic was accused of containing “lesbian imagery”. Marston’s partners and inspiration Elizabeth and Olive continued to live together as a couple for 38 years after his death, until Olive passed away in 1985. The new WONDER WOMAN 1984 poster is drenched in rainbow colors and “Screams ‘Gay Rights”. The list goes on. DC Universe, please let Wonder Woman out of the closet!

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

ROUGH NIGHT (2017)

Another, it’s not fully in the closet, but could do better – “Things go terribly wrong for a group of girlfriends who hire a male stripper for a bachelorette party in Miami.” The LGBTQ content: central characters Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoë Kravitz) have a romantic relationship in their history and this minor storyline is weaved into the films narrative, along with a couple of additional moments (no spoilers). ROUGH NIGHT would be much stronger with a more substantial storyline. We should add – Kate McKinnon stars!

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

 

 

 

BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN (2020)

Okay, it’s not really in the closet, it’s there, but the film would be improved with more focus on the LGBTQ text and subtext and by avoiding some of the stereotypes. If you didn’t already know, BIRDS OF PREY is a superhero film based on the DC Comics team “Birds of Prey” and it stars Margot Robbie. “After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.” While the character Harley Quinn is established as bisexual during an opening narrated animation, she still spends too much of the film going on about the Joker. Detective Renee Montoya is a lesbian and villain Black Mask is presumably gay, plus the film has a feminist lean. The content is getting there, but it could be better – all that said it’s a more out mainstream superhero film than others.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube

 

 

JOHNNY GUITAR (1954)

Joan Crawford stars as a stubborn saloon owner threatened by gossipmongering locals in this 1954 Western classic from director Nicholas Ray. Only the arrival of mysterious loner Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) can take some of the heat off — but not much, as what makes this movie remarkable is how independent and vibrant its female characters are. It’s not unusual to see gay undertones in the Western genre, heck that’s part of what makes BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN work so well – the undertones are brought to the surface. In most Westerns, women threaten men’s unbridled freedom as they roam the American landscape looking tough and women are helpless or simply secondary. JOHNNY GUITAR is an exception with the one and only Joan Crawford taking on the stereotypical male role as lesbian overtones abound.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, Sling TV

 

 

Sidewalk’s Father’s Day Picks

DAD MOVIES

It’s Father’s Day – Sidewalk programmers put together a list of suggested films to watch with your dad, help celebrate your dad, remember your dad, or perhaps just the opposite! We’ve included a few resources here and there as well. Happy Fathers Day.

Key:

The + means the film can be considered indie.
The * means that the film is a festival selection.
The # means the film was a cinema selection
The / means the writer and/or director was a Sidewalk Film Festival alum.

 

THE HEAVY HITTERS:

KRAMER VS KRAMER (1979)

The ultimate reluctant dad movie, KRAMER VS KRAMER is surprisingly complicated and, in many ways, as much about navigating the aftermath of a broken marriage as it is about parenting. KRAMER VS KRAMER was clearly a heavy influence on A MARRIAGE STORY (listed below). Starring Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, and JoBeth Williams at her usual best in a memorable supporting role. “Ted Kramer’s wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple’s son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.”

Watch On: Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play or dust off that VHS tape

 

 

MORRIS FROM AMERICA (2016) *+

An exploration of puppy love, single parenthood, and the kind of acute “otherness” that can only be experienced by a black American young man transplanted in an all-white German town. 13-year-old Morris’ life revolves around his loving and playful father (Superstar Craig Robinson) and his hip-hop aspirations… that is until a beautiful girl takes him on a dizzying ride, landing him somewhere between lost and found. With breathtaking cinematography and characters that are complicated and flawed while remaining infectiously likable, MORRIS FROM AMERICA is a true feel-good film and features one of the best dads of the decade.

Watch On: Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

FORD V FERRARI

Less about focusing on a dad and more about being the ultimate stereotypical Dad Movie, FORD V FERRARI has cars and Italian cars, corporate interference, the laws of physics, a 24-hour car race and male bonding… and Christian Bale. Heavily based on a true story, the Ford Motor Company works to build a racecar that can win at the infamous Le Mans.  Check out this vintage footage from the 1966 Le Mans race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdpWTLB0Y4I

Watch On: Vudu, Google Play, YouTube, Amazon Prime

 

 

RAISING ARIZONA (1987) +

You know the story, H.I. (Nicolas Cage) wants to be a dad so badly that he steals a baby – how does RAISING ARIZONA not end up on a Fathers Day watch list!? “When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family’s quintuplets, their lives become more complicated than they anticipated.” Let’s take a break for some bad parenting with this piece of trivia: Fifteen babies played the Arizona quintuplets in the film. One of the babies was fired during production when he learned to walk. The mother went so far as to put her baby’s shoes on backwards in order to prevent him from walking.

A great little Mental Floss article on RAISING ARIZONA: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/76329/10-law-abiding-facts-about-raising-arizona

 

Watch On: Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, iTunes

 

 

PAPER MOON (1973)

Well this gets a little complicated… “During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.” Ryan O’Neal plays Moses, the con man that becomes faux father to Addie, played by real-life daughter Tatum O’Neal, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance at 10, making her the youngest person ever to win an Oscar. It’s rumored that the shooting process on PAPER MOON was grueling and that Tatum O’Neal would often require 50 takes. It’s also alleged that dad, Ryan, was incredibly jealous of Tatum’s Oscar win. She’s written an auto-biography calling him out for his alleged jerky ways and his quotes to the press about her are regularly cringe-worthy, all making PAPER MOON a family drama-fueled, complicated (on and off screen) dad time at the movies.

Watch On: Pluto TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

 

 

HEARTS BEAT LOUD (2018) *+

Nick Offerman plays a widower and career record storeowner whose daughter, played by the amazing Kiersy Clemons, is gearing up to start school across the country. After a song that they record as a goof goes viral, Offerman tries to persuade his daughter to form a band, both to satisfy a lifelong dream of his own and to hold on to the one lasting relationship in his life. Featuring extremely likeable original songs and a great supporting cast (Ted Danson plays a bartender!), HEARTS BEAT LOUD truly earns its reputation for being a heart-warming crowd pleaser.

Watch On: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989)

“After his father Professor Henry Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery) goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. (Harrison Ford) finds himself up against Adolf Hitler’s Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers. When Sean Connery is dad to Harrison Ford and they fight Nazis, you better believe it’s a Fathers Day recommendation. Cheers!

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

 

HE GOT GAME +

In Spike Lee’s searing sports drama, a star high school basketball player (Ray Allen) must decide whether to commit to the NBA Draft or go to college. The pressure is compounded when his incarcerated father (Denzel Washington) is released to promote an agenda on behalf of the crooked governor. In typical Lee fashion, “He Got Game” is about a lot of stuff — but its heart is in the connection between these two men, climaxing in a one-on-one basketball game that sees the father finally release the burdens of his dreams to his son. It might be one of the more electric sequences in Lee’s entire filmography.

Watch On: Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

FACE /OFF (1997)

Another it’s-not-about-the-dad-it’s-about-the-dad-movie selection, we’ll use any excuse to include FACE/OFF on a rec list, but Fathers Day is clearly an easy justification. Sidewalk programmers are in support of any film that includes a “highly experimental face transplant”, but when the faces we are talking about are those of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, it’s 100% on the list. Let’s boil things down: “In order to foil a terrorist plot, an FBI agent undergoes facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a criminal mastermind, who murdered his only son. The plan turns sour when the criminal wakes up prematurely and seeks revenge.” Our favorite behind the scenes pieces of trivia: “The crew shot on Nicolas Cage’s birthday. John Woo let Cage get emotionally charged up for a scene, then surprised him with a birthday cake. Afterwards, Cage asked Woo not to do that again.”

Watch On: Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

ROLL BOUNCE (2005)

“In the summer of 1978, a teenager and his group of friends face new challenges when their neighborhood roller-skating rink closes, forcing them to visit a different rink.” Xavier’s mother has passed away, leaving father, Curtis, to raise Xavier and his sister, Sonya – the three help each other find their way after the loss.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991) +#

Writer-director John Singleton’s breakout first feature, BOYZ N THE HOOD lands on the Fathers Day list because of the unforgettable character Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne). Wisdom-spouting dad time! The film “follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence, and future prospects.” Look at this cast: Angela Bassett, Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nia Long, Regina King and, again, Laurence Fishburne.

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Showtime, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

RED RIVER (1948)

We’ll go old school with this pick, a classic Howard Hawks Western that finds a brewing conflict between John Wayne as a maniacal cattle driver pushing a herd of thousands of cattle from Texas to Kansas, and Montgomery Clift as the surrogate son who grows to object to the older man’s domineering ways. As the tension grows, the clash between generations seems destined for an almost Biblical climax — and though Hawks’ ending is pretty deflating, it suggests the transformative power of forgiveness and collaboration.

Watch On: Hulu, Sling TV, Starz, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

 

THE NOT SO OBVIOUS (AND NOT FOR EVERYONE)

 

 

THE ICE STORM (1997) +

While not seasonally appropriate, THE ICE STORM is one of the sweetest and saddest films about family disconnection and is also, in part, a meditation on the loss of innocence and the parental realization of such. An iconic scene in which father Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) carries his daughter Wendy (Christina Ricci) home will break your heart. “In suburban New Canaan, Connecticut, 1973, middle-class families experimenting with casual sex and substance abuse find their lives beyond their control.” Gene Siskel selected THE ICE STORM as the best film of 1997.

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

EAST OF EDEN (1955)

Directed by Elia Kazan, based on the novel by John Steinbeck and starring James Dean – “A wilful young man contends against his brother for the attention of their religious father while reconnecting with his estranged mother and falling for his brother’s girlfriend.” While watching EAST OF EDEN keep in mind that while shooting the Ferris wheel scene, in an effort to feel as uncomfortable as possible, James Dean refused to urinate the entire day. EAST OF EDEN is the only film that James Dean starred in that he personally viewed in its entirety, he passed away the same year the film was released.

Watch On: HBO, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

SAY ANYTHING (1989)

Man, oh man, is this dad misguided. While SAY ANYTHING is clearly more of a late-high school teen romance than a dad story, the father stuff is certainly the tie that binds. “A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college” and a well-intentioned, but wrecking ball of a dad meddles, and meanders throughout. The films origin story: “Producer James L. Brooks said the movie was inspired when Brooks saw a man walking with his daughter, and wondered what would happen if the father committed a crime.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS (2001) +

Wes Anderson’s films are filled with complicated fathers or father figures, so most of his movies could theoretically show up on this list. But Gene Hackman’s indelible Royal Tenenbaum — disgraced lawyer, Western novel enthusiast and exiled paterfamilias of a family of failed geniuses — clearly takes the top prize. As Royal tries to reconnect with his ex-wife (Anjelica Huston) and children (Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow) by faking a cancer diagnosis, the Tenenbaum family grapples with its legacy and once again find resilience and comfort in their neglected family ties. And Royal isn’t an asshole — he’s just kind of a son of a bitch.

Here’s a great visual essay breaking down Margot Tenenbaums style: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEzT8StSNi4

And for something more dad-like, there’s a book “Bad Dads: Art Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson”: https://www.booksamillion.com/search?id=7925348608453&query=+Bad+Dads%3A+Art+Inspired+by+the+Films+of+Wes+Anderson&filter=

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

MARRIAGE STORY (2019) +#

“Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.” Successful New York theater director Charlie Barber and his wife, actor Nicole Barber, split up and Nicole relocates with their son Henry to LA after landing a role in a TV pilot. The former couple attempt to navigate relationship fallout and parenthood from near and far.

Watch On: Netflix

 

 

RISKY BUSINESS (1983)

Anything with Thomas Cruise has dad vibes, but in this case, Mr. Cruise isn’t the dad, he’s the kid with a dad or, actually, temporarily without a dad as his parents are out of town which allows for Thomas Cruise level shenanigans. In this particular instance the folks being out of town means that you hire a sex worker and then parlay that into turning the parents house into a brothel. RISKY BUSINESS is as 1980’s time capsule as you might think (or remember), but it’s likely way edgier than your memory or imagination might conjure. Loaded with surface level symbolism, cringe-worthy inappropriateness, an amazing score and classic moments, RISKY BUSINESS is well worth a watch/re-watch and parenting and dad-isms are just heavy enough to make Fathers Day the perfect reason.

