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Clarification

Indie satire or swimsuit model?

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Thumbsucker
This tender satire of suburban conformity, which debuted at Sundance this year, centers on Justin (Lou Pucci), a sullen, withdrawn teen who still sucks his thumb. For help, he turns to an oddball orthodontist (Keanu Reeves), who offers hypnosis—an effective treatment, but one that sends Justin careening toward pharmaceuticals, then pot, then sex, to fill the void left by his soothing habit. Sony Pictures Classics describes Thumbsucker, which is based on a novel by Walter Kirn, as “an honest and funny look at the struggles of people who feel deeply flawed.” The film also boasts an oddly impressive supporting cast, including a couple of talented Vinces: Vaughn and D’Onofrio.


The Chumscrubber
This biting satire of suburban conformity, which debuted at Sundance this year, centers on Dean (Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell), a sullen, withdrawn teen whose drug-dealing pal, Troy, hangs himself at a pool party. Dean plots to find Troy’s stash by kidnapping his younger brother. Unfortunately, Dean kidnaps the wrong child. (The Chumscrubber of the title is a shadowy pop-cult figure who appears in comic books and violent video games.) The Chumscrubber Website describes it as “a film about American disconnection, be it generational, familial, cultural, or pharmaceutical.” The film also boasts an oddly impressive supporting cast, including Glenn Close and Lou Pucci, star of Thumbsucker.


Chumbawamba
This longstanding British pop band and “anarchist collective” is well known for both its radical politics and its rousing 1997 dance-club anthem “Tubthumping,” from the album Tubthumper (“I get knocked down, but I get up again / You’re never going to keep me down”). After toiling for fifteen years as an underground act in Britain— and after much internal anarchist-collective debate— Chumbawamba signed with a major label in the nineties, paving the way to an impressive, if short-lived, breakthrough. Somewhat ironically, “Tubthumping” became a staple song in movie trailers and a favorite anthem among beer-hoisting, backward-baseball-hat-wearing yobs.


Roshumba
A three-time Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Roshumba Williams was named last year to the magazine’s swimsuit Hall of Fame. Her appearances in the early nineties were the break that, as she puts it, took her “from working girl to Roshumba.” She parlayed this metamorphosis into a job in 2002 as a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight and, in 2005, as a judge on The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search, on which she hoped to “invite new babies into the sisterhood.” Born in Peoria, Illinois—a town often unfairly equated with midwestern conformity—Roshumba’s first name is Swahili for “beautiful.” She is also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being a Model.

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'Thumbsucker' Reviewed


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