A good year for women on film, as exemplified in new releases The Eyes of My Mother, Miss Sloane, and more
Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
Susan Skoog's filmmaking debut revolves around two bosom buddies, two bosomy buddies at that, in their senior year of high school (class of '81), one of them a well-known slut ("Jesus, what a pig!" "But God bless her!") and the other, even more central, a virgin at the outset, not to mention a talented painter with high hopes of attending Cooper Union in the Fall on a full scholarship. It's your basic unflinching look, and by all means feel free to be appalled, at turbulent teens: smoking like chimneys, drinking like fish, screwing like rabbits (clichés are invited), just saying yes to drugs, playing hooky (opportunity for a pop-song montage), mouthing off, giving attitude, knocking the child-molesting stepfather on the head with a fire poker, hitting the road, having a bad trip (chance to trot out the anamorphic camera lens, the slo-mo, the amplified heartbeat), returning home sadder but wiser. The usual. The only point or points at which the movie might make a worthwhile contribution to our fund of knowledge would be, first and foremost, when the newly and painfully deflowered protagonist opts afterwards to walk her bicycle home rather than sit on its seat; and second, when she later throws up in the middle of a blow job. (The vastly more experienced girlfriend confides, educationally, that it has happened to her as well.) The unvarnished actresses, Liza Weil and Chad Morgan, are credible adolescents, but the lampooned adults all around them are barely worthy of a John Hughes comedy. 1998.