July is National Family Reunion Month (who decides these things, anyway?), so I’m highlighting a few of my favorite dysfunctional movie families. I find these to be much more realistic than many fictional families like The Cleavers. They’re the kind of people who would show up at my family reunion: criminals, weirdos, misanthropes, etc.
About a Boy
It’s no High Fidelity, but this is still a pretty decent adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel. The main characters — a shiftless 30-something living off his inheritance, a strange tween boy, and his depressed mother — form a funny little family-like unit.
Everyone in this movie is so messed up. That’s part of the reason it’s so compelling.
Death at a Funeral
Both the original and the remake would work, but I’m going with the original because of the stellar acting job by Alan Tudyk. Fun fact: Tudyk grew up in Plano, Texas, which is also my hometown. BEST FRIENDS! Additionally, his name is fun to say. Tudyk. Anyway, the British dark comedy is hilarious, and the family it centers around is wonderfully strange.
Little Miss Sunshine
The whole premise of Little Miss Sunshine is great: a family — including a failed motivational speaker, a despondent teen who has taken a vow of silence, a suicidal Proust scholar, and a heroin addict grandfather who curses like a sailor — goes on a road trip to watch a seven-year-old compete in a beauty pageant. The fantastic cast really pulls it off.
Madea’s Family Reunion
This kind of hectic chaos reminds me of my own family get-togethers growing up. Minus the gun-toting grandmother.
Meet the Parents
Meeting the future in-laws is hard enough, but it’s especially difficult when one of them is a former CIA agent. Oh, and he’s also Robert De Niro, who is actually much more intimidating than any real CIA agent.
The Family Stone
The family in this movie is similar to the one on the show Parenthood (one of my favorite new shows). Actually, the show Parenthood is much closer to The Family Stone than it is the movie Parenthood. It’s all a little confusing.
Not just a family, but a FAMILY. In the mafia sense, which is way cooler than in the traditional sense. It’s a scientific fact that The Godfather is the greatest movie ever made. It’s been proven. By scientists.
Families are strange, difficult, complicated things. Superhero families are even worse.