Total Recall

Total Recall: We Own The Night and Other Sibling Showdowns

Brothers up in arms: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Gattaca, The Royal Tenenbaums.

by | October 10, 2007 | Comments

This week, We Own the Night hits theaters, telling the story of two
brothers (played by
Joaquin Phoenix and
Mark Wahlberg) on opposite sides of the
law. The sibling rivalry is often the basis for compelling cinema, something we’ll explore in this week’s Total Recall.

Sibling conflict has been at the root of many great works of art, be they The
Godfather
(100 percent),
King Lear

(50 percent), or the first couple Kinks albums. The reasons
are obvious: How can people with such similar DNA turn out so differently? Why,
with so much in common, do brothers and sisters disagree, or follow decidedly
different paths in life? From uneasy Thanksgiving reunions to Cain-and-Abel-esque
showdowns, cinematic sibling dysfunction runs the gamut. Let’s take a look at
some memorable family feuds.

We can’t imagine someone who was enamored with the dark tone of the original


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(38 percent) being particularly happy when
the jokier

Secret of the Ooze
(35 percent) came out. But for a kid growing up
during the grunge era, 1991 was a perfect storm of Turtles mania: An
avalanche of merchandise, a great cartoon on the air, and Turtles in Time for the Super Nintendo. And, of course, there was the movie.
Secret of the Ooze
had new monsters, more interesting human characters,
snappier pacing, and with an eminently quotable song from rap-poseur
Vanilla
Ice
, Donna Britt of the Washington Post praises that "it has enough jokes
aimed at adults to make for a relatively painless outing for parents forced to
take their kids to see it."

While Splinter dispensed wisdom like the ad hoc parental unit he was, the relationship between Leonardo (the leader) and Raphael (the
loose cannon) was always easier to digest for kids. Both devoted to honor and
duty but completely different in their approaches, they were your typical
squabbling duo that couldn’t stand each other’s presence but would do even worse
when separated. The two create the emotional crux of the series, which is
further explored in the recent animated
TMNT
(31 percent).

Along with The
Princess Bride
(95 percent) and
Dead Poets Society
(83 percent), 1997’s
Gattaca
(80 percent) was one of those movies you’d always see for
the first time in middle or high school. It’s a great all-purpose
movie: a literate script for English class, lectures about DNA for biology
class, and the film’s thesis on human worth and potential can be shoehorned into
high schools affluent enough to have philosophy classes. Gattaca stars
Ethan Hawke
as Vincent Freeman, a genetically inferior man tormented by his superior brother
and a harsh reality: he can never achieve his dream of being an astronaut
through legal means. It’s a thoughtful movie that James Berardinelli calls "a
cautionary tale about the dangers of letting scientific ability outstrip ethics
and [a] morality play about the irrationality of bigotry."

Loren Dean
co-stars as Vincent’s brother, Anton. The two squabble and compete with
increasing severity. Anton eventually leads a shapeless life as a detective,
while Vincent pushes himself beyond his supposed genetic limits. Writer-director
Andrew Niccol
demonstrates with Gattaca that characters don’t necessarily have to be
supplanted by special effects and gadgets. Along with his screenplay for
The Truman Show

(95 percent), Niccol always insists on laying the human touch on science
fiction.

In every Wes
Anderson
movie looms the long shadow of the father figure, but some of the
most amusing relationships in his films are between brothers. See Bob Mapplethorpe
and his sibling John (aka Future Man) in
Bottle Rocket (78
percent). Or the trio on that spiritual bonding journey in
The Darjeeling
Limited
(64 percent). And there’s no shortage of ruined familial
relationships in 2001’s
The Royal Tenenbaums

(80 percent), Anderson’s third feature-length effort. The film has endured as one
of Anderson’s most beloved, called "a New Yorker cartoon come to life,
droll and sad and knowing at the same time" by MaryAnn Johnson of Flick
Filosopher.

Amidst the beyond-neurotic denizens that make up the Tenenbaum household are
brothers Chas and Richie, played by
Ben Stiller
and Luke Wilson,
respectively. One of Anderson’s strengths is a knack for casting (Willem
Dafoe
as a sensitive German oceanographer in
Life Aquatic

remains brilliant), and here Stiller and Wilson get to take their "shtick" to an
extreme. Clashing Stiller’s manic outbursts against Wilson’s lackadaisical
demeanor creates the perfect comic contrast.

Given the inherent potential for love and conflict in any family, there is no
end to the number of stories that can be harvested from the cracks in fraternal
or sororal relations. Check out
Hannah and her Sisters
(92 percent),
Rain
Man
(90 percent),
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
(89 percent), or
Vincent
& Theo
(86 percent) for further adventures into the complex lives of
siblings.

