Category Archives: Movies

An apology

john heard

By now you’ve no doubt heard that John Heard died.

Yesterday my social media feed was full of articles about the actor, all attributing his success to Home Alone.

I know he’s not here to read this — and let’s face it, he wouldn’t if he could  — but I feel the need to apologize.

While the family comedy may have made the most money in his filmography, it certainly did not make the most of Heard.

If you’re interested and willing to do a bit more research than his obit writers, I encourage you to watch Heard in the gripping thriller Deceived, co-starring Goldie Hawn. He also played opposite Tom Hanks in the comedy Big (a great excuse to watch that again). And he was an excellent Arthur Dimmesdale in a TV miniseries version of The Scarlet Letter in 1979.

Let’s hear it for one of the great character actors. He will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

On being brave

lionI almost didn’t see Lion.

From the trailer, I could tell the movie had the dreaded Disney structure:

Child has a beloved family. 

Child is ripped from his beloved family within the first five minutes.

Child spends the rest of the movie looking for his beloved family.

Let’s face it — that story line is hard enough to watch when little cartoon characters are involved; I wasn’t sure I could stomach it with real people.

And I wasn’t altogether wrong.

But this true story — and the actors who portray it — are so compelling, I couldn’t have looked way if I had wanted to.  It is heartbreaking and life-affirming, all at the same time.

And I hope, in the course of my life, I can be one-tenth as brave as that little boy.

 

 

 

 

 

What the world needs now

#WiigandCarellforGoldenGlobeHosts2018

And so this is Christmas

If you’ve seen a trailer for Manchester by the Sea or read any reviews, you may be hesitant to see it.

Now. During the holidays.  A time of good cheer.

Because this not a feel-good classic or a comedy about a drunken holiday party gone awry. It’s a family tragedy and how one family struggles to survive.

But I would argue that this is the perfect time to see it. 

Not only will you appreciate a nuanced, Oscar-worthy performance by Casey Affleck and his supporting cast, but you will walk away feeling lucky…grateful for each day and every friend and family member in your life. Because they are a gift. 

And this movie, while tragic, is a beautiful reminder of that.

Good grief 

Met Life, say it isn’t so.

You’re dropping Peanuts as the spokes characters for your brand?

Snoopy and the gang can sell anything…plus, your timing couldn’t be worse. 

The popular comic just released a new feature film, and a weekly cartoon series  is coming to television at the end of the year. Not to mention a new book (that I wrote) which is being released November 1st.

If I saw the Met Life folks, I think I would probably say:

On purpose

I usually avoid movies about dogs because of the inevitable ending.

No matter how wonderful the story, the relationship, the plot — the dog is going to die, either of trauma or old age, and my heart simply can’t take it.

But I saw this trailer at the theater last night. And although it made me cry like a baby, I may have to see this one.

5 reasons

Has the movie Swiss Army Man opened in your town?

swissarmyman

 

When it does, go see it! Here are five reasons.

1. The title. It brilliantly encapsulates the film yet is never spoken in it. Bonus points.

2. The premise. A man shipwrecked on an island finds a corpse who ‘helps’ him find his way home (and becomes his best friend along the way).  Original?  Uh, yeah.

3. The cast. Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe fully commit to their respective roles as suicidal loser and farting corpse. I was blown away [rimshot].

4. The soundtrack. Led by two music video directors, the movie soundtrack is almost a third cast member. It’s that good.

5. The farting. It’s pretty important to the plot. And you’ll laugh at all the farting. Heck, we’re all still 12 years old at heart — am I right?

I’m no genius

I thought I had read Thomas Wolfe, but it turns out I haven’t.

That didn’t stop me from going to see the movie Genius, which details the publication of Wolfe’s first two novels,  and his relationship with his editor Max Perkins.

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Jude Law’s Wolfe is a loud, melodramatic Southerner, self-involved yet low in self-esteem.  Colin Firth as Perkins is his solid, steady opposite,  the voice of reason who, despite his better judgment, is drawn to Wolfe’s charm and bravado.

I expected the movie to focus on their editorial process,  and it does. But instead of passing any judgments on Wolfe as a writer,  it celebrates their relationship – –  more like a father and son than editor and writer.

Both of their families suffered at times from their single-mindedness, but no one more than Wolfe himself.

I now have Wolfe’s first book Look Homeward, Angel on hold at the library. I suppose I was charmed as well.

No debate

I love a Craig Ferguson show, and his new series on History Channel, Join or Die, is no exception.

  • join or die

Craig along with three celebrities from various walks of life debate different topics and, with the studio audience’s assistance, crown a champion. Recent topics have included greatest unexplained phenomena, greatest gangster, history’s dumbest mistake, you get the idea.

This week they tackled history’s best founding father. The panelists were actor Fred Willard, comedian Jo Koy, and journalist Joel Stein. The founding father choices? George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

Now, I don’t expect the panelists to do excessive research in preparation for the show, but the dismissive comments they made about John Adams’ contribution to the founding of this country made me realize…

They hadn’t even watched the movie or stage version of 1776.

Take away their citizenship. Right. Now.

George Washington won, by the way. Shocker.

A bird in the hand

I can accept the fact that The Angry Birds Movie won this weekend’s box office.

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Animated films have broader appeal and a wider audience. Plus, last week’s number one film and very close runner-up Captain America has been out for three weeks.

My beef with the Birds?

What took them so long?  This app used to be all the rage,  but Candy Crush and other games occupy the top spots now.  This movie is so late to the party,  there is no party anymore.

Obviously kids will still watch it,  but they — and their long-suffering parents — shouldn’t have to.