Movie Mondays: SNL stars get (mostly) serious

~posted by Frank

Dozens of Saturday Night Live cast members have gone on to have movie careers (to varying success). While comedies are still king for SNL stars, they occasionally find their way in a drama – or at least a “dramedy” that gives each star the chance to be funny and exercise their acting chops (earning Eddie Murphy a Golden Globe nomination in Dreamgirls, for instance, and accolades for Will Forte in Nebraska). Here are four more compelling dramas starring some of your favorites from SNL.

The Skeleton Twins (2014) stars Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader as twins Maggie and Milo, who reconnect after Milo’s suicide attempt. Both siblings have demons – Maggie’s bored with her affable dude of a husband (Luke Wilson) and Milo tempts fate with a man from his past (Ty Burrell). There’s some mighty adult themes in the movie, and while it’s ultimately an affecting drama, it allows Wiig and Hader to show off their improvisational skills, like in this scene at a dentist’s office.

Broken Flowers (2005) might live in the shadow of the more popular Lost in Translation as a satisfying dramatic turn for Bill Murray, but it’s not to be missed. Don (Murray) receives an anonymous letter from a former lover claiming he has a son. Don visits the four women who are the most likely candidates (played by Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton). It’s a Jim Jarmusch film, so the humor is droll and the pace is sloooow, but it’s worth your time.

Everything Must Go (2011) gives one of SNL’s silliest stars – Will Ferrell – the chance to be serious in this adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “Why Don’t We Dance?” Nick’s drinking causes him to lose his job and his wife on the same day, and when he comes home to find his belongings on the front lawn, he decides to live there for all to see. Quiet but rewarding, it also features fine performances from a supporting cast that includes Michael Peña, Rebecca Hall, Laura Dern and newcomer C.J. Wallace.

Punch-Drunk Love  (2002) stars Adam Sandler, the SNL alumni whose films are both commercially successful and critically panned; Punch-Drunk Love is the movie for people who don’t like Adam Sandler. Here he plays Barry, a lonely guy who owns a novelty business who ends up the target of an extortion plot involving Dean (Philip Seymour Hoffman) while falling in love with Lena (Emily Watson), the friend of one of his seven sisters. Although it’s billed as a comedy, it’s dark, quirky and odd, and with auteur Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm, Sandler gives his best performance to date.

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