Another Gorgeous Slice of Life: Brad’s Status

Thanks to my benevolent friend Carrie, I sat in luxury leather to watch Brad’s Status. And not just anywhere, but in the hometown of one of the film’s stars (read on to find out!).

But that’s not why I liked the film. The story by Mike White (School of Rock, The Good Girl) was not only extremely realistic in portraying the awkward relationship parents have with their late adolescents ready to leave the nest for college, but was also produced it in such a way to also detail the interior mind of a middle aged man with social anxiety.

We all have an interior monologue going on in our heads (come on admit talking to yourself:) and movie voice overs can sometimes be cringe worthy. But Ben Stiller has a presence and a voice that makes you feel camaraderie, like, “Yeh man, I know what you’re talking about!”.

The awkward silences and stoicism of parent-child relationships were very well done as were the college finance and major questions, the hope-you get-into-a-prestiguous-school, but how-the-hell-are-we-going-to-pay-for-it struggle? The you’re-a-great-musician vs. can-you-make-a-living-wage-at-it?

Austin Abrams who played Ben’s son is the aforementioned native of my new home town of Sarasota*: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3641002/?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm, and walks a talented line between tolerant and ready to explode upon his awkward dad. *In fact, for shame distributors! It’s only playing in one theater in Sarasota!

Class struggle was also gracefully, but honestly handled. Living in Sarasota means seeing a wide range of incomes. Those of us in the middle class can’t help but feel occasional envy at the mega wealthy. Brad’s four friends in the latter category were portrayed just enough for us to understand without straying from the main story. Mike White (yes he wrote it, directed it and acted in it) Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson and Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords(PLEASE do more movies, I love you!) all do stand out performances in minor roles.

In fact the beauty of a good movie is that the story makes you think more about it after the fact. For instance, did Michael Sheen’s character have accurate info on his wealthy buddies or was he simply as envious as Ben Stiller?

Definitely worth the CineBistro price. Go root, root, root for the home boy Austin Abrams while the film is still in town!

Oh Ma Darlin, Oh Ma Darlin, Clement (ine)

Clement

“People. Places, Things” (James Strouse) was a pinch your cheek adorable and I fully acknowledge my bias for Jemaine Clement, probably best known for Flight of the Conchords.

For various reasons, most close to me is having a 22 year old son, I often have my emasculating radar up and “PPT” certainly promotes female dominated relationships with men simply following the ‘rules’ or suffering the consequences. I write this with mixed feelings since doing stand up comedy this summer, I fully realize that sexism swings both ways.

According to this movie, it’s ok for a woman to be unfaithful and even be pregnant with anther man’s child, but it wasn’t ok for a separated man trying to get on with his life to be confused about the next woman he may want to date. do women have stronger emotional highs and lows for the most part? Yes. But that doesn’t make it ok for women to destroy men’s feelings and simply use the mixed up emotionally as an excuse. If women don’t want to be the weaker sex, we need to act like grown ups, which means owning up to mistakes and treating men humanely.

That being said, “PPT” had sweet moments of Clement attempting the single father routine with twin girls that were genuine and not at all run of the mill cliche.

“People, Places, Things” is worth a rental to be sure.