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Forrest Gump
Perfect 99 Points 1994

America. My theory is that Forrest Gump serves as personification of the early baby boomers, i.e. of the America of that era. Naive, idealistic, rambunctious, Forrest’s life functions as allegory for the cultural journey of the generation that came of age during the 60s.

Whether you buy that…

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WikChip Image Lovely Hanks
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The Way, Way Back
Perfect 86 Points 2013

The Way, Way Back is the perfect summer movie from this Summer of `13. It opens and closes with a painfully awkward teen in the late, lamented way-way-back of a 1970 Buick Estate Station Wagon.

In between he spends a life-changing summer at the beach house of his mom’s asshole boyfriend, pl…

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WikChip Image Awkward boy meets way, way cool girl
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The Fighter
Really Great 88 Points 2010

New addition to the boxing movie canon? Absolutely, complete with elemental title, elemental story and devastating performances. A female power story as much as a male one, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and Mark Walhberg’s maternal-fraternal triangle pegs the meter for codependency. When Amy Ada…

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WikChip Image All in the (dysfunctional) Family
Really Great 83 Points 2011

Where did Drive come from? Under-titled and under-promoted, it seems to have sprang from nowhere. Pity, because it’s an extremely invigorating thriller. It also burnishes Ryan Gosling’s growing legend while establishing Nicolas Winding Refn as a major Hollywood director. Wow.

Few action …

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WikChip Image Hammer in hand, Gosling looks for a n...
Really Great 83 Points 2014

Channing Tatum’s tortured performance as Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz anchors Foxcatcher. Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell orbit above him as Dave Schultz, his older brother and fellow Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, and John du Pont, the crazy rich guy who murdered one of…

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WikChip Video Steve Carell masterfully plays this guy.
Wonder Woman
Really Great 83 Points 2017

Miss Israel kicks ass as Wonder Woman. But that’s not all, not by a long shot. Wonder Woman is a perfect superhero movie, deeply of the genre, yet soaring above it. That puts it in the small pantheon of DC movies, deadly earnest in the DC tradition, a la The Dark Knight

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WikChip Video That's right, the women are smarter.
Frozen River
Great 66 Points 2008

Bleakly terrific, this compelling movie delivers sufficient tension, human interest and muckraking to qualify as an indie classic. Outstanding performances, especially by Melissa Leo, coupled with rookie filmmaker Courtney Hunt’s well crafted story and production, show why this engaging drama wo…

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East of Eden
Great 66 Points 1955

Great American Movies based on Great American Novels reveal new insights at increasingly greater remove. Dating from 1955 and set in 1917, East of Eden is greatly insightful about the changes in America in the near half century between when it was set and made, and the half century plus between…

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WikChip Video James Dean, James Dean, James Dean!
Summer Hours
Great 66 Points 2008

A finely observed familial drama about siblings dealing with the death of their mother and the disposition of their museum-like childhood home, Summer Hours disdains standard movie drama. It’s edgeless, a film for two mature cohor…

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WikChip Image Mother and Daughter of Privilege
The Grifters
Great 66 Points 1990

Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening use their considerable feminine wiles to control a man-in-the-middle. Talk about a double shot of mature sexiness, even if John Cusack proves barely worthy of their attentions. Of course Huston’s mobbed-up mom takes an immediate dislike to Bening’s sexed-up gi…

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WikChip Image Bening's sexy smooth grifter, on the ...
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