“That’s My Boy”
At this point, Adam Sandler makes movies to give cameo opportunities for free NFL tickets and interview possibilities – N.Y. Jets coach Rex Ryan is a lawyer and Dan Patrick is a sleazy talk-show host. He also offers roles for stars in the “Where are They Now?” category – Vanilla Ice is part of this cast – Sandler…stop collaborate and listen. The story is an extended joke about a male teenager having sex with his hot teacher. Costarring fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Andy Samberg makes sense – besides him being the funniest thing in the movie, his career and humor are reminiscent of early Sandler. But the acting is clunky in every direction. The storyline is the same as every other Sandler-produced comedy. Really, there’s nothing to give thanks for – pass.
A little more than 15 years ago a geeky dude named Wes Anderson made the art-house heist movie “Bottle Rockets.” Since, he’s made art-house movies that seem to exist out of time and examine loneliness, love and abandonment, in the guise of dysfunctional families, sea explorers and clay foxes. The soundtracks for his movies absolutely capture the emotions and periods his movies are set in. Films with depth through character and setting development – a place where humor and drama are intermingled and discover the world together. Anderson regulars, Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson, are both suspiciously missing from this Anderson film’s cast. But Bill Murray returns for his sixth Anderson project and Jason Schwartzman his fourth – Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis sign up for their first. But the stars of this movie are the young runaway lovers, played by newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Their scenes together are sweet and poetic. What better way of spending a Thanksgiving weekend with the family – a Wes Anderson Marathon, capped off with this masterpiece among a list of master works? Worth a Watch.
“People Like Us”
The directorial debut of Alex Kurtzman is a real surprise. Kurtzman’s resume shows he’s a writer of action and sci-fi – the new “Star Trek,” its upcoming sequel, “The Fringe,” a “Zorro” and “Transformers” movie and “Cowboys and Aliens.” But nowhere do we see a drama, much less a drama about broken families. Well, Kurtzman can check the box for this genre too and he can put a plus-sign beside it because he succeeded. Bringing along the new Capt. Kirk, Chris Pine, for the ride – Pine proves his versatility as an actor, carrying this story about the loss of a father and the discovery of a sister he didn’t know he had. Elizabeth Banks is the sister and in usual Banks’ fashion, she doesn’t crush the role but she doesn’t screw it up either. Young actor Michael Hall D’Addario really steals the show and makes Banks better and has a great chemistry with Pine. Kurtzman demonstrates his chops, there are beautiful moments mixed with emotionally battering ones. A film that will make you appreciate the uncomplicatedness or relate to the complicatedness of your own family – either way, people like you should watch “People Like Us.”
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge