Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Store/Supermarket/Mall Movies


My inclination is to pick movies largely set in a store, like Clerks, for example. That crossed my mind first, but then I thought of something when I looked at the multiple possibilities for this week's theme. It dawned on me that I might pick a movie that features a store or a supermarket or a mall as a place that serves to help the character(s) grow in some small way, that connects to the overall theme of the film itself. And then, I thought, How about one of each?

That's where I'm at this Thursday, another great day for Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. This week's theme, of course, Store/Supermarket/Mall Movies.

Here are my picks: 

A Store

Huckabees, The Everything Store in 
I Heart Huckabees 
dir. David O. Russell, 2004


A corporate goon for the Wal-Mart-like Huckabees named Brad (Jude Law) finds himself at odds with our hero Albert (Jason Schwartzman), a sensitive poet and leader of the "Open Spaces Coalition," in David O. Russell's quirky screwball comedy. But the real gem here is the dynamic between Mark Wahlberg's anti-foreign oil firefighter and Naomi Watts' light-seeking pretty girl. Pain, suffering, commerce, hilarity. 

A Supermarket

FoodLand in
What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
dir. Lasse Hallström, 1993


Gilbert (Johnny Depp) must navigate everything that is always the same in his small Iowa town (his sisters, his mentally-challenged brother, his morbidly obese mother, his affair with the town's desperate housewife, and what comes with caring for them all), while so much new is rolling into town, including a fast food burger joint on wheels, a supermarket called FoodLand that may very well put Gilbert out of his job at the local Mom and Pop, and then a new girl, Becky (Juliette Lewis), a passer-through with a broke down Airstream. Ah, the things that change landscapes...and outlooks...and make change. 

A Mall

The Westside Pavilion in 
Clueless
dir. Amy Heckerling, 1995


For wealthy teen hotties like Cher (Alicia Silverstone), the mall is a place of refuge from the pain and strife of the dramas of high school, especially with the rise in popularity of the monster she may have created in Tai (the late Brittany Murphy). It is the butt of jokes from her ex-step brother, Josh (Paul Rudd), who claims her life's only direction is "toward the mall." Does that inspire the change in her? Clueless is one of the most lasting teen comedies of the 90s, mostly because of how smart it is, how it allows these ditzy types to grow out of the façades they so clearly create, letting the intelligent, witty, beings they really are shine. 

22 comments:

  1. I almost picked Clueless this week - such a great movie that deserves to be called a Classic for all the reasons you mention and more. But I'm kicking myself for not even thinking of I Heart Huckabee's, which I LOVE to no end. Damn fine picking!

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    1. Thanks, man! I tried to go with stores that are more off-screen but still fuel the plot. I Heart Huckabees is perfect example of that and a GREAT comedy.

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    2. And Clueless is so funny. I need to watch it again. It's been years since I watched it start to finish.

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  2. I like what you did with these picks, especially the first two. I'm one of the 10 people in the world that didn't care for Clueless. lol

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    1. Thanks, Britt. I cannot fathom a chick from my generation doesn't love Clueless, but there's a first time for everything. I find it absolutely hilarious in an uncommonly intelligent way.

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  3. I enjoyed Clueless more than I thought I would. It is quite good and deeper than I imagined. I love Gilbert Grape because the characters are all so unique and you really feel for the mother. This was Leo's first Oscar mom and well deserved. I haven't seen the first film but it's on my ever growing list

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    1. Gilbert Grape is one of those films that I forget I love. It only came to me because my wife was watching it randomly a few weeks ago, and I got so hooked in I was crying by the end. Why, OH, why! can't Johnny Depp get back to that sort of work.

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  4. I love the breakdown into three distinct groups with a film a piece.

    Gilbert Grape is such a fine work slowly sneaking up on you with its unique viewpoint and subtle performances. I had put off watching it for so long because it just looked like it would drown in its own quirks so I was pleasantly surprised when it managed to walk a fine line.

    Clueless is a very fun film and a refreshing rethink on the classic Emma while having its own sensibility. The whole cast is great but it would be nothing without Alicia Silverstone.

