Dysfunctional Families on Film

The holiday season is upon us and, like millions of Americans, many of us will be spending plenty of time in the company of our extended families. For some, the holidays are an idyllic time to spend warm moments with beloved kin. For others, these family gatherings are the cause of headaches and less-than-happy moments. But take heart, these dysfunctional families on film remind us that it could always be worse!

Grey Gardens

DVD BIOGRAPHY Beale, Edith Bouvier
Documentary

Portrait of the relationship between Edith Bouvier Beale and her grown daughter, Little Edie, once an aspiring actress in New York who left her career to care for her aging mother in their East Hampton home, and never left again. The aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis feed their cats and raccoons and rehash their pasts behind the walls of their decaying mansion, Grey Gardens.

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Little Edie: "But you see in dealing with me, the relatives didn't know that they were dealing with a staunch character and I tell you if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman... S-T-A-U-N-C-H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling you."
- Lyndey

The squid and the whale

DVD MOVIE DRAMA Squid
Drama

Two young brothers growing up in 1980s Park Slope, Brooklyn navigate the jagged contours of the divorce of their parents. The father and mother duke it out in half-civilized, half-savage fashion, while their two sons adapt in different ways, shifting allegiances between parents. The household tension rises further when Joan's writing career takes off and surpasses the failed ambitions of her professor ex-husband.

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Frank: "Mom and me versus you and Dad."
- Lyndey

Little Miss Sunshine

DVD MOVIE COMEDY Little
Comedy

Olive is a little girl who dreams of winning the Little Miss Sunshine contest. Her family wants her dream to come true, but they are so dysfunctional that they can barely make it through a day without some disaster befalling them. Olive's father, Richard, is unsuccessful as a motivational speaker. Her uncle Frank has attempted suicide following an unsuccessful romance with a graduate student. Her brother Dwayne, a fanatical follower of Nietzsche, has taken a vow of silence. And Olive's grandfather is a loser with a drug habit. Circumstances conspire to put the entire family on the road together with the goal of getting Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine contest in California.

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Richard: "Oh my God, I'm getting pulled over. Everyone, just... pretend to be normal."
- Lyndey

Mommie dearest

DVD MOVIE DRAMA Mommie
Drama

In this biographical film, glamorous yet lonely star Joan Crawford takes in two orphans, and at first their unconventional family seems happy. But after Joan's attempts at romantic fulfillment go sour and she is fired from her contract with MGM studios, her callous and abusive behavior towards her daughter Christina becomes even more pronounced. Christina leaves home and takes her first acting role, only to find her mother's presence still overshadowing her.

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Joan Crawford: "What's wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER?"
- Lyndey

The Royal Tenenbaums

DVD MOVIE COMEDY Royal
Comedy

Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline had three children--Chas, Richie, and Margot--they were a family of geniuses and then they separated. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster. Most of this was generally considered to be their father's fault. Now the three grown prodigies and their mother are staying at the family household. Their father, Royal, had left them long ago, but now returns to make things right with his family.

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Royal: "Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?"
- Lyndey

The ice storm

DVD/MOVIE/DRAMA/Ice
Drama

Thanksgiving 1973. The climate is changing, both politically and physically. As the Watergate scandal unfolds in the background, the inhabitants of a small Connecticut town begin to slip into an existentialist void. Social taboos are shattered on whims and the line between adult authority and juvenile irresponsibility is practically nonexistant. Focuses on the Hood and Carver families. Chronicles a brief period of rapid moral deterioration. Their actions become increasingly unpredictable and impulsive. Once the 'ice storm' hits, though, reality sinks in, and the severity of their situation becomes all too apparent.

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Ben: "Well, that's the whole point of the holidays, Paul. So you and your sister can mope around the house, and your mother and I can wait on your hand and foot, while the two of you occasionally grunt for more food from behind the hair in your faces."
- Lyndey

Captain Fantastic

DVD MOVIE DRAMA Captain
Drama

Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, isolated from society, a devoted father dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults. But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self-created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he's taught them.

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Rellian: "What kind of crazy person celebrates Noam Chomsky's birthday like it's some kind of official holiday? Why can't we celebrate Christmas like the rest of the entire world?"
- Lyndey

Magnolia

DVD MOVIE DRAMA Magnolia
Drama

Magnolia is a mosaic of American life woven through a series of comic and poignant vignettes. On one random day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous lost son, a police officer in love, a boy genius, an ex-boy genius, a game show host and an estranged daughter will each become part of a dazzling multiplicity of plots, These nine dysfunctional people will weave and warp through each other's lives on a day that builds to an unforgettable climax.

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Claudia: "Now that I've met you, would you object to never seeing me again?"
- Lyndey

Submarine

DVD MOVIE Comedy Submarine
Comedy

Young Oliver Tate's coming of age is coming even sooner than expected. Prone to daydreaming, listening to French crooners, and indulging other self-absorbed fantasies, Oliver suddenly finds himself submerged in real-life, dual challenges, plotting to lose his virginity with a quirky new girlfriend while also struggling to reconcile his parents' marriage, even though his mom seems smitten with the self-help guru next door.

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Oliver: "I decided to soften the blow with some light arson."
- Lyndey

Jeff who lives at home

DVD MOVIE COMEDY Jeff
Comedy

This is story of one man's hilarious search for the meaning of life. As slacker Jeff stumbles toward enlightenment, he uncovers answers to his nagging family's problems. Jeff has no idea where he's going, but when he finally gets there, he might just find out what it's all about.

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Jeff: "Why can't you just tell her the truth?" Pat: "Are you kidding? Do you know anything about adult relationships?"
- Lyndey

Silver linings playbook

DVD MOVIE COMEDY Silver
Comedy

Life doesn't always go according to plan. After losing his job and wife, and spending time in a mental institution, Pat Solatano winds up living with his parents. He wants to rebuild his life and reunite with his wife, but his parents would be happy if he just shared their obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Pat: "You have poor social skills. You have a problem." Tiffany: "I have a problem? You say more inappropriate things than appropriate things."
- Lyndey

The wild and wonderful Whites of West Virginia

DVD 364.253 Wild
Documentary

A shocking and outlandish year-in-the-life documentary about the White Family of Boone County, West Virginia's most notorious extended family, with shoot-outs, robberies, gas-huffing, drug dealing and using, pill popping, murders, and tap dancing. Nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains, the White family glorifies their criminal behavior and lives an existence more like something from the Wild West than modern-day America.

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Kirk: "I love to fight."
- Lyndey

August: Osage County

DVD MOVIE DRAMA August
Drama

The dark, hilarious, and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

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Violet: "I thought we were having a funeral dinner not a cockfight."
- Lyndey

Short cuts

DVD MOVIE DRAMA Short
Drama

While helicopters overhead spray against a Medfly infestation, a group of peoples' lives in Los Angeles intersect, some casually, some to more lasting effect. While they go out to concerts and jazz clubs and even have their pools cleaned, these same folks also lie, drink, and cheat. Death itself seems never to be far away. A look at human life and American culture with over 20 lives interweaving.

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Earl: "You're the one chippin' away at our mansion of love, baby, not me!"
- Lyndey