No movie springs from a vacuum. There are always influences from past examples of the genre, from the previous work of the filmmakers and stars, even from similar films that don’t quite work. If you want to understand where a movie is coming from, take a look at where it’s coming from.
In It’s Kind of a Funny Story, a confused and depressed teenager (Keir Gilchrist) checks himself into a hospital psych ward, where he finds friendship, with confused and depressed Zach Galifianakis, and romance, with confused and depressed Emma Roberts. This flick sprang from (among other films):
• One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), about grownup patients led by Jack Nicholson who take over their asylum in order to drive the sadistic Nurse Ratchet (Louise Fletcher) crazy.
• Taking Over the Asylum (1994), if you have access to Region 2 DVDs; in this BBC miniseries, a young man (David Tennant) checks himself into a psychiatric hospital and creates mayhem via the institution’s radio station.
• Thumbsucker (2005), a dramedy about a teen (Lou Taylor Pucci) coping with the title mania, though everyone else around him is way crazier.
• Sugar (2009), for more from writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; their drama is about a young Dominican man who is recruited to play in minor league baseball in the U.S.
Where to buy:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Sugar [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Taking Over the Asylum [Region 2]
Thumbsucker [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]