The Family Stone


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 100 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

I hate when a movie has potential to, well, not really be a classic, but at least one that I would probably sit down and watch when it comes on cable (lately I’m hooked on “The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause” and I’m embarrassed to admit that), and “The Family Stone” had that potential until it decided to put in an all-too-easy, sentimental, sub-plot, that the movie didn’t need, a sub-plot I don’t want to have to relive at Christmas-time. I’ll try not to reveal this sub-plot, nor the other obvious plot twist that is supposed to surprise you, but here we go…

Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is in love with Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), and of course it’s the time of the year, Christmas-time, when boy must bring girlfriend to meet his parents and family, and what a more awkward time to do it than at said Christmas-time, especially when your family is slightly dysfunctional, even though you probably don’t realize it. And it’s even worse when your dysfunctional family doesn’t really like your girlfriend, based on an earlier dinner when your sister, Amy (Rachel McAdams), met up with the two of you, and now they fear that you want to ask her to marry you. Such is the problem facing Everett and Meredith. Now, Meredith, is your atypical, big city, career driven kind of woman, perfectly clothed, with tight hair and stuck to her cell phone. Everett seems just kind of lost, yet still supposedly in love. Anyway, Meredith arrives and it’s pretty much Amy’s job to make her feel as lousy as she can, and Meredith is so miserable that she ends up staying at the local inn instead of at the Stone household, and calls her sister, Julie (Claire Danes), to help her save her reputation with the family. Julie arrives, there is a highly uncomfortable Christmas Eve dinner, and all of our cast of characters, also including Mom Stone (Diane Keaton), Dad Stone (Craig T. Nelson), Ben Stone (Luke Wilson), and Thad Stone (Ty Giordano), all have revelations that would change their lives through the next year.

Alright, that’s a pretty crappy synopsis of a movie that at it’s core is a fun look at a wacky family and a girlfriend who really doesn’t fit, although she really does, just not knowing it yet. There’s some seriousness (Mom doesn’t want to give son her Mom’s wedding ring, even though she promised she would if said son found the woman of his dreams), some odd-ballness (Ben is pretty great), some funny-ness (Meredith’s breakdown on Christmas morning gave me one of the biggest laughs I’ve had at a movie in a while), and the typical family-ness (in the end, it’s Christmas, a time for family, and a time for all to get along). But what I didn’t need, want, or want to have to see again, is the sub-plot, that although is a sub-plot everyone will have to go through at a Christmas (not exactly like this sub-plot, but the same concept) or Holiday, I don’t want an entertaining Christmas comedy with a nice hint of drama to make me have to relive every time I see it. I know that might not make sense if you don’t see the movie, but as I just re-read this review so far, nothing really makes sense.

Look, the movie is entertaining, and as much as I’ve been reading bashing of Sarah Jessica Parker’s portrayal of Meredith, I thought she did a pretty good job going from the hoity-toity New York City girl, to the girl who really has a sentimental side, to the girl who just needed some rubbing from Ben to let her freak-flag fly. Luke Wilson was fantastic as the stoner-type brother who always seems to be filled with stoner wits of clarity, and Diane Keaton was just fine as the overly protective mother, who didn’t need to be burdened with the extra story she had. I’ve always been in love with Claire Danes, so she can do no wrong in my eyes, and Rachel McAdams was utterly perfect, especially when she uttered the words “Of course you do,” and then walked away. All that said, dropping the totally sentimental, unnecessary sub-plot, I’d have given this movie 4 ½ stars out of 5. With that part in it, I’m dropping this rating to 2 ½ stars out of 5. It did have one of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a while, but for goodness sake, don’t make the tear-jerking so easy.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!


Is It Okay for My Mother to Punch Your Mother Any Longer?

As I was working on my never-ending project of finishing the book I started like five years ago about when I posted a word a day on Facebook, a project I constantly wrestle with “Who would actually buy this thing? Dammit, I’m going to finish it anyway.”, I came across the word “decision.” As a spoiler I posted that word way back on November 10, 2011, and it was really about my wrestling with the decision if I should shut down my website, Entertainment Ave!

Obviously it’s still here, although, from time to time, I do still wonder if I should just pull the plug, but one of the comments for that day was from my sister, Janet, and it was “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” It made me think that as a kid there wasn’t really the randomness in picking things if you could quickly do the math, but it also made me think how we were kind of violent. I mean, you had “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers let him go. Eeny, meeny, miny moe.” Continue reading Is It Okay for My Mother to Punch Your Mother Any Longer?

The Promotional Calendar Isn’t Dead?

Do you have a calendar on your wall?

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Ah, the middle of February. By now most of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions, lost the excitement of changing our future, and it’s back to our normal, mundane lives where come December we’ll be like, “Where did the year go, and why didn’t I learn guitar like I said I would?”

But why? Why do we stop? Why can’t we keep the focus throughout the year?

I’m blaming it on the death of the paper calendar.

Continue reading The Promotional Calendar Isn’t Dead?

Then It’s a Habit

How long does it take to declare a habit a habit?

