Tag: Mary Steenburgen


Dean

April 26th, 2017 — 1:21am

****
Dean -sp

We learn at the beginning of the story that a father and his grown son have just lost a wife and mother and are about to begin the grieving process. The father is played by two time Oscar winner Kevin Kline who turns in an outstanding performance. Likewise Dean, the son, is played by Demetri Martin in a excellent break through performance. So is the director, screenwriter and producer also in the person of Demetri Martin. An important part of the story are single panel cartoons which are interspersed throughout the film and focuses the mood and irony of various situations in the movie. These drawings are also by Demetri Martin. So who is Demetri Martin? He has been a stand up comic for many years, has worked with Conan O’Brien on TV and has published a book of his own cartoons. He is obviously very talented and was able to draw upon his own experience of having lost a parent at a young age and his understanding of the universal search for love combined with a finely honed sense of humor.

Despite the initial premise of the story, this is really not a sad or tearjerker of a story, except the few times that Dean listens to a saved message on his iPhone of his late mom giving him words of encouragement. This is more a story of exploring different ways of grieving, as well as budding love of both a young and older man. It also uses two great exciting American cities that traditionally have been a backdrop for cinematic romance, New York (Brooklyn) and Los Angeles. The two respective women who have stirred the potential of deep romantic feelings in father and son at a time that they were on opposite coasts were Nicky (Gillian Jacobs) and Carol (Mary Steenburgen). Many of Dean’s buddies in the movie, are played by actors and comics who have captured the beat of his generation.

The net result of this 87 minute film is a feel good experience which reminds us that the connection between loss and new love is natural and inevitable. We highly recommend this movie. It is funny and poignant with surprising depth. (2017)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

January 23rd, 2012 — 8:29am

****

What’s  Eating Gilbert Grape?- nf  It is hard to believe that the same actor who we recently  saw play J Edgar Hoover this year was the playing a developmentally disabled 18 year old boy in this movie, who looked and acted like a kid even half that age. . Of course it was nine years ago, but nevertheless Leonardo DiCaprio well deserves the Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor he received in 1992 for his portrayal of Gilbert Grape’s (Johnny Depp) younger brother, Arnie, in this emotionally touching movie. The screenplay is based on the book, both by Peter Hedges,  and takes the viewers into a sleepy rural town. We meet Gilbert Grape’s family which consists of  Arnie and his two teenage sisters all of whom live and devote their lives to their mother who is at least a 500 pound women who has hardly moved around the house since her husband ended his life several years before. At first we couldn’t believe that this was an actual morbidly obese actress playing this mother and thought we were witnessing amazing special effects. However later we found out from the discussion about the film on the Netflix DVD that Darlene Cates was chosen for this part after an appearance on the Jessie Raphael TV show about obese women. She was able to bring to the screen role a sense of the despair she felt about her condition but yet the love and dependency in regard to her children. The storyline provides a setting about which most of us are unfamiliar, a set of characters who are quite unique but yet we can be touched by them and relate to each of their conflicts and attempts to find themselves. Mary Steenburgen plays the older women who have a need for attention from the Depp character. Juliette Lewis is a younger woman who is passing through town and encounters Gilbert Grape and ultimately his family. Her connection with Gilbert allows him to appreciate the possibilities he could have for himself. Director Lasse Hallsstrom and his cast all seemed to have sensitivity to this story and the film is beautifully made. While it may be geared toward sentimentality, it definitely works and has the potential to be unforgettable. You cannot help but be moved and inspired by the love and connection of the family throughout their challenges and changes. (1993)

 

 

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

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