Movie Review: Book Club

By now, unless you’ve recently emerged from a coma, you’ve probably heard of the bestselling erotica novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James, which spawned a trilogy, a movie trilogy and a movie parody, “Fifty Shades of Black,” in which the hero tortures the heroine by reading her excerpts from the real book, only to pause and crack, “Oh, God, this book is 50 shades of (expletive) terrible. Who wrote this, a third grader?” It’s a sentiment one of the characters (Candice Bergen) in “Book Club” shares as she protests vainly that she and her three lifelong friends (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen) started the club in order to stimulate their minds. Intentionally misunderstanding, Diane drawls in response, “Oh, this book is very…stimulating.” (One might also say the same of the quartet’s very first book, “Fear of Flying” by Erica Jong.) But James’ torrid prose soon..er, stimulates the quartet of women to jumpstart their own love/sex lives with results ranging from touching (sorry) to hilarious.

Of the four, Mary has the most non-Hollywood conflict: her husband (Craig T. Nelson) has recently retired, and they haven’t had sex since. Mary, who is fully competent in her career as a chef, is nevertheless floundering as she attempts to solve this problem, doing everything from signing them both up to perform a dance routine at a charity dinner to – well, if you’ve seen the trailer, you know what she eventually resorts to (putting Viagra in poor Craig’s drink). However, Craig is more interested in tinkering with an ancient motorcycle, which surprisingly is the trigger for all sorts of double entendre-laced conversations.

As for the others, Jane plays a wealthy hotel owner who eventually learns to slow down and find joy in splashing in a fountain with a handsome flame. Candice is a federal judge who has perhaps the biggest challenge – as she hasn’t had sex in eighteen years – but she manages to find a special someone by using an online dating service. (Oh and she does have a cat which seems to be an excuse for someone to make the predictable “pussy” joke.) As for Diane (her character is also called that), she gets the full Hollywood fantasy treatment by hooking up with an obscenely rich pilot who whisks her off to his villa, but she is conflicted because her two overprotective adult daughters want her to move in with them all the way in Arizona so they can overprotect her 24-7, if you can imagine.

Eventually, the characters all have the kind of ambivalence about their relationships that seems to be manufactured so that there can be not one, but four dramatic, heartwarming endings, including someone showing up last minute for a talent show (does anyone in movies ever not make it at the last minute to the talent show?), someone moving to New York, someone moving back home where they belong, and someone making a speech about values at an engagement party. (It’s like there was a special at the Hollywood scriptwriting store on fail-safe happy endings.) All the cast does a great job, plus it’s inspiring just looking at the accomplishments of the four leads – everything from having a baby out-of-wedlock on the small screen to inspiring millions of women to wear belts with leotards when they worked out. Time does fly, but it’s nice to see a movie where the message is that women in this decade are far from done living life to the fullest.

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FERRIS BUELLER’s DAY OFF: An Abridged Script

EXT. MATTHEW BRODERICK’s UBER-COOL TEEN BOY BEDROOM

MATTHEW’s DOTING MOM
(peers at mound under covers from which moans are emitting that could conceivably be MATTHEW’s)
Honey? Honey? How do you feel?

MATTHEW BRODERICK
Gee whiz, Ma, kind of under the weather. Maybe I’d better take a day off?

MATTHEW’s DOTING MOM
Good idea. Stay here and don’t move a muscle except to change the TV channel or lift a mug of cocoa.

MATTHEW’s DOTING DAD
Son, you can never be too careful with these bugs which only seem to occur when it’s gorgeous out. Why not take two or three?

MATTHEW’s PERPETUALLY PISSED OFF SISTER JENNIFER GREY
Hey, no fair! You make me go to school when I’ve got a fever of a hundred and three.

MATTHEW’s DOTING DAD
That’s because MATTHEW is our priceless treasure, whereas we aren’t even sure you belong to us. Besides we bought you a car, so what could you possibly have to complain about? Now scram.

JENNIFER pouts off, while MATTHEW’S MOM and DAD leave for work.

MATTHEW BRODERICK
(breaks fourth wall for first – but not last! – time)
My worst performance ever – and they bought it!

IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG AUDIENCE
Cool! He’s talking right to us!

MATTHEW BRODERICK
(real line)
You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.

MATTHEW gets up and does various things around the house, all the while talking to the camera and totally bonding with the AUDIENCE.
My sister got a car, but I got a computer. This means I have to bum rides off my friend, ALAN RUCK, who gets sick all the time, but the hypochondriac, I-can’t-tell-my-dad-he’s-a-douche kind. Trust me, you’ll be hearing a lot more about ALAN’s DAD throughout the movie. But we’re all going on a cool day trip to Chicago – I mean MOVIE CHICAGO which is really TORONTO – to de-repress ALAN.

INT. HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE of REPRESSED ANALNESS

JEFFREY JONES is twirling his mustache and talking to his SECRETARY EDIE McCLURG.

JEFFFREY JONES
So how many days has MATTHEW missed this year?

EDIE McCLURG
(pulls several pencils from her bouffant ‘do, scratches scalp, checks computer)
I think it’s sixteen – no, eight – no, two – see he’s hardly missed any days.

JEFFREY JONES
I am going to catch that little turd red-handed. (real line) I did not achieve this position in life by letting some snot nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind.

EDIE McCLURG
(rolls eyes)
JEFFREY, if you want my advice, stepping on a rake with bare feet would be less painful and more productive than attempting to make an example out of MATTHEW.

JEFFREY JONES
(continues to rant about maintaining his authority…
(totally ignores EDIE’s words of wisdom…
(gets AUDIENCE excited for the showdowns to come)

EXT. THE RUCK FAMILY GARAGE OVERLOOKING A BLUFF FEATURING ONE VERY COOL RED FERRARI

ALAN RUCK
OK, I’ve made a call to JEFFREY impersonating your girlfriend, MIA SARA’s DAD, and convinced him that MIA’s grandmother’s died, and she needs to be outside on the school steps to be picked up before we head off to Movie Chicago? Can we at least take my car even though it’s a junker? Please? Pretty please with whipped cream and nuts?

MATTHEW BRODERICK
No, you see, when we pick up MIA, JEFFREY won’t believe MIA’s DAD drives a cheap piece of shit like your car.

ALAN RUCK
(pouts at this unforgivable insult, as if he probably doesn’t hear much worse from his evil dad every day)
Well then, shall we call a cab?

MATTHEW BRODERICK
Nope. We’re taking the FERARRI…

ALAN RUCK
…which my dad loves way more than me and will literally kill me when he finds we touched it?

MATTHEW BRODERICK
That’s the one!

EXT. SCHOOL PARKING LOT

JEFFREY is trying to be compassionate to MIA which is kind of like watching a giraffe put on a tutu, but hey, it’s the thought that counts!

JEFFREY JONES
(real line)
You know, I had a grandmother…Two actually.

MIA SARA
(classily refraining from eye rolls)
You are a beautiful man, Mr. Rooney. And I am a complete suckup who is totally psyched that my boyfriend and his repressed best friend are heading this way to rescue me.

A totally disguised MATTHEW gets out and waves MIA over.

MATTHEW BRODERICK
(real line)
Do you have a kiss for Daddy?

THEY KISS – FRENCHILY – while JEFFREY stews. Then they get in the car and zoom off.

JEFFREY JONES
(choking on their literal dust)
Curses! Foiled again.

JENNIFER GREY
(skulking on the sidelines)
That little shit! He gets away with everything. I think I’ll leave, too, so there!

While MATTHEW, ALAN and MIA head into the Big City to visit such amazing attractions as a STOCK EXCHANGE, a BASEBALL GAME and a MUSEUM with PRICELESS ART WORK, JENNIFER goes home, and JEFFREY heads out to trap MATTHEW for a round of wacky high jinks, i.e. huge dose of humiliation.

EXT. MATTHEW’s HOME

JEFFREY JONES
Ha! I’ve got him now. Because the one thing, MATTHEW is – wait for it – stupid.

RECORDED MESSAGE
I’m sorry. I can’t come to the door right now. I’m afraid that…

JEFFREY JONES
(proving for the umpteenth time that he himself is the Mayor of Simpleton)
MATTHEW, get your ass down here, right this minute.

