Tag: Steve Carrell


Beautiful Boy

October 15th, 2018 — 7:54pm

***

Beautiful Boy-rm

This movie has the potential to help educate the public about the terrible opioid epidemic in this country and to particularly highlight the devastating impact that methamphetamine is causing on so many young people. The story is based on the true life experiences of a young man by the name of Nic Sheff and that of his father, David Sheff, both of whom wrote books upon which the screen play by Luke Davis and by the film director, Felix Van Groeningen was written

We have not read the above books and do not know if there were any significant psychological determinants described for the teenage boy’s drug behavior shown in the books as they did not seem to be present in the film. This young man was played by Timothée Chalamet who was nominated for an Oscar last year for his performance in “Call Me By Your Name.” The father, David Sheff was played by comedian and veteran actor, Steve Carrell who certainly depicted the pain that his character felt upon seeing his son relapse multiple times and realizing that his love and care for his son could not save him from drugs

Toward the end of the film, we are confronted with the bold statement to the effect that methamphetamine is perhaps the most addictive and deadly of all the drugs being abused today. As a psychiatrist, one of us has been told by many different patients who abused drugs, that they know on average 10 to 20 people who have died of overdoses. The deadly toll in this film was actually mild compared to the reality that users know exists.

If you have encountered the scourge and deadliness of this epidemic, you may able to identify with the pain of the characters in this film. If this is new to you, we are not sure that the movie will affect you as it should. (2018)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

The Big Short

January 4th, 2016 — 4:03am

***

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 4.26.28 PMThe Big Short-rm

You probably know that this movie is not about pants or the measurement of peoples’ height. It is about one of the largest financial meltdowns in this country’s history and how much of it was because of some behind-the-scenes financial trickery carried on by Wall Street insiders. It is based on a book by Michael Lewis which we have not read, although M.B. did read and recommend another book by him, Flash Boys which is about a different type of financial manipulation carried by some Wall Street people

In The Big Short, Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, a real person who is a brilliant, somewhat peculiar guy, maybe Asperger type. He actually was a physician who ended up as a chief of a large financial fund. He studies numbers very carefully and concludes that the mortgage market which has always been thought to be reliable and dependable, is on the verge of collapse. The reason for this (now this is the tricky part) is because hundreds or maybe thousands of mortgages have been lumped together in mortgage bond funds that people buy and trade for the high interest rates that they generate. These funds include AAA mortgages, BB and C mortgages, the latter groups being known as subprime mortgages.

Nobody seemed to have noticed how fragile and vulnerable these mortgage funds are and that this house of cards was on the verge of collapse. That is except this one strange guy and a few other financial wheeler dealers who get wind of what’s going down. Once such team is led by a character played by Steve Carell, who continues to demonstrate his acting chops in serious roles. There are the usual excellent depictions of various key players by Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

There are some riveting dramatic moments as the movie goer can get caught up in the impending crash. You may not fully understand exactly what is happening but don’t feel badly since most people didn’t either as it was really happening. When the dust cleared, this cost our economy over a billion dollars (this movie only cost $28 million). We hope that people who run and regulate our economy learned some lessons from this story, but that probably is not the case. Many people, though, will find this movie quite enjoyable although it may make you uncomfortable about the future. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

The Way, Way Back

July 28th, 2013 — 8:15am

The Way, Way Back***

The Way, Way Back- rm   It is not an easy feat to make a coming of age movie that gets grown adults to identify with a kid who is supposed to be 14 and barely looks that age. In our opinion Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (Oscar winning writers for the Descendants), the duo who wrote and directed this film (and also gave themselves small to medium acting roles in it ) successfully just did that with us. By the end we were rooting for the kid and had a tear in our eyes. Steve Carrell steps out of his comedic shoes and does a formidable job playing Trent, the intense but not quite true blue boyfriend of Pam (Toni Collette), who is taking  her son Duncan (Liam James) along with Trent’s  daughter to his summer New England beach house. Duncan is struggling with  his unhappiness with his divorced family and this summer excursion that he doesn’t want to be on. . They meet next door neighbor bubbly friendly Betty (Allison Janney) her son and daughter who become important characters in what unfolds. There are other summer people including a flirtatious housewife played by Amanda Peet. We begin to appreciate everybody’s situation and most of all how Duncan feels. The plot has a fairy tale quality but instead of a castle there is a big water ride and a bunch of grown ups who work at the water ride and befriend Duncan. The most improbable of this group is Owen  (Sam Rockwell). He is very funny, one of the supervisors of the water enterprise and immediately sensitive and insightful into the struggling Duncan. We would have to picture him as the big brother or ideal cool dad that we are sure Duncan  would have loved to have had . Owens’s girl friend is Caitlin (Maya Rudolph), a bit wiser than the others, but delightful. Two other workers in this water ride are blended into the story and are played as previously mentioned by the directors and writers of  the film. These director/writers should also get credit along with Mr. James who successfully inhabits Duncan for the sensitive depiction of the pain, suffering , determination and triumph that he projects on the screen  as he ultimately finds himself. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

Hope Springs

July 28th, 2012 — 5:59am

****

Hope Springs- sp. This is the kind of movie that in addition to being quite entertaining, might very well stimulate discussion in married couples about what may have lost in their marriage over the years. Early in the movie we meet Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) from Omaha, Nebraska who have been married 31 years, have grown children out of the house and now sleep in separate bedrooms. Kay is not happy with this situation and she books a week of intensive couples therapy with the famous author and therapist in Maine Dr. Feld (Steve Carrell). Then the fun begins or perhaps the pain, depending how you experience this well done movie directed by David Frankel based on script by Vanessa Taylor. Producer Todd Black who spoke to the audience we were in  at the UCLA Extension Course at the Screen Writers Guild theater, noted that varying  groups previewing this movie had different reactions. The younger audiences apparently are rolling in their seats with laughter so you can’t even hear some of the lines. The older audiences laugh a lot but in different places and seem to have a different appreciation of the film. No doubt this is an entertaining movie but sometimes laughter is a cover up for anxiety that can occur when some hidden truths are exposed. Meryl Streep, we are told was one of driving forces wanting to make this movie and send a message to middle aged couples who might need some motivation to examine a marriage that has lost it’s spark. She as usual is terrific. She found a way to look and act like every woman and yet have that special desire and also show it. Tommy Lee Jones was not a bad choice for the husband that most guys wouldn’t mind identifying with as he goes about his everyday business pretending that he doesn’t miss the early days of his marriage. He comes off a little too stereotypical in this role but it works. Steve Carrell has that same bland look and tone that he conveys in the Office but his hint of a smile and his persona makes us believe that he really cares as the doctor therapist. Much of the movie is about what happens to sex in marriage. There is some practice with bananas and at least one orgasm but everybody pretty much keeps their clothes on and the movie did get a  PG 13 rating. If the star power of the movie works and the hype doesn’t scare off the guys, this should be a successful film. All the adults should be in for an enjoyable movie with the possibility of some good repercussions for many.(2012) 

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Romance

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