2 Best Movies to Watch by Dann Fink

Staff & contributors

, 2023

Jules’ wacky premise — an extra-terrestrial crash-lands in eccentric widower Milton’s (Ben Kingsley) flowerbeds — is a bit of a misdirection. While the movie is technically a sci-fi (featuring, as it does, some very out-there alien engineering), it’s really a charming, mostly-human drama about the isolation and surreality of aging. 

Though the mute presence of the alien (nicknamed Jules and played brilliantly by a totally silent Jade Quon) is a constant reminder of the expansiveness of the universe and strange wonders yet to be discovered, the movie keeps its feet firmly on the ground with a sensitive exploration of just how small the worlds of lonely, dementia-struck Milton and two other isolated elderly townspeople (Jane Curtin and Harriet Sansom Harris) are. Rather than expand outwards into a story about the extra-terrestrial itself, Jules focuses on the painful disorientation felt by its lonely trio of protagonists, who all find therapeutic relief and connection by way of the alien and its “understanding eyes.” Though the movie's zany forays into sci-fi territory do sometimes boggle the mind, they never undermine the genuine emotion in Jules’ raw grappling with the experience of aging, as well as give the movie a quirky charm that ensures you won't see anything like this again soon — an increasingly rare experience in itself.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction

Actor: Andy Daly, Anna George, Ben Kingsley, Blair Baker, Brian Wiles, Christopher Kelly, Cody Kostro, Dann Fink, Daphne Gaines, Donald Paul, Edward James Hyland, Eric T. Miller, Eric Tiede, Harriet Sansom Harris, Jade Quon, Jane Curtin, Jeff Kim, Jeffrey Omura, Jessica Keenan Wynn, John Skelley, Laura Jordan, Lee Sellars, Michael Frederic, Patrick Noonan, Teddy Cañez, Zoe Winters

Director: Marc Turtletaub

Rating: PG-13

A non-comedic Melissa McCarthy stars in this movie based on a true story. She plays author Lee Israel who after struggling to pay her bills starts forging letters from famous writers. Being a great writer herself, she's able to skillfully mimic some of the greatest American novelists. But how far can she take it? With only her cat and an ex-convict friend at her side, this movie takes you through her desperation and anxiety as she turns into a full-blown criminal. Nominated to three Oscars, including Best Actress for McCarthy.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery

Actor: Alice Kremelberg, Anna Deavere Smith, Anne Hollister, Antoine Drye, Armando Riesco, Barbara Ann Davison, Ben Falcone, Ben Rauch, Bill Walters, Bonita Hamilton, Brandon Scott Jones, Charlotte Mary Wen, Chris Lamberth, Christian Navarro, Dan McCabe, Dann Fink, Dolly Wells, Doris McCarthy, Erik LaRay Harvey, Ethel Fisher, George Aloi, Gregory Korostishevsky, Havilah Brewster, Jane Curtin, Joanna Adler, Josh Evans, Justin Vivian Bond, Katie Kocik, Kevin Carolan, Linwood Brown, Liz Eng, Lori Prince, Lucy DeVito, Marc Evan Jackson, Marcella Lowery, Marcus Choi, Mary B. McCann, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Cyril Creighton, Michael Laurence, Moisés Acevedo, Peter Donovan, Pun Bandhu, Richard E. Grant, Ricky Garcia, Roberta Wallach, Ron Maestri, Rosal Colon, Sandy Rosenberg, Sandy Rustin, Sean Oliver, Shae D'Lyn, Stephen Spinella, Tiffany Blair, Tim Cummings, Tina Benko, Wayne J. Miller, Zabryna Guevara

Director: Marielle Heller

Rating: R