Watch On: Hulu, Cinemax, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

FOOTLOOSE (1984)

What do you do when your dad is the bible beating Rev. Shaw Moore who has made sure that partying, rock music and dancing has been outlined in the tiny farm town that you’re stuck in? You hook up with the hot (?), rebellious, fearless new kid in town and dance your ass off of course. Of all the films on the list FOOTLOOSE might somehow be the one with the dad who has the most broad power (well except DEVILS ADVOCATE of course). We love a good small town, strict preacher dad turn-around story, but who doesn’t?

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

 

THE SUPER OBVIOUS

 

 

FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1991)

A remake of the 1950 film of the same name, but staring Steve Martin of course! “With his oldest daughter’s wedding approaching, a father finds himself reluctant to let go.” A classic.

Watch On: Hulu, TNT, TBS, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION (1983)

The classic of all classics. “The Griswold family’s cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.” A fun thing to watch for: At Walley World, Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) is taller than mom, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) – that’s because these scenes were shot 4 months after principal photography wrapped and Hall had grown three inches during the course of production.

Watch On: fuboTV, AMC, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (2006)

In addition to Will Smith having major dad vibes just in general, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS might be the most dad movie of all time. “A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he’s poised to begin a life-changing professional career.” Plus real life dad Will Smith plays dad to real life son Jaden Smith.

Watch On: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

FIELD OF DREAMS (1989)

If THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS isn’t the most dad movie of all time then FIELD OF DREAMS definitely is. “An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields; he does, and the 1919 Chicago White Sox come.” Of course Iowa corn farmer is played by dad face Kevin Costner. If you’re up for a summer road trip you can visit the baseball field and farmhouse from FiELD OF DREAMS in Dyersville, Iowa. If you want to take a quick, virtual trip, there’s a web cam: https://fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com/field-cam/

Watch On: Hulu, Starz, SlingTV, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

TAKEN  (2008)

Taken (2008)
Directed by Pierre Morel
Shown from left: Arben Bajraktaraj, Liam Neeson

Fighter dad time! “If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t: I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.” Dang.  Massive testosterone dad time. “A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris.”

Watch On: Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

 

 

IF YOU’RE WITHOUT YOUR DAD

 

THE CAT AND THE MOON (2019) +*

Written and directed by HEREDITARY star Alex Wolff, teenager Nick temporarily relocates to New York to stay with his late fathers former band mate, Cal, while his mom is in rehab. During his stay, Nick makes new friends who show him what the city has to offer. Dealing with mental issues of his own, Nick quickly finds himself struggling to cope. A beautiful and at times tragic story, the film shows the complexities of teenage life in NYC.

Watch On: Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)

We’re not exactly sure what’s going on with Charlie’s home life or why so many people are piled in one bed all dang day while Charlie’s mom stirs a cauldron of soup, but we do know that Charlie’s dad isn’t around. It’s also pretty convenient that Grandpa Joe can suddenly walk when there’s a chance to visit the Chocolate Factory. Plus Wonka is possibly the most intense king of punishment and none of that dads in the film are very good at parenting, so all around there’s some pretty off the rails level dad stuff going down. You know the story: A poor but hopeful boy seeks one of the five coveted golden tickets that will send him on a tour of Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory. Here’s a “where are they now” article on the kids in WILLY WONKA: https://www.insider.com/willy-wonka-chocolate-factory-then-and-now-2016-8#many-members-of-the-cast-have-gotten-together-to-celebrate-the-movie-here-are-the-five-kids-celebrating-the-films-30th-anniversary-2

Watch On: Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

OBVIOUS CHILD (2014) +

When you’re straight up not ready or don’t want to be a dad (or a mom)… Directed by Gillian Robespierre and featuring Jenny Slate, OBVIOUS CHILD premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was the talk of the 2014 festival circuit.

Watch On: Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

HUGO (2011)

“In 1931 Paris, an orphan living in the walls of a train station gets wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.” HUGO also gloriously celebrates the father of all – the father of motion pictures, Georges Méliès. Here’s a fun, quick article about Méliès: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/72124/5-pioneering-facts-about-georges-melies

Watch On: Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

TREE OF LIFE (2011) +

Perhaps the most existential choice on the list (and the most Brad Pitt), “The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents’ conflicting teachings.”

Watch On: Hulu, HBO, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

LUCKY (2017) +*

The amazing Harry Dean Stanton’s final role and in so many ways his swan song via a film. It’s dad vibes all around, but also so much more. “Lucky follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town.”

Watch On: Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

JOSHUA (2007)

“The arrival of a newborn girl causes the gradual disintegration of the Cairn family; particularly for 9-year-old Joshua, an eccentric boy whose proper upbringing and refined tastes both take a sinister turn.” Boy oh boy does dad Brad Cairn (Sam Rockwell) really try…

Watch On: Hulu, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

THE STEPFATHER (1987)

This is a bit of a step in a different direction, but fitting for some. “After murdering his entire family, a man marries a widow with a teenage daughter in another town and prepares to do it all over again.” Yep. Happy Fathers Day.

Watch On: Tubi, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube

 

 

 

YOU THOUGHT YOUR FATHER WAS AWFUL

 

 

HONEY BOY (2019) +#

Directed by Alma Har’el, “A view of a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health.” It doesn’t get much more dad than this: HONEY BOY is Shia LaBeouf’s mostly autobiographical feature, in which the focus is on his tumultuous relationship with his father and subsequent struggles with addiction. Shia plays his own father, James (in real life Jeffrey).

Watch On: Amazon Prime

 

 

STAR WARS: EPISODE V – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

Worst dad ever? “After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader and a bounty hunter named Boba Fett all over the galaxy.”

Watch On: Disney+, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) +

It’s arguable that Daniel Plainview might actually be a worse dad than Darth Vader, he’s certainly equally intense. “A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.” Suggested pairing with a milkshake and this article: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/526144/15-surprising-facts-about-there-will-be-blood

Watch On: Netflix, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

THE WRESTLER (2008) +

An end-of-the-line professional wrestler and deadbeat dad, Randy “The Ram” Robinson, “must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.” Mickey Rourke as a faded pro-wrestler = must see.

Watch On: Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

MATILDA (1996)

Danny DeVito villain dad! “The story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable.”

Watch On: Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

 

THE SHINING (1980)

THE SHINING needs no summary or explanation. Happy Fathers Day!

25 “fun facts”: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/55893/25-things-you-might-not-know-about-shining

You can also watch (for free, online) the terrific 35-minute documentary on the making of THE SHINING, directed by Stanley Kubrick’s then 17-year-old daughter Vivian Kubrick: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xkq12a

Watch On: Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (1997)

Okay, okay, this is definitely the worst dad in the list. “An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job at a high-end New York City law firm with a high-end boss – the biggest opportunity of his career to date.”

Watch On: HBO, Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes

 

 

TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME (1992) #

Yikes, there’s a lot to unpack here. There’s also a COVID-19 era-appropriate hand washing scene that makes Fathers Day 2020 the perfect year for the madness that is TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME.

Watch On: Criterion Channel, HBO, Vudu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

 

Mother’s Day Picks

It’s almost Mother’s Day! Looking for a movie to watch with your mom (in person or virtually) or want to celebrate your mom or being a mom (or the opposite!)? Here’s a list of Mother’s Day recommendations and notes from your Sidewalk programmers.

ADORABLE OPTIONS

FREAKY FRIDAY

1976 – Dir. Gary Nelson
2003 – Dir. Mark Waters
What better way to understand your mom (or your daughter) than full-on switching bodies with her? But which FREAKY FRIDAY should you choose, assuming you don’t have the tolerance for a body-switching double feature – 1976 vs. 2003? We think you can’t go wrong either way. Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris or Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Both films do a great time-capsule level job at catching their era, so perhaps base your decision on whether you want to travel back to the 1970’s or 1990’s.
Where to watch: YouTube, iTunes, Disney+, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vudu

 

MERMAIDS (1990)

Dir. Richard Benjamin
We had you at Cher. Plus Winona Ryder and a very small Christina Ricci. A small-town “unconventional” mom (I mean it’s Cher, come on, what did you expect) navigates life’s challenges as a single parent in the early 1960s.
Where to watch: Tubi, Vudu, Sling TV

 

MASK (1985)

Dir. Peter Bogdanovich
If small-town unconventional Cher-mom isn’t your favorite Cher-mom then perhaps you’ll be interested in biker Cher-mom. Considering that Cher was at the height of her mom repping in the late 1980’s/early 90’s, perhaps a MASK/MERMAIDS double feature? Directed by Peter Bogdanovich, MASK is based on the true story of Roy L. “Rocky” Dennis who, along-side his mother, faced many challenges due to craniodiaphyseal dysplasia. MASK focuses on Rocky’s relationship with his tenacious mom, as well as an extended untraditional biker family. Look at this cast: Eric Stoltz, Estelle Getty, Laura Dern, Sam Elliott and, of course, Cher. Rocky was a huge Springsteen fan in real life and, unfortunately, at the time of the film’s production, Universal Pictures and Columbia Records were not able to agree on terms and the film’s songs were replaced with the music of Bob Seger. However, with the 2004 DVD, the director’s cut, the Springsteen songs were restored.
Where to watch: This one is hard to find, check your non-digital library, copies of the aforementioned DVD can be found on eBay for around $12 or it’s $9.99 via Booksamillion.com

BABY BOOM (1987)

Dir. Charles Shyer
If you haven’t seen it – or haven’t seen in it a while, BABY BOOM is more fun than you might think/remember. Just listen to this premise: “The life of super-yuppie J.C. is thrown into turmoil when she inherits a baby from a distant relative.” Need we say more? Okay: what do you do when you’re an NYC super-yuppie and have a baby land on your doorstep? You at first try to pawn that baby off and then have an existential crisis and realize that you really want a baby and then you move to the country and start a baby food company and have a romance with Sam Shepard. Diane Keaton’s mom vibes!
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

SOUL FOOD (1997)

Dir. George Tillman Jr.
Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Mekhi Phifer, and Nia Long and produced by Babyface! Told through the eyes of an 11-year-old, a close-knit extended family navigates changing traditions.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

THE INCREDIBLES (2004)

Dir. Brad Bird
Need something to watch with folks of all ages? The beloved animated classic, “A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.”
Where to watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

LADY BIRD (2017)

Dir. Greta Gerwig
Of course, of course… LADY BIRD is the 2017 smash hit – Lady Bird McPherson (Greta Gerwig), an “artistically inclined” seventeen-year-old, comes of age in Sacramento, California, making terms with her relationship with her hometown and her mother, Marion, played by the amazing Laurie Metcalf. Greta Gerwig is a Sidewalk Film Festival alum.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

WARNING YOU WILL CRY:

Sally Field and Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS (1989)

Dir. Herbert Ross
Once again, of course! M’Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field) is like the best mom ever (well except for our own moms). We would like to point out that STEEL MAGNOLIAS is PG and, considering some of its more memorable scenes, is a great springtime selection. It’s rumored that director Herbert Ross was a tyrant on the set of STEEL MAGNOLIAS, our favorite hearsay: after a supposed bad take, Ross scolded Dolly Parton and asked her if she could even act, she replied: “No, but it’s your job to make me look like I can!” All hail Dolly!
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

THE FAREWELL (2019)

Dir. Lulu Wang
A Sidewalk Cinema favorite. Funny, moving, kind, thoughtful, and a female writer-director. A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983)

Dir. James L. Brooks
Yet another of course! Based on a Larry McMurtry novel, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is an epic powerhouse of a film. Afterall: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow star. If you haven’t seen it, the film covers 30 years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger). The majority of the film was shot in Houston, Texas and Lincoln, Nebraska, making for a very interesting cinematic landscape. We think this bit of trivia makes the film more fun to watch: Jack Nicholson supposedly improvised most of his scenes and would sometimes show up “practically naked”.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

RAMBLING ROSE (1991)

