SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS
1998, Fox Searchlight, 91 min, Dir: Tamara Jenkins

Growing up on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, Vivian (Natasha Lyonne) dreams of a life in which her car salesman father (Alan Arkin) can finally afford a home and retire and she and her brothers can fit in at their prestigious high school. Those dreams seemingly become reality when Vivian’s wealthy uncle Mickie (Carl Reiner) promises them a luxury apartment. The only catch is that Vivian must keep an eye on his daughter (Marisa Tomei), who’s struggling to kick an addiction and finish nursing school - a task that is sure to push the young 14-year-old to her limit. Funny, observant and filled with memorable performances, this remarkable feature debut from writer-director Tamara Jenkins is richly deserving of its cult status.


THE CHOCOLATE WAR
1988, Park Circus/MGM, 100 min, USA, Dir: Keith Gordon

The triumphant return of one of the most criminally overlooked movies of the 1980s! This dazzling directorial debut by actor Keith Gordon (MOTHER NIGHT, SINGING DETECTIVE) is based on the book by Robert Cormier and compares favorably with J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Lindsay Anderson’s IF… for depicting the often surreal absurdity of boarding-school life. Ilan Mitchell-Smith is a student who resists the orders of headmaster Brother John (John Glover) to participate in a school-wide chocolate-selling fundraiser. He consequently incurs the wrath of the students’ fascist secret society, run by Wallace Langham and Adam Baldwin, who go to ridiculous lengths to break his will. Yaz and Peter Gabriel combine for one of the most haunting soundtracks of all time.


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