Tag: Chris Cooper


Coming Through The Rye

October 20th, 2016 — 6:17am

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If J.D. Salinger’s novel  Catcher in the Rye was part of your coming of age, this movie will connect with you. James Sadwith, writer, director and producer of this film has recreated his actual personal true encounter with the legendary author which occurred in the 1960s when he was attending a private prep school on the east coast.

The story develops as we meet the main character, Jamie Schwartz (Alex Wolff) who is obsessed with  Holden Caulfield, the hero of the Salinger novel. Schwartz decides that for his senior school project, he wants to produce and direct a play recreating the Salinger novel. He is told by the school faculty that he must obtain permission from J.D. Salinger ( Chris Cooper) himself who is known to be quite a recluse. Jamie and his new girlfriend Deedee (Stephania Owen) track down Salinger in New Hampshire and have two visits with him before and after he produced the school play, recreating the famed novel.

In a post-screening interview, Sadwith told how the story is 90% accurate and that he based the script on his tape recorded notes of his exact dialogue with local New Hampshire folks who with whom he spoke during his search to find the author and the exact words he had in his interaction with Salinger when he finally met him. The protagonist, Jamie Schwartz, was played in a very nuanced and sensitive manner and actually had a physical appearance and mannerisms, which reminded us of a young Bob Dylan. Ms. Owen was very appealing as the teenage young woman who clearly is sympatico with Jamie. Their “road trip” shows the tenderness and awkwardness of a near first sexual encounter that many people of that generation may very well understand.

Just as it was rare for a novel to capture the imagination of a generation that perhaps endured for over 20 years, it is rare for a movie to recreate these feelings without adapting the specific novel itself for the film. There is also a segment in the film which puts the focus on “bullying” at school. in this case, it is at a private prep school in 1960s but it could be in any modern setting. We see here a strong response and support of the victim by the faculty which we hope would occur any time this happens.

Although a low budget film, this was very well done. The photography captured the atmosphere and the music matched the time and setting quite well. We have no doubt that this film will resonate with those who still have their treasured copy of Catcher in the Rye. It will be interesting to see how it will be received by the millennials, although we suspect that there is a universality in the story that will be able to connect across generations.(2016)

 

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

August: Osage County

December 6th, 2013 — 1:36am

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August: Osage County sp– Meryl Streep has done it again as she turns in what has to be a sure thing for another Oscar nomination as best actress and we wouldn’t be surprised if Julia Roberts snags one for her supporting role. These two are part of the  most dysfunctional family configurations that you can imagine as they gather in the matriarch’s (Meryl Streep) house after the patriarch(Sam Shepherd) has just killed himself. The setting is bleak but beautiful (if that is possible) Osage County in Oklahoma. The three daughters who come home, are played by Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson. A husband and  boyfriend are played by Ewan McGregor and Dermot Mulroney. Margo Martindale is great as the almost equally mean sister of Steep’s character and her grown son is inhabited by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. Her husband is wonderfully acted by Chris Cooper. The Director is John Wells who is best known for his television work on ER, West Wing, Shameless, Southland and many other shows. He certainly found the right touch to work with this all star cast as the interaction which develops over the post funeral dinner is spellbinding as are the subplots with the various family members. The screenplay is written by Tracy Letts who originally wrote it as a highly successful  Broadway play which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Wells, in a post screening discussion, stated that he hoped the audience will find a little of their own families in this depiction which we believe is a stretch as much of the family interrelationships were horrendous although fascinating. Streep’s character is anyone’s worst nightmare as a shrew, cruel insensitive pill popping mother about whom we can only gain insight and understanding when we hear her talk about her own mother. Is it ever possible to get away from such a bad piece of luck as to be born into this family? In one sense the movie is a study of how family members might be able to escape from such a toxic environment. We can only imagine how this witch-like matriarch might feel if she is finally abandoned and left alone with her native American housekeeper (perfectly played by Misty Upham). (2013)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

The Company Men

January 30th, 2011 — 7:21am

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The Company Men   rm –  This movie puts a face on the wide spread and often tragic unemployment that has been occurring in the US during the past few years. It mainly follows three men who unexpectedly lose their jobs because of the economy downturn and because their shipbuilding company is no longer producing many ships. However, these guys are not your assembly line grunts. Writer/Director John Wells who is known for his involvement in the politically oriented West Wing TV series has chosen to show us how the upper middle class and above are impacted by unemployment. Bobby Walker ( Ben Affleck) drives a sporty convertible and lives in a lovely house in the suburbs before he loses his job. He is the lowest end of  the food chain of the three newly unemployed guys  which includes characters played by Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones . The latter plays a man with millions of dollars in stock options who was long time buddy of the owner and founder (Craig Nelson) of the entire company. The owner fired him while he himself receives a gigantic salary, options and even sells the company. Those formerly under him are scraping to make ends meet while they hang around for months and months in an office of an outplacement company. This situation alone, might stir you up as it did us since we have been railing for awhile why there isn’t a law preventing CEOs from getting outrageous salaries and payoffs without stockholders approval while their company goes down the tubes (see my article in the Huffington Post). This film captures the personal travail that in this case a few men go through as well as how it affects their wives and children. It can even drive a person to suicide. Kevin Costner has a relatively small role in the movie as the one person who works with his hands as a carpenter, home- fixer up guy who is able to barely keep working in contrast to brother in law realistically played by Affleck. The movie doesn’t have any real big surprises. Everyone knows the stories and even the poignant moments are more or less expected and maybe even a little stereotyped. Everyone is glum and down in the dumps and it is contagious watching it for 104 minutes but the movie did tell it like it is and will stand as a fictional documentary of the hard times for many people.(2011)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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