Get A Job


Rated: R | Running Time: 84 Minutes
From: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD on June 14, 2016
Get it via Amazon | iTunes

As I was watching “Get a Job,” one prevailing sentiment kept occurring between the jokes that seemed to be trying too hard, and that was “Hey, thats…,” and “That’s the dude from…,” and “She was in…,” and “I remember him.” Then, at the end of it all, all I could really wonder was “How did most of these bigger-name people, folks like Christopher ‘Superbad’ Mintz-Plasse, Marcia ‘in a whole bunch of everything’ Gay Harden, John ‘Harold and Kumar’ Cho, Jorge ‘Lost’ Garcia, Jay ‘Saturday Night Live’ Pharoah, Anna ‘Pitch Perfect’ Kendrick and Bryan ‘Breaking Bad’ Cranston get in this pretty average ‘coming of age’ kind of movie?”

Let’s get to the story, I suppose…

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Andron


Rated: R | Running Time: 90 Minutes
From: Momentum Pictures
In Theaters, VOD and Digital EST on June 3, 2016
Watch it via: Amazon | iTunes

I will say this about “Andron,” it has one of the longest plot developments of all time, especially for a movie that is about an hour and a half. The thing is that even if I understood the entire plot earlier, it wouldn’t have helped. I’ll help you out a bit with the story.

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Cherry Tree


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 86 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Blu-ray and DVD April 5, 2016

Faith’s dad is dying of cancer. Boo-hoo, what to do? I know, be the surrogate mother to a demon created by centipedes! Such are the basics of the horror flick “Cherry Tree.”

Okay, the movie is slightly more complicated, but really, it doesn’t matter.

I’ll expand things a bit for review purposes.

Faith (Naomi Battrick) is sort of the picked on girl at school. As the movie begins we learn the folklore of witches and a cherry tree, as told by young skippy, Brian (Patrick Gibson). Faith’s world is rocked both by being picked on, and also by the fact her dad has cancer.

Enter creepy, field hockey coach, Sissy (Anna Walton).

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The Weird Power of Music


For most of the day, yesterday, I was in a pretty good mood. It was one of those days when there seemed to be a spring in my step, I was feeling good, and then for whatever reason, still unknown to me, as evening came I became grumpy. Little things annoyed me, I was in this weird mood of just feeling like I couldn’t get anything done, couldn’t get the gumption to start, and just plowed through the evening.

Kind of worried I might snap at my wife for no good reason, I just opted to go to bed, flustered at why my mood changed, and hoping to wake in a better mood.

Nope.

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Helping Settle a Court Case

Have you been summoned for jury duty?

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There it was, a jury summons. I get the mail, flip through the normal bills, flyers, stuff that instantly gets shredded, and then whisper, “Shit.” I looked just like the guy in the “Welcome to Jury Duty” video, or whatever they called it, who opens his mail and sees his jury notice, only I didn’t see him whisper, “Shit.”

And so began my odyssey to achieve, as the “Handbook for Illinois Jurors” says, a “higher opinion of the privilege enjoyed by the free citizens of our country to participate in the administration of justice.” My journey began almost like the stages of grief. There was the denial, the bargaining, the depression, the anger, and then finally the acceptance.

First came the denial.

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One Bag Gone

In a quest to be more healthy, at least I think it’s more healthy, for the past months I’ve eliminated most white sugar. Yup, no products with white flour, no pasta, limited fruit, no cookies, no ice cream, and for the hell of it, no beer, and a lot of looking at ingredients on products and putting it back on the shelf wondering why it needed sugar in the first place. However, on this quest, I allow myself one cheat day, a day to eat as much, or as little, of anything I want. Usually cheat day is Saturday, usually there are cookies, usually there is ice cream, and almost always there is beer.

Snyder of Berlin Cheese CurlsThe challenge, however, is defining “cheat day.” Normally I stick with the definition that cheat day begins after waking  and ends when going to bed, the basic cycle of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but then, for our latest weekend, my wife suggested a 24 hour cheat day, starting at about 7PM. This definition came about mostly because she had a craving for some cheese, then a craving for chocolate, then my reminding her that we had special chocolate that was about to expire, and then some cheese curls, and not just any cheese curls, but the best cheese curls in the entire universe from Snyder of Berlin, delivered to me by my sister and brother in law on a recent visit.

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The Dead on Facebook

Have you wished a dead person "Happy Birthday" on Facebook?

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If you’re on Facebook long enough and have enough friends, eventually, if it hasn’t happened to you already, one of them will pass away. I remember the first time it happened to me – the odd post on someone’s wall that hints something is wrong. It could be a simple “I’m going to miss you and the times we shared” post, or the “I’m glad you are at peace now” post, or a post by a family member who is able to log into their account mentioning their dying. The first time I found it a bit unsettling, that here I am, on Facebook, finding out about someone I know dying, from their own timeline nonetheless. I also remember one time I was looking for a person I used to know, found their page, and found out they were dead. Damn. what a bummer. I wondered what happened to the good, old days, when you would find out with a phone call, but then part of me realizes that it’s probably easier to use Facebook so that you don’t have to deal with dozens of “explaining” what happened conversations, the “Let me know the funeral plans” and thereby being burdened with the responsibility of remembering to tell them said plans, or the uncomfortable, rehashing over and over, the person’s dying. Facebook: It’s how we notify, and avoid people.

Okay, back to dead people on Facebook…

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The Sheik


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 96 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On DVD March 1, 2016 : Via Digital Download Now

The most hated, and at the same time beloved wrestler of all time has a story that can simply be summarized as “The good. The hated. The ugly. The survivor. The star.” He is Khasrow Ali Vaziria, he is The Iron Sheik, and the documentary “The Sheik” tells it all without pulling any punches, or camel clutches as it would be, in a fascinating look at The Sheik’s roller coaster of a life.

Starting at the beginning, “The Sheik” traces Khasrow all the way back to his story in Iran, born in 1942 and becoming a wrestler, a star athlete in the Olympics, and a bodyguard for The Shah. Seeing his star rising yet not as high as fellow wrestler Takhti, when Takhti supposedly “committed suicide” and rumors abounded that it was The Shah who didn’t like the gold medalist’s popularity thereby “taking care” of the national hero, Khasrow realizes he needs to leave his beloved Iran for his own safety, and he heads to the United States.

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Carole King: Natural Woman


Rated: Not rated. | Running Time: 53 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
On Digital Download, Blu-ray, and DVD.

The line in the publicity release pretty much sums up Carole King: Natural Woman – “A celebration of the legendary singer-songwriter’s life and career…” I wish I could write something more descriptive but at the end of the 53 minute documentary there isn’t anything shocking, there really isn’t anything controversial, but rather it’s a tidy look at mostly nice things in King’s life, with a lot of accolades from those she associated with, and you get a glimpse at how a songwriter’s life is way different from the person who craves the spotlight on stage.

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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!!