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American Beauty Two Decades Later

American Beauty. American Beauty! American Beauty? American Beauty…a title so vague the movie must be a classic, a manifesto, a touchstone, an urtext—and it is, in its way. Written by Alan Ball and directed by Sam Mendes, the film came out in 1999. It’s “sexy teen” Amy Fisher combined with disaffected Kurt Cobain and set against the backdrop of the high school from Daria. It’s got the cubicles-are-hell ethos of Office Space and the intersecting storylines of Magnolia, both of which also came out in 1999. It was either the pinnacle of a decade of exploring the underbelly of the American Dream, or the final nail in the coffin of the suburban discontent movie, depending on your take. It’s so representative of it’s time that it’s hard to see it as its own thing. A thing that is, essentially, a downer fable about unhappy white people. But a very well-done downer fable about unhappy white people… read more >

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Expect the unexpected

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