TV Party is a new Friday feature in which Film Editors Dominick Mayer and Justin Gerber alongside Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman suggest one movie apiece to enjoy over the weekend. Joining them each week will be two rotating film staff writers to help round out the selections. Seek out any of the films via Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, Hulu, OnDemand, or abandoned Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores — however you crazy kids watch movies these days! Enjoy ’em for the first time, a second, or maybe a redemptive third.
Now that Jason Reitman’s Men, Women and Children has hit theaters, we’ll all soon know if he’s recaptured his filmmaking mojo after the bizarre, ill-fitting Labor Day. In the meantime, this is as good an opportunity to remind you that Young Adult, his previous film before that one, was one of the best and most slept-on movies of 2011. A savage character study that tests the boundaries of how completely horrible a film’s pro/antagonist can be before the film becomes too uncomfortable to watch, Young Adult explores the idea of what would happen if the prom queen at your high school stayed the same catty, awful person she was at 18, even well into her 30s.
As Mavis Gary, Charlize Theron gives a layered, fantastic performance as a YA writer of Gossip Girl-esque books who’s lived inside a prison of her own insecurities for so long that she barely resembles a human being, or knows how to interact with them. When she has to return to her suburban Minnesota hometown, with intentions of stealing away her high school flame (Patrick Wilson) from his wife and newborn child, the film chronicles Mavis’ woefully belated growing pains. With a slew of great turns (including Patton Oswalt’s overlooked performance as a bullied former classmate of Mavis’), Young Adult isn’t for those who can’t take their dark comedies with a thick dose of cringe-inducing awkwardness, but to date it’s Reitman’s actual masterpiece.