Back when going to the Drive-In was a favorite past-time of mine, the “double-feature” was a regular offering, and one of the things that my friends and I would often contemplate and toss around was what two movies we would pair together if we were hosting a double-feature at the Drive-In night. Our cinematic OTP’s varied from the predictable to the bizarre, and became the source of movie nights at each other’s apartments once we were all out on our own. Well, I never did get over the game, and still like to pair up movies that would make the best double-features to watch with family and friends, or even just to stream on Netflix on my laptop.
I thought I’d start a “Two for Tuesday” kind of theme here starting this first week in June (because all the best Drive-In movie night memories were in the Summer months) and feature some of my picks for a Movie Double-Feature. Some will be compatible choices filled with cinematic chemistry and that connection that would make for “movie soul mates”, others will be pairings that lean more on the bizarre and unexpected, because we all like to mix it up now and then. I welcome suggestions either in the comments, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know what you’d like to see in your ultimate Movie Double-Feature.
Written & Directed by Greg Mottola
“Are we doing this?” ~ James
“Yeah, I think we are.” ~ Em
“I can give you a ride.”
Reminiscent of Dazed and Confused, Adventureland delivers a somewhat subdued story about a definitive time period, both in the post college “coming-of-age” life stage, and the early Eighties era, as Dazed and Confused did for post high school, and the late Seventies.
This film is a slice-of-life style of storytelling that relies more on characterization than heavy plotting, which I quite enjoy. I love a well done ensemble cast, and this delivers that, as well, introducing us to various characters that all seem very much “in color“. My only character criticism would be that the female characters are less developed than the male ones, including Em (Kristen Stewart), who would be considered a lead character. I wanted to see more of the females in this, more of their motivations and also, more of their relationships outside of ones with the males in the story, most especially Em and Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva). Even one extra scene with just the two of them would have been welcomed, and helped flush out their characters further.
Mostly though, I love nearly everything about this film, from the pacing to the cinematography, to the characters and the dialogue, but most especially, the music. Unlike so many ’80’s films, I feel this one stays far away from cliches and instead unfolds a slice-of-life during the decade that is relatable and realistic, from the character’s taste in music spanning from current to two decades back, to the clothing and even the slang. It reminded me so much of my own memories of 1987, the year I graduated High School, and the friends I had, music I listened to, and the way that year felt to me. I discovered Bowie and Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground the Summer prior, and listened to them so much during the Summer of ’87, along with The Cure and Crowded House and The Replacements, and an assortment of other “alternative” bands (before the genre was coined) that play in this film.
Bastards of the Young :: The Replacements
It was so refreshing to not hear the pop-overplayed-80’s “standards“. The only notable exception was Der Kommisar, which the characters actually complain about when it is over-played a the one ride that Lisa P. works at.
I found a great playlist on Spotify that includes music from the film – listen here.
Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
“So until next time, remember: Cardio, seat belts, and this really has nothing to do with anything, but a little sunscreen never hurt anybody. I’m Columbus, Ohio from Zombieland, saying good night.” ~ Columbus
Set in a fictional now and set in a post apocalyptic “coming-of-age” life stage, of sorts, Zombieland tells the story of a group of survivors who come together and form an unconventional family. Zombieland came out the same year as Adventureland, and also features an ensemble cast of characters. Both films also star Jesse Eisenberg, who admittedly is not a favorite actor of mine, though I do enjoy him in both of these films. I would say, though, that in many ways Columbus (Zombieland) is very similar to James (Adventureland), though if I had to choose I prefer Columbus.
I am a huge fan of the zombie genre of films, especially when they succeed in telling a story that not only entertains, but also raises questions of society, morality, and humanity. Though Zombieland leans to the comedic side, it touches on all of those topics especially in terms of humanity, what makes one “human“, and the human need to connect with others. There are heartbreaking moments in the film, but there are also hilarious ones.
In contrast to Adventureland, I do feel that the female characters are developed equally to the male characters. I never feel that I know any of our four leads more than each other, which is refreshing, especially since the film could have easily turned Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) into completely supporting roles.
The soundtrack to Zombieland is quite eclectic, playing like a mood-swing mixed tape that seems perfectly fit for cross-country road trips with a mis-matched set of passengers and fellow drivers. Though not quite as quintessential as I’d say Adventureland’s soundtrack is, to me, there are some great songs within the film, including a Velvet Underground song, Oh! Sweet Nothing, (another similarity to Adventureland, the Velvet’s music was getting lots of cinematic play in 2009, it seems)
No One’s Gonna Love You :: Band Of Horses
I found another great movie soundtrack playlist on Spotify, this one for Zombieland – listen here.