Opens August 17
By mid-August, audiences should be ready for something provocative enough to jar us out of our special effects-induced stupor. Enter Alan Ball, the Oscar winning writer of American Beauty and Six Feet Under, the George Lucas of the dirty-little-suburban-secrets genre. For his directorial debut, Ball adapted a novel by Alicia Erian about an Arab-American girl growing up and coming of age in Texas during the first Gulf war. Newcomer Summer Bishil plays the lead; Peter Macdissi is her strict father, Aaron Eckhart an Army reservist whose head is turned by his young neighbor. Towelhead has all the makings of the best of Ball: precocious teens, narcissistic parents, uncomfortable sexuality, cutting cultural commentary. And, in this summer movie, the aliens who teach us about ourselves aren't CGI.