Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek received acclaim for their performances in “In the Bedroom,” at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.
By Vanessa Zimmer
Fifteen years ago this month, director Gregg Araki sent Anna Faris on a high-powered (as in high on pot) odyssey to make amends to her roommate.
And the amends involve replacing the roommate’s marijuana-infused cupcakes that Faris’ character unknowingly ate with replicas of the same. The vehicle for that journey was Smiley Face, in which Sundance alum Araki poked fun at marijuana culture. The comedy played the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, leading to First Look International picking up the distribution rights.
Smiley Face is the only comedy on this list of five Festival films celebrating November release dates. The award-winning skateboarding documentary Dogtown and Z Boys represents the nonfiction genre, and emotionally compelling family dramas — one of which grabbed five Oscar nominations — occupy two slots. Another is a coming-of-age story starring Timothée Chalamet.
Have you guessed the three unnamed films? Read on for those answers and how you can watch all of these anniversary films. The year of wide release is in parentheses with each title.
Paris, Texas (1984) — Harry Dean Stanton plays a man who has been drifting aimlessly for four years. He comes in from the desert and reconnects with his brother (Dean Stockwell) and with his own son (Hunter Carson). Then father and son set out to find the boy’s mother (Nastassja Kinski). A talented trio operated behind the scenes: Sam Shephard co-wrote the script, Wim Winders directed, and Ry Cooder wrote the bluesy score. Available on HBO Max.
Dogtown and Z Boys (2001) — Director Stacey Peralta was one of the Z Boys, short for the Zephyr Team, a motley group of eight teens from broken homes in an area of Santa Monica known as Dogtown. These kids were 1970s skateboard pioneers, scouting out abandoned swimming pools in upscale neighborhoods to practice their tricks. Skateboarding became huge across the country, and a few of the Z Boys went on to corporate sponsorships and celebrity careers. The documentary won the Festival’s Audience Award, and Peralta received a director’s award. Available to rent on Amazon Prime.
In the Bedroom (2001) — Todd Field’s debut feature attracted widespread acclaim — including five Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Writing, and for actors Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, and Marisa Tomei — upon its screening at the Sundance Film Festival. Festival programmer Geoffrey Gilmore described the film as “captivating,” writing in the Festival Film Guide: “This methodically constructed portrait of the intimate dynamics of a Waspish, comfortable, doctor’s family, the Fowlers, and the rather cloistered community they live in (in many ways, the American ideal), demonstrates a rare perceptiveness that pays close attention to the nuances and motivations of social class, mores, and generational values.” The Festival also bestowed a Special Jury Prize for Acting to Wilkinson and Spacek. Available on Pluto TV.
Smiley Face (2007) — Jane (Anna Faris) accidentally (sort of) eats her roommate’s marijuana-laced cupcakes and then embarks on a pot-fueled adventure to replace them. Enough said? “(Director) Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face is aglow with bright colors and vibrant characters. Araki deftly pokes fun at pot culture while affectionately embracing it,” according to the Festival Film Guide. Programmer Matt Anderson also cited Faris’ strong comedic performance as the lovable, albeit misguided, Jane. Available on Freevee and Pluto TV.
Call Me By Your Name (2017) — Timothée Chalamet portrays Elio, an American-Italian teenager living in 1983 Italy who becomes enamored of an older man (Armie Hammer), a scholar who has come from America to work as an intern for Elio’s father. Luca Guadagnino directs; he and James Ivory wrote the script, adapted from a novel by André Aciman. Available on Netflix and HBO Max.