The Underrated. Sometimes a movie sits with you but you feel like you are the only that has seen it. Maybe it was the marketing. Maybe the movie is just flat out weird. Sometimes, you also like something that just doesn't lay it all out there for you and is left up to interpretation.
Today, kicking off The Underrated series, is Midnight Special from 2016. Great performances, roadtrip vibe mixed uo with sci-fi elements and unresolved conflicts. It's all there, but at the same time I have not seen anything like it before either. The unexplained origin of the cult/family/group is as mysterious as you might think one would be and you are dropped into the chaos of a father, friend and son the run. Here, Jeff Nichols uses the dropped-in approach absolutely perfectly as the tactic creates unknowns, chaos and questions throughout. Come for the concept of the thriller, but stay for the multitude of great performances from Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton and more.
There're two ways to look at Onward, and all Pixar movies for that matter, and that's by judging it on its own or up against the litany of classics with the Pixar catalog. Fair is fair, so, we will try to restrain from the latter. As a comedy and road trip flick, Onward delivers the goods with solid voice work from a nice pairing of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt — I'm trying not to compare it to any other Pixar flick. . . Really am. In an interesting setup for the movie, wizarding and mythology has dissipated into a suburban existence with unicorns roaming and rummaging amongst everyone. The magic and wonder is no more for the family, as Tom Holland's character is left to wonder — though not in magical sense — what might have been if his father had been around. The wonder and magic still exists for Chris Pratt's role and within this dynamic the movie unfolds into a buddy comedy, road trip with traditional pitfalls beset on duos looking to discover what their father was like, Holland's goal, but of course, also themselves. If this sounds familiar, it is because it is. That's the point though, and the payoff of the last 15 minutes is satisfying and carries an emotional weight that doesn't seem forced and bests any other animated feature out there. See, there I go again comparing Onward to something else. As with many road trip comedies, that's just the point: it should feel familiar, comfortable and hit all the right beats and stops along the way. Onward is a trip worth taking, as Pixar delivers the goods consistently. Is this one Up, Coco, Toy Story, Wall-E, no — see — I almost made it — but worth taking time to sit back and enjoy a fun, comfortable ride.
WHAT TO EAT?
Keep it simple during this time. Swing by the local spot you always hit as you head out of town - like you used to do. Load up on enough to tide you over for about two hours. Leave that big tip too.