    I most definitely DO NOT Heart Huckabee's! It's another I put off for years until I ran across it on TV as it was beginning and thought why not. Hated the story, hated those people, hated the direction, hated it.

    This week's picks came to me very easily for some reason as soon as I read the theme all three popped into my head.

    Who’s Minding the Store? (1963)-Dog walker Norman (Jerry Lewis) loves the beautiful Barbara (Jill St. John) but Barbara’s from money, a fact Norman is unaware of. Her family owns a highly successful department store and her mother, Mrs. Tuttle (Agnes Moorehead) is determined to break them up. Norman goes to work in the store and tries to prove himself while Mrs. Tuttle’s minion, Mr. Quimby (Ray Walston) gives him ever more humiliating tasks. Typical Lewis comedy is a bit sweeter than usual and has a great cast.

    The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)-Annoyed to hear workers at one of his stores are trying to form a union the world's richest man John P. Merrick (Charles Coburn) decides to check it out for himself. Going incognito he gets a job there on the hunt for what he sees as troublemakers but discovers instead that the employee’s grips are legitimate when he befriends Miss Mary Jones (Jean Arthur), another worker at the store. In time Merrick ends up carrying the flag for the workers to be treated decently…and maybe has found a love of his own. Played for laughs but with an underlying serious social tone.

    Employees Entrance (1933)-Harsh pre-code tells the story of a soulless bastard (Warren William) and what he does as he ruthlessly oversees the running of a large department store during the depression. He thinks nothing of trading work for sexual favors, throwing people out of work who displease him, demeaning his employees sometimes to the point of suicide. A candid if unpleasant portrait of a contemptible man all the more vivid because of being produced just before the Hays Office would have made its production unthinkable.

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    1. Thanks. Gilbert Grape never does devolve into annoying quirk territory...almost with the Juliette Lewis character, but Depp covers that up for the most part. Clueless is a blast. One of the most memorable movies of my life, for some reason. I Heart Huckabees is not for everyone, and I'll admit that it isn't as good now that I'm a bit older. Still, I find it utterly hilarious.

      As usual, I haven't seen your picks, but they all sound great.

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  5. Haha I love the subversiveness and heart of Clueless, its such a timeless comedy and a fantastic film altogether.

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  6. Love your approach to the topic. That said, I've not seen any of these. Let me rephrase that. I "think" I've seen Clueless. By that, I mean I have seen so many bits and parts of it I think I have seen all of it, just haven't given it a proper viewing.

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    1. Thanks. You should really see Clueless again. It still works even if its 21 years old now (which blows my fucking mind). As for I Heart Huckabees, you may hate it, you may love it. It's one of those. And I recommend everyone see What's Eating Gilbert Grape?. There is no way to leave that movie without feeling something.

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  7. Great picks! I didn't think of Clueless for this week, loved the movie!

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  8. I haven't seen any of these but I love the fact that you picked one of each.

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    1. Thanks. I actually recommend Clueless as the most necessary of these three picks. It is a classic teen comedy!

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  9. I could pick a Kevin Smith movie for at least 2 of these.

    Store: Quick Stop in Clerks
    Supermarket: Ralph's Supermarket in The Big Lebowski (I know it was only in the movie for about a minute but it's the only thing that came to mind for this part)
    Mall: Eden Prairie Mall in Mallrats

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    1. And I haven't seen any of the 3 movies you mentioned here, although I do own I Heart Huckabees. I really want to watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape. And Clueless never interested me, but you have piqued my interest about it here.

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    2. I thought about going all Kevin Smith (throw in Mooby's from Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks 2). But I decided to go another way. See all these picks man. They're all worth a watch.

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  10. Great picks! Of course Huckabees - that confusing haze of coincidences are are they? I love Naomi Watts' break down in that film as well as Wahlberg's fireman - he should do more comedy.

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    1. Thanks! I actually do heart I Heart Huckabees. You're so right about Wahlberg.

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