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Year in Film: Moments You Might Have Missed 

Wednesday, Dec 23 2015
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The Rendering Plants of Yore in Addicted to Fresno

Getting stoned outside the Fresno hotel where he works with maids Shannon (Judy Greer) and Martha (Natasha Lyonne), Eric (Malcolm Barrett) recites an original poem called, appropriately enough, "Fresno." In addition to referencing the heat and lack of decent employment opportunities in the town, the poem includes the line, "Yes, that smell is dead animal." True story: My high school in Fresno was about a mile away from a rendering plant, and on some days, the smell of dead animal was overpowering. (Thanks for the memories!)

Twilight Sparkle Takes a Bow in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls — Friendship Games

The brilliant but awkward biped known as Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) lacks the fortitude of her pony counterpart in the land of Equestria, and is more than a little stressed to learn that she even has a four-legged counterpart, let alone that magic and another universe exist. But nothing's more affecting than her fumbling attempts at archery in the magic-free intramural competition of the title, her eyes welling with tears as she collides with her own limitations while both schools watch. Twilight didn't ask for what the universes are throwing at her, but she has to deal with it all the same.

Henry Spiller, Archiving Hero of The Search for General Tso

New York resident Henry Spiller began collecting Chinese delivery menus in 1981, and as seen in this documentary, his Chinese Restaurant Memorabilia Archive has gone on to encompass more than 10,000 menus from around the world, as well as other ephemera such as matchbooks, postcards, toothpicks, chopsticks, calendars, and more. You're doing the Lord's work, Mr. Spiller.

Tuning the Wave Organ in Jem and the Holograms

A robot named Synergy leads Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) and her sisters on a treasure hunt of sorts to a restricted area of the Santa Monica Pier. There, they find an installation of large vertical tubes that make different musical tones based on the tides. Realizing one of the tubes is out of alignment, Jerrica adjusts it to make the correct tone, thus unlocking the next step in Synergy's map. It's both a lovely grace note and an expression of the movie's themes.

The Black Light District of American Ultra

The only good reason for drug dealer Rose (John Leguizamo) to bathe his basement gym in ultraviolet light are these words: "Kristen Stewart in black light." And those five words may justify the entire movie.

Even Without Laughter, There Come Tears in Félix and Meira

In keeping with the customs their strict Hasidic community, Shulem (Luzer Twersky) has forbade his unhappy wife Meira (Hadas Yaron) from all manner of pleasure, be it eye contact with another man or listening to the 1960s R&B records she loves. After Meira makes the choice to leave him and give this "happiness" thing a try, the solitary Shulem puts on Meira's favorite record — Wendy Rene's achingly sad "After Laughter Comes Tears" — then lies on the ground and closes his eyes. At long last, he begins to understand just who his wife was.


2015: The Best in Film

The 10 Best Movies of 2015

The Internet vs. Jem and the Holograms

Year in Film: Spinoffs We’d Like To See

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Sherilyn Connelly

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