While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. As we approach Independence Day, we've selected five films that interrogate and critique certain aspects of the so-called American Dream.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015)
Written and directed by rising auteur Chloé Zhao, this slice-of-life drama explores the relationship between Native American siblings. When John plans to leave South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation to move to L.A. with his girlfriend, his sister Jashuan is heartbroken. It's an honest, unflinching portrayal of reservation life. Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Kanopy, Vudu, YouTube.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Daniel Plainview, a businessman living in Southern California during the oil boom of the early 20th century. This epic, sepia-soaked character study from Paul Thomas Anderson chronicles Plainview's descent from semi-well-meaning prospector to ruthlessly greedy oil tycoon, mutating the American Dream into an American nightmare. Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
In Alexander Payne's political satire, Reese Witherspoon stars as Tracy Flick, an unflappable teen running for student body president. But her civics teacher (Matthew Broderick) harbors an irrational distaste for Flick's gung-ho ambition that prompts him to sabotage her campaign. Still just as darkly funny, razor sharp and, unfortunately, timely after 20 years. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Showtime, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.
American Honey (2016)
Written and directed by the great Andrea Arnold, this coming-of-age epic centers on a teenage girl (Sasha Lane, in her film debut) who runs away from her troubled home to travel across the Midwest with a ragtag crew (Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough) selling magazines door to door. Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Kanopy, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
When best friends Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) embark on a road trip, they end up killing a rapist in self-defense. The pair have no choice but to go on the run, knowing the broken justice system won't let them off the hook. It's a devastating example of how the patriarchal American Dream all too often leaves women behind. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.