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In my never-ending quest to better myself one of the thoughts that enters my head is the development of habits, both good and bad, and how I can build the better ones while eliminating the things in my daily life that are a little more detrimental. Now, as a Catholic at that almost time of Lent, there is the challenge to come up with something I should “give up” for the Lenten season. Yup, 40 days of eliminating something and in doing so remembering the suffering of Jesus prior to holy week, even though it’s really more than 40 days, and you may or may not be able to use Sunday as a cheat day depending on if you want to justify in your head that “it’s okay to have this chocolate bar because it’s Sunday,” instead of just sticking it out for the entire Lenten season. Many people use the time to try to eliminate a bad habit, some people to just “calm down” some badness, and others twist it the other way of adding something good during the season. It’s a timeframe that seems workable, gives a nice start and end date, and a belief that if it’s possible to change during Lent it will be easy to continue that change for the rest of your life. And, oh yea, don’t forget the Jesus suffering stuff.

My greatest success in Lenten abstinence was the year I decided to eliminate adding artificial sweeteners to my beverages, namely to my iced tea and coffee, which I’m happy to say was a successful habit removal development as I didn’t resume the practice after Lent was over. I also stopped drinking diet pop during that time, though that habit did kick back in for a few years until recently when all of the stories about the badness of artificial sweeteners finally got to me, and unless desperate for a carbonated beverage to sooth my upset tummy, the desire for my daily Diet Pepsi is now gone.

Continue reading Then It’s a Habit

The World of Kanako


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm
Available February 2, 2016 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download

Poor Akikazu (Kôji Yakusho). He used to be a great police detective, but after a few mis-steps of alcoholism, drugs, and beating up people, being fired, and getting no respect by the lollipop-sucking younger’ detective, his life is in shambles. Bad enough, but then he gets sucked into a gang, turf war that eventually leads back to his missing daughter, Kanako (Nan Komatsu).

Oh, and his daughter is evil. Such is “The World of Kanako.”

Continue reading The World of Kanako

I Am Thor


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 84 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Digital Download, Blu-ray, and DVD January 19, 2016

Who knew having a smaller wiener than your co-worker might be a blessing in disguise? For Jon Mikl Thor, nature’s short givings put him in a position to follow his dream. And follow his dream he has.

You see, early in the documentary “I Am Thor” we learn that Jon lost his job as a naked waiter because his wiener wasn’t long enough. He was doing well as a naked waiter, or so it seemed, but then the new guy came, longer schlong and all, and suddenly Jon was back to his quest of music domination, a quest that never left the man who would be Thor.

Continue reading I Am Thor

Maybe I’m Finally Old

Do you sign up for every, new, social media platform?

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I signed up for peach.cool last night. I’m told it’s the latest thing, like Facebook was the latest thing, like Twitter, like Snapchat, like Vine, like MySpace (Do the kids even know what MySpace is, or Prodigy, or AOL?), and because I want to be hip I had to be a part of it. Yup, you can find me with my username, @aplabis, which is also where you can find me on Twitter. You can also find me on MySpace at, hmm, what was I on MySpace? Oh, yea, The Dude on the Right. But don’t look for me on Snapchat, you’re better off looking for my mom-in-law, GrandmaEleanor, she’s a hoot.

Anywho, I signed up for Peach, made a quick post, found a cute GIF of puppies, and posted my weather, but as I write this I still have no friends. I could probably have friends, most likely searching for people I follow on Twitter by using their Twitter handle, or using some phone number search thing they have on Peach, but then I’m just now following the same people on Peach that I now follow on Twitter, which are also some of the same people I have as friends on Facebook, and a few of the people I know who use SnapChat.

Continue reading Maybe I’m Finally Old

Beware of Old People Who Can’t Hear

It started with a simple comment about underwear. My dad-in-law was over, along with my mom-in-law, for Christmas Eve dinner. The evening was filled with light conversation and a wonderful meal filled with Osso Buco, rissoto, and wine. With dinner over and us now gathered in the living room, he excused himself to the bathroom. It was upon his return and his simple questioning about “armor underwear” that I realized we are now in for a world of change where we can no longer talk about old people behind their backs, or in front of them, or when they go to the bathroom.

And it’s all Steve Jobs’ fault.

Some short backstory.

Continue reading Beware of Old People Who Can’t Hear

A Star Wars Quest

Would you spend a day in a theater for a movie marathon?

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I was fairly content in my lack of planning to see the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but then came the Facebook taunts. Thank God, as I wrote on my Facebook post, for “Best. Wife. Ever.”

Like many a Star Wars fan, as the publicity machine began, every new trailer brought the hope of the return of the franchise to the greatness it once was, the “Please don’t give away too much of the story” moments, and built the excitement in me to see the movie. Pre-sales for tickets were announced, but I was too big and slow, like the dinosaurs, in getting initial tickets for the Thursday night screenings, let alone the opening weekend. A little bummed I figured I would see it eventually, and then some jealousy would hit me when my nephew mentioned he was going to the Star Wars marathon.

Continue reading A Star Wars Quest

The Wreath Bow Conundrum

Where Should the Bow Go on a Wreath?

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With Christmas season upon us, the decorations sprouting on houses that will annoy one and all when they aren’t taken down in a timely manner, and shopping in full force, there is one question that will be the toughest to answer, and that question is not what you should get your loved one so they won’t be disappointed, again, this year with your “thoughtful” gift that you picked up on Christmas Eve? No, the question will simply be, as you go to hang your Christmas wreath, should the bow go on the top or the bottom?

Continue reading The Wreath Bow Conundrum