Double feature: “I’m not the enemy,” the eponymous protagonist of “Michael Clayton” tells his unravelling coworker in an attempt to distance himself from the compromising agenda of his profession. The latter, not skipping a beat, shoots back: “Then who are you?” It is this exchange – the sharpest in a film of sharp exchanges – that links “Michael Clayton” to the endearing and moving documentary “Bill Cunningham New York.”
Double feature: There isn’t much to argue about/with the assertion that New York is a city of cultural, as well as financial, wealth. The enviably literate, well-spoken characters in “The Last Days of Disco” and “Hannah and Her Sisters” are socially and temperamentally positioned to take advantage of both. In traveling the seams where money, art, breeding, and beauty meet in various combinations, they let us vicariously do so as well.
Double feature: “Cactus Flower” and “Christmas in Connecticut” are two films whose humor stems from an invented domestic life with imaginary family members. In the former, the made-up family is a compassion-inducing source of woe; in the latter, it is a beacon of bliss from which others take comfort.
Double feature: Need help bidding farewell to summer? Try a double feature of “Almost Famous” and “Dirty Dancing.” Both films let you relive the thrill of warm weather escapades, then prepare you to wave goodbye to the season (wistfully, from the rear windshield of the tour bus/family station wagon) by pointing to the potential for good that lies further down the year’s road.
Double feature: The surface similarities between “My Cousin Vinny” and “My Blue Heaven” are easy to spot: both feature Italian-American stereotypes unleashed upon prototypically white-bread milieus, for broad comic effect. Both entangle their protagonists – sartorially inclined toward flashy suits, tonsorially favoring glossy pompadours, romantically susceptible to compact spitfires – with local authorities, setting the stage for convoluted but ultimately triumphant hijinks.
Double feature: The protagonists of both “Tootsie” and “Superman” successfully carry off disguises that should be more transparent to their fellow characters than they are. The question is why – or, rather, how. This believability gap can’t be fully explained by our privileged knowledge, as viewers, of the heroes’ true identities.
Double feature: Here are two films to submit in favor of the “nurture” side of the eternal “nature vs. nurture” debate.