About Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. Have loved my career (and was thrilled to teach the Common Core, which should not be thrown out due to public misinformation and paranoia) but am embarking on my own creative adventure, while the juices are still flowing.

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.

Ford V. Ferrari…Plastic Bumpers & Loose Screws

Ok, I need a mechanic..ya see, I’ve got this car and it looks great (Christian Bale, Tracy Letts) and has a tremendous history (the life story of Ken Miles is truly compelling), HOWEVER, the freakin’ thing seems to sputter.

Jez and John-Henry Butterworth co-wrote the script and have done super work on Black Mass and Edge of Tomorrow, so maybe perhaps they tried. Jason Keller’s history isn’t as strong (could he be the plastic bumper?), don’t know what his input was. The irony is that the Ford Motor’s problem was too many cooks running the show, perhaps the movie suffers from the same problem. The first ten minutes of the film could have easily been excised.

I don’t think its the director James Mangold’s fault either as his legacy (3:10 to Yuma, for one)…aw wait! Here’s a screw loose…The Greatest Showman…ok the crux of the problem in this film has The Greatest Showman’s corn factor, for one. Bale is such a heavy weight actor, let him get in the dirt more. More anger, more obsession. Yet the movie played it too safe, sanitizing him (as they did Mr. Barnum in Greatest Show) to be a wholesome dude who threw a wrench once in awhile. Not enough.

The Bale marriage was contrived and the couple (sorry Caitriona Balfe) had no chemistry. Give me some sex for goodness sakes.

What’s good: the race scenes were very well done and better than some of the dialogue. Scenes with Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington (Academy Award winner for a short film in 2002!) were genuine. Noah Jupe does his best as the son, but compared to what he did in Honey Boy, he probably felt like saying, ‘can I phone this in (yawn)?’

I was moved by the end when finally Matt Damon was allowed to act rather than just chew gum and look angry. Ken Miles’ life story deserves better writing and a more avant-garde stylistic rendering.

This model, unfortunately, needs a re-call.

Marriage Story Busts into My Top Three of the Year, Easily!

As if my birthday wasn’t fun enough in NYC with my beautiful son Liam, yesterday thanks to my-friend-who-treats-me-like-gold Jack Guren, I was privileged enough to see a screener of Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach’s take on the gut wrenching process of divorce.

You’d think the way our jaded culture (and myself in colder moments) throws the D-word around like it was simply dust we sweep under the rug that Marriage Story would be a so what story. HOWEVER, anyone who’s gone through the process knows those initial daily disrupting moments are much more than a carpet can hide AND Noah B. captures these awkward and painful moments in true movie magic.

BUT WAIT! There’s more! Not only does he capture the pathos, he articulated this with humor and love. AND THEN he chose the best of the best to portray even the minor characters. The two stars (Scar Jo and Driver) who I’ve adored and then despised, won me over as they escaped into these two human characters. And dare I say, I was convinced by the end that Adam Driver does have more to him than a dead stare, especially after he belts out “Being Alive” at a NYC bar.

Other fantastic performances were executed by: Ray Liotta (GREAT!), Laura Dern who almost always feels to me like she’s overreaching or perhaps is merely a bitch in real life was also great, ALAN ALDA (can I give you a hug-PLEASE nominate this man, I LOVE HIM), and my ever awkward cutie from Baskets, Martha Kelly. Also super were Julie Hagerty and Merritt Weaver….and Merritt is where my heart sank as it did last night, upon coming back to the quiet of my condo, I remembered Noah’s the guy who left Jennifer Jason-Leigh for Greta Gerwig…ok you’re wondering, ‘what’s Merritt got to do with it?’ Merritt was in Greenberg, another fantastic Baumbauch film CO-WRITTEN by Jason-Leigh at which point, Noah fell for Greta and now I’m sad…which, in the end, only adds to the depth of this film.

I’m so glad I got to see this now as the various podcasts I listen to (and yell at for their occasional lack of taste: you LIKED Hustlers AND The Irishman, blech!) were beginning to drip out spoilers on Marriage Story. But not here folks.

I’ll just say after you get through the annoying (yes I was scared) opening 10 minutes of cliche-ish montage (necessary for back story I am aware and pivotal by story’s end), you settle into moment after moment of cinematic genius. Emotion, Laughs and Atmosphere, the stuff of which every great life should accomplish.

I will see this again. FOR SURE.

Ironically Not a Marvel, The Irishman

Dear Mr. Scorsese,

You had me at ‘Marvel movies are not films’ having seen my share of 6 minute CGI’d super hero vs. villain fight scenes, HOWEVER, if you’re going to throw stones, check out your house’s (in this case The Irishman) exterior first, because honey, you need an editor who can be Frank who’s not mafia (comic drum beat).

