One Two Three (Movie Thoughts: Threesome)

Threesome_ver1I chanced upon ‘Threesome,’ a movie from 1994. I remember seeing this movie, and back then (could it really be almost twenty six years ago) I remember liking the movie a lot, though I have not seen the film since I saw it, probably opening weekend that year. So I wonder whether the film still works. Does it stand the test of time?

Yes, and no. First of all, the set up. I really do think that after a certain generation, sexual orientation ceases to be a big issue for young people. Gay college students? Yeah, so what, they will say. Someone of that age nowadays will have probably gone through all the emotional journey of being gay. There would be so much support on campus that they would certainly not be as lost as Eddy (Josh Charles) was on this film. This would throw half the premise of the film. But the other half, about the ‘threesome’ is still relevant. How many times have we heard of throuples? The relationship between the three people here seems more for emotional exploratory – it’s how the three of them find a lot about themselves.

Lara Flynn Boyle reads too old to be a college student now, All three leads, in fact, to me, look too old, but then again that ay be my generational bias. Stephen Baldwin here seems a little miscast, but it was nice to see him before he became the right wing Trump supporter that he has become. Charles is best, here, and looks luminously handsome. I remember jonesing over him then, and that angle still works. This is one of those movies that is a product of its time, I think young kids nowadays would probably find the situations laughably hokey, but they have much to learn from how these characters are able to find a bit of themselves from the same situation.

Let’s Get Political (Movie Thoughts: Irresistible)

irrestistableThere’s a lot to unpack in Jon Stewart’s ‘Irresistible.’ It’s one of those movies, for me, that start out really well. Steve Carell plays Gary, a Democrat operative and we see him the day after Trump wins. He and his counterpart, Faith, (Rose Byrne) are both spinning their respective messages. And Gary is dejected, not wanting to answer the phone fielding his reaction to the election results. Then Gary zeroes in on a guy (Jack, played by Chris Cooper) from a viral video –  a Democrat in conservative clothing who he deems as some kind of savior for the party. So he goes to Wisconsin to convince Jack to run for mayor. And before you know it, the election cycle goes to high spin, with millions of dollars being thrown in each campaign. The main impression I got from the film? For a comedy it seems to be pretty joyless. The premise is familiar, but the ‘twist’ made it really hard to believe. Yes, it’s a parody, and satire, but the message is packaged differently. It’s a feel-bad movie – it is harsh to both political parties, so I don’t know what audience it is trying to get. Carell and Byrne are good – surprisingly subtle both – but in the end, I lost interest in whatever game they were trying to play.

Beauty Freed (Film Thoughts: Miss Juneteenth)

mjI think ‘Miss Juneteenth’ is a perfect way to spend your time on Juneteenth. It is a wonderful story about a mother and daughter at a crossroad in both their lives, Nicole Beharie plays Turquoise Jones, a woman who won the Miss Juneteenth title from 2004. In the beginning of the film, we see her fall in not so prosperous times – she is working at a bar doing multiple shifts to keep her daughter afloat. We see her mentoring her daughter to become the next Miss Juneteenth, but Kai’s heart doesn’t seem to be in it.

Channing Giodfrey People’s film is set in a very specific world – Fort Worth, Texas – and she presents that world lovingly. We see a woman who may not be where she wants to be, and you know she means well for her daughter Kai so even her stage mothering doesn’t seem too problematic. We see the love between the two women, and somehow you know that everything will be alright for them, even if it seems like it might not be. Beharie is great as Turquioise, and we see her trapped in a dream, but not enslaved by it. I think it’s one of the best performances in this weird film year.

Stop The Beat (Movie Thoughts: Feel The Beat, Netflix)

Feel_the_Beat_(film)_posterIs Netflix really ushering a new age of teen movies? Or is it just the same old crap?  Hav e to say that nowadays it feels like there’s more trash than gold there, and you can put ‘Feel The Beat’ in the meh department. Elissa Down’s film is formula through and through, and I just couldn’t get into it – it took me two days to watch this when something like this should be a nice easy viewing. I think it may also have to do with Sofia Caron, who stars in the film. I guess she has done a slew of Disney films as a teen, but i really did not know. She is one of the most wooden actresses I have ever seen. There is not a lot of characterization here, and I felt nothing for her character. The kid dancers were cute, and Wolfgang Novogratz’s crooked smile got me, but honestly, there is nothing here for me to write about.

Trans Lives Matters (Film Thoughts: Disclosure)

large_disclosure-movie-posterNetflix’s new documentary ‘Disclosure’ has never been timely and should be required viewing during Pride Month. If there was ever an eye-opening documentary, this would be it. The film, directed by Sam feder, looks at trans representation in films throughout history, from the silent films of D W Griffiths to the current landscape. it shows us how badly represented trans people have been in history. It’s so weird, because I have seen most of the films featured in the film, and it feels like I am looking at those films with new eyes, and I kick myself for not looking at it that way before, ads I am a member of the LGBTQ community myself. It is made up of interviews with trans people, and how these films have shaped how they see themselves in society – how trans people have been portrayed for comedic purposes most of the time, and how their representation have been mostly negative – prostitutes or murderers, giving society a most narrow view. It covers a lot of things, though sometimes too much that. it doesn’t give a viewer time to think and absorb their points. But darn it if it isn’t essential viewing for everyone.