Tag Cloud

RT History Premiere Dates Shondaland USA robots spinoff GLAAD cooking DirecTV comiccon TV Land Captain marvel USA Network spider-man HBO zombies transformers what to watch richard e. Grant natural history witnail Teen The Walking Dead Countdown Reality Competition Summer Acorn TV Infographic NBC Turner Classic Movies 21st Century Fox MCU IFC X-Men sequel zero dark thirty documentary OneApp Western E3 2016 Elton John movies Martial Arts romantic comedy BBC America Rock Heroines Superheroes Watching Series Comics on TV DGA kids Spectrum Originals Stephen King blaxploitation Best and Worst SDCC Country Amazon Studios The CW green book vampires Hulu Warner Bros. TLC Trailer WarnerMedia Mary Tyler Moore medical drama critics video casting MSNBC cats Awards Lucasfilm Lifetime Christmas movies name the review Trophy Talk true crime Nat Geo San Diego Comic-Con finale all-time thriller Winners Writers Guild of America war Spike Endgame directors Film Binge Guide book Paramount space Ovation Pet Sematary SundanceTV adaptation Pixar Biopics crime toy story VH1 indie Logo Crunchyroll Pride Month politics television Freeform NYCC comics Women's History Month christmas movies dc Ellie Kemper Oscars APB DC Universe IFC Films Fantasy zombie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 71st Emmy Awards The Arrangement reboot National Geographic Amazon Prime strong female leads spy thriller Emmy Nominations Polls and Games TNT Comic Book AMC dragons canceled TV shows stand-up comedy Pirates BET Election Sci-Fi concert anime period drama Disney+ Disney Plus FXX Syfy nature Christmas 45 psychological thriller biography President Epix Song of Ice and Fire docudrama talk show Marvel Columbia Pictures Crackle Rocketman Hear Us Out screenings Calendar Walt Disney Pictures Superheroe asian-american Hallmark Christmas movies TruTV science fiction historical drama ITV harry potter ghosts cinemax Set visit canceled Mudbound TBS Awards Tour spain Disney batman Musicals tv talk Podcast DC streaming service cancelled TV shows facebook Ghostbusters Mindy Kaling crime thriller Comedy TV Pop Bravo parents Disney streaming service 2015 a nightmare on elm street Photos golden globes Showtime Netflix Christmas movies Thanksgiving TIFF miniseries child's play diversity cars TCA Sneak Peek movie Sundance TV Mary poppins YA First Look Winter TV technology singing competition GIFs south america The Witch disaster ABC game of thrones Disney Plus Universal Musical Emmys streaming discovery independent cops anthology Animation doctor who die hard DC Comics Amazon Prime Video Academy Awards criterion game show police drama justice league Character Guide breaking bad Drama Schedule Cosplay festivals theme song award winner Spring TV slashers The Purge Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt CW Seed Kids & Family universal monsters History based on movie revenge Apple series Fox News Box Office YouTube Premium Red Carpet dark aliens elevated horror psycho Mary Poppins Returns blockbuster werewolf mockumentary Avengers Nickelodeon Star Trek sag awards unscripted Horror Valentine's Day 2017 serial killer Opinion Video Games social media PBS Year in Review Chernobyl Trivia TV renewals mutant FOX joker travel E! Peacock franchise screen actors guild Grammys Marvel Studios boxoffice WGN Netflix chucky Disney Channel Family LGBTQ Travel Channel 20th Century Fox 2020 PaleyFest Dark Horse Comics Action Holiday Apple TV+ Classic Film Comedy Central CBS Rocky Quiz OWN 2019 Pop TV Marathons CMT Apple TV Plus rotten movies we love versus dogs halloween Shudder Cannes Sony Pictures El Rey ratings composers stoner Reality cartoon cancelled television hist dceu ABC Family TCM Holidays cults Baby Yoda supernatural dramedy Hallmark CBS All Access Interview binge romance Lifetime Tubi MTV Extras 4/20 quibi Marvel Television A&E Anna Paquin Britbox Film Festival Black History Month Adult Swim Starz adventure Masterpiece Cartoon Network animated Amazon Paramount Network Food Network VICE Rom-Com GoT Sundance A24 TCA Winter 2020 Tomatazos children's TV political drama Star Wars SXSW Toys ESPN reviews CNN New York Comic Con American Society of Cinematographers Brie Larson Sundance Now foreign sports Certified Fresh RT21 Funimation spanish language sitcom Television Academy FX on Hulu Creative Arts Emmys Black Mirror latino Super Bowl Vudu Tarantino Arrowverse renewed TV shows Mystery cancelled TV series crime drama scary movies LGBT comic free movies HBO Max crossover jamie lee curtis FX Music Lionsgate 2018 Turner YouTube Red teaser Discovery Channel 24 frames comedies YouTube cancelled Fall TV best BBC First Reviews 007 hispanic See It Skip It Esquire TCA 2017 mission: impossible Tumblr Nominations