It's almost reunion season — translated into stories, that theme seems to always include unrequited love and crushes, frustrated ambition, embarrassing attempts to impress, reliving lost youth, and shattered dreams. Some are dramedy, some straight-up drama, but reunion movies have one thing in common: characters whose pasts collide with the present in endlessly fascinating ways. And the plots nearly always involve a search for connection, romantic or otherwise.
CW: explicit descriptions of sex acts, references to suicide, adult themes
How to describe the first season of the anthology show The AfterParty?! Take one part Colombo, a dash of Magnum PI, a jigger of the most charming and cynical British whodunit, more than a smidge of Knives Out, the hilarious, streetwise, no-BS attitude of Tiffany Haddish set against an afterparty hosted by a celebrity for their high-school reunion, and you've got it.
The dancing in the kitchen! The deep affection! The musical beds! Reminisces and lost hope! The Big Chill captured a mood and a time, and the soundtrack and ensemble of gorgeous, talented actors was a big part of that.
"We can go to the reunion and just pretend to be successful!" Their simple plan goes gloriously haywire in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion. Personally, I think this movie has become a modern classic thanks to the deliciously sarcastic Janine Garofalo, the daffy performances of Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow as Romy and Michele, and this interpretive dance scene. The soundtrack is a perfect time capsule as well.
The Royal Tenenbaums isn't nearly as precocious and precious as Wes Anderson's later films (which I happen to love) and maybe he's an acquired taste. But the quirky intellectual Tenenbaum children are supposedly influenced by characters in JD Salinger novels, and that makes them fascinating to me. I wouldn't want a reunion with this family, but they sure are interesting to watch.
This Is Where I Leave You starts with infidelity and siblings reuniting to mourn the death of their father, but that that doesn't prevent them from thrashing and fighting their way through some absurd, emotional situations. The script is subtle and quietly funny, leaning on the excellent ensemble cast to bring it home, and do they ever.
It reminds me of another excellent reunion film, The Family Stone, which takes place at Christmas, with siblings trading partners —unexpectedly of course, for maximum dramady.
I'm so not the demographic for raunchy comedy like Zack and Miri Make a Porno but I laughed out loud throughout this movie. Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen do such a beautiful job of anchoring the amusingly outrageous friends to lovers plot in their affection, and eventual love, for each other.
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