This Oscar season, PG-13 for Ugly Cast will be flipping a cordial bird to the arbitrary practice of rank-ordering movies. Instead, we will highlight a handful of Movie Things We Loved, with no pretense of objectivity or internal consistency. Deal with it.
A giant factory sign reading “DAYS WITHOUT ACCIDENT” is quietly reset to zero.
Cut to: our fourteen-year-old hero in a black suit, sitting on a swing set, his mother’s funeral underway.
So begins Super 8. It’s a simple, impactful moment at the start of a simple, impactful film. In a year full of movies about how awesome movies are (see also: Hugo, The Artist), Super 8 resonated the most with me. It’s got explosions and aliens like any summer blockbuster, but all in service of a sweet and genuine story about the beginning of that dangerous, exciting stage of life called adulthood. I’ve learned to be skeptical of J.J. Abrams, but watching Super 8, it’s hard not to be swept up in his affection for Spielberg-style adventure, his nostalgia for childhood, his love of filmmaking. And even though it’s only moments into the film, it’s hard not to be hushed and drawn in by that heartbreaking DAYS WITHOUT ACCIDENT sign.