Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Here was the late twentieth century’s generational anthem film, except no one seemed terribly interested in identifying with it. Writer/director Noah Baumbach’s debut, Kicking and Screaming is a rueful portrait of four preppy, Ivy League–ish friends. Living off campus, they’re suddenly left in the weird afterworld in which graduation has marked them as grown-ups, but the indulgent, trivia-obsessed allure of college life maintains its grip. Baumbach poured a hundred college careers’ worth of ironic humor into the script, and Chris Eigeman, Josh Hamilton, and Carlos Jacott are a dry riot. Eric Stoltz almost steals the movie in an improvised role as a philosophical bartender, but it’s hard not to fall for Olivia d’Abo as an impulsive creative-writing major who’s a tad self-conscious about her braces.

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