Thursday Movie Picks: A Stranger

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is about strangers.  I've mentioned how Netflix makes lists of suggestions for me with names like "Dysfunctional family dramas" or "dark independent films." Two of these films would probably be on those lists. The last one though is a lovely LIGHT independent film, Netflix!

1) An Education

Jenny's life is forever changed when she meets a man twice her age and becomes his girlfriend. This is a fantastic movie with great performances by Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard. 

2) Lawn Dogs

This is a film that I first saw on Lifetime (ha!) I was about the same age as the girl in it at the time. I found it strangely fascinating and if anything, it helped me identify shady behavior a little more easily. This is a story of a 10 year old girl (Misha Barton) who strikes up a friendship with a 20 something lawn boy (Sam Rockwell) in her jaded gated community. Don't worry, he's not the creep in this film. 

3) 5 to 7

I originally had a more disturbing pick for this one but I changed it last minute as I really don't think I could ever watch that again. 5 to 7 is a film of Anton Yelchin's that I missed when he was still alive, and didn't see until after he tragically passed. I wish I had seen it sooner because now it's one of my favorite performances. Brian and Arielle meet by chance one day, and strike up an affair with the rules being they can only meet between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm . 

19 comments:

  1. I LOVE An Education! It's pace is a bit deliberate but the acting makes it compelling. Carey Mulligan without question carries the film but Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Albert Molina as her Dad and even Sarsgaard-an actor I'm not too fond of-all contribute to its success. Love Emma Thompson razor sharp cameo.

    They're showing Lawn Dogs on Lifetime? Must be a heavily cut version! I guess Sam Rockwell doesn't take the plunge. It's not something I plan on watching again anytime soon but I did think it was a decent film with an intriguing concept.

    Never heard of 5 to 7 but it looks like one I'd like plus I see it has Glenn Close and Frank Langella in the cast! Love finding new films to explore through this series.

    Now that we're shorn of horror the weeks will be easier to find picks for. This week's certainly was.

    The Night Digger (The Road Builder) (1971)-Maura Prince is a lonely woman with some physical disabilities (Patricia Neal-returning to work after suffering a series of strokes which had caused great paralysis which she was still struggling to overcome) lives as a virtual servant to her feeble but domineering mother (Pamela Brown) taking care of her and their large home in the English countryside. Into their lives and strained relationship rolls moody, handsome mysterious biker Billy Jarvis (Nicholas Clay) to cast their lives into upheaval. Maura is at first guarded against Billy’s off kilter charm and her mother contemptuous but as time moves along Maura beings to soften and find herself attracted to him. There’s just one problem Billy’s in the habit of wandering away and disappearing at night which seems to correlate to a series of murders in the surrounding area.

    Knife in the Water (1962)-A wealthy couple are headed to go sailing for a few days when they encounter a hitchhiker along the way. Despite some antagonism between the two men the couple invite the young man to accompany them on their trip. There the tension escalates as an attraction builds between the hitcher and the wife as well as resentment between the two men. When an altercation leads to a mystery things take a dark turn. Roman Polanski’s breakthrough picture, nominated for Best Foreign Film, is a tense three person drama.

    The Stranger (1946)-Professor Charles Rankin (Orson Welles) has a dark secret, he is in actuality escaped war criminal Franz Kindler one of Hitler’s architects of the final solution. One day his former assistant Meinike appears in town and beseeches him to confess his sins, fearing exposure Rankin kills him and buries him in the woods on the edge of town. Shortly afterwards a stranger arrives, Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) an agent for the War Crimes Commission who had been tracking Meinike in hopes he would lead him to Kindler. Suspecting Rankin almost immediately because he shares Kindler’s fascination with clocks Wilson tries to enlist and warn Rankin’s wife Mary (Loretta Young) to the truth. Initially doubtful she grow wary when Wilson mentions Meinike since she knows he had visited her husband. Under increasing pressure Rankin decides to eliminate all obstacles to his freedom leading to a taut showdown. Welles directed as well as stars in this noir set in small town America.

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    1. Brigit picked The Stranger too, I think that sounds like something I'd watch.

      Yeah the Lifetime version of Lawn Dogs was pretty edited, I realized after I actually rented it afterwards because I wanted to watch it again. The same thing happened with Bastard out of Carolina. I saw it on Lifetime, heavily edited. Then I happened upon it on HBO later on and was really kind of shocked at how graphic parts of it were.

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    2. I picked The Stranger too. And after seeing Joel's choice of Knife in the Water I realized I could have picked Ida Lupino's The Hitch-Hiker.

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    3. Oh The Hitch-Hiker is a great choice for the theme as well as a fantastically tense film. Ida Lupino's movies are all interesting but this one is her best.

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  2. OOOOOOOOOOOOH I'm VERY curious to know what your original, more disturbing third pick was! I can't believe I still haven't seen An Education.

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    1. It was Nothing Is Private/Towelhead (that film has gone back and forth with names, apparently. It was NIP at the Toronto Film Festival, then it changed back to Towelhead, and when I looked it up again now it's back to NIP) It was an interesting film but not one I think I could watch again.

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  3. I haven't seen any of these but I hope to watch them soon, especially An Education.

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    1. An Education is wonderful. I definitely recommend it, especially for Carey.

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  4. I've seen all three films. I do like An Education though the day I saw it was the start of what was to become a very bad year for me personally which is why I haven't re-watched it.

    Lawn Dogs I do remember seeing though it's been a very long time as it had Mischa Barton when she was tolerable. 5 to 7 I think is underrated as it makes me Anton Yelchin.

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    1. Mischa Barton had a lot of promise before she became a Hollywood party girl.

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  5. I haven’t seen any of these so we match in that way:) I do want to see all 3 from You description of them so all 3 are marked down.

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  6. The only one I've seen is An Education. I hate to be THAT guy, but I didn't care for it. My dad side was just too strong. The performances were excellent, but nothing else about it sat well with me. It all felt like justification for a creepy old dude to date a high school chick.

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    1. Don't apologize for your dad side! I have a really hard time with films that are about May/December romances. It's rare that ones don't bother me at some point.

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  7. An Education is such a terrific movie! I loved all the performances in that film.

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  8. I have seen all. Love An Education. Like Lawn Dogs. 5 to 7 not so much.

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    1. I'm surprised that more than one person has seen Lawn Dogs. I feel like most people I meet haven't.

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