The Second Time Around

2019’s been such a great year in film that I’ve seen several a second and some even a third time around. Do I have a movie addiction(?), probably, but thank goodness for the directors. screenwriters and actors making it a tremendous buzz.

Here’s what I noticed on my recent second time films:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, so much magic within the film, that I noticed but quickly forgave the clunky beginning where Matthew Rhys’s
character accepts an award.

Likewise in Honey Boy, my second time realized the story’s rough edges, the almost too independent movie scent of it, but still the performances and the atmosphere certainly make you not care so much about the lack of polish. In fact, like Florida Project, polish might take away some of the emotion.

I need to see Marriage Story a second time before i really place my top three: but currently my top ten are:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Marriage Story
Honey Boy
The Lighthouse
Peanut Butter Falcon
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Her Smell
Parasite
Judy
Uncut Gems (haven’t seen it yet, but i love my Safdie’s)

Honorable Mentions: Book Smart, The Farewell and The Souvenir

Almost Toxin, West Virginia

Mark Ruffalo deserves some credit. He could choose pretty roles at this point in his career, fun stuff like all comic book movies or even hold out for the ninth Tarantino, but no, Ruffalo has consistently chosen movies he finds important: Spotlight, Foxcatcher and now the well written and directed “Black Waters”.

“Black Waters” details one attorney’s brave journey over almost two decades in nailing the DuPont Company for gross negligence in hiding injurious effects of chemicals used and dumped at their many factories. Todd Haynes, directed this, as well as the award winning film “Carol”. Haynes has an artistic eye and from the get go, I was taken in by the West Virginian curves of this tale. Much like Ford V. Ferrari, DO NOT google this ahead of time, let Todd and the trio of writers do the heavy lifting while you enjoy the twists and turns.

And that’s a revelation I had tonight, questioning myself for ‘running away from home’ as I do, to attend a movie, when I could easily turn on the news to get some intelligence. But that’s just it: the news is no longer investigative, unless you count the violence porn of what 20/20 has become. We really don’t know what the biggest news stories are right now due to media bias. If we are not getting political slant, then it’s fluff pieces (quite literally) on cute pets.

So the bad news is we sit in our internet fog looking at what J Lo wore on SNL, while we drink and swim in water that might be harming us. But the upside is that due to concerned citizens like Todd Haynes and Mark Ruffalo (and the previously mentioned screenwriters and magazine reporters) who cared enough about actual humans, we at least receive some real news at the movies.

So my question is, could movies be our new news source?

Inside Game, A Tremendous Rebound

Say what you might about the B level soundtrack and some of the clunky performances, Inside Game (directed by Randall Bantinkoff and written by Andy Callahan) has the true to life gritty feel of a quality reality show. It’s the perfect movie for sports fans, especially NBA fans, a hot topic right now considering that Uncut Gems (the Safdie Brothers new movie) also delves into the sometimes sordid world of sports betting.

What I liked about the movie:
most of the dialogue was realistic
the acting was genuine, especially the leads: Erc Mabius as Tim Donaghy; Tim graciously came to Burns Court Cinema for a post movie Q & A by my charismatic friend and film expert, Gus Mollasis. Will Sasso as Baba and Scott Wolf as Tommy, all three of whom were high school buddies.

The story telling was mostly good, a nice sandwich of boyhood hoop dreams that devolve into sports betting and drug and alcohol.

The female characters were portrayed as materialistic, but given our extremely wealthy area, it seems the resemblance is very familiar. The men seem sympathetic, attempting to make the moola necessary to fulfill their needs. This does not blame them or excuse the men for their extra-marital conquests, but ask me for my Modern Love column submission where I give my take on the current sad status of men who cater to women’s needs, stuffing their own and then acting out immaturely. This plot adds to my case.

Don’t get me wrong, this is truly a B level movie, yet there was a certain honesty and rawness to it that led me to enjoy most. And of course, given we had one of the three represented to speak after, certainly added to my enjoyment. I root for Tim Donaghy to shop his book, Personal Foul since I think with the right cast and director, and Tim’s personal after prison journey, this could be a blockbuster. Hey PT Anderson, what are you up to?

I’d Buy a High Mortgaged House Just to be Mr. Roger’s Neighbor

Thank you Marielle Heller! As you did in Can you Ever Forgive Me (for which you personally weren’t nominated for direction, a shame) you’ve done it again here, once again with the forgiveness theme, in “A Beautiful Day on the Neighborhood”.

The story written by the team of Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (both also writers for tv hit Transparent) did a perfect story telling job, absolutely nailing an angry journalist’s man vs. self wrestling match with his resentment toward his father.

The acting gave me close to a religious experience. Tom Hanks is our generation’s Jimmy Stewart and we are a better world with him in it. Marry Me Rhys (oops Freudian slip, Matthew Rhys) has the soulful face necessary to carry off inner turmoil and I assume accomplished his walk off home run away from tv land. Chris Copper finally got a roll to sink his teeth into again, after a long wait from his Oscar win from Adaptation. Susan Kelechi Watson is also superb as Matthew Rhys’s wife.

I’ve been harping on the importance of moving scene moments, atmosphere and music as of late (after the drought in The Irishman and Ford V. Ferrari) and much like Honey Boy, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood is the perfect, even a tad better, companion piece. I was producing tears by minute 10, reoccurring at minute 20, etc. Favorite scenes (not spoilers) The puppet in Mr. Roger’s NYC apartment scene, the Indian restaurant scene, Mr. Rogers swimming scene (Tracy Chapman’s “The Promise in the background…soooo pretty), the ending shot. Gorgeous, marvelous, bravo.

My conclusion comes from a gal (moi) who always loved the concept of Mr. Rogers (unconditional love), but in all honesty, always felt the show was a tiny bit awkward. BUT, this movie, my friends, I will gladly skip to see again.