Tag: teenagers


20th Century Women

January 26th, 2017 — 11:21pm

***

20th Century Women-rm

This movie is set in the 1970s and examines the relationship between a single divorced mother and her only child, a 15-year-old son. It takes place in Santa Barbara, a coastal town North of Los Angeles. While we were raising teenagers on the East Coast during these years, there was little that we could relate to other than perhaps the music of Talking Heads playing in the background and the fact that parents can never fully understand their teenage children. However, it is the latter point that becomes the essence of this movie.

Annette Bening plays Dorothea, the mother in a role which she has already been nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She has decided that she can never teach a son what he needs to know about women and life so she asks Julie (Elle Fanning), a slightly older teenage girl who is her son’s friend and Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a few years older young woman who boards in their house to develop a dialogue with Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) and teach him what she was unable to do. There is also William (Billy Crudup) another boarder in the house who typifies a 1970s young man in his 30s. Jamie for the most part seems to be doing fine but it is mom who is having trouble negotiating her stage of life. Credit goes to Director Writer Michael Mills for capturing the atmosphere of this period piece with flashes of old cars, Jimmy Carter, uninhabited coastal views, 1970’s music, chain smoking of cigarettes, and discussion about the female orgasm.

Most viewers of this movie should find some meaningful identification whether it jogs memories of the 1970s or the universal dilemmas of negotiating certain stages of life. We are not sure it is worth sitting through the entire film (2016)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

The Grand Canyon

May 27th, 2012 — 7:30pm

****

The Grand Canyon nf– After recently seeing Director/Writer Larry Kasden’s latest film Darling Companion and liking it very much we decided to view this 1991 film also directed by Kasden and co- written with his wife Meg Kasden. This film was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay. It is set and made in Los Angeles about one year before the LA Riots. It is about people from different parts of town whose lives intersect due to some random circumstances. Kevin Kline plays Mac, a successful attorney who goes off the beaten path in more than one way but finds himself seemingly rescued by Simon (Danny Glover), a tow truck driver. Their lives and their life styles reflect their different social, racial and economic settings. The important people in each of their lives are struggling with their own identities and life crisis. Mack’s wife Claire (Mary McDonnell) questions her marriage and tries to deal with her feelings as she is watching her teenage son grow up and have his first romance. She has to decide how to fulfill her own life as well as that of a newborn abandoned child who she discovers while out jogging. Simon’s sister (Afre Woodard), on the other side of town is trying to figure out how to raise her teenage son who can’t see any other choices than being a gang member. Everyone’s lives are intersecting. Not only does the film contrast different life styles in Los Angeles that are only a few minutes car ride away from each other but also puts a mirror to the personal decisions that each person has to make. Kasden uses an ensemble cast of excellent actors and it seems that he has chosen Steve Martin to play the character closest to himself. In a non-comedic role Martin is Davis, a movie producer who wants to make honest films that show the human condition even if they contain realistic violent action that he does best. We come away from this movie reflecting that we are each a tiny spec in this universe that we can’t control but we still have decisions to make that can make a difference. (1991)

1 comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

Little Birds

June 28th, 2011 — 6:23am

****

This movie is by first time filmmaker Elgin James who, developed it  in a Sundance Workshop and it was accepted into the Sundance Film Festival which isn’t a  slam dunk for films that come up this way. James who wrote and directed movie comes from the streets of Boston and he chose to convey his gritty experiences through the characters of two teenage girls who come from the poverty stricken coastal town of Salton Sea in California and end up with some older boys on the streets of a grimy section of  Los Angeles. The strength of the film is the insight and development of  these two young girls Allison Huffman (Kay Panabaker) and Lily Hobart (Juno Temple) who are portrayed magnificently. Their attachment, dependency on each other and yet their differences unfold before us as they try to escape their environment. The storyline creates tension and anxiety. The three older boys with whom these girls connect David (Chris Coy), Louis (Carlos Pena) and John (Kyle Gallner) are as real as they can be and sadly operate just as you would expect them to. Compared to these five young people, the peripheral characters  are somewhat an enigma to us as their back stories are thin and vague. They do seem authentic and there are excellent performances by Leslie Mann, Kate Bosworth, Neil McDonough and particularly by JR Bourne who does a captivating dramatic role at the conclusion of the movie.  Although the little birds of this story had more reason to fly the coop than the daughters of many who are reading this now, we all know that when any teenager spreads her wings, anything can happen. This movie will be released in September and we will be rooting for it to fly. (2011)

1 comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Trust

April 4th, 2011 — 10:56pm

*****

Trust- rm –  This is an important movie. It addresses a serious problem that every family with budding teenagers will have to face. We want our children to master the Internet and the unlimited horizons which it offers them in their education and future ability to navigate in this global world. We also don’t have any choice because this wonderful technology provides us instant communication with cell phones and the ability to stay in touch with family and friends. It also gives young people the ability and opportunity to meet and communicate with anyone and everyone. There are teen chats where teenagers can meet other teenagers anyplace in the world or in the next town. Of course teenagers, especially girls tend to develop crushes and infatuations and it is only natural that they might want to meet their computer/phone pal. What if it turns out that he isn’t really a teenager but a little or a lot older but still seems like a nice guy? This is the situation that a 14 year old from a very solid home with successful loving parents, a brother going away to college and a younger kid sister, found herself in. Teenage life being what it is, includes up pressures in one’s school and social life and a natural desire to be accepted, loved and to explore their new sexuality. This very relevant story written by Andy Billin and Robert Festing , produced and directed by David Schwimmer considers  the devastating consequences which befall this girl and  her parents. Liana Liberato captures the spirit of an enthusiastic teenager who just made the volleyball team but yet has the   uncertainty and vulnerability of so many girls who are trying to get hang of the complexities of socializing in their new school environment. Catherine Keener plays her impacted mom and  Clive Owen  is her dad originally from Great Britain and a successful  advertising  executive which is helping to create the tween market which he at one point ironically and sickenly realizes may be creating sexual interest in youngsters  the age of his daughter. He struggles with his own feelings of inadequacies as a father and rage at anyone who might threaten or hurt his daughter. You might expect this subject to best dealt with by a documentary which could provide statistics, interviews with therapists, police and FBI agents as well as some parents or victims. This movie had all of the above in the form of a fast moving drama which conveyed the emotional pain of everyone involved. Schwimmer, who actually is  on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica, with this film  may have ended up  protecting untold numbers of young girls  from being hurt because of knowledge and awareness gained by viewing this film.  In fact this is the ideal movie to be viewed by parents and teenagers together followed by a nice dinner or snack to provide the vehicle and a good discussion. (2011)

1 comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

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