Movies I’ve Recently Seen: The Biggest Little Farm, Booksmart, & Drive a Crooked Road

It seems I’ve been visiting the Shattuck Theater a lot lately. Anyway, here are three movies I’ve seen for the very first time, in order of quality.

A The Biggest Little Farm (2018), Shattuck

John and Molly Chester did something seemingly impossible. They left the big city, and after years of hard work, created a profitable organic farm in tune with nature. For instance, when snails threaten the lemon crop, the Chesters put their ducks in the orchard to eat the snails. Since John Chester used to be a nature photographer, he made his family story into a generally upbeat documentary – with some very sad moments. It is, of course, beautifully shot. John acknowledges, not happily, that most of the animals he’s raising will be turned into food.

B+ Booksmart (2019), Shattuck

In the tradition of American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, comes another coming-of-age comedy set on the last night of high school. Only this time, it’s from the female perspective. The two protagonists – best friends, one lesbian, one straight, both virgins – have done nothing but work towards college for four years. Now they want to party. The problem is that they really don’t know how. The leads, Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, are both funny and likeable. The adult cast include Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, and Lisa Kudrow.

C+ Drive a Crooked Road (1954), Criterion Channel

Not all noirs are great. Filled with clichés of the genre and very few surprises, Drive a Crooked Road won’t surprise or thrill anyone who has ever seen a movie. Former child star Andy Rooney stars as a very good car mechanic who races as a hobby, and he’s just the man to be manipulated by criminals who need a get-away driver. Of course, there’s a femme fatale who can easily get under the skin of a short, homely guy who looks like Micky Rooney.