‘All the better to see you with’; Lily T’s Grandma has teeth, the wisdom type

Can I say that much like Fleetwood Mac, I was semi annoyed by and ignorant of the talent of Lily Tomlin throughout the 70’s and 80’s, UNTIL, I saw her incredibly nuanced portrait in Paul Weitz’s “Grandma”.

Next, let me rail on the ageism that is America. I asked two friends to go to this film and both reacted as if I had ask them to drink a bottle of Geritol. Hopefully you dear reader have taken care of yourself and are comfortable with your age. At 51, I’m hoping the half-time show just ended, with plenty of action yet to go.

At any rate, I widened my movie friend radius and my companion enjoyed the film as much as I did, in spite of his gender (male) and the movie’s story being 90% female.

I don’t want to say too much about this film, it’s that good, to just go and enjoy. Just some basics, Lily plays an unconventional Grandma and her f-bombed (though appropriately played and not gratuitous f-bombs) odyssey with her grand daughter felt real.

Please give Sam Elliott a Best Supporting Actor nomination right now, for one of the most emotionally complicated scenes I’ve ever seen in film.

Forget worrying about how square you are to see a movie named Grandma and just get there.

Black Mass, Shine Up the Oscar


“Black Mass” directed by Scott Cooper (as in director of Crazy Heart-eye roll) wasn’t a 10 in my book, but Johnny Depp deserves the Oscar for totally absorbing the persona of Whitey Bulger. Much like other pros, Phonenix’s Johnny Cash, Bale’s Dicky Eklund, you forget you’re watching an actor.

Describing the movie’s flaw is a tough one as it did fulfill many purposes:

*had an exemplary performance as the lead…and the Oscar goes to Depp!
*explained complex mafia war in a manner where I was never lost (though Patrick Radden Keefe’s “Assets and Liabilities”, New Yorker 9/21/15 was a great pre-read)
*had engaging actors and actresses in minor roles; for instance Dakota Fanning has overcome her 50 shades of ridiculousness to genuine acting!, Rory Cochrane was gorgeous as the sad eyed stooge friend
*added accolades to ‘the year of Joel Edgerton’, who was phenomenal as FBI agent and “Southie Brother”, and is another actor who I didn’t keep thinking, ‘oh yes, just saw him in The Gift’, another great transformer
*showed supposed caring nuances of Whitey Bulger

Maybe that’s the problem…maybe the story’s sum total is too large and thus sucks the emotional component out
OR even more possible, its tough to give a hoot about cold blooded killers and the guys who enabled them. Karma does rule in this story though and the most viral thugs are rotting in jail. And the Pope’s comin to Phili, so all’s well that ends well:)

Mistress America: Am I Rushing or Am I Dragging?

Savvy readers will know that my title is a quote from “Whiplash”, my favorite movie of last year.

I use it because Greta Gerwig (and I consider myself a fan) seemed to be rushing or lines in the opening scenes, like watching out of sync audio, but with her lips moving in time. I think she was going for a strong goofy premise, but what I experienced was free jazz, not palatable.

That being said, I’d say go see Mistress America since you finally get used to Greta’s quirk , and at the risk of showing off my rhyming talent, and Lola Kirke was excellent playing 7 years younger (she’s an elderly 25 in real life). My only quibble with her performance isn’t her, but the personality given to an 18 year old.
Tell me if you agree: Lola aka Hailey, is shocked at the shallowness of Greta, aka Tracy’s ‘Jacklyn of all trades, master of none’. From my witness of real teens and twenty somethings, I think the majority are right there with Tracy, squeamish about career investment (meaning a 40 hour work week spent perfecting a craft with subsequent benefits of roots and routine ). I’m sure there are some deep, self-aware 18 year old college freshmen, but they are most likely white capped woodpeckers.

The New Yorker (generally snooty in film reviews) gushed that a scene or two were Woody Allenesque. I would concur though one scene does not maketh an Annie Hall. I truly enjoyed the film though and perhaps Greta and Noah Baumbach (writing partners and romantic partners) were attempting to rage against what they view is shallow skittish millennials. While the movie doesn’t condemn Tracy, I believe it shines light on the flaws of employment phobia as well as a social comment on materialistically inspired romances.