The Talk

They sat on a bench on the bike path overlooking the river. The late afternoon sun lazily making its descent to the horizon. The leaves rustling in the late fall breeze.

In days past they would have sat holding hands, or at least making some sort of physical contact. Lately, they didn’t mind the space. As a matter of fact, they felt more comfortable with a bit of separation.

They looked at each other at the same time and knew that they were both thinking the same depressing thought. They sighed.

She broke the silence first, as usual.

“How did we get here?”

“Seriously? We parked the car at the park, then followed the path to the bench” he said.

Another one of his ill-timed jokes that she used to find adorable, but now she found irritating.

“Sorry, I just don’t know how you want me to answer that.”

“I want you to be honest. I want you to tell me how you feel. Why do I always have to drag things out of you?”

“You always have to drag things out of me? You’ve got to be kidding. I always tell you exactly what’s on my mind, you just don’t like the answer” he said.

“I just don’t understand why you never take things seriously. You always have to insert one of your stupid jokes to ‘lighten the mood’” she said, mocking him.

“That impression sounded nothing like me” he said, trying to lighten the mood.

“See, there you go again.”

“Well, excuse me for wanting to do things that will make you smile. You’re right, I’m the fucking asshole” he raised his voice just as an elderly couple walking their golden retriever walked by, “sorry, beautiful day isn’t it?”

The couple gave a disapproving look and continued down the path.

Don’t yell at me” she said through clenched teeth.

“I wasn’t yelling. Those two probably couldn’t even hear me anyway” a smile formed on his face, “hey, remember that time we saw that old couple making out behind the port-a-potties at the county fair? That was so romantic…”

“Don’t change the subject. This is serious and I am not in the mood.”

“That’s just it, I think you are taking this way too serious.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right. I’m the bitch, as usual.”

“No, you’re not a bitch. I’m sorry. I – I’m just bad at this and you know that.”

“I know” she said with a sigh, “it’s just that you said last time was the last time, but here we are again dealing with the same bullshit.”

“Last time was different and you know that” he said, tears were starting to well up in his eyes, “and, you said that you wouldn’t bring that up again. How are we supposed to move forward if you won’t let it go? Jesus Christ, how many times can I say that I am sorry?”

“I wasn’t going to” she said as she hushed her voice due to the man jogging by, “but here we fucking are again.”

“What do you want me to do? How can I make things right?”

“We went over this. There are two options and, at this point, I really don’t care which you choose. You just need to decide so that we can move on.”

He looked out at the water rolling by. He had been stalling, of course. He knew the decision was his to make, but it just felt like a big one. Regret has always been one of his biggest fears.

What if he made the wrong choice?

What makes things worse is that he knows that this is only going happen again. No matter how hard he tries, it will happen again. It’s just who he is and she just can’t accept it. But, he was tired of fighting. He just wants her to be happy. He wants to see that beautiful smile that he fell in love with years ago.

He sighed.

“Did you decide?”

“Yes. I did.”

“Good.”

He stared at her, determined to make the words come out of his mouth, but before he could, she broke the silence.

“So? Where do you want to eat tonight?”

Movie Review: Joy

I have been accused on the iKnowBadeaux podcast of only reviewing movies that I enjoy but, my feelings about Joy are mixed.

Let’s start with the good.

This movie is a must-see solely due to Jennifer Lawrence‘s performance. She plays Joy Mangano the inventor of the Miracle Mop and brings forth complexities of the character that no other actor would have been able to. One can’t help but be amazed at the Lawrence’s ability to elevate characters and entire movies with her emotional performances.

She delivers, once again, a “Best Female Actor” worthy performance.

Unfortunately, the movie could not keep up with her performance.

Director, David O. Russell‘s screenplay is the same that we have seen from him with Silver Linings Playbook and American HustleIt has become old hat and has lost all of its charms. The same steady cam, continuous shots that were once artistic and innovative have become boring and predictable.

The story itself leaves much to be desired, feeling disjointed and rushed at times while also moving at a snail’s pace at others.

Robert DeNiro returns as basically the same character he played in Silver Linings Playbook and it is hard to tell if his performance was lackluster or if the screenplay just didn’t lend itself to allowing a better performance. Throughout the movie relationship dynamics are glossed over making it challenging, at times, to understand why people are behaving the way that they are towards one another.

What can’t be denied is Russell’s ability to pull amazing performances from his actors. It is this quality that will keep audiences coming back to the box office for his movie.

