It's a real pleasure to stumble across a genuine surprise in our current age of cinematic predictability. I'm speaking of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own 1999 novel.
It's not only the best movie about youth since 2009's "Adventureland," but also one of my favorite films of the year thus far. Typically, teenagers are treated as idiots in films and serve one of two purposes - to hormonally rage or be picked off by a masked madman.
But "Perks" is a sweet, melancholic look at the joys and pains of growing up. It draws a fair amount of pathos from its story, which is centered around Charlie (Logan Lerman), a troubled freshmen who bonds with a damaged girl (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother (Ezra Miller). While the picture does not exactly break ground thematically, it manages to do what it's thing - portraying the heartaches of youth - very, very well.
The week's other two newbies - "End of Watch" and "Trouble with the Curve" were just enjoyable enough. The former is a decent, gritty cop film that is only brought down slightly by its unnecessary found footage format. There are some issues of believability that stem from said format.
The latter is a mostly charming baseball drama that features a cranky Clint Eastwood - but, you know, a charmingly cranky Eastwood and not the type who yells at inanimate objects - and Amy Adams in a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship. It gets off to a rocky start with a little too much focus on Clint's grouchiness and an unfortunate scene at a grave site, but picks up once it gets rolling into its story. It's not Eastwood's best movie of recent years - but, then again, he didn't direct it himself.
Here are my reviews.
I also managed to catch another screening of "The Master," which I've now viewed several times. My father, who was visiting from out of town, drew an interesting conclusion from the film: there is a parallel between Lancaster Dodd's "making it up as he goes along" and Freddie's "making up" his alcoholic concoctions, which include everything from paint thinner to photography chemicals, as he goes along. "Food for thought," as Dodd himself might say.
This coming weekend, I'll obviously catch "Looper." My other selection could either be "Won't Back Down," which is not based on that Tom Petty song, or "Pitch Perfect." Or something else. Stay tuned.