Who Could Imagine A King? (Movie Thoughts: The King Of Staten Island)

kossI miss those days when every weekend, more often than not, I would looking forward to seeing a new film, whether it be a studio or independent release.  This week I only have Judd Apatow’s ‘The King of Staten Island,’ and I am only mildly interested in it. The scariest thing about it for me? The film runs at 145 minutes, a length that should be reserved for epics. This film isn’t one.

The film is a plodding mess. I disliked most of the characters in it, especially the main character, Scott. Played by Pete Davidson, Scott is one of those boys that never grew up. His family around him mentions some kind of mental illness, but we don’t really know how they get to that. What we do know is that he is ‘damaged’ because he lost his firefighter father at aged seven. Sure,  that’s a touch card to be dealt with, but a lto of other children experience the same thing and they do not act as childish and bratty as Scott. And Davidson is perfectly cast in that regard, for his acting range runs from angry to petulant. Most of the time, I just want to shake him and say grow up.  I disagreed with almost every action his character makes, making me not want to spend time in his world. As a result, that 145 minute felt like an eternity. Thank God for Marisa Tomei, the only bright spot i n the film for me – I always say she is an underrated actress, always an MVP in the films she is in.

Sweet Summer (Film Thoughts: Days of The Bagnold Summer)

p17444458_v_v8_aaSimon Bird’s ‘Days of The Bagnold Summer’ is one of those fantastic delights that, for me, seemingly came out of nowhere. It’s a nice, quiet, thoughtful summer film, and was just right up my alley.  I don’t even recall how I discovered it, but I am mighty glad I saw it. It’s a summer coming-of-age film, but without any ‘big’ discoveries, it just highlights a relationship between a mother and son, and even though there seemed to be a big ‘change’ towards their relationship in the end, you knew that the love was there all along.

Daniel (Earl Cave, Nick’s son) was supposed to go to Florida to visit his dad for the summer, but his trip was cancelled giving him nothing to do. His mom Sue (Monica Dolan) was ready to just rearrange her attic, but now has to deal with a depressed son. This is a movie wherein you think not much happens, but a lot does, and they come from small moments. When Daniel has a falling out from his best friend, we see Daniel more withdrawn, and that’s when Sue seizes the chance to connect more with Daniel. The film is so sweet and good natured that it left me with a big smile on my face, Cave is a star – I bet we will see more of him, and Dolan is wonderful as well. This is one of those small films that pack a whallop,

How Green Is Her Valley (Movie Thoughts: Valley Girl)

vgI wonder how this new Valley Girl came about. I mean, what was the pitch – Let’s remake an iconic rom-com, and make it a jukebox musical? I was not the biggest fan of the original film, and to be honest I don’t even remember it all that well. I know it’s a Romeo and Juliet type of story between a girl from the San Fernando Valley and a punk guy from Hollywood. I also remember Nic Cage starring and it was the film that made him a star. But will this new Valley Girl movie make me remember more, or forget?

To be honest, this film isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s pretty fun, if you don’t take it seriously. I mean, they could have done more than regurgitate a random Spotify 80s playlist, but it kind of works for that their purpose. The songs and dance numbers are adequate, if instantly forgettable. Some songs are shoehorned a little too obviously, but whatever. I could even say that a song or two, ‘I Melt With You,’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ were repurposed very well. The cast is fine, although I don’t know if they will follow the Nic Cage trajectory,. One of them, Jake Paul, is loathsome, and even though he plays the villain, he has the effect of making your skin crawl even moire. In some ways, I wish this film made me hate (or like) it more. As is, it’s just okay.

The Way We Were (Movie Thoughts: Infamous)

inf‘Infamous’ is a movie that is clearly pre Covid 19. Joshua Caldwell’s movie recycles a whole bunch of cliches from all other movies and set it for the Instagram generation. There’s no trope that is left untouched here, and I was bored to tears the whole time. Thank God Bella Thorne has great screen presence that it didn’t feel too much like hell on earth. I do wonder if, after this pandemic is over, people will be different. Will we be kinder, better people? Hopefully by then we can look at this film as ‘the way we were.’

Amber Alert (Film Thoughts: Dating Amber)

dambDavid Freyne’s ‘Dating Amber’ is a gay coming of age Irish comedy drama from Director David Freyne and it is a charmer. It stars Fionn O’Shea as Eddie, a gay teen set in 1995 who is struggling to accept himself. Cue in Amber (Lola Petticrew) who proposes that they present themselves as a couple in order to protect each other socially – she is a lesbian. We have seen this story before, but Freyne gives the film fresh spins. I was taken by O’Shea, who is wonderful here, giving a nuanced performance – his eyes are very expressive and he is able to show emotions even without dialogue. (O’Shea was also wonderful in ‘Normal People’ as one of Marianne’s boyfriends) And Petticrew is wonderfully brash, and you can see the differences in both characters that when they get together, you are excited by the prospect. The film also shows the struggles teenagers used to face regarding the issue of sexual orientation. I am far removed to the youth experience now and I don’t know if it has improved, but the film is accurate in showing the mixed signals we used to get regarding acceptance and religion.