Dir. Martha Coolidge
Another female-directed Mother’s Day appropriate film, RAMBLING ROSE features real-life mother-daughter Laura Dern and the amazing Diane Ladd and we think that’s enough of a reason to make the film a terrific Mom Day choice. We’ll double down: Diane Ladd was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and represents a perfect Southern mom/grandmom archetype, take a look at her IMDB page and the incredible resume and praise her. Laura Dern and Diane Ladd were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for RAMBLING ROSE – the first-ever mother-daughter duo to be nominated for an Oscar for the same film and the first-ever mother-daughter duo to be nominated in the same year. Taking place during the Great Depression, RAMBLING ROSE is the story of Rose (Laura Dern) and her experience living as a domestic assistant with a well-to-do Southern family.
Where to watch: This one is hard to find, check your non-digital library. You can purchase the DVD on Amazon or eBay for between $7 and $10, it’s $9.99 via Booksamillion.com

FOR AN EDGIER MOTHER’S DAY FILM:

TINY FURNITURE  (2010)

Dir. Lena Dunham
Written and directed by pre-GIRLS Lena Dunham, TINY FURNITURE focuses on recent college graduate, Aura (Lena Dunham), who has returned home to try and figure things out. Semi-autobiographical in more ways than one, Dunham’s own mother, artist Laurie Simmons, plays Aura’s mother and her sibling, Grace, plays Aura’s on-screen sister. TINY FURNITURE laid the groundwork for the series GIRLS and was a 2010 film festival hit.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

TULLY (2018)

Dir. Jason Reitman
TULLY isn’t the film that you think it is. A struggling mother of three forms an unexpected bond with the night nanny hired to help with her newborn baby.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play

A SIMPLE FAVOR (2018)

Dir. Paul Feig
We love this film! Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is an over-achieving mom and her new bestie, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively)… well she is not. As suggested, Stephanie and Emily are fast friends and when Emily suddenly goes missing Steph takes it upon herself to solve the mystery. It’s over-the-top whimsy, super fun and not exactly what you think it’s going to be, we appreciate all that. Also, no mom has ever looked so good in a tuxedo as Black Lively… actually, no one has ever looked so good in a tuxedo.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

MOTHER (2009)

Dir. Bong Joon Ho
Not to be confused with Aronofsky’s MOTHER! (see below), from PARASITE director, Bong Joon Ho, MOTHER is the story of a desperate mom searching for the killer who framed her son for a horrific murder.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu

MOTHER’S DAY (1980)

Dir. Charles Kaufman
B-Movie Mother’s Day horror from the one and only Charlie Kaufman. Also, please note, this is not the 2016 Garry Marshall trash fire of the same name – that MOTHER’S DAY is filled with way more horror than Kaufman’s classic slasher, including Julia Roberts terrible wig (the exact same wig from NOTTING HILL, yikes). Back to the real MOTHER’S DAY, two brothers kidnap and brutalize three women for the pleasure of their demented mother. Yep.
For fun read this article about Julia Roberts’ wig in that unspeakable MOTHER’S DAY: Link
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

ROOM (2015)

Dir. Lenny Abrahamson
Starring Captain Marvel, Brie Larson, held captive for 7 years in an enclosed space, a mom and her young son finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.
Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

MOTHER! (2017)

Dir. Darren Aronofsky
Just kidding, we don’t rec this film, well, actually Corey (Craft) kind of does, but Rachel (Morgan) strongly does not. We mention it only because it would make for a very specially traumatic Mother’s Day and, you know, ’tis the season.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

NOT THE MOST OBVIOUS CHOICE:

PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED (1986)

Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
After wishing “if I knew then what I know now” at her 25th high school reunion, Peggy Sue faints and wakes up to find herself back in high school. If you can get past the fact that the very same Kathleen Turner that is in her late 30’s is also 17-year-old high school Kathleen Turner, that Helen Hunt, who plays Peggy Sue’s daughter, is only nine years younger than Kathleen Turner, occasional sound stage mania and the super strange acting choices made by Nicholas Cage (including a very odd accent), you’ll appreciate a viewing (or reviewing) of PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED. Actually, why get past such, we think it makes the film even more fun to watch. Plus, despite all that, somehow PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED might get to you – kindly punching you in the face with nostalgia. The grandmother on the phone scene is haunting and heart-wrenching and, in general, the film is a lovely pondering on regret and the appreciation for life. Also, this is fun: a very young Sofia Coppola plays Peggy Sue’s little sister.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

MEAN GIRLS, Ana Gasteyer, Lindsay Lohan, 2004.©Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

MEAN GIRLS (2004)

Dir Mark Waters
MEAN GIRLS makes for a terrific mother-daughter screening. What a great, mostly female cast: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Lizzy Caplan to name a few. Written by Tina Fey, homeschooled teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) adjusts to early 2000’s public school life and all that such entails. Fey’s cautionary focus on the dangers of women being consistently pitted against one another is at the heart of the film and part of what allows it to stand the test of time.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

IMITATION OF LIFE (1959)

Dir Douglas Sirk
Legendary director Douglas Sirk’s influential, complicated, heartbreaking and cinematically gorgeous classic. Lora Meredith (Lana Turner), a white single mother and aspiring actress, meets Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), an African American widow. As Lora pursues a stage career, Annie takes on the role of caretaker to Lora’s daughter, Suzie (Sandra Dee). Both Lora and Annie navigate the difficulties of motherhood.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

EVE’S BAYOU (1997)

Dir. Kasi Lemmons
HARRIET director, Kasi Lemmons, first feature film, which she also wrote. After a daughter witnesses her father having an affair, she begins a chain reaction that could tear her family apart. A great Mother’s Day double feature with HARRIET.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

WHO TOOK JOHNNY (2014)

Dir. David Beilinson, Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley
A rare documentary on the list, WHO TOOK JOHNNY is an examination into the cold case of Johnny Gosch, who disappeared on his paper route over 30 years ago in 1982. Gosch’s picture was among one of the first to be featured on milk cartons in nationwide campaign efforts to locate missing children. The dedication of Johnny Gosch’s mother, Noreen Gosch, to uncover the truth is truly incredible. A Sidewalk Film Festival and Sidewalk Screentalk selection.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Kanopy or rent via the filmmaker’s site: Link

A QUIET PLACE (2018)

Dir. John Krasinski
Mom power! And a PG-13 selection. In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. Supermom Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) tries her damndest to protect her kids during a beyond-horrific worldwide crisis (to say the least), we thought some folks might find this relatable.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017)

Dir. Martin McDonagh
Speaking of supermoms, Mildred (Frances McDormand) is a straight-up determined superhero, uniform and all. A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play

RAISING ARIZONA (1987)

Dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
And speaking of Frances McDormand, she’s in this one too. You know it – going to all extremes to be a mom, Ed (Holly Hunter) sets out with husband, H.I. (Nicolas Cage) to steal just one of a much wealthier family’s quintuplets. Coen brother antics!  Again speaking of Frances McDormand, she and Holly Hunter were roommates at the Yale School of Drama in the early 1980’s… to be a fly on the wall of that dorm room!
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes

ROMA (2018)

Dir. Alfonso Cuarón
ROMA follows the life of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. The film is based heavily on director Alfonso Cuarón’s childhood and real-life nanny, Liboria “Libo” Rodriguez and celebrates her lifelong contributions. Libo has made cameos in several of Cuarón’s previous films.
Where to watch: Netflix
 

YOU THOUGHT YOUR MOM WAS BAD

THE GRIFTERS (1990)

Dir. Stephen Frears
Anjelica Huston. Damn. Small-time grifter Roy (John Cusack) attempts to make his way while navigating relationships with his mafia-tied and all-around badass mom, Lily (Anjelica Huston), and pushy, aspiring big-time grifter girlfriend, Myra (Annette Bening). Mom vibes: After a dangerous run-in, Lily tells a paramedic that, should her son die, she’ll have him killed – mom of the year? Warning: things get real, real messed up. THE GRIFTERS is packed with Freudian subtext and self-aware neo-noirness. Big time recommendation.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play

MOMMIE DEAREST (1981)

Dir. Frank Perry
We know, super on the nose, but, we had to! If you haven’t seen it in a while (or haven’t seen it before) we’d bet that Faye Dunaway’s performance is by far more grand, strange and intense than you remember/can imagine. MOMMIE DEAREST is, of course, the story of Christina Crawford’s often disturbing upbringing by the one and only Joan Crawford. Our favorite trivia: apparently in her 1971 book My Way of Life, Joan Crawford stated: “Of all the actresses, to me, only Faye Dunaway has the talent and the class and the courage it takes to make a real star.” Whoops.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play

POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990)

Dir. Mike Nichols
Mom and daughter duo! Based on the novel of the same name, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE is the semi-autobiographical story of Carrie Fisher’s own life and battle with “fame, family and addiction”, most notably the film explores her relationship with mother, Debbie Reynolds. Meryl Streep portrays Carrie Fisher and Shirley MacLaine once again brings the mom!
Where to watch:  Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play

SERIAL MOM (1994)

Dir. John Waters
Well actually she’s pretty great, but you know, a murderer. This John Waters camp classic is the ultimate mom-kills-for-kids (and other stuff) cult feature, especially considering Kathleen Turner is mom and Ricki Lake and Matthew Lillard are the kids. SERIAL MOM is a super fun, strange, quick, bright one, but isn’t for everybody. Our favorite piece of trivia: Kathleen Turner asked John Waters if she could bring her friend Sandra Day O’Connor to set during the shoot. Waters enthusiastically agreed and O’Connor spent the entire day on location.
Where to watch:  Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube

CARRIE (1976)

Dir. Brian De Palma
What do you do when your overwhelmingly domineering mom controls your every move and consistently smothers you with her dangerous religious dogma… Spoiler alert – you unleash your pesky telekinetic powers on the high school prom. Is Margaret White the worst of all these bad moms? You decide. Want another Mother’s Day relevant excuse to watch CARRIE: Sue Snell and her mother are played by real-life daughter and mother Amy Irving and Priscilla Pointer.
Where to watch:  Hulu, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube

BAD MOMS (2016)

Dir. Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
It’s not a great film, we know, but it’s decent level fun and a perfect fit for the “holiday”. When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun and comedic self-indulgence. Need some more excuses: The six main actresses are all real-life mothers. Nancy Priddy is Christina Applegate’s real-life mother. The end credits feature interviews with the female stars with their moms. Plus super mom Martha Stewart makes an appearance.
Where to watch:  Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

THE LODGE (2019)

Dir. Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
We’re not saying to do this… Actually Corey (Craft) says don’t do it. It is, by far, the darkest suggestion we’ve made and, you know, CARRIE is on this list, so proceed with caution. A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place. A Sidewalk Cinema selection.
Where to watch:  Amazon Prime

YOU THOUGHT YOUR KID WAS BAD

PSYCHO (1960)

Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
This could easily fit under the “You Thought Your Mom Was Bad” heading as well. The classic “mother” horror film. Talk about Fruedian subtext! What can we possibly say about PSYCHO that hasn’t been said? A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.
Where to watch:  Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

THE BABADOOK (2014)

Dir. Jennifer Kent
A deep exploration of grief and the boundaries (or lack thereof) of motherly love, THE BABADOOK is the story of a single, widowed mother and her son, Samuel, who fall into a deep well of paranoia and isolation when a creepy children’s book titled “Mister Babadook” manifests in their home. Intense, unsettling, and dark as night, but, silver lining, you’re not currently stuck in a car with nightmarish brat child Samuel.
Where to watch:  Hulu, Kanopy, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011)

Dir. Lynne Ramsay
We just outdid ourselves. This was our messed-up Mother’s Day selection for the Sidewalk Cinema, had it not been for Rona – we expected hate mail. Talk about counting blessings, be glad that your kid (or sibling or cousin) isn’t Kevin Khatchadourian. A mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. There is a lot to unpack here. Looking for something upbeat? – this is not that. Warning there’s a diaper scene that you will never forget. If you’re pondering parenthood this one will definitely point you in a particular direction.
Where to watch: Hulu, Kanopy, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Crackle

GOODNIGHT MOMMY (2014)

Dir. Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Further proving that directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz might have some major mom issues, GOODNIGHT MOMMY is a bonkers Mothers Day freak show. Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don’t recognize. Once again, all kinds of stuff to unpack. It’s a pretty wild ride. Fun fact: The actors were not given the script, and the movie was filmed chronologically – Eeeek.
Where to watch:  Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

National Programmers Film Recommendations

We asked several film programmers across the country to share a couple of films that have helped them through this particularly difficult era or another tough time in their lives. We’re honored to share their recommendations and thoughts.
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Caryn Coleman

