Way Late to the Party: Bridge of Spies

What can I say? When Bridge of Spies came out I avoided it like the plague thinking it was a war movie, combined with the fact that Tom Hanks has become like chocolate cake. He looks good, tastes good, but gosh darn it, is he healthy to like so much? I felt the same way watching him in Bridge of Spies as I did watching Meryl Streep in August, Osage County, literally almost tearing up at the thought of the day when she (in this case, he) won’t be acting any longer.

But let’s not forget what brought me late to the part to begin with, and that is the majesty of Mark Rylance. If you enjoy dry British humor and have some time to kill, google his Tony Acceptance speeches (2008, 20011). Now I still say he didn’t deserve the Oscar as much as Tom Hardy did the same year for The Revenant, but I will say that I lust after his quiet demure attitude and handsome appearance.

The movie was not violent to my relief and I will always cherish the memory of viewing it with my Grandma and Dad. Not to mention, because Tom Hanks is always so good, I looked like the superstar for picking it out at the library. Thanks Tom!

No Good Deed Goes Un ‘Sully’ ed

How thoughtful of the Hollywood 20 to simulate the arctic air atop the January Hudson River….NOT.:) Hey, I’m grateful, I got to go outside to get warm afterward, which is still pretty novel for a New York transplant.

“Sully”, directed by Clint Eastwood, was excellent. Not tremendous, in spite of Tom Hanks, who is undeniably our generation’s Jimmy Stewart, maybe even bigger (light bulb idea=future comparison blog).

Why wasn’t ‘Sully’ a 10? One bias of mine is Laura Linney. I love this woman and seeing her reduced to a fretting wife made me feel sad. Please some one, give this woman a script! In the meantime, rent “Savages” which is tremendous.

And the ‘meanwhile back at the ranch’ scenes’, while necessary, weren’t enough, just as a telephone or long distance relationship doesn’t give the emotional sustenance of face to face, body to body, skin to skin…you get my touch? No, because I’m not delivering this as a live speech. How to translate his financial concerns to screen is problematic, unless you do back story scenes which may have been better? Tough call, I realize.

Another difficulty: Sully’s inner turmoil, his guilt, the ‘did I do the right thing?” I have those questions just rising out of bed in the morning, so I empathize, but similar to me again, this is all internal. Akin to that title “The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner”. Or as they probably said in the sixties, ‘it’s in my head, man’. So, the Hanks jogging and the Hanks agonizing again is tough, because his inner conflict is problematic to translate visually.

Also challenging were the scenes that didn’t connect up: Sully’s old flying days both on the farm and in the military, Sully’s imagining planes crashing into buildings, no explanations…., Benson’s commentary, ‘clunky scenes’ mentioned on his podcast Doug Loves Movies.

Why it’s worth the price of admission: a. Hanks (aforementioned), b. the great range and realistic emotions displayed by the excellent passenger actors, so well written and executed, c. the investigation, both in writing and acting, also seemed real in the bureaucratic bologna sort of way, d. the awkward, but again, realistic moments with complete strangers who suddenly felt the faux media intimacy television creates, e. the suspense of the cockpit, again A+.

A fact check I want to research is, did they really play the cockpit recording live to the two men who experienced it in front of a large audience of airline execs?

Sully, while imperfect, is well worth a view.

Ain’t No Holla Back for Hologram for a King

It’s tough to write a blog about film this week, since I’ve been main lining Prince music for the past 48 hours. But when your Dad calls and only has 5 hours to spend with you and wants to do a movie, you rise to the occasion. Hence, the safe Dad choice: Tom Hanks. And though Tom never fails, he has a tough time making much of a script that’s flatter than a small sand dune.

While it’s tough not to be enamored with the romance of the plot; Tom and beautiful actress Sarita Choudhury, the driver subplot could’ve have been much stronger.

I had high hopes of a Saudi version of Lost in Translation where Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are elevated by Sophia Coppola, but Tom Twyker can’t resuscitate Dave Eggers. And while I loved Zeitoun (another book by Eggers), his autobiography was all over the place, making me think he’s a one trick wonder-I know harsh criticism for a girl who hasn’t published much.

But being the great Dad that he is, he didn’t complain, and instead enjoyed his large popcorn and recliner. and once home, I returned to sit shiva with Prince’s “Nothing Compares to You” and throughout a hip dancing around to “Baby I’m a Star” thinking of days and movies gone by.