For the 18th week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the subject of actors who are real-life family members playing the same family roles in films. There are those who are part of acting dynasties who work together to play certain roles with one another as it either adds a natural sense of chemistry or no chemistry at all. Here are my three picks:
1. John and Joan Cusack-Say Anything… In Cameron Crowe’s feature-film directorial debut about a high school valedictorian embarking on a relationship with a slacker schoolmate who doesn’t have any ambition. The film feature both John and Joan Cusack playing siblings like they do in real-life with the latter playing the slacker’s single-mom sister as she is concerned about him being in a relationship with this young woman whose father doesn’t approve of it. The chemistry between the Cusacks do feel real as it do play into the way siblings act but also how a young man goes to his older sister when he says “I gave her my heart and she gives me a pen”.
2. Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal-Donnie Darko Richard Kelly’s 2001 cult film didn’t just feature a break-out performance from Jake as the titular role but also featured his real-life sister Maggie, who was a year away from her own break-out moment in Secretary, as Donnie’s older sister Elizabeth. The two have an infamous exchange early in the film where the two say some profane things to each other in front of the family with Daveigh Chase as the youngest sister Rose who then asks “what’s a fuck-ass?”
3. Meryl Streep & Mamie Gummer-Ricki and the Flash In Jonathan Demme’s final feature film before his death in 2017 has Meryl Streep play a middle-aged woman still chasing her dreams of rock stardom with her band the Flash until she gets a call from her ex-husband that their daughter attempted suicide following news that her own husband has been cheating on her and is divorcing her. Playing Ricki’s daughter is Streep’s own daughter Mamie where the mother-daughter dynamic is engaging as well as being full of heart and humor. Even with someone like Streep, who was known for being this revered and serious actress, manages to loosen up as well as allow Mamie to shine making the film a joy to watch.
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