New York – Nitehawk Cinema
PAHOKEE (2019)
BLOCKERS (2018)
 
If I’m being honest, Bravo is what’s getting me through this weird moment in our lives, but that’s the low to my high. For movies, there’s one that reminds me that there is such innovative, true, and immersive filmmaking being made today and that’s PAHOKEE by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan. It’s set in the rural town of Pahokee, Florida (aka the Everglades), and tells a story of community, coming of age, race, and achieving dreams through four high school students. It’s a marvel through and through that doesn’t just make me feel good while the world is falling apart but reminds me that there’s a wonderful, complicated world to get back to. (You can rent/watch it via The Future of Film is Female STREAMING).
The other is Kay Cannon’s BLOCKERS, aka the most under-recognized film of the past five years. It’s incredibly funny and the performances, from the parents to the teenagers, are hilariously perfect but what made it special to me was unexpected. It’s a story about three parents coming to terms with the fact their kids were growing up as they graduated high school. Me? I watched it as my son was about to go into preschool and cried while I related to their sadness at life transitions (but thankfully don’t have a teenager…yet).
– Caryn Coleman
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Julia Marchese

California, Massachusetts, London, England – New Beverly Cinema, The Crest Theatre, The Genesis Cinema, The Prince Charles Cinema, Somerville Theatre
MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN (1936)
MEET JOHN DOE (1941)
 
I’m going to go for a Gary Cooper/Frank Capra double recommendation – MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN from 1936 and MEET JOHN DOE from 1941. Both films are superbly written, gorgeously, and thoughtfully directed, and both seem eerily relevant to our modern plight and society. Plus, if you have never fallen for the charms of Gary Cooper, be prepared to succumb to his serious comedic and dramatic chops – not to mention his talent for endearingly goofy and seriously sexy at the same time. Plus you couldn’t ask for wittier, snappier leading ladies than Barbara Stanwyck & Jean Arthur!  Top drawer all around. I guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face when the credits roll on these films. And that’s what movies are all about.
– Julia Marchese
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Cameron McAllister

Georgia – Atlanta Film Festival
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)
FOXTROT (2017)
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, few films have taught me more about myself than this one. While its message or themes aren’t necessarily specific to the time we are going through now, I think it says a lot about how we can change ourselves for the better even in the midst of circumstances that we can’t change.
 
FOXTROT, I only watched this film for the first time a few weeks ago and it instantly moved into my all-time favorites list. What a difficult but complicated and elegant and beautiful look at grief and all its many layers. A complex feeling deserves complex art and this incredible film certainly fits the bill.
– Cameron McAllister
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Alyssa Armand

Georgia – Atlanta Film Festival 
AMÉLIE (2001)
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (2019)
AMÉLIE:This vibrant, endlessly charming film will always be my go-to when I need a pick-me-up. It might be ironic quarantine viewing, as essentially the entire plot revolves around branching out of your comfort zone and embracing the world around you and the people in it. But now more than ever, as even my introverted heart is longing to connect, I like to think this film could inspire us all to notice each (and look out for) each other a little more.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE: I was lucky enough to experience this masterpiece twice in theaters, first at a film festival screening last fall and again just days before theaters had to close their doors. This film will always remind me of the magic that can be found at the cinema, when a group of strangers gather in a dark room and allow themselves to be transported, even for just a little while. The level of escapism I am able to achieve in a movie theater is impossible to replicate anywhere else. I can’t wait to go back.
– Alyssa Armand
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Barak Epstein

Texas – The Texas Theatre
DEMON (2015)
A SERIOUS MAN (2009)
DEMON, written and directed by Marcin Wrona and A SERIOUS MAN, written and directed by The Coen Brothers, this is my dybbuk double feature! I’m not a religious person at all but I come from a religious upbringing and do enjoy movies that criticize and dissect Judaism, as well as offer some supernatural fun, and both of these films fit the bill for me as comfort viewing. Plus the backstory and production of both films fascinate me – Wrona was a Polish filmmaker who hung himself in a hotel room during a film festival where DEMON was to be screened. Was he possessed by a dybbuk like the main character in his film?  Where to watch: SHUDDER.
A SERIOUS MAN is the type of personal film you see get made following winning a Best Picture Oscar, it comes from the Coen’s adolescence and I love the way it pokes fun of the futility of religion. “Who is the Dybbuk in the movie” is a fun game to play upon watching this movie on repeat, (which I recommend you do at least once a year). It also features impeccable period production design by Jess Gonchor and a Roger Deakins lensed look that is not nearly as flashy as you might expect but hits all the right looks. A straight-up masterpiece. Where to watch: a blu-ray or DVD so you can watch the behind the scenes videos.
– Barak Epstein
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Corey Craft

Alabama – Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema
WHAT’S UP, DOC? (1972)
HAIL, CAESAR! (2016)
Peter Bogdanovich’s screwball comedy throwback, WHAT’S UP, DOC?, is ceaselessly funny and energetic, with Ryan O’Neal as the stuffed shirt musicologist and Barbra Streisand as the Bugs Bunny-esque manic pixie nightmare who rocks his world. It features Madeline Kahn in her feature debut as O’Neal’s put-upon fiancee, and you can’t go wrong with that.
HAIL, CAESAR!: “The picture has worth,” says Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) in the Coen brothers’ misunderstood comedy — and it’s hard to disagree, as these days movies are one of the few things I’m finding much value in. The Coens puncture the folly of human faith in the higher powers of religion and economics and suggest that if you’ve got to believe in anything, it might as well be the movies because they’re the most fun.
– Corey Craft
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Rachel Morgan

Alabama – Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema, Sidewalk Film Festival 
VANILLA SKY (2001)
VALLEY GIRL (1983)
VALLEY GIRL is my go-to break-up movie and Rona is like the worst bitch of a break-up ever. Somehow this film never gets old for me, despite having seen it over 50 times, easily. It’s fun and funny, intentionally and not. It’s stylish and ridiculous and somehow simultaneously cool and uncool. You’ll appreciate how low the stakes are and also get to see gorgeous 1980’s Los Angeles, along with Deborah Foreman’s lovely smile and Nicolas Cage’s weird-ass triangular shaved chest. Plus it’s directed by Martha Coolidge. Do it. After all, it is prom season…
Go ahead and make fun of me, I admit it, I like VANILLA SKY. Yes, of course, I’m aware of OPEN YOUR EYES (Alejandro Amenábar’s 1997 Spanish film of which VANILLA SKY is an adaptation). Unlike VALLEY GIRL, which provides a pure distraction from the current situation, I find VANILLA SKY to be interestingly relevant to the terrible era. However, it isn’t so on the nose to make it intolerable, actually, I find it helpfully provocative. The scenes of empty Times Square, the existential crisis, the recognition that one’s life can be turned upside down in a singular moment, the otherworldly connection between the micro and the macro, all are there. Yet the film is somehow filled with magic and the possibility for greatness despite all odds, along with a grand celebration of the tiny moments of human life. It’s also really fun to watch while imaging Cameron Diaz’s character as a personification of COVID-19 – just last night we were laying on the floor of the beyond-adorable Penélope Cruz’s apartment laughing, listening to Peter Gabriel and the next thing you know…
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Only have a few minutes? Indie Memphis director of operations and senior programmer Brighid Wheeler, recommended a few short films that she has found especially helpful.

Brighid Wheeler

Tennessee – Indie Memphis
DOM, dir. by Jane Stiles & Meryl Jones Williams
Two old friends reunite on the hottest day of summer in NYC.
BROOKLYN PARK, dir. by Nikola Duravcevic
Alone in New York City, Somali rideshare driver Abdirahim begins his nightshift with the news of a tragedy back home. The faces in the back seat change as he wrestles, unable to connect, with whether the unthinkable can be true — until he has a vision.
SUICIDE BY SUNLIGHT, dir. by Nikyatu Jusu
Valentina, a day-walking Black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to suppress her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters.
MAGIC BULLET, dir. by Amanda Lovejoy Street
Parallel losses push strangers Rachel (MOLLY PARKER) and Lia (ROSEMARIE DEWITT) into self-soothing rituals and self-destructive hazes, only to collide unwittingly on a regional Florida shopping network.

Our Programmer’s Picks: Alabama Films

To add to your quarantine viewing agenda: from tiny indies to mammoth blockbusters, check out this diverse list of films shot in Alabama (partially or in entirety).

Interplanetary PosterINTERPLANETARY (2008)

Narrative

Directed By Chance Shirley

Watch via Amazon Prime Video

Synopsis: A motley assortment of men and women live and work together on a base on Mars for the Interplanetary Corporation. Things are pretty dull and unexciting until one day the crew find themselves under attack not only by a lethal group of strangers, but also from a vicious reptilian humanoid alien beast.

 

Hide and Creep PosterHIDE AND CREEP (2004)

Narrative

Directed By Chuck Hartsell, Chance Shirley

Watch via Amazon Prime Video 

Synopsis: Residents of a small Southern town contend with bloodthirsty zombies, a mysterious flying saucer, and bad television reception.

 

Stay Hungry PosterSTAY HUNGRY (1976)

Narrative

Director: Bob Rafelson

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play/iTunes

Synopsis: 40+ years ago, Hollywood rolled into Birmingham to film the adaptation of Charles Gaines’ novel Stay Hungry. Centering on the little-known world of professional bodybuilding, the movie follows Jeff Bridges, who plays a well-to-do (albeit directionless) Southern gentleman caught up in a shady business deal to buy a gym. There he befriends the bodybuilder Santos, played by newcomer Arnold Schwarzenegger, and falls for Sally Field. STAY HUNGRY is an odd comedy that showcases many Birmingham locations, including The Lyric Theatre. If you’re one of the few Alabamians who hasn’t seen this film, now’s the time to join the ranks. 

Here’s a fun article from when Sidewalk screened STAY HUNGRY at the Lyric Theatre for its 40th anniversary. 

 

The Great & The Small PosterTHE GREAT & THE SMALL (2016)

Narrative

Tubi, Amazon Video/Vudu/iTunes

Synopsis: Twenty-six year old Scott is living on the streets and trying to find his way back into society while on probation for petty crimes. He attempts to navigate his relationship with his two bit criminal of a boss and an enigmatic detective, while at the same time winning back the heart of his ex-girlfriend, a working single mom. Shot in Birmingham, Bessemer and Fairfield, Alabama.

 

Sword of Trust PosterSWORD OF TRUST (2019)

Narrative

Directed By Lynn Shelton

Amazon Video/YouTube/Google Play

Synopsis: When Cynthia & Mary (Jillian Bell & Michaela Watkins) show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, the only item she’s received is an antique sword that was believed by her grandfather to be proof that the South won the Civil War. The two attempt to unload the object to a curmudgeonly pawnshop owner (Marc Maron) & his man-child sidekick Nathaniel (Jon Bass). When Mel and Nathaniel discover there’s a black market for the relic, the two pairs reluctantly join forces to sell this rarefied ‘prover item’ to the highest bidder. The adventure that ensues takes the four of them on a wild journey into the depths of conspiracy theory and Southern disillusionment.

 

Alabama Bound PosterALABAMA BOUND (2017)

Documentary

Directed By Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer

Watch Via REEL SOUTH

Synopsis: The courageous story of lesbian couples struggling to thrive in Alabama is poignantly portrayed in this moving documentary about the slow, but steady progress of LGBTQ rights. Directors Lara Embry and Carolyn Shere, both Alabama natives, also skillfully spotlight Representative Patricia Todd, the state’s only openly gay legislator. Todd has been on the frontlines, fighting some of the state’s heaviest battles facing LGBTQ Alabamians. ALABAMA BOUND is one of the all-time most riveting and heartfelt documentaries regarding queer life in the South.

 

Trading Paint PosterTRADING PAINT (2019)

Narrative

Directed By Karzan Kader

Amazon Video/Vudu/Google Play/YouTube

Welp this one stars John Travolta, was shot in Alabama, is the Winner of the 2020 Golden Raspberry and holds a rating of 0% on Rotten Tomatoes… A stock car racing legend is drawn back to the dirt track when his son, an aspiring driver, joins a rival racing team.

 

The Fanatic PosterTHE FANATIC (2019)

Director: Fred Durst

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play

Not enough Travolta + Alabama? Directed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, THE FANATIC (Working title MOOSE) stars John Travolta as a man obsessed with meeting his favorite actor (Devon Sawa), shot in Alabama.. Yep.

