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10 of the Best Suburban Angst Films

“Saturday night in the suburbs, that’s when you really want blow your brains out,” Don Draper griped in last season’s Mad Men episode “Signal 30.” The series returns to TV this evening, and the air is thick with suburban ennui. This season won’t just focus on Pete Campbell’s thwarted ambitions or Don’s postwar anxiety. The world is facing its own identity crisis as the show enters the most turbulent part of the decade. In keeping with the spirit of Mad Men’s sixth season, we’ve compiled a list of films that fixate on suburban angst. It’s a crisis Matthew Weiner’s characters frequently trudge through, despite their white, male privilege and cocktail lifestyles. The dark side of the ‘burbs is a frequently mined subject, but here are ten of the best films that fan the flames of white-picket-fence malaise.

happiness

Happiness

“I wake up happy, feeling good… but then I get very depressed, because I’m living in reality.”

Welcome to the Dollhouse director Todd Solondz painted a twisted portrait of American suburban angst by peeling back the skin on the tangled lives of a housewife, a doctor, a teacher, and other familiar faces. Connected by their desire for happiness and the failures that prevent them from obtaining it (if it even existed to begin with), Solondz reminds us that broken people basically want what we all want. The challenging drama dwells in many gray areas, teetering between disaster and irony, in an environment that feels uncomfortably close to home.

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