In Search Of Green (Movie Thoughts: Greed)

12imagesAn older couple sitting in front of me at the theater immediately said, as the credit for Michael Winterbottom’s Greed’ went up, ‘This is the Bernie Sanders movie,’  and that brought me pause. I steer clear of anything Sanders related, primarily because of his toxic supporters, but I have to give it to him that his messaging is really reaching where it needs to reach. No wonder his supporters are so passionate – these are the disenfranchised people who feel that the establishment has not served them well.

But this post is about ‘Greed,’ the film. The film skewers the rich, specifically those self-made billionaires who make deals that only benefit themselves. They buy businesses only to run them to the ground after siphoning all its assets (Some people have compared the story to Sir Phillip Green, the owner of TopShop) Steve Coogan plays Sir Richard McCreadie, and the film is a pseudo-documentary of his life, framed by the preparation of his 60th birthday party to be held in Mykonos. There are a lot of things going on here, and a couple of moving targets – the rich who hide their assets in Mykonos –  entertainers who get millions of dollars to perform for these rich folks –  and there’s even a commentary regarding the Syrian refugees in Greece. At times it felt a bit too much, and over the top, but I found myself laughing at a lot of it. Coogan is great as McCreadie, though he has played this kind of role before. Isla Fisher as his ex-wife is great as well, showing us her comedic chops. The messages could be a bit heavy handed, but they are meaningful and should be taken seriously so it’s all fine by me. I won’t quote Gordon Gekko at all in here, but this film is, as he says, good.

Fun Home (Film Thoughts: Ideal Home)

Ideal-Home-Poster-Hi-Res-2I watch a lot of these gay-themed movies, and even though I am glad they get made and improve queer visibility, some of them just irritate me to the core. For the month of June, I am trying to feature as much gay content in my writings here, and was looking forward to seeing ‘Ideal Home,’ if only because I am a Paul Rudd fan – he can most of the time do no wrong for me. Well, he still displays infinite charm here in this film, directed by Andrew Fleming. But his charm is not enough to save this sinking ship. In here he plays Paul, who is partnered with Erasmus (Steve Coogan) and out of the blue, a kid shows up in their doorstep, Angel, who is Erasmus’ grandchild. Hilarity ensues, right, as this gay couple tries to raise a kid.

But my main problem with the film is that the characters of Erasmus and Paul are so thin that we only get ‘personality’ instead of real human beings. They fight and bicker and insult each other, and it’s like being inside a car of a fighting couple: unpleasant, awkward, and the sense that you just want to get out of there. I hated my time with these people and could care less if they succeed with raising the child. Plus, the child is entitled and spoiled so really, who are you going to root for in this film?

Fleming based this story on his experiences in raising a child. Surely, his own life is more textured than the thin plot here. I was disappointed with this picture. Coogan and Rudd try to save it with charm, but that only goes so far. I try to rid my life of toxic people, and these characters are as toxic as they get.