Brilliant, despondant and stunning, American Beauty encapsulates our culture so perfectly, its blinding. Juxstaposing the showy and somewhat vapid disintegration of the Burnham family to the truly devastated Fitts home, Beauty takes us into an unparalled spiral of choice and consequence.American Beauty is why I go to see movies. When I show up at the cineplex every week its an American Beauty I'm waiting for. The masterful script by Alan Ball (co-exec on one of the better written demised tv shows 'Cybil') plays cords of true suburban americana. And on the outset, everything seems to be straight forward, if not predictable. There's a miserable angst ridden teenage girl, daughter to Lester & Carol Burnham (Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening) who are also miserable. There's the brooding and deliciously handsome boy-who-just-moved-in-next-door. However, right from the start, American Beauty just pulls the whole house out from under you. Featuring incredible performances from the entire cast, and an especially chilling turn by the legendary Jane Alexander, Beauty seeks to challenge our view of the modern disintegration of America's homes. Its so easy to see the break-up of the Burnham home, its a noisy bullet train heading for the broken bridge everyone can see. Its members are obsessed with their own lives to the exclusion of the family. And then Mendes hits you with the Fitts home, detangling slowly, like cancer. Just as painful, destructive and sickening. As difficult as it may be to believe, American Beauty is Sam Mendes first directed feature. You would never know it--the images are gorgeous, the surreal pieces breathtaking and the color representation perfect.If you don't see it, just take your name off the roll of film-buff--we don't want you anymore.