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Cinefiles: The Goode Family, Lightning Bug, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Goode Family: The Complete Series

The Goode Family: The Complete Series (NR)

Shout! Factory

A couple of years ago, Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill creator Mike Judge had a short-lived animated series on ABC titled The Goode Family. If you know anything about Judge's career, the story here is par for the course — once again, an inspired work of his is bungled to cult obscurity thanks to studio bigwigs who have no idea how to handle or promote what he does. The non-existence of The Goode Family is even more infuriating than usual, as the premise was so pre-Portlandia that it would probably be a huge hit on, say, Adult Swim today. The series follows the far-left foibles of the Goodes, an ultra-liberal, excessively green, phenomenally activistic family that always seems to cause more trouble when they're trying to be helpful. It'll go down as another Mike Judge lost classic, because Goode is great. — Louis Fowler

Lightning Bug

Lightning Bug (NR) (Blu-ray)

Image Entertainment

An autobiographical slice from the life of horror director and award-winning special effects makeup designer Robert Hall, 2004's moody melodrama Lightning Bug is a step above many current coming-of-age dramas in the way that isolation, intolerance and violence are portrayed: not with a clichéd, Spielbergian, pseudo-innocence style, but in a gritty light that makes it ring true. Green Graves is a lonely guy who creates monsters and special effects in an effort to have a portfolio to show when he makes his move from redneck Alabama to Hollywood. This dream is complicated when a love interest with some demons of her own enters his life, showing him that the worst monsters are often right in front of us. A memorably dark and wistful account that, while probably truth-stretched quite a bit, is no less a totally moving experience. — Louis Fowler

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13)

Lionsgate (via digital; on disc Feb. 12)

When debut novelist Stephen Chbosky released Perks in 1999, the epistolary heartbreaker presaged the next decade of nostalgia-tinged pixiedom. It was hailed as an immediate classic for its evocation of the near-instant along with pop-culture relics, so fast-tracked to immortality it would give Boomers whiplash. But it took nearly 14 years to get a movie adaptation to the screen. It's been aped so many times that it seems, at first, hopelessly outdated. Logan Lerman is Charlie, a bookworm somewhere between Holden Caulfield and Michael Cera on the angst-ism spectrum. As standard high school caricatures give way to more studied portraits of by-now equally standard freaks and geeks, including Emma Watson as dream girl Sam, Charlie zeroes in on the source of his recurring blackouts. This is where having the author on board as auteur pays off: The deeper the movie delves, the more assured it feels. — Justin Strout

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