RECORDED MESSAGE
I’m sorry. I can’t come…

JEFFREY JONES
I’m coming in…

JENNIFER GREY
(who has returned and doesn’t recognize JEFFREY)
I will jump start the high jinks by jumping to conclusions/doing the sensible thing and phoning the police.

JEFFREY then gets attacked by twin Dobermans and loses his SHOE, WALLET and what’s left of his minuscule DIGNITY. Meanwhile JENNIFER gets hauled off to the police station because they think she is pranking them. Plus MATTHEW’s WORSHIPFUL PEERS send a singing porno telegram to cheer POOR SICK MATTHEW up. (And apparently, their family doesn’t have security cameras to record any of this.)

EXT. DOWTOWN MOVIE CHICAGO – A BIG PARADE is PREPARING TO COMMENCE

ALAN and MIA are walking down the street, but Matthew is nowhere in sight. Uh oh!

ALAN RUCK
(real line)
MATTHEW ditched us. He probably went back to school.

MIA SARA
Why does everyone in this movie except MATTHEW have an IQ of…

MATTHEW BRODERICK
(from parade float, real line)
This is for my friend, ALAN, who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today…ALAN RUCK, this one’s for you!

(launches into “TWIST AND SHOUT”. Everyone goes nuts. A group of AFRICAN-AMERICANS boogie rhythmically on some steps. An IMPOSSIBLY ADORABLE TODDLER gets funky in her stroller. MATTHEW’s DAD glances out the window but misses seeing his SON. The FLOAT GIRLS practically assault MATTHEW as he camps it up. And ALAN cheers up – at least MARGINALLY.)

EXT. POLICE STATION – BACK in BORING-SUBURBVILLE

CHARLIE SHEEN is sitting next to JENNIFER, ready to dispense some on-the-fly therapeutic advice.

JENNIFER GREY
CHARLIE, I don’t care that you’re wearing the LEATHER JACKET of IMPOSSIBLY HUNKY JUVENILE DELINQUENTNESS. Stay away from me, I’m in enough trouble.

CHARLIE SHEEN
Well, I’m at the start of my acting career, but let me help you anyway. Your main problem is that you’re jealous because everyone worships MATTHEW and ignores you. But I see through your tough exterior and know that you’re aching for affection.

JENNIFER GREY
And your remedy is?

CHARLIE SHEEN
Let’s make out.

They do, but are shortly interrupted by JENNIFER’s DISPLEASED MOM. Uh oh!

EXT. THE RUCK GARAGE

ALAN RUCK
Shit, the miles aren’t coming off the car! You promised they would. I’m dead.

MATTHEW BRODERICK
(displaying selflessness for the first time in the movie)
ALAN, don’t worry. When your father comes home, I’ll tell him it’s my fault. I’ll take the heat.

ALAN RUCK
(suddenly developing cojones for the first time in the movie)
No, that’s all right. I gotta take a stand.

AUDIENCE
Yes! You rock. You may be even cooler than MATTHEW.

But in his NEWFOUND RESOLVE, ALAN kicks the car too hard, and it sails through the garage window, where it will become covered in bird shit and other ravine debris shortly, and perhaps ALAN’s carcass will join it after DAD sees the mess, too. Oops!

ALAN RUCK
Er…well, too late to back down now. That would kind of make my whole character arc beside the point. So I’ll see you guys later.

MATTHEW realizes that his parents are about to come home, and so races to beat the clock, which he almost does – but then runs smack into JEFFREY. Oops. But then JENNIFER saves the day!

JENNIFER GREY
JEFFREY, I have your keys and your wallet. You’re in no position to be lording it over my brother. So why don’t you take your bedraggled self off. Maybe there’s a school bus you can board to increase your humiliation factor somewhere.

HE does. And MATTHEW makes it back into bed safely. And lives to break the fourth wall another day.

END

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2018 Movie Lessons

Warning: These contain spoilers.

Every Day

1. If your boyfriend has a spontaneous personality change and spends the day with you as a funny, attentive, sensitive non-smoker, he may be temporarily under the influence of a more evolved soul who’s borrowing his body.

