Mark Wahlberg's rousing football drama 'Invincible' lived up to its name this weekend, scoring a $17 million opening and easily wresting the box office crown away from 'Snakes on a Plane.' But the weekend's most pleasant surprise was the No. 3 showing of the indie dramedy 'Little Miss Sunshine.' The film, which opened in seven theaters about a month ago and has now expanded to 1,430 screens, broke out with $7.5 million over the weekend, bringing its total to an impressive $23 million. Not sure you want to see this smart, hilarious, poignant film about an insanely dysfunctional family engaged in a debacle of a road trip? Perhaps I can persuade you. Below I list the top five reasons 'Little Miss Sunshine' is by far the best movie of the year ...
1) Steve Carell turns in the most convincing portrayal of a suicidal gay Proust scholar in the history of cinema.
2) Alan Arkin deserves an Oscar nod for his turn as a drug-snorting, beauty-pageant-coaching, slur-slinging grandpa. He oscillates between mercilessly making fun of Carell's gay scholar and tenderly reassuring his granddaughter (Abigail Breslin) that she's the most beautiful creature on the face of the Earth.
3) The soundtrack, full of tunes from Sufjan Stevens and Devotchka, is one of the best in recent memory -- I'm talking like 'Garden State' caliber.
4) Everybody loves Dakota Fanning, but she may have some competition in the Beloved Child Actress category. As Olive, a young Plain Jane with dreams of kiddie beauty pageant glory, Abigail Breslin is the glue that holds the film -- and her family -- together.
5) More than any other movie this year, 'Little Miss Sunshine' shows family for what it truly is: a bunch of people who sometimes hate each other, often annoy each other, but always love and stand by each other.
So there they are: five reasons 'Little Miss Sunshine' is the year's finest flick. Now you know ... and knowing is half the battle.