Monthly Archives: October 2020

Flash Movie Review: Idiocracy

WE WERE SITTING AROUND THE DINING room table when his cell phone rang. From where I was sitting, I was able to see the display with the caller’s phone number. The young man had a quizzical look on his face as he studied the number. I took it upon myself to tell him the call was coming from Oklahoma. He looked and asked me how I knew that as he let the call go to voicemail. I told him I knew because of the area code, 405; it was the area code for the Oklahoma City area. He was so surprised by my knowing such a thing that I found it amusing. When he asked me why I knew such a thing, I explained that I have accounts in Oklahoma that I have to call on the phone; so, the area code is something that has stuck in my brain from all the times I have called them. This explanation sparked a curiosity in him that spurred him on to suddenly test me. He asked if I knew any other area codes; I told him I know some states, but not all of them. He needed proof so he unlocked his phone and started looking up area code numbers. Not to toot my own horn, but out of seven area codes he tested me on I knew six of them. He was totally amazed by this; I found the whole thing curious.      ON MY WAY HOME, I STARTED to think about the area code “game.” Was my generation the last one that dialed phone numbers instead of pressing one button on their cell phone? I looked at my ability to remember area codes/phone numbers as a positive statement on my brain’s ability to retain information. For some reason, I feel depending on a device for common functions like simple math or reminders will make my mind soft. I will never forget walking into a bank to cash a check for $19.81 and handing the teller nineteen cents to round up the change on the dollar amount. The teller was perplexed by my actions and had to pull out a calculator to figure out I wanted to get back an even $20.00. Besides thinking how they graduated out of high school, I wondered what they would do if they did not have the use of a calculator. When you think about it; don’t you think it would be a valid discussion to say the same thing about someone who only knew how to tell time in a digital format instead of a clock dial? It scares me to think how future generations will function when they do not have a device to depend on and this comedic, science fiction adventure did nothing to help alleviate my concerns.      WHAT WAS TO BE A ONE YEAR experiment for Private Joe Bauers, played by Luke Wilson (The Family Stone, Old School), turned into a decades long event that left Joe the smartest man on the planet. He did not believe it until he saw for himself. With Maya Rudolph (Sisters, Away We Go) as Rita, Dax Shephard (Employee of the Month, Chips) as Frito, Terry Crews (The Expendables franchise, John Henry) as President Camacho and Anthony “Citric” Campos (Harsh Times, Lopez-TV) as Secretary of Defense; this film festival nominated movie had a script that was filled with satirical bits and sight gags. A good portion of them hit their mark and were amusing to me. However, the script had so much going on with it that I felt at times things were just silly and dragged on too long. The cast was fun to watch, especially Maya and Dax. Ultimately, I felt the story was relevant and, in some ways, important; the writers just chose a fun way to deliver their message. I do not know what I would do if reading becomes something that we let our digital assistants do for us; you just never know.

2 1/3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Boycott

I HAD NO OPINION ONE WAY or the other about the movie coming to campus until the university decided it could not be shown. All I knew about the film was that it had received a lot of notoriety due to the plot and one of the main actors and that it was coming to our campus to raise funds for some cause. Once word got out about the university’s actions, I became curious about the picture and wanted to go see it. I just did not want to get involved with the politics behind the student organization’s reasons for choosing this particular movie, nor the university’s reasons to ban it; I simply wanted to see what all the hoopla was about concerning this film. The week the university came out against the movie, students started to protest around the campus. They demonstrated in front of the Dean’s residence, holding up signs as they walked back and forth in front. At one of the college buildings, a group of students held a sit-in. Having never been involved in the middle of a protest, I found the experience not only curious, but a fascinating study in camaraderie. With my background, camaraderie appeared to be based more on like kind physically instead of being based on a common idea. Here in college, the protesters were an array of humanity coming together for a single purpose. The outcome from the demonstrations and protests was the university allowed the film to be shown at a satellite, off campus venue; both sides were happy with the results and I got to see the movie.      I KNOW I AM STATING THE OBVIOUS, but protests have taken on a wider array of actions since my college days. The news recently showed a man riding a horse down a city expressway to bring attention to a cause. I live near a city that experienced violent protesters who came out after a judge’s rule in a famous court case. A friend of mine has had to work at home because the office building where they work was damaged during the protests. A 70 year old retail shop that I used to frequent often was shown on the news, where its front windows were smashed and had over half of their inventory stolen; it was so sad to see as the owner said he may not be able to recover from the damages and close the business. I firmly believe everyone has the right to protest; but to the point where violence and damage occurs, I cannot condone such actions. There is something to be said for the “power in numbers” that to me makes a protest successful. I saw it when I was in college and now, I have seen its strength in this historical film festival winner.     SUCH A SIMPLE ACT THAT WAS defiant became the catalyst to a peaceful movement during the 1950s in Mobile, Alabama. With Jeffrey Wright (The Goldfinch, Only Lovers Left Alive) as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Terrence Howard (The Best Man Holiday, Empire-TV) as Ralph, CCH Pounder (Home Again, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit-TV) as Jo Ann Robinson, Carmen Ejogo (Selma, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as Coretta Scott King and Iris Little Thomas (Above the Rim, Malcolm X) as Rosa Parks; this drama captured me because of the way it dug into the background of the after events that surrounded Rosa’s refusal to give up her bus seat. The cast was excellent and worked well together in my opinion. As I was watching this film, I was struck by the role money played into the events; previously, I did not recall that aspect of the event playing as important of a role as it did in this picture. It made for a riveting watch at times. Not only did this movie teach history, it also provided a blueprint for creating a peaceful protest.

3 stars    

Flash Movie Review: The Tale

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE never experienced, and I hope you never do, such a thing; I will try to give you a glimpse of what can take place in a person’s mind when their personal space has been violated. The sense of fear and dread cover you completely with a heaviness as if you had just fallen into a huge dunk tank of water. Your hearing becomes distorted because the brain can no longer decipher the difference between a rapidly beating heart and the sounds coming from the outside of your body as it is trying to repel the onslaught of foreign forces. The muscles of your body try to stay unified as one complete repellent; but it is like holding your breath—at some point you have no choice but to let go. And then, muscle after muscle retreats and hides back inside of your body. Though the eyes may be open, what they are seeing is a colorless slow-motion slice of life. It is as if everyone around is oblivious to you; they are going through the motions but at a much slower pace. Joining the list of senses offline is the sense of taste. One’s mouth gets so dry it hampers the ability to utter any sounds. There is nothing to taste anyway when one’s teeth are clenched. The only sense that appears to be working during the time is smell. You might not be able to smell anything more than one scent; however, that one odor is intensely strong so you will never forget it.      PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED SUCH horror gain the ability to spot another like victim. There are certain mannerisms and traits that will not register with the general population; only those with a shared experience can sense the hurt and pain inside a person. I will never forget the time when two new people came into one of my classes. They were a teenaged girl and her parent. Whenever a new person comes into class, I try to talk to them before we start, to get an idea of their physical capabilities. After introducing myself, I sensed something was not right when I saw the girl was looking down at the ground when she was talking to me. Her posture and arms placement were a tipoff for me. As I began to teach class, I watched her movements. By the end of class I felt for sure the teenager was going through emotional turmoil. I did not say anything at the time as I wanted to see if there would be any changes in the following weeks. After a month of them coming to class the opportunity presented itself for me to share my feelings with the parent. I wish there would have been someone there to help the main character when she was young in this dramatic, mystery thriller.      WHEN HER MOTHER FINDS AND READS a story she wrote when she was 13 years old, the questions her mother was asking made Jennifer, played by Laura Dern (Marriage Story, Cold Pursuit), think twice about that special time in her life. With Jason Ritter (Raise Your Voice, W.) as Bill, Common (Suicide Squad, The Informer) as Martin, Elizabeth Debicki (Tenet, Widows) as Mrs. G and Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist, Requiem for a Dream) as Nettie; this film festival winner’s story was powerful. I thought the script was well written, even though I was uncomfortable watching this movie at times. Laura was outstanding in the role and the rest of the cast did their part to present a solid piece of work that was believable and real. My understanding about the story is that it is partially or completely autobiographical; if so, there were a couple of scenes that did not ring as true as the others. I did not find it to be such a distraction that took me away from my enjoyment of the picture. The story is intense and may make some viewers uncomfortable; but it will give you some insight into the horrors some people experience in life.                                

 3 ¼ stars   

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