2. If you are a body-traveling spirit who wants to get together with a girl you fancy fast before your parents force you to go on a car trip, it’s best to avoid inhabiting a body of someone who never exercises.

3. Even without knowing that your boyfriend is under the control of a time-traveling spirit, your mom will freak out when she discovers that you’ve been spending an unsupervised weekend with said boyfriend at the family lake house.

A Wrinkle in Time

4. Bringing along a guy you barely know on a quest to save the planet is fine as long as your younger brother vouches for his “diplomacy” skills, he says he likes your hair, and he’s cute!

5. If you meet three odd women who dress like community theater actresses and/or homeless people, but have the ability to make your backyard ripple like a wave, they’re probably sincere about wanting to escort you on a magical quest.

6. If you teleport to a beach on an evil planet and sample the cuisine there, don’t be  surprised if it still tastes like sand.

Ready Player One

7. Life in the future may be so hopeless that multiple gamers will be willing to enact the same fatal scenario repeatedly, even though it hasn’t a chance in hell of moving them up a coveted level.

8. If you’re a socially awkward computer genius who is dating your colleague’s love interest, creating a game which enacts your dilemma might not help too much in real life – but will entertain future gamers determined to win the grand prize.

9. Virtual reality moves pretty fast – but literally going backwards can be the key to advancing a level.

Chappaquiddick

10. If you can’t quite remember driving off a bridge the night before, submerging yourself in a bathtub of water will do the trick and jog your memory.

11. If you’re a public figure and need privacy to make a condolence call, you can always hijack the local chief of police’s office.

12. If you’re going to make a heartfelt speech to your constituents, make sure your gestures are scripted by cue cards to be extra moving.

Isle of Dogs

13. If you’re a dog on a trash-filled island, it’s still best to take vote with your pack before doing such things as fighting for a food package, helping a child who’s crashed onto the island, etc.

14. Once you’ve survived an accident that leaves you orphaned plus an unauthorized solo plane crash, pulling a propeller blade from the side of your head won’t faze you a bit.

15. Haiku can move even the hardest hearts, if you insert one into an impassioned speech to save your city’s pets from banishment.

A Quiet Place

16. If you and your family find themselves in a post-apocalyptic world populated by monsters attracted to sound, you should just rely on a system of lights to signal danger, rather than build a shelter where they can’t easily sneak up on you.

17. Even if you live in a world where monsters may try to kill you at anytime, corn silos can be potentially lethal places for kids, too, so keep something they can grab if they fall in handy.

18. When looting a drugstore with young children in said world, it’s best to double check to make sure they haven’t snuck any noisy toys with them before you leave. You might also want to keep a closer eye on them as you walk back home.

I Feel Pretty

19. To avoid a humiliating discussion about spin class shoe size, in front of all the skinny women waiting to get theirs, it might be best to bring your own.

20. Falling off an exercise bike might turn out to be more disturbing for the gym attendant than you if you fall under a spell and suddenly are convinced that you have become drop dead gorgeous, rather than merely bruised and in shock.

21. Even the relative of the girl who defeats you in a bikini contest will envy your boyfriend if you execute your moves with enough chutzpah.

Tully

22. If you’re a school administrator dealing with the pregnant mother of one of your problem students, avoid diplomatic adjectives like “quirky” like the plague, or face a meltdown the size of Texas.

23. Even a “bad” mom will already have every ingredient in the house she needs to make fancy cupcakes on the spur of the moment for her son’s kindergarten the next day (including food coloring in every shade of the rainbow); she just won’t have the energy to make them – at least for awhile.

24. Thomas Wolfe was right when he said you can’t go home again – especially not to the hipster pad you had in your twenties.

Overboard

25. If you’re hired to clean a spoiled playboy’s yacht, and he orders you to bring him a mango, you should probably feign deafness rather than engage in a knock-down drag-out argument.

26. If you open your home to an adult male amnesiac stranger, two days without any major alarms, including the stranger spontaneously bringing home frozen yogurt, is enough to let him sleep on the couch rather than the shed – even if you have three daughters.

27. Even if your temporary amnesia abates to the point where you can successfully hold down a second job delivering pizza by car – a task which requires good reflexes and judgment – you will still have no idea your wife and kids aren’t yours – and the issue of your license will never come up.

