Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors.
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Stephen Adly Guirgis
Ira is a nervous playwright waiting and hoping to succeed with his art, which he takes it very seriously. But following his dreams and ambitions isn't something easy to do, specially when ... See full summary »
Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.
Abe Wertheimer - an odious, purposeless, self-centered 35-year-old living parasitically with his parents (by choice) and working in his dismayed father's business office (avoiding work while scoping eBay for collectible toys) - meets Miranda, an equally pathetic but self-loathing social dropout who, having given up on life, masochistically accepts Abe's sudden proposal of marriage for a knowingly grim future she won't fight against. Along with projecting his own faults onto his father, his own jealousy for lack of success and accomplishment onto his younger brother, and wallowing in the blind support of his mother, it's just another aspect of Abe's unsatisfying life that he just can't see to improve. A long-overdue decision finally spins his insignificant life out of control. Written by
Estelle Harris, Jason Alexander and Jerry Stiller were hired to do voice overs for the scenes where Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken sit stone-faced watching an unseen TV sitcom. Todd Solondz felt the "Costanzas" on the TV series "Seinfeld" were a sitcom version of the family he was depicting, but he couldn't afford to use audio clips from "Seinfeld." See more »
When Abe is sitting alone in the Multiplex Cinema, before the movie begins there is a Movie Star Scramble ("Unscramble The Letters And Name This Movie Star!") on the screen. The scrambled name reads, "ORGEOE LONEYCO" which Abe whispers is "George Clooney" but "ORGEOE" cannot be rearranged into "George". See more »
The plot: An obnoxious man-child attempts an ill-fated romance with an equally broken woman, while coming to certain realizations about his life.
Dark Horse is not an easy movie to watch, but when have any Todd Solondz movies been easy to watch? His unflinching, brutally honest portrayals of flawed people make him popular with the indie crowd, but it's difficult to recommend his movies to anyone else. It's difficult not to identify with the parade of eternal losers of Solondz's movies, no matter how flawed they are, because, really, these people are us. We might try to deny it, of course, but the truth of the matter is that his movies are just too uncomfortably real for many people to enjoy. You might not be an awkward, depressed girl or an obnoxious, entitled man-child, but there's probably some aspect that you can relate to. If not, then you probably know someone like this. Solondz knows who we are, and he knows our society.
Dark Horse continues a rather surreal and artistic direction for Solondz. Fantasy, dreams, and reality all freely intermix. It might leave some audiences a bit confused, but it's usually pretty obvious which are which. In fact, I really enjoyed some of these scenes, because they opened the door to really inventive narrative and metaphor. In some ways, it was like David Lynch, but without the free-form stream-of-consciousness. These scenes really illustrate the characters better than any traditional scene could. The hilariously banal conversations are another nice touch. Anyone who appreciates irony will certainly enjoy them, though the irony-impaired, I think, will possibly hate this movie.
Solondz's characters have arguably never before been so depressed, bitter, and broken. If you're looking for an uplifting story, full of inspirational and likable characters, this is not the movie for you. Solondz is the undisputed master of strangely sympathetic portraits of society's biggest losers and weirdos. This one will hit pretty close to home for many geeks.
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