 

Eating Alabama PosterEATING ALABAMA (2012)

Documentary

Directed By Andrew Grace

Watch Via FMTV – Amazon Prime

Or On YouTube

Synopsis: In search of a simpler life, a young couple returns home to Alabama where they set out to eat the way their grandparents did – locally and seasonally. But as they navigate the agro-industrial gastronomical complex, they soon realize that nearly everything about the food system has changed since farmers once populated their family histories. This thoughtful and funny documentary looks at community, the South, and sustainability, revealing a story about why food matters.

 

Selma PosterSELMA (2014)

Narrative

Directed By Ava DuVernay

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play/iTunes

Synopsis: A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

 

TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Poster(2006)

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play/iTunes

Synopsis: Number one NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby’s talent and devotion are put to the test.

 

Arkansas PosterARKANSAS (2020)

Keep an eye out, ARKANSAS is scheduled to release May 1st.

A Hemsworth (Liam) made a film called ARKANSAS that was shot in Alabama… The cast also includes  John Malkovich, Vivica A. Fox and Vince Vaughn. IMDB synopsis reads: Kyle and Swin live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog, whom they’ve never met. But when a deal goes horribly wrong, the consequences are deadly.

 

www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/v22vodart/15645141/p15...ZERO (2018)

Directed by Aanand L. Rai

Netflix, Google Play, YouTube

A 2018 Indian Hindi-language romantic comedy-drama film in which some sequences were filmed in Huntsville, Alabama! The story revolves around Bauua Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), a vertically challenged man, who is full of charm and wit, with a pinch of arrogance. Born to a wealthy family and raised in an environment of affluence, he is challenged to broaden his horizon and find purpose in life.

 

Just Mercy PosterJUST MERCY (2019)

Narrative

Directed By Destin Daniel Cretton

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play

Synopsis: World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.

 

Into the Ashes PosterINTO THE ASHES (2019)

Narrative

Directed By Aaron Harvey

Hulu & Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play

Synopsis: Shot in Bessemer, AL, Nick escapes his criminal past and 2 partners, gets a steady job, a friend at work and marries the sheriff’s daughter. But his past catches up with him, when his ex partners track him down and want their share of the loot.

 

Get Out PosterGET OUT (2017)

Narrative

Directed By Jordan Peele

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play/iTunes

Synopsis: Shot in Fairhope, Alabama, a young African-American visits his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

 

42 Poster42 (2013)

Narrative

Directed By Brian Helgeland

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play

Synopsis: In 1947, Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and faces considerable racism in the process.

 

BIG FISH (2003)Big Fish Poster

Narrative

Directed By Tim Burton

Watch For Free On Crackle

Also available on Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play

Synopsis: A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father’s life.

Here’s a “Then & Now” article regarding the locations in Spectre, Alabama

 

Office Uprising PosterOFFICE UPRISING (2018)

Narrative

Directed By Lin Oeding

Watch for free via Crackle

Synopsis: An employee at a weapons factory discovers that an energy drink turns his co-workers into zombies.

 

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood PosterFriday the 13th Part VII – The New Blood (1988) 

Narrative

Directed By John Carl Buechler

YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play

Synopsis: Years after Tommy Jarvis chained him underwater at Camp Crystal Lake, the dormant Jason Voorhees is accidentally released from his prison by a telekinetic teenager. Now, only she can stop him. FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII used Byrne’s Lake (near Stockton, AL) as one of the major filming locations.

Here’s an article about the film’s locations via AL.com.

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind PosterClose Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 

Narrative

Directed By Steven Spielberg

Crackle, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, iTunes

Synopsis: Roy Neary, an electric lineman, watches how his quiet and ordinary daily life turns upside down after a close encounter with a UFO. The film used several shooting locations throughout south Alabama, it was the first time a movie had been filmed in Bay Minette and the L & N Railroad station, “thousands of local townspeople acted as extras in the film”. North Baldwin, AL is super proud of the connection, take a look at their website.

Of course, the Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema’s amazing light wall is also very similar to the light wall in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. 

 

The Nobodies PosterTHE NOBODIES (2017)

Narrative

Directed By Jay Burleson

Watch On Troma Now

Buy the DVD on Amazon

Synopsis: The premise: Early 90’s Alabama, amateur filmmaker Warren Werner hosts a local premiere of his film, Pumpkin, shot on VHS for 600 bucks. The town is outraged, accusing Warren and girlfriend, Samantha Dixon, of engaging in satanic rituals. The two commit suicide. A documentary film crew begins investigating, but never complete the film. Pumpkin and the remaining doc footage are seared together to create THE NOBODIES.

 

Documentaries

 

GIP (2016)Gip Poster

Documentary

Directed By Patrick Sheehan

Watch via Amazon Prime Video

Synopsis: There are 4 juke joints left in the United States. On May 4, 2013, the last one in Alabama was raided and shut down. But Henry “Gip” Gipson, proprietor of Gip’s Place, a gravedigger by day and hard-drinking bluesman by night, had no intention of going down without a fight.

 

Wind and Water Balloons PosterWind and Water Balloons 

Documentary

Directed By Jamie Jean

Watch via Amazon Prime Video

Synopsis: Imagine finding out that your small Alabama town is the only one in the world that celebrates an annual and somewhat bizarre tradition. Follow along as filmmaker and Cordova native Jamie Jean documents his journey to uncover the origins of his hometown’s annual water balloon fight. Along the way, he discovers controversial claims of discrimination and racism in the wake of the 2011 tornadoes that devastated much of the town, yet didn’t dismantle the community’s pride

 

Muscle Shoals PosterMUSCLE SHOALS (2013)

Documentary

Directed By Greg “Freddy” Camalier

Watch For Free On YouTube

Synopsis: Filmmaker Greg Camalier pays tribute to an Alabama city that holds a prominent place in music history. Artists who recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., include Percy Sledge, Aretha Franklin and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

 

Gideon's Army PosterGIDEON’S ARMY (2013)

Documentary

Directed By Dawn Porter

TubiI, Amazon Video/Vudu/You Tube/Google Play/iTunes

Synopsis: Follows three young, committed Public Defenders who are dedicated to working for the people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up.

 

4 Little Girls Poster4 LITTLE GIRLS (1997)

Documentary

Directed By Spike Lee

Watch on HBO NOW

Also available on Amazon Video/Vudu/You Tube/Google Play/iTunes

Synopsis: A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.

 

CRISIS: BEHIND A PRESIDENTIAL COMMITMENCrisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment Poster

Documentary

YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video

Synopsis: Governor George Wallace will not let two black students into an Alabama school, against the wishes of President Kennedy. Loud shouts come from both sides of the issue as JFK stands by his decisions.

 

Deepsouth PosterDEEPSOUTH (2012)

Documentary

Amazon Prime (included with Prime)

Directed By Lisa Biagiotti

Synopsis: Beneath layers of history, poverty and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive. DEEPSOUTH is a documentary about the new American South, and the people who inhabit its most quiet corners. The documentary features Alabama hero Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama.

 

The Virginia Newcomb Section

 

 

The Death of Dick Long PosterTHE DEATH OF DICK LONG (2019)

Narrative

Directed By Daniel Scheinert

Amazon Video/Vudu/YouTube/Google Play

Synopsis: Dick died last night, and Zeke and Earl don’t want anybody finding out how. That’s too bad though, cause news travels fast in small-town Alabama.

 

The Atoning PosterTHE ATONING (2017)

Narrative

Directed By Michael Williams

Synopsis: While they are haunted by ghostly apparitions, two parents try to protect their young son from a dark secret that could destroy their family.

Watch via Amazon Prime Video

 

 

Union PosterUNION (2018)

Narrative

Directed By Whitney Hamilton

Watch via iTunes, Vudu, Redbox, Direct TV, Google Play, Verizon, Flixfilng, YouTube

Synopsis: A woman disguises herself as her dead brother, Henry, in order to survive in the Confederate ranks during the Civil War. With the help of Indians hiding in the mountains ‘Henry’ is reunited with the widow, Virginia, who saved his life at the battle of Antietam and marries her to rescue Virginia from an unfortunate arranged betrothal. They keep each others secrets and forge an unusual family. It is the alchemy of gratitude.

 

THREE FINGERS (2015)Three Fingers Poster
Short Film 

Narrative

Directed By Paul D. Hart

Watch via Amazon Prime Video

Synopsis: An intimate, censorial depiction of trauma through the eyes of Jesstine, a mother, wife and Marine veteran. Reaching great depths of despondency, her life and family unravel until the moment she has nothing left but one crucial choice.

 

Fated to Repeat PosterFATED TO REPEAT (2018)

Short Film 

Narrative

Directed By Logan J. Freeman

Watch via Amazon Prime Video 

Synopsis: A singer searches for a guest at her first show fronting for her dead lover’s band.

Our Programmer’s Hulu Picks (Part 2)

We promised another round of Hulu suggestions for your home viewing during this time of uncertainty and here it is, along with numerous links to additional related content. We miss you and can’t wait to see you soon, in the meantime here you go.

Please stay tuned for other platform suggestions in the near future.

If you missed Hulu Round 1 picks click here.

If you missed our Netflix picks click here.

 

ON HULU – ROUND 2

 

Stellar Documentaries

 

APOLLO 11

Made up entirely of archival footage, including some newly unearthed 70mm footage from the launch site, this documentary tells the historic story of humankind’s first trip to the moon. A feat of film editing and a feast for the eyes and senses; you may know the story, but you’ve never seen it presented in as rich a documentary as this.

Also check out this closely related, terrific and very short (less than 6 minute) documentary EARTHRISE: PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLIAM ANDERS

Link to 100 Photos via Time

 

MINDING THE GAP

A beautiful documentary about skating, manhood and breaking the cycle of abuse, this Oscar-nominated feature tells the story of three Illinois men bound by their love of skateboarding and their traumatic upbringings.

 

BEST OF ENEMIES (2015 Documentary)

This well-crafted doc examines the 1968 television debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. during the ‘68 presidential election.

Here’s a New York Times article on the debate: Link

 

 

CHEF FLYNN

A compelling and fun-to-watch profile of 10-year-old brilliant, brat-chef Flynn McGarry, guaranteed to make you feel like an underachiever. Programmers disagree on this one, let us know what you think.

Here’s Flynn McGarry’s Instagram: Link

 

THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES

Beware, while this one may be for the ladies (and many gentlemen), this one is not for the kids.

 

 

HAIL SATAN?

A hit when Sidewalk screened it as part of our ScreenTalks series, HAIL SATAN? is an examination of modern religious liberty and the separation between church and state through the lens of the ultimate trolling group, the Church of Satan. Created more to point out the modern hypocrisy in close ties between governance and Christianity than to actually worship Satan, this thought-provoking and often very funny documentary may have iconoclasts everywhere rooting for a group they never considered rooting for.

 

THE CHINA HUSTLE

A compelling finance documentary, yep. Watch your blood pressure, please.

 

GO TIGERS!

Don’t worry Roll Tiders, not those tigers, this team isn’t even in the South. Everything we know about football we learned from movies and we like this one a lot.

 

JANE

We love this film and were so honored to have it in our Sidewalk ScreenTalks series. As thoughtful and kind as its subject, this film will make your day better and who couldn’t use that right about now?

Here’s Jane Goodall’s message regarding the current situation: Link

 

 

Feel-Good Cinema

Was the Nihilist Challenge from Round 1 too much for you?

 

HEARTS BEAT LOUD

The closing night selection of the 2018 Sidewalk Film Festival, HEARTS BEAT LOUD is a wonderful musical comedy about a record store owner (Nick Offerman) who seeks a closer connection with his college-bound daughter (Kiersey Clemons). When one of their musical jam sessions turns into a catchy potential hit, the two find themselves at a turning point in their lives. Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, and Sasha Lane co-star.

 

AMAZING GRACE

As attendees at last year’s Sidewalk FilmFestival can testify, sometimes there’s no greater salve than to hear the music of Aretha Franklin brought to you uninterrupted. And that’s exactly what this long-delayed concert film does. In 1972, actor-director Sydney Pollack brought a team of cameramen to film the recording of Franklin’s live gospel album Amazing Grace. But the footage wasn’t assembled into a film and released until 2018 thanks to issues with the audio recording. Now, this important document has been brought to audiences, and you can experience the power of Franklin’s performance for yourselves. And you absolutely should.

