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Share Tweet Submit Pin Over his two-decade career, filmmaker Alexander Payne has returned again and again to his favorite satirical subject: the foibles of middle-aged white guys. With the exception of his 1996 debut Citizen Ruth , men have been the focus of this two-time Oscar-winner, who has a knack for analyzing their hang-ups, mocking their insecurities and sometimes feeling their pain. Often, men in his movies behave badly, letting their pride or anxieties get the best of them, although Payne often provides them with a soft landing. These guys aren’t all bad—they mean well, but often can’t get out of their own way.

In a movie year in which the most talked-about films have also been the most inclusive— Get Out , The Big Sick , Wonder Woman , Lady Bird —Payne’s mopey white men can’t help but feel a little passé: “Geez, another film about a middle-aged dude […]

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