Movies New to Theaters: ‘Secret Lives of Dorks,’ ‘Baggage Claim,’ ‘Muscle Shoals’

 

The Secret Lives of Dorks

It’s time to face the fact that there may never be another Napoleon Dynamite. That is, another film that treated dork-dom in a way that didn’t blithely assume that dorks were really just failed cool-guys. The Secret Lives Of Dorks, unfortunately, takes it as a given that dorks would like to be cool—that their lack of social standing is a huge concern for themselves and others, and causes everybody no end of trouble. This is a lie perpetuated in films because it’s an easy story to tell, but now it’s getting really old. Then again, there might be some fun awkward sex in this film, in which case it won’t be all bad.

Baggage Claim
In Baggage Claim, Paula Patton plays Montana Moore, a 30-something flight attendant who decides that she needs to get married before her youngest sister does. Since her youngest sister is engaged, this gives Montana only 30 days to land THE man. In case that creaky old time-limit gimmick isn’t enough, it has been paired with an air travel gimmick: since Montana and most of the people she knows work in the air travel industry, she can (supposedly) find out when any of her exes are flying somewhere and arrange to be a flight attendant on the flight. Well, two far-fetched premises don’t quite equate to one good premise, but at least Baggage Claim works up lots of humor over air travel and could be harmless enough.

Muscle Shoals
As rock music and the baby-boom generation that inspired, created and grew up listening to it approach their sunset years, the documentaries about rock and all of its twists and wrinkles are starting to arrive fast and furious. Since pretty much everything has been said and written about the legendary bands of the era, we’ve now moved on to the studios where the hits were recorded. There was a great doc about Motown, and one about Sound City. Muscle Shoals is named after the sleepy Alabama town that came alive in the late ’60s and early ’70s during the heyday of the local FAME Recording Studio and its offshoot the Muscle Shoals Sound studio. After Aretha Franklin scored big hits recorded at FAME, all of a sudden the white rock world wanted to get down to Muscle Shoals and borrow that sound: the Rolling Stones recorded “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” in Muscle Shoals, Paul Simon went there to record There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Steve Winwood and Traffic showed up—Muscle Shoals became the go-to place for song hits. It may strike some as meta-trivia, but for the rock completist, these documentaries fill in quite a few gaps and provide another excuse to pull out the old records.

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