Since the film doesn’t contain any context, here’s an article providing such should you be interested: Link

 

STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN

Not the most purely pleasurable of the films starring the original TREK cast — that’s probably THE VOYAGE HOME, the only one inexplicably not on Hulu — but WRATH OF KHAN is probably the best one, thanks in no small part to the thrilling tactical maneuvering and the wild performance from Ricardo Montalban as the villainous Khan Noonien Singh.

Here’s a cool article: Link

 

LOVE & MERCY

A favorite music biopics of recent years, this tells the story of the fall and rise of Beach Boys great Brian Wilson, played by Paul Dano as a young man as he sinks into mental illness and by John Cusack as an older man under the control of an unscrupulous doctor (Paul Giamatti). Elizabeth Banks co-stars as the love interest whose genuine affection provides Wilson with a way out. If you’re a die-hard Beach Boys fan, you’ve probably already seen this; if you aren’t and you haven’t, you might find both options to be particularly good for the soul right now.

Here’s a link to a solid documentary on Brian Wilson from 1995 should you be interested in also doing a less narrative dive: Link

 

 

MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING

We recommend this one mostly because for some reason we had a 35mm film print (well half of one) of this feature sitting around the old Sidewalk offices for years, we have no idea why. Also, Julia Roberts. Shhhhh Rachel Morgan secretly likes this film (and Cameron Diaz… come on the karaoke scene is so adorable).

 

SAY ANYTHING

When all else fails, raise a boom box outside of Ione Skye’s window – it’s the ultimate romantic social distancing, so much so that it was clearly filmed months and miles away. This is a really fun film to compare to THE GRADUATE – the ending is an inverted homage.

This easy to read, gossip-filled book, “You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation” covers some fun details about SAY ANYTHING as well as numerous other Brat Pack era classics and breaks down how the Brat Pack became the Brat Pack, it’s actually a really sad tale: Link

 

 

Foreign-Language Favorites

 

SHOPLIFTERS

The cuddlier Japanese cousin to the 2019 breakout Parasite (which will stream exclusively on Hulu starting sometime in April, by the way), Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Palme d’Or-winning smash is a story of a family of petty thieves whose already precarious existence is upended when they find a neglected little girl in need of care. This act of kindness will disrupt their way of life in ways they could not have anticipated, and this film will draw you in and break your heart in the best way possible.

 

THE SQUARE

Ruben Ostlund won the 2017 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival with this art-world satire about an art museum curator (Claes Bang) whose personal and professional life takes a nosedive after he loses his wallet and phone to a pair of pickpockets.

 

THE VILLAINESS

After the best picture-winning Parasite, audiences who might not have been familiar with how extraordinary South Korean cinema has been in the past few decades are now paying attention. This accessible, John Wick-style thriller is relentless and action-packed, following the twisty travails of a female assassin in a secret government program. There are action sequences here that will take your breath away.

 

BORDER

I can guarantee you’ve never seen a movie like this. A woman with a facial deformity who can sniff out lies works a lonely job as a border security officer until she meets a man who looks like she does. What’s the secret that unites them? In a million years, you might not be able to guess. Border is a modern Swedish fantasy from director Ali Abbasi, based on a short story from the author of Let the Right One In — which is also strongly recommended, if you haven’t seen it, and part of the Sidewalk Cinema’s 20 For 20 series.

 

In The Spirit Of Women In Film Week

Women In Film Week at the Sidewalk Cinema was recently interrupted, so consider watching the following wonderful films directed by women and celebrate until we meet again.

 

BOOKSMART

We love Olivia Wilde’s feature debut at Sidewalk. And it’s streaming on Hulu, so if you haven’t gotten on board with this brilliant comedy yet, now’s the perfect time. It follows two overachieving high school seniors (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) who, on the verge of graduation, try to pack all the partying they never did into one wild night. Mayhem ensues.

 

RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

A terrific female-directed documentary profiling an incredible, larger-than-life woman, the one and only Molly Ivins.

Here’s an article on Ivins from Texas Monthly: Link

 

MEEK’S CUTOFF

In anticipation of Kelly Reichardt’s new film FIRST COW, which should be coming your way as soon as theaters open again, check out her underseen 2011 masterpiece about a wagon train led through the wilderness by an unreliable guide (Bruce Greenwood), and the woman (Michelle Williams) who starts to voice her skepticism. Hypnotic and brilliant.

 

PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN

This 2017 biopic about the creator of Wonder Woman didn’t get a lot of attention. But it’s a fascinating look at the psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), his wife (Rebecca Hall), and their mutual partner (Bella Heathcoate). Think all that thinly-veiled bondage stuff in early Wonder Woman comics was accidental or innocent? Think again…

Want to grab a reprint of the first comic: Link

 

A TEACHER

It’s really fun to watch someone else make bad decision after bad decision. A super inappropriate teacher-student relationship begins to spiral out of control. Deflect your stress watching someone else self-destruct. Directed by Hannah Fidell, A TEACHER screened at the 2013 Sidewalk Film Festival.

 

SKATE KITCHEN

THE WOLF PACK (Sidewalk 2015) director, Crystal Moselle’s narrative debut, SKATE KITCHEN stylishly conveys the story of outsider Camille who makes fast friends with a group of fellow skateboarders. Similar to the backstory regarding THE WOLF PACK, Moselle randomly met the core cast of non-actors on a train. She enlisted them for a short film, expanding the relationship for SKATE KITCHEN.  A candid urban coming-of-age tale, the film also explores the challenges faced by young women moving within unavoidable male-centric spaces and the incredible importance of female friendship in modern America.

Follow The Skate Kitchen On Instagram: Link

 

MAPPLETHORPE

Directed by Sidewalk multi-alum and fav, Ondi Timoner, and selected two years in a row to screen at Sidewalk (one of which being the director’s cut of the film), MAPPLETHORPE won the 2018 Best Narrative Feature Audience Award. “I wanna be a modern Michelangelo!” Matt Smith (best known for DOCTOR WHO) plays Robert Mapplethorpe, whose pursuit of light and dark – which curves and bulges out of his iconic, erotic photography – is the drama of this stylish biopic: a variety of film styles and photographs trace the young man’s journey into art, from his fateful encounters with Patti Smith and the Chelsea Hotel, to stardom and death by AIDS. One might say that with Mapplethorpe, America reached sexual maturity.

Checkout The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation: Link

 

KNIVES AND SKIN

A Sidewalk 2019 selection. Big River is living in the shadow of missing teenager Carolyn Harper. Haunted and sad, the town is stuck in a chaotic funnel cloud of grief and looming doom. It’s easy to draw comparisons to TWIN PEAKS and DONNIE DARKO and even RIVERDALE, along with vibes of the original “Serial” podcast, yet KNIVES AND SKIN is wholly original — beautiful and gross, feminine and androgynous, hopeless and joyous and brutally relevant in its poetic investigation of a doomed world.

 

BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

As the title suggest this well-crafted documentary directed by Sara Driver focuses on the teen years of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Gritty and apocalyptic 1970’s New York is the background (of course). The film features never-before-seen works from the forever-young artist.

Here’s a site: Link

 

 

Horror and Science Fiction

 

WOUNDS

A Hulu-exclusive horror film that bypassed a theatrical release last year, Wounds is a disgusting slow burn of a horror-thriller that scratched my itch for something new and unsettling inspired by the Japanese horror craze of the beginning of the century. Armie Hammer stars as a charming but reprehensibly empty New Orleans bartender who finds a cellphone filled with revolting imagery; soon, these images start invading his daily life as well. Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beetz co-star. This one isn’t for everyone, but I found it to be a bit of an unheralded little horror gem.

 

ANNIHILATION

Maybe you missed Alex Garland’s ambitious sci-fi horror film about an alien presence that slowly infects and changes everything within an expanding bubble known as “the Shimmer.” If you didn’t, you know how exceptional this movie is. Natalie Portman stars as one of a team of scientists sent into the Shimmer to learn its deadly secrets; Tessa Thompson and Jennifer Jason Leigh are among her companions, and Oscar Isaac is the husband who returned from the Shimmer mysteriously changed. This is filled with indelible science fiction imagery that will amaze and frighten; if you’re not already scared of bears or lichen, prepare yourself.

 

MOM AND DAD

Nicolas Cage goes FULL NICOLAS CAGE in this horror-thriller-comedy about a mysterious pandemic that causes parents to attack and try to murder their children. Selma Blair, playing his wife, is similarly affected. This goes to some pitch-black and often hilarious places and features a cameo from a beloved horror star near the end that had me cheering.

 

THE DESCENT

Has this 2006 horror film become the modern classic it deserves to be? Neil Marshall’s wickedly claustrophobic story follows a team of female spelunkers in peril. While exploring an uncharted cave system, a cave-in traps them — which would be bad enough. But little do they know, they might not be alone down there. If the premise alone gives you the willies, check it out at your own peril.

 

HIGH-RISE

Ben Wheatley’s ice-cold adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s satirical science fiction novel details a society’s collapse in microcosm, as essential services are one by one deprived the residents of a futuristic apartment building. Actually, this one might cut a little too close to home at the moment, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

 

 

GREAT BREAK-UP FILMS

(and just dang stellar in general)

If you’re dealing with a break-up during this crazy time or if your self isolating and reflecting on a break-up or if all the sheltering in place with that special someone is leading you to want to break up, here’s a great list for you.

 

CLOSER

* Requires HBO add-on.

Possibly the ultimate break-up movie filled with impossibly attractive people… and some really relatable moments. Does it often vibe like it’s based on a play? Yes (and it is). Is the dialog sometimes hyper witty and unrealistic? Sure, but then the dialogue is often hyper witty and unrealistic. Try not to look away with lines like: LARRY: Christ, when I was in flairs you were in nappies, ALICE: My nappies were flaired.

Daaaaaang.

 

GEMINI

A brilliant neon-soaked modern noir set in contemporary Hollywood, director Aaron Katz’s sly, subversive hangout thriller follows the fraying relationship between a famous actress (Zoe Kravitz) and her personal assistant (Lola Kirke). I don’t want to spoil much about this one, but it’s worth the investment of your time and attention — and features one of the best scores of the past few years from the prolific film composer Keegan DeWitt.

 

A SIMPLE FAVOR

Paul Feig goes big, broad and melodramatic with this comic thriller that subtly lampoons the “missing white woman” subgenre of airport fiction while indulging in its most enjoyable tropes. A fantastic Blake Lively stars as the mysterious woman who goes missing; her friend (Anna Kendrick) then devotes her time to discover the truth about her disappearance while also suspiciously starting to adopt her lifestyle. This thing twists and turns like you won’t believe. This one confirms that all romantic relationships are pretty stupid anyway.

A Vanity Fair article on the film’s ending, so don’t you know read it until you’ve seen the end: Link

 

HEATHERS

Always a good choice, but an especially terrific selection when recovering from heartache. It’s hard to quantify just how innovative and influential HEATHERS was/is. Daring, strange, funny, memorable, slightly nihilistic and way ahead of its time. You’ve probably seen it, but totes worth a re-watch.

This Deep Focus series on HEATHERS is pretty darn good: Link

Lots of articles, here’s one: Link

And a fun Mental Floss look: Link

 

 

SWINGERS

Dare we suggest it?! This one is so, so dated. Writer (and star) Jon Favreau is daftly misguided in thinking that SWINGERS is being sharply critical of misogyny when it’s just as misogynistic as what it’s trying to comment on. But it’s just such a 90’s time machine break-up movie and with the backdrop, in part, being that odd era of mid-90’s Vegas – on the heels of it’s weird corporate “comeback”, it might be entertaining enough to be worth a little offense. Keep in mind this was a major indie hit when it came out and Vince Vaughn’s leap to fame. Yep.

 

 

Stone-Cold Classics

 

JOHNNY GUITAR

Joan Crawford stars as a stubborn saloon owner threatened by gossipmongering locals in this 1954 Western classic from director Nicholas Ray. Only the arrival of mysterious loner Johnny Guitar (Sterling Hayden) can take some of the heat off — but not much, as what makes this movie remarkable is how independent and vibrant its female characters are.