Cut off the first and last 30 minutes of your film, and now we have something palatable. Get an Adam McKay-like (pick me!) script doctor to weave in Charles Brandt’s role as sharply witted reporter/interrogator, add a musical soundtrack of Italian music, and a pinch of the beautiful food served in Italian restaurants and THEN we have the start of a masterpiece.

Sincerely,

Roxanne Baker

PS to my handful of readers, first, BLESS YOU for reading.
Second, here’s whats good about The Irishman, no make that great:
Al Pacino, the movie doesn’t start until he shows his manic gorgeous histrionic self. Ditto Joe Pesci, an acting virtuoso…for those two guys alone, it’s worth a look on Netflix where you can fast forward and use your own bathroom. Honorable mentions go to Stephen Graham and Louis Cancelmi for their spicy add ins. Beyond that, this. is. not. riveting.

My New Number One Movie of the Year: Honey Boy

Results may change after some thought, but after seeing Honey Boy over the weekend in NYC, it’s my number one film of the year. In fact, when you think about it, the film has a great horse name, hence my top three finishers in this year’s ‘race’ are:

1. Honey Boy
2. The Lighthouse
3. Peanut Butter Falcon

If you’re a true buff, you see a two out of three ain’t bad theme running here: Shia LeBouf. And once you see Honey Boy, you’ll have what I now refer to as “Brian Wilson” moment, empathy for those who were traumatized by well meaning, but abusive parents.

Shia wrote the film about his father and chose Israel born music video and film director Alma Har’el to execute direction. Shia happened upon a Ha’rel video a few years back and decided her artistic eye would be perfect for his tweener to mid 20’s slice of life story. This summer smitten by Peanut Butter Falcon, I watched Alma’s Love + True, after seeing it pop up on my X-finity Demand list as a Lebouf project…he merely produced it, which while disappointed not to see his ruggedly handsome face, was a poignant and moving film mixing real and dramatized versions of from memory, a surfer in Hawaii and a stripper from Alaska. I watch at least two movies a week and for me to even be able to conjure up specific scenes as I can easily with this one, speaks highly of Ha’rel’s impact.

The acting in Honey Boy is phenomenal. Every single human in the film is genuine. Shia playing his own father (talk about a mind trip!), Noah Jupe is terrific as the tweener Shia, Lucas Hedges fantastic as the 22 year old Shia. Byron Bowers has one of the funnier (ironic) lines in the film and two tv veterans Laura San Giacomo and Martin Starr are great in their therapists’ roles. Last, but certainly not least, FKA Twigs is super as the equally damaged tweener seductress.

Go see this!! I can’t go again, it’s too traumatizing emotionally, but Shia is a triumph playing a man trying to break the cycle of abuse. I truly believe his film could reach some people locked in a self-abusive cycle.

ASIDE: Angelika Theater (NYC) is definitely worth going to: excellent atmosphere, roomy leg room, excellent popcorn and a staff that treats you like Jim Carey did his constituents in The Majestic. Really.

Jaded (not Dolemite) is My Name

I sincerely respect the time and effort that goes into screenwriting and movie making. And I appreciated the message behind Dolemite is My Name, follow your dreams, take a chance. And so I feel jaded saying that similar to Pain & Glory, I was non-plussed by Dolemite is My Name. Again, I appreciated the story, but just wasn’t moved or inspired.

Here’s why: The Disaster Artist to me was a fantastic movie. The cameos and writing were comedic, yet there were also touching moments. With Dolemite, it was all too breezy, I never felt the angst in Eddie’s character to make me want to root for him. And I love Eddie Murphy, I love his stand up, all of his SNL characters and his other movie performances.

I also fully realize the writing team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have a large body of work, specializing in biopics “The People Vs. Larry Flynt”, “Ed Wood” and “Big Eyes” to name a few. Yet Dolemite, like “Big Eyes” is simply likeable because the emotions involved are stifled.

Back to my sunny optimistic “What’s good?” self…the best acting in the film is actually done by Wesley Snipes, who plays the diva movie star Eddie cons into being in his movie. I also enjoyed the cameos: Snoop Dog and Chris Rock. Da’Vine Joy Randolph was gorgeous as the female lead and Tituss Burgess was also totally believable.

Back to my dark side: Craig Robinson stuck out like a sore thumb as did Keegan-Michael Key. They are just simply transparent, much like the wigs used in the film, just very artificial.

I’ll stick the landing, to use a gymnastic term, and end on a positive note. The costuming was out of this world, from the flashy suits Eddie wore, to the beatific outfits Da’Vine donned. And that’s about the only category I’d vouch for an award nomination.

Sure, Dolemite is My Name is entertaining, but when people start to go ga-ga over a film that doesn’t move me emotionally, I just have to speak out.

