6 Best Movies to Watch by J. Smith-Cameron

Staff & contributors

Written and directed by Academy-Award-winning Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea, Gangs of New York), you can certainly count on the qualities of this subtle, beautiful, and moving drama about two siblings growing apart and reuniting later in life.

An Academy-Award-nominated Laura Linney plays Sammy, a single mother in a small town who is extremely protective of her 8-year-old son. When her younger and somewhat troubled brother Terry (played by the ever-reliable Mark Ruffalo) visits her out of the blue, Sammy has to deal with a slew of contradicting emotions towards her brother, whose appearance threatens to upend her life as she knew it.

Straight, thoughtful, and beautifully crafted, You Can Count on Me is an honest and genuine exploration of unconditional love in celluloid form. Think of it as much more hopeful The Skeleton Twins.

Genre: Drama, Family

Actor: Adam LeFevre, Amy Ryan, Betsy Aidem, Gaby Hoffmann, Halley Feiffer, J. Smith-Cameron, Jon Tenney, Josh Lucas, Kenneth Lonergan, Laura Linney, Lisa Altomare, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Michael Countryman, Nina Garbiras, Rory Culkin, Whitney Vance

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Rating: R

Those familiar with John Green’s many book-to-movie adaptations (The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns) will recognize the author’s signature quirks in Turtles All the Way Down. There are kids who spout out quotable quotes and love interests too gorgeous to be real. But just the same, teenagers are given a fuller and deeper understanding here, which is Green’s best trademark and true strength. Helped by Director Hannah Mark’s strong vision, Turtles All the Way Down is a relatable and heartwarming look into the gnawing pain that can come with growing up. Specifically, the film invites us into the troubled mind of Aza, who suffers from debilitating OCD. It’s a realistic (and never pitiful) assessment of how anxious teens navigate love, friendship, and maybe most notable of all, money. There’s a focus on economic realities here that feels fitting and wise in this day and age. Many people forget how keenly aware young people are of money, and it’s refreshing to see it play out here, even if it’s just in the peripheral.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Cree Cicchino, Debby Ryan, Felix Mallard, Hannah Marks, Isabela Merced, J. Smith-Cameron, John Green, Judy Reyes, Kevin Crowley, Maliq Johnson, Poorna Jagannathan, Tim Gooch

Director: Hannah Marks

Rating: PG-13

Christine is about Christine Chubbuck, an awkward and complex reporter who was the first person ever to commit suicide on live TV.

Rebecca Hall is terrific as Chubbuck and goes to great lengths to communicate the personality of her subject matter. The movie might seem slow at times, and her acting off, but it’ll all make sense once she immerses you in the complex reality of the character.

An interesting story and an incredible performance.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alexandra Paul, Allan Cox, Angela Ray, Anissa Matlock, Anthony Triceri, Antonio Campos, Carl Palmer, David Alexander, Hannah Black, Ian Covell, J. Smith-Cameron, James Rackley, Jayson Warner Smith, John Cullum, John Newberg, John Stockwell, Keith Gordon, Kim Shaw, Kimberley Drummond, Lindsay Ayliffe, Maria Dizzia, Masey McLain, Meghan Strange, Michael C. Hall, Morgan Spector, Rachel Hendrix, Rebecca Hall, Rebecca Koon, Ritchie Montgomery, Robert Prosky, Stacy Hall, Susan Pourfar, Susie Spear Purcell, Timothy Simons, Tracy Letts, Wayne Hughes

Director: Antonio Campos, John Carpenter

Rating: R