In the B.C. (before COVID-19) era, I used to just go to the mall for a serotonin boost. I don’t go to the mall with a clear plan. I figure out what I want to do by taking a nice stroll. No power walks for me, unless I went there to get a quick lunch and am cutting it close to the end of my break. You can call me lame for saying this but I sure can wax poetic about the mall.
For people with limited budgets for leisure, it’s one of the few sanctuaries in cities with only a handful of parks and recreational centers. For people who can spoil themselves silly, it’s a microcosm of a world that they’re on top off. It’s where a lot of us agree to meet-up with friends, spend weekend family days and go occasionally for dates.
It’s a sign of desperation when we’re turning to movies to satisfy our mall-goer cravings. We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite mall movies to get us through this time.
This Todd Haynes WLW romantic drama tells the story of the affair between aspiring female photographer slash department store clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) and Manhattan socialite Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett). They have their meet-cute when Therese helps Carol choose a Christmas present for her daughter.
Going through a difficult divorce and possibly losing custody of her child if she comes out as a lesbian, Carol turns to Therese for comfort. Watch this to find out if they get together in the end and why Rooney Mara said that it was pretty easy to pretend to be enamored by her co-star.
“Dawn of the Dead”
We can’t talk about mall movies without mentioning zombie horror “Dawn of the Dead.” Admit it, this flick made taking refuge in a mall your go-to answer when asked about your zombie apocalypse contingency plans. It’s a valid answer. I’d rather stay somewhere with a supply of goods than get snacked on by the undead when it’s time for another grocery run.
After watching this, you won’t be making rookie mistakes when the power goes out in your hideout. Make sure that everyone’s accounted for and that you’ve got fresh batteries for your flashlights. Thanks, Zack Snyder!
Written and directed by comedian Bo Burnham, this coming-of-age dramedy is painfully truthful and sincere. Lead actress Elsie Fisher who plays Kayla looks like a regular teen and gives a moving portrayal of a middle schooler dealing with anxiety and wanting to be accepted by her peers. There’s a scene in a mall cafeteria where Kayla hangs out with a group of older students and stars to feel like she belongs. But it ends up being a short victory. There’s a careful depiction of sexual abuse and gaslighting that follows.
The film explores a wide range of topics including mental illness, consent, sexuality, social media and family. If you enjoyed “Lady Bird” or “The Big Sick,” add this to your to-watch list. If you’ve watched Burnham’s comedy shows, you already know that he has a very specific way of discussing things that are normally hard to talk about. This movie should be a nice surprise.
We’re due for another “Clueless” rewatch. Alicia Silverstone’s Cher Horowitz has been our style icon and inspiration in life. She’s pretty vain and selfish, that’s a given. What we like about her is that she’s a fierce friend and she’s smart in her own way. Plus, she has a cute socially conscious boyfriend and a little gadget that preps her outfits for her. Cher tends to shop her worries away in malls which makes the scene where she feels rejected after Christian saves Tai in the mall more significant.
This classic served us looks and an ultra-cool cast. Equally fascinating is the ‘90s teen and Beverly Hills slang. At this point, I almost have all the lines memorized. (This is the part where you say, “As if!”)
“Crazy, Stupid, Love”
Nancy Meyers films are my go-to when it comes to romantic comedies but “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is a close runner-up. Before “La La Land,” we watched the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in this movie that’s mainly about a divorced man played by Steve Carrel trying to rediscover love. Middle-aged-man-tries-to-get-young-dates-at-a-bar is a problematic premise but the movie saves itself by being surprisingly perceptive.
Ryan Gosling eating pizza in a suit at a mall is a vision. Watching his character rebuild the wardrobe of a man who loves The Gap is pretty satisfying. It has jokes and sideplots that are a miss (the movie was made almost decade ago) but I’m re-watching for the Gosling and Stone scenes. If we have Marisa Tomei fans in the house, she’s also in this.
Art by Dana Calvo
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