Bradley Cooper turns in a great performance with a limited supporting role as Neil Walker a QVC executive. Lawrence and Cooper’s chemistry cannot be denied, in their limited screen time together, they are able to do what so much of the movie isn’t able to… make you forget that it is another David O. Russel movie. It doesn’t seem like they are repetitive characters participating in the same witty banter that captivated audiences in Silver Linings Playbook. 

This is a testament to David O. Russel’s directing. He is what my wife calls, an actors director. This movie is clear evidence of that.

Bottom line, see it (love it?) for Jennifer Lawrence and her amazing acting chops. But don’t be surprised when you feel like the movie as a whole was a let down when the credits roll.

 

 

Movie Review: Spotlight

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The last movie review that I did was a bit tongue in cheek but, this week I have a real review. In an effort to earn my keep as the “Official Movie Reviewer” for the iKnowBadeaux podcast I am trying to do some more serious work. Here we go.

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight.

McCarthy wrote and directed an incredible film that is a must see.

Disclaimer: I am a lapsed Catholic. Continue reading

Podcast Review: Box Angeles

So you want to make it in Los Angeles?

It’s no secret that it isn’t as easy as just moving there. But, what are the secrets to actually making it?

That is exactly what the Box Angeles podcast works to reveal.

Since the podcast started in 2013, Mike “Box” Elder has honed his skills to create interesting and compelling interviews week in and week out. Guests range from familiar faces, like: Thomas Middleditch, Milana Vayntrub, Seth Morris, Matt Besser, and Samm Levine, to various up and comers like: Justin Michael Terry, Francisco Ramos, and Davina Leone.

Elder’s witty banter and mid-western charm facilitates genuine responses from his guests each episode. The result is interesting stories about the events and decisions that have led his guests to where they are today. With an endless stream of probing questions, Elder is able to get a refreshing level of honesty from his guests.

With the injection of his rants, one liners, and infectious laughter, Elder delivers an entertaining podcast every time.

The key? He is humble.

The podcast isn’t about him. It is about his guest and his listeners. Elder understands that every guest has a unique story to tell and that it is his job to bring that to his listeners in an entertaining fashion. Every episode feels like you are just hanging out with Elder and the guest du jour in his Hollywood apartment. It is a great change of pace from podcasts with a similar format that occasionally seem to try too hard.

You are guaranteed to laugh every episode and end them wanting more.

Make sure you add this one to your podcast rotation, you will not regret it.

Click below to listen to the most recent episode. Subscribe on iTunes and/or Soundcloud and subscribe to the Box Angeles YouTube feed.

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Oh, episode eighty-five thinks that it found itself a cheerleader! On the eighty-fifth Box Angeles actor / improviser Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley, The Wolf of Wall Street) stops by Studio 309. He discusses being bullied in grade school before “figuring it out”, why Chicago is a great training ground for actors, odd jobs like selling shows & walking dogs, how numerous random events have led to his success, and more!

 

Movie Review: Inside Out

There you are… standing awkwardly in front of the ticket booth at the movie theater trying to decide what to see. What is the most bang for your buck?

Well, Jurassic World if you haven’t seen that yet (in which case you are a little late to the party).

Do not hesitate, walk to the counter and buy a ticket to Inside Out.

Pixar does it again.

From start to finish this movie is amazing and just as entertaining for 30 year old men as it is for children.

First, the movie leads off with an amazing 5 minute short (with the most catchy song of all time). Only Pixar could create a strong emotional connection to a volcano in 30 seconds and have you on the verge of tears.

Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar

Once you dry your eyes, the main attraction starts and Pixar delivers a perfectly crafted story with great depth.

The majority of the movie takes place in the head of the protagonist Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) with her five emotions playing the lead characters: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.

The movie takes an amazingly simplistic look into how memories and associations are formed based on our core emotions.

The movie follows Riley through her move from Minnesota to San Fransisco and how she deals with a new home, school, friends and culture. A very difficult thing for an 11 year-old to deal with.

All of the voice acting is perfectly cast. Amy Poehler as Joy is enough to keep you entertained but Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Anger (Lewis Black) steal the show. All of the emotions attempt to work together to achieve some sort of harmony for Riley but, have trouble when they are unable to act outside of the emotion that they are.

The simplicity of how the story shows the brain as a working machine is delightful. Memories are sorted as little orbs that create associations when touched by the core emotions in headquarters. The are then sent to be filed away with millions of other memories.

Pixar delivers humor and emotion in the way that only they can with their amazing story telling that allows people of all ages to enjoy. It is definitely a must see that is sure to collect some hardware come awards season.

I will give this one 4/4 Pixar Lamps. A definite must see.