dys·func·tion also dis·func·tion  -- n. Abnormal or impaired functioning, especially of a bodily system or social group

When I think of the word 'dysfunctional,' part of me wonders why no one ever suggested taking my picture and placing it next to said word in the dictionary. And if such a picture was ever presented before me, what sort of face do I put on in front of the camera? Do dysfunctional people smile? Should I frown? What if I kind of half-smile and squint my eyes, alluding to the fact that there's something missing -- ya know, leave it up to the reader to make their own assumptions.

Then again, aren't we all a little dysfunctional sometimes? Aren't we abnormal? What is abnormal? Heck, what's normal? And, if there is a person out there who is completely normal, not a worry or problem in the world -- wouldn't that classify them as abnormal? Where am I going with this? Did I even have a point? Do I need one?

Needless to say, the following films all deal, in some way, shape or form with dysfunction. Seeing, feeling and wanting things that, to the average, functional person, may seem a bit bizarre. Be it ghosts, dreams, people out in the middle of the woods with mutilated hands or any film that stars Christian Bale -- this week we're delving into the world of the abnormal ... or normal, depending on which dictionary you subscribe to. Welcome to another edition of Trailer Park:

  • I have no shame in admitting Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my top ten favorite films of all time. That's right -- I went there! With the exception of Kirsten Dunst (Thank God she didn't play the lead female), the film not only tugs at your heart strings, but pulls them out one by one. In The Science of Sleep, writer/director Michel Gondry heads back into the subconscious mind to bring us a story about a guy who struggles to separate his dreams from reality. Yeah, and that's the simple description. Check out Karina's Sundance review for a more complex take.
  • In Harsh Times, writer David Ayer (Training Day, The Fast and the Furious) makes his directorial debut with a film about two friends from South Central Los Angeles and the violence that comes between them. Christian Bale stars alongside Freddy Rodríguez as an ex-Army Ranger who slips into psychotic mode after a job offer with the LAPD disappears. From the looks of the trailer, it appears Harsh Times is a grittier version of Training Day ... if that's at all possible.
  • I haven't heard much about Renaissance before now, however, the trailer for this bad boy looks pretty awesome. The film itself is entirely animated, though in that graphic novel, black and white noir-esque kind of way. Set in a futuristic Paris, story revolves around the abduction of a beautiful young scientist and the folks placed in charge of finding her. Of course, the story is a bit larger than it sounds, what with the fate of humanity at stake and all. Creepy, cool and stylistic -- this looks like a fun flick.
  • Written and directed by Koldo Serra, The Backwoods tells of a vacation to Spain gone bad. When a couple heads off to visit their friend (Gary Oldman) on holiday, things get weird upon their discovery of a girl with mutilated hands in the forest. Anxious to rescue this girl from the cabin in which she is locked, it turns out there's a whole village of people hell-bent on protecting the girl from our poor heroes. While the trailer is very brief, it definitely peeked piqued** my interest.  
  • After recently playing at Cannes (where James reviewed it), director Pedro Almodóvar's (Talk to Her, All About My Mother) Volver is getting ready to hit our shores. Tying in themes of life, death and family, Volver tells the story of one such family who may or may not be entertaining visits from a dead relative. As with a typical Almodóvar film, there's a lot more hiding just beneath the surface and, while I have not watched the film, I'm interested to see how well Penélope Cruz (who I find cute, but boring) holds onto the role.

** (Thanks to Cinematical reader "Mister Teacher Dad" for catching that error for us. We always appreciate the grammar and spelling police who keep us on our toes! -ed.)