Also, thanks as always to Wandering Through the Shelves, without whom this blogathon would not exist.
1. Dominick and Eugene
I watched this 80’s drama as a preteen. It’s not perfect by a long shot- for one thing, it’s too fucking sentimental for one thing (simpleton with a heart of gold? Check. Teary revelations? Check. Unnecessary dog death engineered primarily to pull on heart strings? Check (ggrr…) ) For another, films on this subject (the relationship between a disabled and neurotypical sibling have been done subtler and better. On the other hand the acting is adept (Tom Hulce, in particular, is outstanding as a slow witted chap with all the heart in the world and not enough brains and common sense to back it up) and I’ll be damned if that sappy plot doesn’t get to you (at least I found it affecting when I was, like, twelve; I haven’t revisited it since.) The sibling relationship is more interesting than the typical caretaker brother- mentally deficit kid brother bond for reasons that you will find out if you decide to watch this movie. Still, the abrupt dog killing is just plain low 😦
Jacob is a budding delinquent, Wesley is his impressionable kid brother. When their dad, Hollis (played by”Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul) is forced to give up his younger brother to CPS, he realizes that he and his punk kid need to clean up their act so they can win Wes back. Meanwhile, Wes’ meddling aunt (Juliette Lewis) is treating him to the good life and turning him against his family in hopes of keeping custody of him for good. This is a very underrated movie as far as I’m concerned. It has everything- drama, humor, realism, great acting (even from the kids) and food for thought. Jacob has a very fraught relationship with his brother but the movie ends on a (somewhat) hopeful note.
There’s a twist in this that technically disqualifies it for this list, but I’ll go out on a limb a pick it anyway because i’s a really great flick that deserves more attention than it gets. The movie is about a little boy who lives on a ski resort and steals shit to survive. His sister (the actress from “Blue is the Warmest Color”) stays at home at fraternizes with boys. Needless to say, there’s a growing resentment there. Amazing acting (the boy actor, who I’d never heard of before, was revalatory) and keen character observation make this foreign flick a winner.