If you’ve a lot of time off over the holidays, that can be a blessing and a curse. You finally have the chance to catch up on some movies! But what the heck do you watch? That’s where our new series, On Demand With ScreenCrush, comes in. Every two weeks, ScreenCrush Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer joins you to recommend three handpicked new titles you can watch at home right now from Movies on Demand. These are big new releases you won’t find streaming on Netflix, and the choices run the gamut from indie favorites, to major blockbusters, to insightful documentaries, and everything in between — all available with your remote.
According to most people (on the internet, which is where most people live now), 2016 was horrific. It was a year in which we lost some of our best and brightest artists, a year in which we elected a president who will, according to Kate McKinnon’s Hilary Clinton, “kill us all,” and it was a year in which many blockbusters fulfilled the “bust” end of that promise. Despite all of this, 2016 delivered some truly remarkable films; because of all of this, we needed them.
Now that the seemingly infinite hell of election season has reached its merciful end, it’s time to move on to what is pretty much the election season of movies: awards season! The Golden Globes, Oscars, industry guilds and various critical bodies will soon hand down their rulings on the best films, performances, and technical achievements of 2016, but before that ball gets rolling and flattens all nuanced criticism in its way, the Independent Spirit Awards will have their say. The nominations for the slightly left-of-center awards program were announced yesterday, and the unusually stellar lineup provides a nice reminder that the whole “2016 was a disaster at the movies!” narrative only applies to Hollywood studio pictures.
What makes American Honey so effective is the cast of mostly unknown, amateur stars, including the film’s magnetic lead, Sasha Lane. Despite having no acting experience, Lane comes off like a pro; her chemistry with co-star Shia LaBeouf feels tangible, and there’s an effortless quality to the way she conveys emotion without saying anything at all. We spoke with Lane in Austin ahead of the film’s premiere at Fantastic Fest, where she was just as lovely in person as she is on screen.
Imagine if Larry Clark was a woman, capable of depicting the inner lives of disenfranchised youth with all the psychic nuance and sensitivity estrogen could provide. Imagine a road trip through Middle America as presented by Claire Denis; now imagine that the brutal emotional intensity and distinct feeling of dread remain intact, while the threat of grotesque acts of violence lurk on the periphery, merely imagined and never realized. If you can imagine that, you might come close to approximating the experience of watching American Honey, the latest stumbling-of-age drama from Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold.
Y’know those back to school ads for Staples? The ones that repurpose the Christmas standard “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” to celebrate children going back class? I always hated those ads as a kid. Going back to school was not a time to celebrate. It was a time for grief and mourning.