Life of the Party

28. If you are going to inform your wife that you’re having an affair and selling the house you’ve lived in since you got married, using words like “facilitate,” won’t keep her from dissolving into anger, protests and tears.

29. If you are a middle-aged housewife, and you attend a college party, de-frumping yourself calls for bold measures, i.e. using a random hairbrush in the frat bathroom.

30. If you find yourself saddled with a roommate who never goes outside and is uber-creepy, it pays not to antagonize her because she might wind up saving the day big time and keeping you in college. She could even turn out to be the cousin of a mega-pop star!

Movie Review: The Limehouse Golem

“Let us begin, my friends, at the end.”

So begins “The Limehouse Golem,” a Gothic mystery which is set, we’re informed, in the pre-Jack the Ripper era, sometime in the late 1800’s. It’s full of gentlemen in top hats, ladies in corsets, grimy streets, fine abodes and characters who speak in aphorisms (“He who observes spills no less blood than he who inflicts the blow.” Lactantius.) My first impression was regret that Mother’s Day had passed because it was the type of period film my mom would love, but as the film headed into the second half, I changed my mind. My mom likes British period films but not ones that descend into the realm of the overly absurd and campy. As “The Limehouse Golem,” is Gothic storytelling on steroids, I was probably wise to go with a gift card this year.

The “Golem” of the title is a murderer who’s terrorizing London, killing victims who do not appear to share any defining similar characteristics, but who is believed to be somehow linked to a music hall actress (Olivia Cooke), after her husband (Sam Reid) is killed, too. That’s the cue for Bill Nighy, who never fails to deliver regardless of period, to step in as an Inspector. We learn right away that he’s “not the marrying kind,” though why this detail is included given the age gap between him and Cooke, is never explained. His partner is the cherubic-faced Daniel Mays who doesn’t have much to do but is on Bill’s side, something Bill fears his superior isn’t and that he is being set up to fail. Anyway, Bill gets right to work which consists mostly of interviewing Olivia, who is on trial for possibly poisoning her husband, about her life. After a grim, poverty-ridden childhood, Olivia goes to live and work at a music hall after her mother passes. This is where she’s taken under the wing of the principal actor (the perpetually pale Douglas Boothe), who becomes her mentor (but not lover). Surprisingly, Olivia becomes a success, but when she meets Sam, he forces her to give up her acting career (you can see where this is heading).

Meanwhile, Bill runs around interviewing suspects, including – I swear – Karl Marx, beard and all (Henry Goodman). Henry also speaks in aphorisms, but in this case, it’s understandable, even if he seems to be shoehorned into the movie (maybe it’s clearer in the novel by Peter Ackroyd on which this is based). None of these suspects are anywhere half as intriguing as Olivia, but a job must be done. It becomes a race against time for Bill to prove her innocence before she ascends the gallows. And then there’s a twist! And then the movie refuses to end – the best you can say about this is that at least it subverts being too predictable. Viewers who enjoy British period mysteries may enjoy curling up on a dark and stormy night to watch “The Limehouse Golem,” but they should be prepared to be left scratching their heads when the credits roll.

Movie Review: Life of the Party

The pitch for “Life of the Party” doesn’t exactly require a lot of complex thought. It’s basically – What if Melissa McCarthy went “Back to School“!? Wouldn’t that be a hoot? After all, she’s already gone on the mother of all road trips (“Tammy“), been an amateur spy (“Spy“), and played a self-made gazillionaire who becomes a better person by helping her friend’s child’s scout troop be ace entrepreneurs (“The Boss“), so what more is there to do? Thus I assume Melissa and her director husband, Ben Falcone, scratched their heads for exactly two seconds for the next route to take – and the result is that we get Melissa playing a middle-aged housewife who drops off her daughter (Molly Gordon) at college along with her husband (Stephen Root). Just as we’re thinking Molly looks a little long in the tooth to be a freshman (even by movie standards), we learn that she’s a senior. (Whew – dodged that credibility bullet.)

