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You Know What Fall Means: Movies With an Actual Story

It’s the one time of year when movies are allowed to have a story, not just a merchandising plan


Happy Fall everyone!

For those of us living in areas with actual weather patterns, this means warmer clothes, theoretical “back to work” mode and movies that aren’t 3D. You know, the serious ones, about war, hardship, discrimination, love against all odds or even better, a combination of all of the above, with attractive people looking mussed, but in a chic, glamorous way.

If you can add a soaring, emotional soundtrack along with the brilliant script and inspiring direction, you’re making Harvey Weinstein salivate like it’s 1996.

I haven’t seen a movie in a theater since … sorry, I had to flip back the calendar quite a few months there, but the truth is I actually can’t remember. Between all the living dead, dreams come to life, vampires, robots and horribly unromantic comedies, I’m hard pressed to leave the plush comfort of my girl cave (or nook, as if were), brought to you by iTunes and Netflix.

But I like the fall movies that defy categorization, not because they’re competing for increasingly meaningless trophies but because that’s when their studios think they’ll find their tiny but enthusiastic audience. It’s the one time of year when movies are allowed to have a story, not just a merchandising plan. Amidst these movies, there’s also some silliness so that we don’t get too solemn and thoughtful.

So with a full orchard, which of these fine apples will be I be picking?

I’m curious about Howl, James Franco’s interpretation of Allen Ginsberg. Thick black glasses, the Beats and maybe even some snapping, man. Franco’s a shapeshifter, able to do “performance art” on “General Hospital,” a Ph.D in poetry and “Date Night” in the same year. That’s an actor worth paying attention to. (Sept. 24)

I don’t think I’ll be able to stay away from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, if only because of the nearly mystical cheesiness of the title. The computers and phones are smaller and so’s the Charlie Sheen replacement, Shia LaBeouf. But Michael Douglas is still there, larger than slicked back life, to bring that smarmy edge. (Sept. 24)

While I’m not interested in a social network, I am into The Social Network because of two men – Sorkin & Fincher. If this was worth their time, it should be worth mine. (Oct. 1)

The Company Men could be a little like “Up in the Air,” a lucky timeliness (so to speak). But I’m intrigued by any movie that deals with the drama of lay-offs and men’s desperation. (Oct. 22)

It’s not all highbrow art. Due Date stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, directed by “The Hangover’s” Todd Phillips. It involves cross-country shenanigans (“It’s ‘The Hangover,’ on a road trip, with a French bulldog instead of a baby”) and judging from the trailer, it looks like no one learns a life lesson or improves themselves. (Nov. 5)

I Love You Philip Morrissounds like a movie that shouldn’t have gotten made. But don’t you want to see Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor fall in love in prison? (Dec. 3)

Sofia Coppola annoys and intrigues me equally. Her movies are like a piece of modern art – it’s seemingly insignificant yet everyone thinks it should mean something. I’m expecting a lot from Somewhere. And nothing at the same time. (Dec. 22)

It’s incredibly optimistic to assume I’ll see all of these movies in the theater. After all, the chick nook is cozy. But even half would be a step in the right direction. After all, this is my season.


Mali Perl lives on the East Coast but her mind is always on Hollywood time. She enjoys A-listers, G6 travel, VIP treatment, Us Weekly and having a security detail. Her pet peeves include actors with two first names, waiting in lines, "just being nominated" and unflattering videos on TMZ.