Last Time, First Time, Sing Street, Weiner

Last Time, First Time
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My last movie in New York State was a great ending. I took my visiting son to see “Sing Street”. I had avoided it at the regular theater after skimming a New Yorker review which said in effect that the music was not special and the story schmaltzy. As has been the case before, while I love my New Yorker, the movie critics can be stuffed shirts.

“Sing Street”, written and directed by John Carney of the small budget Oscar Winner “Once” was adorable and HIGHLY recommended if you have an adolescent with talent as a budding musician or singer. Inspirational in tone with charming performances, most notably by Jack Reynor (even better now that I know he’s American, I believed his Irish accent whole hog) as the under achieving older brother. The other two stand outs were the lead couple/potential lovers; Lucy Boynton and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (time for a stage name, my son). Boynton has the perfect blend of tough and sentimental and Walsh-Peelo is Say Anything/John Cusack adorable. I hope the film gave my son continued hope to pursue his singing career with verve in NYC.

The first film I saw as a resident of Sarasota was “Weiner”. I don’t think this was Sundance prize winning worthy, mainly because the editing could have been much tighter. Sure we need to see Anthony and Huma in their natural habitat, but there were several clips that were unnecessary. I also swear I heard the beep, beep, beep of reversing delivery truck that dumped the ridiculous number of ignorant media’s shark feeding frenzy stories. Anthony Weiner is smart and articulate and ironically very mature at times. He called it correctly though when he said that his true story would get lost in the media vortex hell bent on the shallow spin of judging a person’s totality on a few bad weeks in his entire life.

Also missing were any answers to much more intriguing questions: did Anthony suffer from survivor’s guilt after the hit and run death of an older brother? Anthony’s mom’s in the doc, but how do we account for the absence of Anthony’s dad? Those answers would have taken depth that apparently Joshua Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg weren’t willing to attempt.

Swiss Army Man: Sartre’s Back!

Sartre’s been reincarnated and come back as the film writing and directing duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinhert. Swiss Army Man reminded me a lot of the play No Exit in that I kept thinking, when in the hell are we getting out of the woods? I suggested the film to my mom and her beau for a fun family night, knowing Paul Dano never fails, expecting a quirky more high brow Weekend at Bernie’s…definitely not the outcome.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie’s not horrible and actually won the directing prize and was nominated for the Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Fest. Paul Dano can’t do anything wrong in my eyes. He brings such passion and open spirit to each role that I’m willing to take the ride. The bromance reminded me of The Fisher King, but with unfortunately far less impact than Bridges and Williams.

On the other hand, I’ve been to Gordy Hoffman’s inspirational Blue Cat Screenwriting Workshops and could hear his voice going, “Wait, we’re a minute 9, still in a cave and the corpse is just laying there?” The fundamental problem with movies these days is lack of editing, plain and simple. In writing we’re taught to ‘kill your darlings’, meaning cut, excise, tighten. This film was bloated which actually is the perfect analogy to end on as I picture Daniel Radcliffe’s body washed up on shore.

Swiss Army Men, prepare for darkness. There is no exit.