2 Movies Like It's a Wonderful Binge (2022)

Staff & contributors
In Suncoast, writer-director Laura Chinn takes the personal tragedy of losing her brother to cancer and weaves it into something meaningful. The film is a sensitive meditation on death and grief, but it isn’t all grim. It’s also a coming-of-age story, one that focuses on Doris (Nico Parker), a version of Chinn’s younger self aching for normal teen experiences. The film is at its best when it zeroes in on Doris’ interiority and examines the duality of having to deal with so much death while still wanting to live a vibrant life. The surprising friendship that blooms between her and the popular kids as she chases after this life is one of the best depictions of authentic teen dynamics in recent memory. But the film is at its weakest when it tries to be something it’s not—that is, your usual tear-jerker indie fare that’s rife with lessons from a magical stranger (in this case played genially, but unnecessarily, by Woody Harrelson) and grievances from a grief-stricken mother (played powerfully by Laura Linney). To be sure, Harrelson and Linney (especially) deliver top-notch performances, but they feel shoehorned in an otherwise pitch-perfect film about a girl finding her place in the real world.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Amarr M. Wooten, Andrea Powell, Andrew Dicostanzo, Ariel Martin, Cree Kawa, Daniella Taylor, Ella Anderson, Elliott Sancrant, Jason Burkey, Karen Ceesay, Keyla Monterroso Mejia, Laura Linney, Matt Walsh, Nico Parker, Orelon Sidney, Pam Dougherty, Parker Sack, Scott MacArthur, Woody Harrelson

Director: Laura Chinn

Rating: R

In depictions of organized crime, we’re used to the stone-cold crime boss, and the conflicted, unwilling crime lord, but Miss Shampoo presents a new version of the gangster– one that’s fallen head over heels in love. The film plays out in hilarious ways, with the humor expected from writer-director Giddens Ko, and Daniel Hong and Vivian Sung are able to inject some heart into their performances with surprising chemistry. That being said, the film is clearly more interested in mocking organized crime, so the film feels more skewed towards Tai rather than Fen. It’s still really entertaining, though Miss Shampoo had so much more it could have shown, had it focused equally on Fen’s perspective.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance

Actor: Bai Jing Yi, Bruce He, Chih-ju Lin, Chu Chung-heng, Duan Chun-hao, Duncan Lai, Honduras, Hong Yu Hong, Hsin-Ling Chung, Kai Ko, Ke-Li Miao, Kent Tsai, Mei-Man Jin, Teng-Hung Hsia, Tsai Chang-Hsien, Vivian Sung, Wei-min Ying

Director: Giddens Ko