 

THE VACATION SERIES

Maybe not all of the Chevy Chase-starring comedies are worth watching, but considering the world has basically shut down (sorry folks, the moose out front should have told ya), you might as well.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

Winner of five Academy Awards including best picture, William Friedkin’s New York City crime masterpiece follows an unscrupulous detective (Gene Hackman) hot on the trail of drug smugglers. It features one of the best car chases ever filmed.

 

EYES WIDE SHUT

Stanley Kubrick’s final film is a sex-obsessed masterpiece that follows a doctor played by Tom Cruise who goes on a bizarre odyssey after his wife (Nicole Kidman) makes a startling admission.

Fairly detailed Vanity Fair article: Link

“What I Learned After Watching Eyes Wide Shut 100 Times”: Link

 

 

M*A*S*H

Robert Altman’s original film has a bit of a different tone than the beloved television series it inspired. Irreverent and decidedly not politically correct, the film follows the three Korean War field doctors as they pull juvenile pranks to distract themselves from the horrors of warfare around them. Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould and Tom Skerritt star.

BFI article on where to begin with Altman:

Link

Why not also watch the insane long shot opening for THE PLAYER: Link

 

 

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

It’s a young classic, yes, but a classic nonetheless. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, and based on James Baldwin’s novel, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is gorgeous and heartbreakingly beautiful.

How Beale Street Got Those Eye-popping Colors: Link

 

 

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…

Working from home? You CAN have what she’s having (as long as what she has isn’t coronavirus).

Mental Floss “facts” article: Link

 

 

TRUE GRIT (2010)

Maybe this is too recent to be considered a classic, but the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the late Charles Portis’ brilliant novel is so much better than the 1969 John Wayne adaptation that we’re including it here anyway. In any case, it’s one of the best things you can watch on the whole streaming platform. Hailee Steinfeld stars as the willful teenage girl who hires a drunken U.S. Marshal (Jeff Bridges) and an annoying Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) to track down her father’s murderer (Josh Brolin).

A quick behind-the-scenes video: Link

The Coen Brothers’ Art of The Minor Character visual essay: Link

 

 

Hyper-Indies

Here are a few true indie films – AND WE LOVE THAT!

 

HAZE

Sidewalk 2015

Directed By David Burkman

We loved this film so much that we gave it the 2015 Programmers Award. Over the years we’ve come across several films examining the tribal attributes of campus Greek life, but none have reached the level of bro-tastic (and even sis-tastic) insanity as Haze. The story follows Nick, a freshman, and leader of his fraternity pledge class. His peers look up to him as they endure humiliating levels of hazing, but it is revealed that his own brother is covertly trying to shut down the entire system, his loyalty is tested to the worst degree. Warning, not for those squeamish when it comes to vomit.

 

STILL

Sidewalk 2019

Directed By Takashi Doscher

Lily gets lost while hiking the Northern Georgia Appalachian Trail. She stumbles across an isolated farm owned by a mysterious married couple. Lily is taken in by the wife, against the wishes of her overprotective husband who doesn’t take well to strangers on their land. As is soon revealed, moonshine isn’t the only secret that the strange couple is hiding. Lily becomes dangerously entangled in the hidden truth behind the real reason that the couple protects their homestead so vehemently.

 

FERAL

Sidewalk 2019

An estimated 60,000 people are experiencing homelessness in New York City. In this feature film, we follow Yazime, a young woman who lives in the abandoned subway tunnels below the city. Based on actual stories from formerly homeless individuals, “Feral” offers insight into a complex woman living in a difficult world. Through Yazime’s eyes, we see why individuals may choose to shun shelter to live on their own terms

 

WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD

Sidewalk 2018

They’re not going to close Winky’s World if Jeff (Jon Heder) has anything to say about it! When word gets out about the impending sale of the beloved, aging bowling alley, Winky’s World, slacker manager Jeff springs into action to save the day. Calling on the nostalgia of the good old days, when Winky’s World was in its prime, Jeff manages to heroically rally everyone together to try and keep things afloat, but will his plan work or is it simply time to move on?

 

 

 

Quirky, Dark Comedies

 

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

Before he won an Oscar for JOJO RABBIT and made a splash in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with THOR: RAGNAROK, Taika Waititi made his best movie in his native New Zealand. The story of an unwanted foster kid (Julian Dennison) and his gruff adopted “uncle” (Sam Neill) who go on an unintended adventure in the wilderness, this is the perfect mix of Waititi’s absurd comic sensibilities with true pathos.

 

IT’S A DISASTER

A friendly brunch goes awry when a dirty bomb is detonated in downtown Los Angeles, sealing four couples in a home to do little but bicker and await certain death. Oh, and it’s a particularly hilarious comedy, filled with great performances, solid gags, and one killer ending. If the premise doesn’t hit too close to home, have a little fun with some top-notch gallows humor. David Cross, Julia Stiles, and America Ferrera star.

 

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE

After a meek accountant (Jesse Eisenberg) is mugged and brutally beaten, he seeks lifestyle improvement by taking karate classes from a local dojo, where his sensei (Alessandro Nivola) insinuates himself into his life in amusing, disturbing ways. More like a Yorgos Lanthimos film than a broad karate comedy, The Art of Self-Defense is deadpan, shocking and violent in unexpected ways — and a delight for those seeking cinema that doesn’t follow the rules.

 

CABIN IN THE WOODS

If you’ve never seen CABIN IN THE WOODS this film isn’t what you think it is and is very much worth your time. That’s all we’re saying.

Mental Floss Article: Link

 

LEMON

Weird as hell and a Sidewalk programmers (some of us) favorite from Sidewalk 2017. Isaac Lachmann is an unpleasantly intense failed actor whose life is on the verge of collapse. When his blind girlfriend of 10 years leaves him and a student’s acting career takes off, Isaac is inspired to seek a “reset” before he hits rock bottom, and tries to start dating again–but is there really any hope for him? LEMON is anxious comedy at its finest, with an excellent ensemble cast mining laughter from absurd and uncomfortable material.

 

INGRID GOES WEST

This one is weirder than you might think. It’s just mean-spirited and funny enough for us to rec it. Plus Aubrey Plaza!

 

GREENER GRASS

A 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival selection that starts as absurd as you’ve ever seen a comedy and gets crazier from there. Set in a bizarre suburb where all adults wear braces, coordinate their outfits with their spouses and drive golf carts everywhere, GREENER GRASS is a warped funhouse mirror of our very real competitive need to keep up with the Joneses.

 

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU

Capitalism runs amok in Boots Riley’s endlessly inventive 2018 comedy, which follows a young man’s trek up the corporate ladder in a warped, Terry Gilliam-esque version of Oakland. Lakeith Stanfield — one of the most magnetic and unusual young actors around — stars, with a brilliant supporting cast including Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, and Danny Glover.

A New York Times article on Boots Riley: Link

 

 

 

RACHEL VS COREY

If you’ve ever listened to the Sidewalk SideTalks podcast you know that programmer Corey Craft and creative director Rachel Morgan argue about film a lot… so much so that they have an official fight on every episode (links below!).

 

Here are a couple of dueling picks from Rachel and Corey, watch, consider and let us know who you side with!

 

Rachel’s Picks

Corey hates I, TONYA and strongly dislikes TEEN SPIRIT. Rachel <3’s both!

 

I, TONYA 

Corey takes offense to the content and Rachel thinks he’s not getting it!

Listen to the podcast for the full disagreement: Link

What do you think?

 

TEEN SPIRIT

Corey wasn’t impressed. Rachel thinks it’s a great female-led teen coming-of-age film and doesn’t understand why Corey can’t have a little fun every once in a while. Burn!

Want to hear the full fight, here’s the SideTalks Podcast on which that fight is featured: Link

What do you think?

 

Corey’s Picks

Corey <3’s DESTROYER and GOOD WILL HUNTING, Rachel says: No.

 

DESTROYER

Corey thinks DESTROYER is terrific and Rachel thinks it’s not nearly as good as it thinks it is and finds it tiring and ultimately silly (not in a good way), dullsville. She still <3’s Nicky Kidman though.

What do you think?

 

GOOD WILL HUNTING

Corey says: If you wanted to watch the breakout starring vehicle for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for the 9,000th time it’s right there on Hulu — and he feels strongly that it still holds up pretty well. Rachel thinks this thing is just overly sentimental bro time but admits that the basketball court fight scene is special… but says: still that doesn’t make up for having to tolerate BenMatt for what feels like a chamillion minutes.

Our Programmers’ Hulu Picks (Part One)

We miss you and though our doors are temporarily closed, we haven’t stopped programming. We’re excited to pass along themed programming selections and hope that such is helpful and brightens your day a bit. Plus we need to keep our programming skills in practice so that we can continue to bring stellar films and cinematic opportunities to Birmingham once we all get through this.

 

Below is a list of categorized film suggestions, this time available on Hulu (Round One), many with notes and some with additional resources, for your at-home film viewing. We hope that you enjoy the selections and would love to hear what you think via social media and/or email.

 

There are so many selections on Hulu that we are breaking our programming suggestions into two installments, this is the first. Stay tuned for Round 2! Interested in picks from Netflix? Visit our Netflix Picks Page. Don’t have Hulu or Netflix? Stay tuned for our Amazon Prime Video picks.

 

The + means the film can be considered an indie.
The * means that the film is a festival selection.
The # means the film was a cinema selection,
The / means the writer and/or director was a Sidewalk Film Festival alum.

 

ON HULU – ROUND 1

 

Did You Miss It At The Sidewalk Film Festival?

These are just a few of our favorite options:

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS +*
Sidewalk 2018

Image result for Three Identical StrangersIllustrating that old adage that truth is stranger than fiction is this 2018 Sidewalk Film Festival selection that packed out the Alabama Theatre on a Saturday afternoon. Three identical triplets, separated at birth, discover each as young men and set out to discover why their existence was withheld from one another. The secrets they unearth are stunning, and won’t be spoiled here.

For a little extra nostalgia here are the brothers on the TODAY show in 1981.

COLD CASE HAMMARSKJOLD +*#
Sidewalk 2019

Image result for Cold Case HammarskjöldA 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival sensation, the conspiracy theory-packed documentary illuminates what might have been a shocking plot by white supremacist organizations to assassinate the Secretary-General of the United Nations and commit acts of genocide against black Africans. Completely convincing? That’s up to the viewer. But director Mads Brugger makes some compelling arguments over the course of this wild, wild ride.

 

SUPPORT THE GIRLS +*
Sidewalk 2018

Image result for Support the GirlsIf you missed this at Sidewalk 2018, you missed one of the best films of that year, with an Oscar-worthy performance from Regina King. This beautiful comedy follows the beleaguered manager of a Hooters-style restaurant who tries to do right by the young women who work for her even in the face of obstacle after obstacle. The closest thing to a new Jonathan Demme movie we’ve gotten since the passing of that late great master director, SUPPORT THE GIRLS is lively, bright and funny in the most humanistic sort of way. We all have the food and beverage industry on our minds and in our hearts right now, so take a minute (or 93) for this inside glimpse. Produced by Alabama native Houston King!

THE NIGHTINGALE +*#
Sidewalk 2019

Image result for The NightingaleSidewalk creative director Rachel Morgan’s favorite film of 2019, and perhaps the programming staff’s unanimous favorite feature at the 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival, Jennifer Kent’s brutal historical revenge thriller is certainly not for the faint of heart. A young woman (Aisling Franciosa) in colonial Australia is brutalized by British soldiers in the most relentless and horrible way. After these soldiers visit an unspeakable tragedy upon her, she hires an aboriginal guide (Baykali Ganambarr) and enters the unforgiving bush to seek vengeance. Kent’s masterwork is an examination of patriarchal violence, a criticism of colonialism and a meditation on the capacity for violence that lives within us all.

DAMSEL +*
Sidewalk 2018

Image result for DamselIn the mood for a dark deadpan comic Western with the whiniest Robert Pattinson performance you’ll ever see? This Sidewalk alum from the Zellner brothers (who also directed previous Sidewalk films KID-THING and KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER— both also strongly recommended) follows Pattinson’s lovelorn dandy as he attempts to traverse an unforgiving landscape in pursuit of his beloved (Mia Wasikowska). But not all is as it seems; the most remarkable thing about DAMSEL is its continual ability to flip the script of the standard Western, over and over again, until you just don’t know what to expect.

