Would the real Steve Coogan please stand up? (The Trip to Spain)

I’ve had enough of Mother Nature (Irma here, deadly Maria and Mexico City earthquakes there) so I decided to forego mother! until I have someone to give me a hug after.

And I could use a hug. Let’s just say I wish people were more self-aware, acknowledged questions or previous plans and communicated in a linear fashion.

And so I took The Trip to Spain, loving Steve Coogan as I do. The movie parallels some of Coogan’s life (he brags about his Philomena Oscar nominations and meeting the Pope) and intrigues those of us middle aged women who are attracted to his unknown real life. IMDB reports that he has a college aged daughter with a solicitor and was married for three years.

I won’t give away those plot details that lead you to believe that Coogan needs a hug. Let’s just say one of the film’s themes is ‘you can’t have everything’. Which is a great message the cinematic gods were sending me; I have a great son, two interesting, semi easy jobs, and my health. So I should quit my whining about romance and consistent friends.

The Trip to Spain is the third in a series. I loved the first The Trip and was sad about the weak, maudlin The Trip to Italy. Spain seems to be a little closer to the first, albeit with a really dumb ending, which I can only hope alludes to the fourth in a series and if it is, let’s get it rolling.

To me, “The Trips” (directed by Michael Winterbottom) have become the parallel monosex version of Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight in that I hang on every word, wondering what Coogan or fellow actor Rob Brydon will say next. Unlike Linklater’s films though I am NOT sad when the trips end, mainly because there’s just a little too much meandering and not enough conflict, or in Spain’s case the conflict shows up at three quarters in, when my vacation enthusiasm has started to wane.

But still worth the price, even just to see two witty, dapper (they should get a male fashion award of some kind) gents pare off amidst the splendor of Spain’s food and gorgeous vistas.

Muy bien.

Cheadle, Linklater and…Atencio?

I realize my title is like that old Sesame Street game “Which of these directors doesn’t belong?” Read on…

A frenetic schedule forces me to do a threesome here, if only to preserve reading time for The New Yorker and Theresa Rebeck staring at me as I type.

Miles Ahead, directed by Don Cheadle took a very long time to settle into a story, reminiscent of The Big Short. Hopefully this isn’t a trend, but I do wonder if it’s a symptom our society’s over stimulation. Perhaps movie makers are like us common folk, almost needing to hover for a bit before focus can even begin.

At any rate, I enjoyed the film and post writing, need to look up a fact check of the flick. The New Yorker review intimated woe over fabricating incidents when there are so many actual events to depict.

Even though I’m a sucker for Ewan MacGregor and he’s adorable as a fumbling rock and roll reporter, I’d say Miles Ahead is an easy wait for Redbox or Netflix.

Second on the list and deserving of an equal amount of tepid level exuberance is “Everybody Wants Some” by Richard Linklater. A great line I overheard on Doug Benson’s podcast “Doug Loves Movies” is “I don’t want to see any movie that doesn’t take 12 years to make.” Meaning, it’s tough to come out with anything awesome after your release a tour de force like Boyhood.

An irony of this viewing is that I went with my son (his movie choice; also offered was Elvis and Nixon) for my early Mother’s Day ‘celebration’ since he was home momentarily from NYC. Ironic because the movies sole purpose (plot-wise) was the hunt for tail on a Texas college campus in the early 80’s.

The movie was a pleasant stroll down memory lane for me, but the film lacked many stand out actors or actresses. Two who were a smidgen impressive were Glen Powell and Wyatt Russell. Powell is due to my bias for the smart philosopher in any crowd, and Russell (omg!) in looking him up just now realized he’s Kurt Russell’s son. Russell plays the stoner with a surprise (I won’t ruin it for you) and does a great job as the grass fed Carl Sagan fan.

Last and last but not least is Keanu. Hey, if it’s a Friday night and I’ve absorbed a full day of middle school children’s emotions, capital E, a good laugh out loud silly comedy is better than a gin and tonic. And Keanu, written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens (directed by Peter Atencio) was just what the filmtender (as opposed to bartender) served. Often VERY funny with certain stupidity and corn woven in, basically a longer Key and Peele skit.

Boyhood, My How Time Flies

I put off writing this blog, thinking I was going to watch the film for a second time, but alas my best movie friend has been occupied as of late, so here it goes:

Boyhood was an oxymoron of a film, and this comes from a fanatic of the Before Midnight, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset trilogy, so much so I was depressed each time those movies ended.

Boyhood is another matter. It is both profound and mundane; exactly why it captures life on film. As promised on one of my pages, I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, but will mention who will probably relate most if you:

*were raised by an alcoholic
*dealt with divorce (either as an adult or child)
*wanted a career in art despite a society that would rather honor finance and athletics
*changed high schools and found difficulty in the transition
*people who repeat relationship patterns

I was not sad when the film ended, which doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, but at three hours plus, it’s time to stand up and stretch. I love, love, love Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as well as the two ‘child’ actors, the female of whom is Linklater’s real life daughter and of course, Ellar Coltrane, the boy who is the movie’s anchor.

To see it with my 21 year old son was an immense blessing and his growing up certainly seems to have whipped by in less than three hours. If you have kids, cherish them! They’ll be adults too soon!

POST SCRIPT: On a blog advertisement display, I said I had a comparison with Paul George and Richard Linklater. Full confession: I’ve been known to be the Yogi Berra of comparisons, but the night Paul George was injured playing on the USA basketball team, the gravity of the ESPN coverage was akin to a fatal plane crash. Is it horrible that one of the best NBA players broke his leg in a freak accident? YES! Is it wildly difficult to make a movie over 12 years with the same 4 main actors? YES!
Have other athletes injured themselves and come back? Yes!
Have other directors’ films been overhyped to the point that when you actually see the real deal, it could never live up to said hype? YES!
I rest my case.