Widescreen: Malort and tavern-style pizza go great with Chicago-made movie screening Monday at the Tivoli

I felt “seen” multiple times in the opening minutes of “Relative,” a slice of Chicago life written and directed by Michael Glover Smith about a family of young adults coming home for their youngest sibling's college graduation.

We meet Rod (Keith D. Gallagher), the hoodied beardo (me) hurling f-bombs at his TV with an Xbox controller in his hand (me) and who has overstayed his welcome in his parents' house (me, 17 years ago).

There's also Evonne (Clare Cooney), who bemoans the grown-up commitments we all “have to do” while laying in bed with a vacant stare (me, often).

“Relative” is appropriately relatable, and the familiar setting is the cherry on top - soon-to-be college grad Benji (Cameron Scott Roberts) chats up a Malort drinker at Hopleaf (5148 N. Clark St.!) after eating some tavern-style, thin-crust pizza. “This is the true Chicago way,” his friend rightly says.

Smith's characters are both specific and universal, living in a screenplay that balances mundane, everyday episodes with awkward family conversations and blasts of unexpected humor. That Malort drinker, Hekla (Elizabeth Stam)? She gets a huge laugh with an inappropriate joke about her trip to Iceland.

Filmed in Chicago, Skokie and Wilmette, “Relative” will hit the suburban big screen at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22, for a one-night-only screening at the Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove, presented by the After Hours Film Society. Tickets cost $11 and are available online at

The film is also scheduled to play Sept. 17 at the Studio Movie Grill, 301 Rice Lake Square, Wheaton.

"Top Gun: Maverick" hits digital purchase and rental platforms on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Need for speed ... at home

“Top Gun: Maverick” sat on Paramount's shelf for two years, waiting to be unleashed on the public when Tom Cruise felt moviegoers were ready to go back to theaters, masks or not. The gamble paid off to the tune of $1.3 billion and counting. The sequel to Cruise's air-combat classic hit theaters on May 27 and is still packing auditoriums in August - it was No. 2 at the box office last weekend, its 12th week in release.

It could probably play in theaters for another 12 weeks, but Paramount announced Tuesday that “Top Gun: Maverick” will hit digital purchase/rental platforms like iTunes and Vudu on Tuesday, Aug. 23, with a Blu-ray/DVD release to follow on Nov. 1. Both will be packed with bonus features.

Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who has a need ... a need for speed.