Didn’t get enough of R. Patt? Spend 24 hours with him.

Or Check out Robsessed, an R. Patt fan site.

THE REAGAN SHOW +*
Sidewalk 2017

Image result for The Reagan ShowSkillfully and painstakingly comprised of archival footage, The Reagan Show is an eerily relevant peak behind the curtain of the media driven presidency of America’s 40th, Ronald Reagan. The documentary quietly places a spotlight on how deeply the media savvy Reagan years informed all POTUS to-be. Captivating and at times surreal, THE REAGAN SHOW is insanely well crafted and is perhaps most impressive in its presentation of a sneakily clever commentary on the current state of the nation. THE REAGAN SHOW and MIKE WALLACE IS HERE would make a great double feature.

MIKE WALLACE IS HERE +*
Sidewalk 2019

Image result for Mike Wallace Is HereBeyond just a biopic focused on Mike Wallace (though that in itself would be captivating enough), MIKE WALLACE IS HERE conveys the broader story of television journalism through the ages, drawing a line showing how we got here. This is done not through contemporary traditional interviews, but via the careful curation and skillful editing of archival footage. All that said, the opportunity to witness Barbara Streisand call Mike Wallace a “son of a bitch” should be enough of a selling point! MIKE WALLACE IS HERE and THE REAGAN SHOW would make a great double feature.

Here’s Wallace grilling Donald Trump.

Here he is smoking and interviewing Rod Serling.

LITTLE MEN +*
Sidewalk 2016

Image result for Little MenWhen 13-year-old Jake’s family moves into an inherited Brooklyn home, Jake befriends Tony, whose single Chilean mother runs the outworn dressmaking shop downstairs. Tensions rise as Jake’s parents attempt to raise the shop’s rent in rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. As their parents’ feud escalates, the boys’ friendship deepens. LITTLE MEN showcases the strength and love of childhood friendship, which shines brightly against the backdrop of adult pettiness.

 

COHERENCE +*
Sidewalk 2014

Image result for CoherenceDo-it-yourself multiverse science fiction shot on a shoestring budget with a cast largely made up of unfamiliar faces. But the conceit is so ingenious that you’ll instantly be absorbed by COHERENCE, which takes place at a dinner party where things get weird after a sudden astrological disturbance.

 

LOVE, GILDA +*
Sidewalk 2018

Almost thirty years after her untimely death, LOVE, GILDA skillfully constructs the cinematic biography of legendary comedian Gilda Radner via interviews, writings, home movies, and, most impressively, recently discovered audiotapes. Featuring interviews with Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Cecily Strong and more, LOVE, GILDA is a beautiful time capsule of a documentary. Hearing Radner reflect on her life in her own words and voice is a true privilege and watching her successors bask in the glow of Radner‘s writings is breathtaking.

Here’s Gilda’s SNL screen test.

TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM +*
Sidewalk 2019

Toni Morrison

As the title suggests, beloved author (see what we did there?) Toni Morrison is the focus of this comprehensive documentary. The film traces Morrison’s early years to present day, focusing on the most intriguing areas and experiences of Morrison’s life. Built around an interview with the author, the film also includes dozens of interviews with Morrison’s esteemed fans. Oprah confesses to being a Toni Morrison stalker; that alone should convince you.

Visit the Toni Morrison Society site for more resources.

LUCKY +*
Sidewalk 2017

Image result for LuckyThe final lead role from the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton, who here plays an irascible old coot perhaps unlike himself: a chain-smoker who does yoga and hangs out with David Lynch. What’s not to love already?

Also take a look at Vanity Fair’s “final toast” to the amazing Harry Dean Stanton.

 

 

THE OVERNIGHT +*
Sidewalk 2015

Image result for The OvernightAlex and Emily are new to Los Angeles and caring for their small son leaves little room to make adult friends. By chance, they meet another couple, Kurt and Charlotte, in the park and the new friends invite the family over for dinner. But, as the night progresses, things take one bizarre turn after another, as Alex and Emily begin to suspect the other couple’s true, potentially ulterior motivations. THE OVERNIGHT subverts the clichés of typical swinger sex comedies and is equal parts riotously funny and unpredictable.

 

GOLDEN EXITS +*
Sidewalk 2017

Image result for Golden ExitsDirector Alex Ross Perry is known for his dialogue-driven comedies, and Golden Exits doesn’t disappoint. Nick and Alyssa’s relationship has been frosty since an indiscretion by Nick, an archivist who works in the basement of their Brooklyn apartment. Enter Nick’s new assistant, Naomi, an Australian student, with loose family ties to Buddy, a music producer in the same neighborhood. GOLDEN EXITS features an intriguing ensemble of familiar faces, including Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz, Chloe Sevigny, Mary Louise Parker and Jason Schwartzman.

THE CLEANSE +*
Sidewalk 2016

Image result for the cleanseFormally titled THE MASTER CLEANSE this creature feature won the 2016 Programmers Award. A group of strangers attending a spiritual retreat in the woods become emotionally attached to the toxins removed from their bodies. A transformation that begins with nauseous reactions to foreign herbal elixirs slowly turns each guest’s deeply rooted psychological issues into cute pipe germ monsters – yep, oddly relevant. The range of reactions from each participant’s experience is exhibited in their personally birthed creature. A rare indie creature feature with performances from Johnny Galecki, Anna Friel, Oliver Platt and the one and only Anjelica Huston.

THE GUILTY +*
Sidewalk 2018

Image result for The GuiltyDemoted police officer Asger bides his time as an emergency dispatcher, begrudgingly fielding calls. As his shift nears its end a disturbing call comes in… As mystery unravels and complicates, the film not only questions the perception and subsequent actions of our main character, but also flips such ambiguity back on its audience. A one-location indie, virtually a one-hander and playing out in real time, The Guilty is an edge-of-the-seat, shockingly effective cinematic feat of a thriller.

 

Want A Challenge? We Dare You

 

Feeling the nihilism? If you can make it through the following 5-film line-up, all in the same week we will give you a major shout out (email rachel@sidewalkfest.com). Please note that we do not take responsibility for what might happen regarding your mental wellbeing at any point during this experiment.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN +

Image result for We Need To Talk About Kevin…And we need to talk about this film. Amazing, but not kind + Tilda Swinton. That’s all we’re saying.

 

 

 

 

THE MOUNTAIN +*#

Image result for The MountainWhen discussing selecting this film for the Festival we compared it to opening a bag of rats on an audience. After the death of his father, a sexually confused young man (Tye Sheridan) takes a job as assistant to a doctor (Jeff Goldblum) peddling a controversial and out-of-date lobotomy procedure to asylums. As the two make their way across a colorless landscape, the film radically dismantles 1950s American nostalgia and any notion of the “good old days.” Did I mention this was bleak? That’s even before Denis Lavant shows up in a performance of genuine, unhinged madness. THE MOUNTAIN screened last year as an Official Selection of Sidewalk 2019.

 

BUFFALO ’66 +/

Co-written by Sidewalk alum Alison Bagnall, Vincent Gallo’s BUFFALO 66 is a darker than night “love” (?) story. Cold in texture, tone and background, the film was one of the most unique of the late 1990’s, highly influential and wholly original.

 

 

PARANOID PARK +

Image result for Paranoid ParkWritten and directed by Gus Van Sant, this 2007 film was cast via a MySpace post. Told non-chronologically and poetically paced, it follows teenage skateboarder, Alex, who drifts in the shadow of a mysterious death.  A PARANOID PARK / SKATE KITCHEN double feature would also make for an interesting experience.

Here’s a link to a visual essay regarding PARANOID PARK.

 

THE STRANGE ONES +*

image result for The Strange Ones“I kind of can’t tell what’s real or a dream,” says a young boy near the beginning of this misty, mysterious drama. He’s on a road trip with his older brother, driving across upstate New York in the wake of a house fire and an undefined trauma. But not all is as it appears, and the lines between reality and delusion grow more difficult to define as dark secrets are revealed. THE STRANGE ONES was an Official Selection of Sidewalk 2017.

 

Underseen Gems

 

THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER +
Image result for Myth of American SleepoverBefore David Robert Mitchell broke out with his 2014 horror smash IT FOLLOWS and sent us all spiraling down a paranoid pop culture rabbit hole with last year’s UNDER THE SILVER LAKE (another point of contention amongst Sidewalk programmers), he cut his teeth on this debut feature, a charming coming-of-age story about an interconnected group of teens searching for meaningful connections. A Gen-Z DAZED AND CONFUSED, you might call it.

COLOSSAL +

Image result for ColossalAnne Hathaway’s alcoholism manifests as a fearsome kaiju attacking Tokyo in this bizarre, affecting genre hybrid with a truly insane premise. Moving back to her small hometown and finally hitting rock bottom, Hathaway’s character discovers that every night she gets blackout drunk and walks through a nearby playground, a giant monster attacks Japan. What more can you say about that?

 

THE COOLER +

Image result for The CoolerThis film is way better than you think it’s going to be. What’s a cooler anyway? There’s the type that cools a fight, like Swayze in ROADHOUSE, but in this case, urban legend has it, a cooler is someone who has and brings terrible luck and can spread that crap luck like a virus (see what we did there). Supposedly casinos employ these unfortunate folks and launch them on winners to, you know, cool their winning ways. In this case the cooler is Bernie played by William H. Macy and his luck is real bad… until it isn’t. Take a staycation to Vegas and hang out with someone who has worse luck than you (maybe?).

WILD ROSE +

Image result for Wild RoseNot nearly enough people saw this wonderful musical drama last year about a young Irish woman (Jessie Buckley) who gets out of prison and is determined to pursue her dream of singing country music in Nashville at any cost — even once again abandoning her children, if that’s what it takes. A lovely drama that avoids most of the pitfalls and embarrassing tropes of the “star is born” subgenre, WILD ROSE is elevated thanks to terrific work from Buckley (a star truly is born with her) and the legendary Julie Walters.

 

 

Did You Miss It At The Cinema?

These are just a few of our favorite options:

HONEYLAND +#

Image result for HoneylandNominated for two Oscars, HONEYLAND follows a Macedonian beekeeper living a simple, sustainable life whose world is threatened by the arrival of a migrant family looking to start their own beekeeping business in her remote area. Filled with startlingly beautiful camerawork, HONEYLAND is the sort of documentary that transports you to a world you never knew existed.

 

 

MONOS +*#

Image result for MonosA 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival selection, this visually stunning drama tells the story of conscripted child soldiers holding an American hostage (Julianne Nicholson) in an outpost on a remote Colombian mountaintop. When things go a bit wrong for the soldiers, the kids go a bit Lord of the Flies — and the situation spirals even more out of control.


LUCE +#

Image result for LuceOne of the first films that we screened at the Cinema, LUCE is ambiguous, complex and provocative. Directed by Julius Onah, the film features praised performances by Kelvin Harrison Jr, Octavia Spencer Naomi Watts and Tim Roth. Sidewalk programmers disagree on this one and we’d love to know what you think.

Here’s a brief, but interesting IndieWire article regarding the film.

MISTER AMERICA +#

Image result for Mister AmericaTim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington have made an empire out of their Adult Swim-affiliated “On Cinema” shorts, and with this feature faux-documentary, they’ve made the crossover to the big screen in hilarious, cringe-inducing fashion. Heidecker plays an obnoxious version of himself who runs for district attorney in San Bernardino County after getting off on murder charges (it’s a whole bit explained in the movie, and in an hours-long faux trial that aired online — which also comes recommended). The movie follows candidate Heidecker on his completely, obviously doomed race for office; it helps to be a fan with some familiarity of Heidecker and Turkington, but even if you aren’t, I think it still translates pretty well.

If this is your thing and you don’t already know about Tim Heidecker’s YouTube channel check that out, including his ridiculous music video that many people can relate to right about now, “Work From Home.”

Here’s a link to the “trial.”

WRINKLES THE CLOWN +#

Wrinkles the ClownIn Florida, urban legend has it that parents can call to enlist the services of the terrifying Wrinkles the Clown, who will show up to scare the daylights out of misbehaving children. But what’s the truth behind the legend? This documentary digs into the story behind this contemporary boogeyman.

 

 

 

STAY TUNED FOR HULU ROUND 2!