Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Mud (♦♦♦)

Ellis and 'Neck' are fourteen year-olds dealing with issues common to their age, but a shared passion for boating gets them close to a boat with potentially no owner in an uninhabited island and a fugitive named ‘Mud’ running from the law for defending a damsel in distress.
Neck follows Ellis' lead and both begin helping Mud, but that fragile alliance is put under test when people come to town looking for Mud and his girl.

Mud is a coming of age story with dramatic elements that distinguish this film from the rest in its genre. Ellis is a boy dealing with a tense home life and the no-nonsense life education his father is imprinting in him. He is a good friend and can't resist jumping to the rescue of a lady in trouble even if it means getting a black eye or his butt kicked. All those things bring Ellis and Mud closer, but is Ellis becoming a better person with Mud's help? Or, is Mud using both Ellis and Neck?

There's very good acting in Mud starting with the title character interpreted by Matthew McConaughey—we seldom get to see him in dramatic, demanding role and this is definitely a good sample of what he can offer. Also notable are Tye Sheridan as Ellis and Jacob Lofland as Neck, Reese Witherspoon as the sleazy Juniper and Sam Shepard as Tom, Ellis' neighbor and adopted father to Mud.

It's thanks to the acting that the film gets away with clichés inherent to the genre. Because of the acting the movie it's actually better than it has any right to be.