As for Stephen, we know from the second he opens his mouth that he’s a dick because he reminds Melissa that technically she never graduated, so it’s his alma mater, not hers – you see, Melissa dropped out when she became pregnant with Molly during her senior year. Quickly he cements this impression because the moment Molly disappears into her mansion cum sorority house, he informs Melissa that a) he’s been seeing a Realtor – Julie Bowen, b) he’s selling the house because it’s in his name, and c) he likes to kick puppies when no one is looking. Actually, c) is that he’s not taking her on her long-awaited trip  abroad, but you get the picture. Even with ample consolation from her best friend (Maya Rudolph) and a liquored up racquet ball session, Melissa is bummed.

However, her bummed out period lasts about three scenes, and then Melissa gets a brainstorm – she’ll enroll in college to finish her degree, as she’s just one semester’s credits away from getting that sheepskin. Molly isn’t exactly thrilled to have her mom on campus – even though they’re in different houses, but her friends welcome their new classmate/den mother with open arms. Soon “Dee-Rock” ditches her specs, lets her hair down literally and becomes – the life of the party! She quickly starts impressing her archaeology professor (Chris Parnell) who is delighted to have a student who laughs at his corny puns. She also catches the eye of a guy much younger (Luke Benward) with whom she becomes smitten (it’s mutual) at a party. Meanwhile Stephen Root gets his ear pierced and quickly things escalate to the point where he and Gillian are tying the knot. And though Melissa is a force of nature on campus, lecturing her quasi-sorority sisters on girl-power and self-esteem, she still has a few things to learn herself.

In “Back to School,” there’s a scene where Rodney meets up with his son and his best friend who are buying books and supplies – he helpfully clears out the jam-packed store by announcing that Bruce Springsteen is outside. “Life of the Party,” tops this by having a plot point center around a non-existent visit by Christina Aguilera, or so that’s what everyone believes. In this case, fibbing is rewarded, just another mildly mixed message this movie sends, but the jokes are so relentlessly and cheerfully lobbed at the viewer that in the end, it’s beside the point. As for the viewer who might be doing math to gauge the extent that Melissa is robbing the cradle, there’s her father who, after listening to Luke’s impassioned speech as to how much he cares for her, intones mirthlessly: “Son, I have a gun.”

A Look Back: Sky High

As a rule, the logistics of being a superhero do not tend to be explored either when establishing a backstory or advancing on to Save the Planet. But sometimes you gotta wonder. What happens if you order replacement tights or a breast shield from Amazon, and you get a notice in your email that they’re on back order – so very sorry, but these things do happen? In the era where everyone carries a cell, where do you go to change from your street clothes into your super costume when you receive an urgent bulletin that someone is in trouble? Is there a gene for superpowerism – and is it dominant or recessive? If your children don’t inherit your powers, what is a viable career path for you to point them toward?

The last question is, in fact, explored in a 2005 film “Sky High.” Most parents, at least today, are convinced that their kids are truly extraordinary, but what happens if they are wrong? While this may not matter much in a world where no one is gifted with superpowers – the odds that they’ll find their niche with love and support is likely to occur, in one where every other child is suddenly flying around the livingroom or turning twigs into apple-bearing trees with a touch, this presents a problem. (This is the reverse of “Matilda” in which Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman kept failing to notice that their daughter really was a telekinetic genius, even as ordinary objects zoomed around them.) Like the Harry Potter-verse, in the world of “Sky High,” it’s common for superpowers to manifest themselves with the coming of puberty. So when Will (Michael Angarano), son of The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston), who is about to start his freshman year at Sky High, fails to show any signs of this, he lets his parents assume otherwise. His best friend/love interest, Danielle Panabaker, does have the aforementioned twig-transforming talent, but she doesn’t treat as any big deal and loyally keeps Michael’s secret when the movie opens.

The next day, Michael and his fellow newbies are transported to Sky High in a flying bus driven by Kevin Hefferman who is a Squib, er, I mean the non-super-powered offspring of two superheroes, but who is good-natured about the whole deal. Once there, the freshies are taken to the gym so that they can put on the Sorting Hat – er, give a display of their particular power so they can be sorted into the Hero or Sidekick track. Because Danielle refuses to display hers, she and Michael are put in the latter track, which is not exactly going to propel them to Super Ivy League heights. However, Kurt, still under the impression that Michael has powers, later takes him into his inner sanctum and shows him his most impressive weapon – the Pacifier, which he took off a supervillain in his younger years called (no snickering now) Royal Pain. Like father, like son!

