It’s almost back-to-school time, which means Cinema Blend has a homework assignment for you. All across the country, students are filing back into classrooms and prepping for the rigors of an academic year. But there still remain a few glorious days of summer vacation, and this is how we’d like you to spend them.
We have made a short list of summer-movie titles that you need to scratch off of your To-Do list before diving back into the school schedule. We know that you went to see the blockbusters this season, from X-Men: Days of Future Past to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. And dedicated cinephiles also supported art house faves like Boyhood and Chef. These, though, are the under-the-radar films that really deserve an extra look. They earned rave reviews (and rightfully so), so close out the summer season with one – or all – of these underappreciated gems, which are in theaters or on VOD as we speak.
Obvious ChildFrom its rousing Sundance debut, Obvious Child earned wild praise and the moniker "the abortion comedy." While that controversial label could have made the film a lightning rod of debate or a political football, instead this inspired indie with a frank and fearless sense of humor won mostly praise. Better yet, it proved an outstanding showcase for the sharp and silly talents of Jenny Slate.
Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child centers on struggling stand-up Donna Stern, who is heartbroken, drunk and pregnant from a ridiculous one-night stand. But while waiting for her abortion appointment to arrive, she runs into her could-be baby-daddy, and finds unexpected hope for love. Despite its bleak jumping off point, this narrative is rich with humor, heart, and compassion. Rather than getting caught up in the politics it could be so easily subject to, Obvious Child uses its premise to create a story of arrested development unlike any we've seen before. It's fresh. It's unapologetic. But above all it's fucking funny.
Jenny Slate is astounding, painting a portrait of dysfunctional yet relatable late bloomer who is far more likely to make an ass of herself than make a good impression. Hers is not the rom-com heroine of Katharine Heigl dreck. Donna is a trainwreck. But watching her get on track is a rewarding and wildly fun experience. And Slate nails every joke, be it a pratfall or a biting one-liner. She's brilliant. And if there's any justice in moviemaking, she'll be the next Melissa McCarthy.
Obvious Child is still in theaters. Find it. - Kristy Puchko