Pain & Glory: Espera un Minuto

Excuse me Senor, while I respected and ‘enjoyed’ the thorough story telling of Pain & Glory, I have to scream out ‘espera un minuto’ as far as all the accolades the film has received. Willem, Shia and Joaquin all did mucho more acting in The Lighthouse, Peanut Butter Falcon and Joker respectively and deserved the Cannes Best Acting Award more.

And if you wanted to break it down to best male actor in a foreign film, I’d say that without a doubt, Ka-ho Song does more acting in Parasite than Antonio Banderas does here. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine actor and a handsome, earnest devil, but I’m not sure what politics might have been involved in the voting.

But let’s focus on the good for a moment….Pain & Glory is auto fiction meaning partially based on writer/director Pedro Almodovar’s real life. Perhaps because it is revealing and sometimes sad, the award was given for his ultimate vulnerability.
The story telling is dense, meaning a lot of dialogue. Colors and art are vibrant touches to the cinematography.
The acting is great. Besides Antonio, Asier Etxeandia was great as Salva’s junkie actor/frenemy, Penelope Cruz is gorgeous and competent as Salva aka Pedro’s mother, as is Asier Flores as his younger self.

Yet when I think of meaningful, truly moving moments, I can count them on one hand, and even then they were merely evocative blips.

Drum Roll for The Cine-World Tall Pole’s Small Poll Voting Results

I recently read a top 7 list of things never to do, one of which included; “never put yourself down”, but that would basically wipe out my entire comedy act…. so in another episode of
‘Does anyone really care about this blog?’
(visualize me with a sympathetic face holding a cue card with my email irun2eatpizza@hotmail.com -for positive responses):

Here are the voting results of this tall pole’s (I’m lanky, not Polish, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”) small poll (I was too timid to hand these out wide range having a fragile ego). BUT the small number of approachable people I chose were wise, witty and most importantly NICE!

So without further a do but a small snare drum roll, here are the
CINE-WORLD FILM FEST SARASOTA’S BEST FILMS were…..

BEST NARRATIVE: PARASITE by a nose, BOY GENIUS first runner up

BEST DOCUMENTARY: DECONSTRUCTING THE BEATLES; ABBEY ROAD SIDE ONE which was unanimous!

Thanks to all who participated! May our paths cross again!

Glad It’s Night and The Two Popes

To finish off the Cine-World Film Festival at Burns Court Theater in Sarasota, the programmers showed The Two Popes, directed by Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener) and written by Andrew McCarten (Theory of Everything and Bohemian Rhapsody).

The Two Popes, while a tiny bit bloated (chop off the first chaotic ten minutes), was charming and heart warming.

While rumored to be a Spotlight indictment of the Catholic Church, this is actually the antithesis, a hope that the Church is getting back in touch with human needs and pain partially due to the beauty of Pope Francis.

My Catholic exposure is not extensive (though I went through Pre-Cana to get married and agreed to raise my son Catholic) and The Two Popes taught me a lot about Catholicism in regards to how a pope is chosen and some of the politics involved with religion. I certainly was ignorant to Argentinian strife that the movie told in a perfect balance of angst without gratuitous violence (PRAISE JESUS!).

At its core The Two Popes reprises the famous adage: “it’s not about the religion it’s about the relationship.

The acting was tremendous. I can easily see Jonathan Pryce, who I had merely seen in The Wife when he’s done so much more, be nominated for an Oscar. And while Anthony Hopkins was great as well, after reading his Wiki page, have decided he might really be a cold hearted cannibal (ok a bit hyperbole) in hat he has basically disowned his only daughter. I realize there obviously might be much more to the story than any of us can know to judge.

Once this makes it normal run in Sarasota theaters, go see this. Definitely a well told story that not only teaches history, but humanity, too.

Cine-World Film Voting

If you find you can not leave a vote or comment, please email me at irun2eatpizza@hotmail.com
I welcome your opinions and will publish the results by week’s end.

Here is the list of movies shown at The Cine-World Film Fest at Burns Court Theater in Sarasota part of The Sarasota Film Society:

Narrative Films:
A Faithful Man Saint Frances VHYes!
Age Out Second Date Sex
Boy Genius The Chambermaid
Chained For Life The Infiltrators
Cosmos The Kill Team
Don’t Be a Dick The Report
Olympic Dreams The Song of Names
Premature Three Peaks

Docs:
Autonomy
Deconstructing the Beatles Abbey Road: Side 1
Deconstructing the Beatles Abbey Road: Side 2
Ferrante Fever
For Sama
Leaving Home, Come Home
Loopers
Midight Traveler
Scandalous
Screwball
Slay the Dragon
Vision Portraits