365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


Stronger (2017)

Jake Gyllenhaal (Life, Everest) continues to take on roles that, seemingly, are each more challenging than his previous. In terms of how Academy Awards, I'm not sure if there is another actor under 50 years of age who has been snubbed as frequently as Gyllenhaal. To date, his only nomination is for 2005's Brokeback Mountain. However, I truly feel that he has been the odd man out with a number of other roles, most notably in Southpaw and, particularly, Nightcrawler. While I would put his performance in David Gordon Green's (All the Real Girls, Undertow) Stronger as one of his top six performances of all-time, I'm not sure it's in his top three or four. While he was absolutely terrific, this movie did not captivate me in the same way that movies like Brokeback Mountain, Nightcrawler, Southpaw, Nocturnal Animals, Life, Love and Other Drugs, or Brothers did. But it should have. This was based on a true story. It had the sentimentality about an average person overcoming odds and becoming a symbol for patriotism all wrapped into one. And while this movie was very good, it wasn't even Gyllenhaal's best performance about a character overcoming adversity. That belongs to Southpaw. But just because the movie wasn't amazing, doesn't mean that it was not very good. Because it was.


All the Real Girls (2003)

Director David Gordon Green is quietly creeping into the upper echelon of movie directors. He is probably a name most people still have not heard of. Green is known for doing these smaller, independent, character driven movies that are often set in anytown America. To me the movies are extremely realistic because they dive so deep into raw, everyday emotions, specifically dealing with love and lust and jealousy and anger and hurt. Keep in mind as I say this that he also has directed stupid humor comedies like Pineapple Express, The Sitter, and Your Highness, but that just further shows how ultra-talented the man is. The movies that I am talking about are George Washington, Undertow (which I actually didn't like but appreciated), and particularly Snow Angels, a movie I admire in every aspect. I'd actually need to go back and watch Snow Angels again (a movie, coincidentally, that I watched for the second time ever no more than 3 or 4 months ago) before deciding if I like it or All the Real Girls better. To me, both of these movies capture the pureness of simple film-making.


Snow Angels (2007)

I'm a huge fan of small town dramas (not the ones that are dispersed with quirky, sarcastic, or black humor, but the really heavy dramas) so when the unheard movie Snow Angels fell into my lap, it felt too good to be true. This movie made less than $500,000 at the box office despite some mostly positive acclaim from the critics (67% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). It stars a couple of A list celebrities in Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Brokedown Palace) and Sam Rockwell (Moon, The Way Way Back) as well as some unknown actors and actresses who gave some dynamite performances. All in all, while the moving will depress the heck out of you, it is a wonderfully crafted movie that fans of these small town dramas would most likely enjoy. Fans of Rockwell should most certainly see this movie as this is one of the finest performances of his career.