Things take a turn for the better when Michael gets into an altercation with the school bully (Steven Strait), finally manifests super-strength, and is promptly whisked off to the cushy Hero track. He also attracts the eye of a super-popular senior (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who doesn’t mind robbing the cradle; this however, puts her at odds with Danielle as you might expect. Also, there is a super-villain who is still nursing old wounds and who plans to get revenge big-time. You know how this is going to pan out – with everyone learning a Valuable Lesson about respecting differences, and with the world safely saved.

Sky High” is a tad derivative, but then what movie isn’t in this genre? It doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence some of the cheesy names), and is chock full of super-fun. It also caught fire when it comes to the endless fan fiction churned out by writers who dream of having super-powers. Enjoy.

Movie Review: Overboard (2018)

Head injuries in Hollywood movies can be many things – a way to inject humor in a scene that needs it, for example. Another popular use is using them as a catalyst for a character to begin transforming into a better person. This happened in “Regarding Henry,” in which getting shot in a drugstore robbery turned out to be the best thing possible for Harrison Ford, even though technically he sustains brain damage, he learns how cool it is to see your daughter’s face light up when you bring home a puppy. In “Overboard,” the Garry Marshall remake which originally starred Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Eugenio Derbez falls off his yacht in a drunken state, gets claimed by Anna Faris who wants to teach him a lesson, and becomes Dad of the Year. And all this in a span of a week.

In “Overboard,” Anna plays a single mom who works as a carpet cleaner and a pizza delivery person for a restaurant, who is totally overwhelmed, much like Charlize Theron in “Tully,” except she’s not pregnant. Though she’s studying to become a nurse, the viewer may wonder why she just doesn’t try to make some fast money by writing a book in which she explains how she’s managed to maintain her fabulous figure after having three kids. (Plus her selfish 72-year-old mother, Swoosie Kurtz, has decided to take an acting role and can’t watch the kiddos.) In one of her cleaning jobs, she meets Eugenio who plays a spoiled playboy and billionaire heir to a company that manufactures bags to carry cement in among other lucrative ventures. She and Eugenio get into a heated fight after he demands she bring him a snack, which results in Anna losing her job and owing the company $3,000 for a piece of destroyed equipment. Eugenio’s father is very ill, as well, and one of his sisters is angling to take over the company when he croaks. So when Eugenio temporarily drops off the map, she has a vested interest in making sure he stays gone.

Meanwhile, Anna – egged on by her best friend (Eva Longoria) concocts a ruse in which she shows up at the hospital claiming to be Eugenio’s wife. He resists, but after she points out an intimate detail – a tattoo on his rear – the doctor is sufficiently convinced to release him without any blood tests or anything that might get in the way of Anna’s plans. Which are – get Eugenio a menial pool building job with Eva’s brother, and force him to do her chores while she studies for her nursing exam. Eugenio gets the hang of things fast, and what you might expect if you’ve seen a movie before occurs. But how can Anna bear to tell the truth, etc., etc.?

Overboard,” is the reverse of Rudyard Kipling’s “Captain Courageous,” in which a spoiled rich boy becomes a man by going aboard a fishing boat and working his butt off, but it’s basically a fairytale in this version that may not be too convincing when you consider the advances in social media – not to mention medical care. It has some sweet scenes centering around the kids, but is probably worth waiting for on DVD if you don’t have an abundance of free time. And can’t manage to find someone with amnesia to do your chores.

Discussion questions: 1. If you could get away with it, would you kidnap a rich person with temporary amnesia and make them your temporary servant? If so, who would you choose? Explain.

2. What precautions would you put in place to ensure that they didn’t find out? Which of your friends and/or family members would you trust with your secret? Explain.

3. If you got in trouble with the law, would you accept the consequences without complaint, or would you try to bargain with the judge? What kind of real life consequences do you think someone would receive in a case like this anyway? Explain.