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Top Five Movies of Toni Collette

Popping into my mind today was the thought of watching “United States of Tara,” starring Toni Collette and Rosemarie DeWitt and created by Diablo Cody, because I dig what all three of those artists do. It’s on Netflix Instant now, so I can catch up and I’ll probably start tonight after the events at the Boston Marathon.

toni3Why? Because I hope to see something thoughtful on TV or in a movie about mental illness that doesn’t involve being a serial killer, shaking side to side and screaming while struggling against a straitjacket or news stories where reporters talk to neighbors that barely met the person and thought they seemed normal. I want to see a thoughtful examination of a person prone to self-deception or prone to destruction against people they don’t even know, even if it is in the realm of fiction, just so I can start thinking about why these things happen.

In the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, we all hope for a rationalization, we hope to see something that gives us a hint of who could do this, how they did it or why, but I don’t think the last question really ever gets answered. Motivations aren’t clear and guesses are wild because we don’t seem to talk about mental illness except as a plot device in action movies or in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. I can read about depression, mania and other problems in various long form confessions or articles, but is it something that we talk about? Do we speak about the desperation in our lives? Or is it even desperation that drives this kind of madness? I don’t know. I don’t have those conversations. Maybe it would be easier if we had pop culture references to allow those talks to start.

I could be wrong. Maybe we can just talk about mental illness rationally and maybe there have been shows that deal with it in a rational manner. (I guess “Four Lions” might be a good example of the possible motivations behind a bomber. “Melancholia” and the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” of “Community” are also a good examples, so there are a couple.) If anyone has a movie or TV show that makes sense about mental illness, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Like I said, I’ll start with Toni’s “United States of Tara” and when I start to feel better, move on to these five great movies of hers that were easy to find.

5. Muriel’s Wedding

I admit that I haven’t seen this one yet, but it has been on my list to watch for a while. Maybe comedies are good ideas for the next couple days.

4. The Hours

On the subject of depression, Virginia Woolf killed herself after a bout by drowning herself. This movie is not a happy one as it deals with three women who have faced suicide.

3. About a Boy

After watching “Warm Bodies” in theaters earlier this year, I want to go back and watch Nicholas Hoult as one of the boys in this movie. Plus, it’s a chance to watch the movie again before I tackle Nick Hornby’s book and try to see how they compare.

2. Little Miss Sunshine

Paul Dano before “There Will be Blood” and already showing some of those skills that would be on display in P.T. Anderson’s movie along with Toni, Steve Carrell and Alan Arkin. Yes, I’d like to watch it again.

1. The Sixth Sense

This is the one M. Night Shyamalan movie where it doesn’t matter that I know the twist. I still like to watch the story unfold.

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Toni Collette top five?

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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