Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina| PG-13 |
A 16-year-old schoolgirl, fresh from music practice, waits for a bus in the rain in London in 1962. A stranger pulls up in his sleek car and offers her a lift home, telling her as he nods toward her instrument case, "I'm a music lover, and I'm worried about your cello." This is how Jenny (Mulligan) first meets charming David (Sarsgaard), the 30ish, seemingly moneyed sophisticate who soon woos her with outings to chic restaurants and jazz clubs in An Education, a beautifully crafted coming-of-age drama that just may be my favorite movie so far this year.
Education delicately shows exactly how extensive a tutorial—including lessons in life's moral ambiguities—the bright teenager receives over the course of their relationship. This is not a simple tale of mismatched lovers; characters, including minor ones, are complicated and their actions nuanced. Bringing it all to vivid life is an exceptionally skilled cast, led by Mulligan, who, as the Brits say, is absolutely brill (short for brilliant).
More Than a Game
LeBron James| PG |
Winning a basketball game is about putting points on a board. Winning at life takes so much more, as this impassioned documentary makes clear. It movingly shows how future NBA sensation LeBron James and his then teammates (Sian Cotton, James Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis and Willie McGee) overcame daunting challenges to make their Akron, Ohio, high school team No. 1 in the U.S., with the aid of their thoughtful and caring coach Dru Joyce II. But more important, along the way the young men learn that family and friends matter most.
>The actress, 38, gets frank in Chris Rock's movie about black hair
ON HAIR ISSUES
In the black community, "good hair" is anything not kinky. Chris can take a sensitive subject and make it funny.
ON THE DOCUMENTARY'S MESSAGE
It makes you think, "Should I just cut my hair and be who I am?" If women started walking around with Afros—we'd all be so free.
ON A GUY BEING "WEAVEWORTHY"
If I'm dating you casually, I'm not getting my hair messed up after spending three hours in a salon. If you're my significant other, then let's go.
>MY TOP 5 SPORTS MOVIES
• Profiled in More Than A Game, the Cavaliers forward, 24, is basketball's reigning MVP.
Muhammad Ali is a legend and the best role model for not only athletes but everyone.
HOOP DREAMS (1994)
I was amazed how affecting this movie was for me. It's a must-see for a real-life basketball story.
THE PROGRAM (1993)
I love football, and this film is a great representation of its intensity.
BLUE CHIPS (1994)
A hilariously funny movie with my new Cavs teammate Shaquille O'Neal.
This is probably my favorite movie of all time. I remember thinking, "If these guys can do it, so can I!"
• The Toy Story movies are back in theaters in 3D—starring the Cheers alum, 62, who has voiced a part in every Pixar movie. A few of his memorable alter egos:
P.T. FLEA, A BUG'S LIFE (1998)
My favorite character of them all. He makes me laugh because he is just so crazy.
HAMM, TOY STORY (1995)
This started it all. I knew immediately working for Pixar was like being invited to play in the coolest sandbox.
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, MONSTERS INC. (2001)
I have found that the largest, most muscular guys are often the kindest.
MUSTAFA THE WAITER, RATATOUILLE (2007)
We have all known people who are jowly, so I tried to draw on that type.
>20 YEARS AGO!
• The '89 satire about misfits (Winona Ryder and Christian Slater) who murder popular girls deliciously explored the dark side of high school
Dark, violent and foul-mouthed, Heathers arrived in theaters like a dose of Drano (one of the film's weapons of choice), following the '80s era of squeaky-clean movie teens. "Heathers said, 'Really, high school is closer to this,'" says director Michael Lehmann. A 16-year-old Ryder played Veronica, who teams with outsider J.D. (Slater; a young Brad Pitt
also did a reading for the director!) to pick off the school's queen bees, a.k.a. the Heathers. Two decades later fans still quote screenwriter Dan Waters's dialogue ("what's your damage?") and a stage-musical version is in the works. Says Shannen Doherty, who played a Heather: "I remember reading it and thinking, 'This writer is a genius.'"
The film helped launch the careers of Ryder, Slater and scrunchie-coveting "Heather" Shannen Doherty; Lisanne Falk scored small roles but last appeared onscreen in '99. Kim Walker, who delivered the line, "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?" sadly died of brain cancer in 2001 at 33.
High School Musical's Corbin Bleu (above), shaggy curls abounding, dreams of becoming a professional motocross racer in an earnest inspirational drama that's as worn as old tire treads. Strictly for tweeners, young teens and motocross enthusiasts. (PG)
When her ex becomes ill, a trucker (Michelle Monaghan, right, with Nathan Fillion) reluctantly assumes care of her son, 11, whom she abandoned as an infant. While really more of a character sketch, this drama is well-acted and has a nice feel for lives lived at the margins. (R)