ACTIONS speak louder than words. Sometimes they do more than just speak louder. There are some people who do things with little fanfare, but their actions have a profound effect on many. Recently on the news I saw there was an anonymous donor who provided enough funds to rebuild a charitable organization’s offices after they were damaged by a tornado. Another news source reported on a patient who needed a kidney transplant. A donor had stepped forward after hearing the patient’s story. This donor had no connections to the individual, but after hearing the patient’s story he said he felt it was the right thing to do. He did not want any compensation or recognition for his healthy kidney, nor did he want any fuss. Of course the news sources jumped at the chance to bring a “feel good” story to the public. During these current times I find it refreshing to find individuals doing good deeds without the need to broadcast or brag about them to the world. LOOKING towards the opposite end of the spectrum, there are individuals who have no idea their actions can have a negative impact on people. How many of us have experienced at work where one worker does something shady or let me say “against policy” that causes the company to install a new procedure that affects all the workers? I was employed at a company where the owner was carrying on an affair with a woman who was not his wife. Luckily I did not get sucked into the drama, but several employees were put in an uncomfortable spot when the wife would call looking for her husband. The employees were put in an awkward place because they had no choice but to lie to the wife if they wanted to keep their job. You might be thinking the affair would not last long and you would be partially correct. Some did not last long but there was always some other woman waiting in the wings. I so wanted to tell the owner to take a look around and see how his actions were affecting his employees. Too bad he did not have the insight that the main character found in this fantasy comedy. GLORIA’S, played by Anne Hathaway (The Intern, Rachael Getting Married), constant drinking was having an effect on her boyfriend Tim, played by Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, The Guest). She could not see what her actions were doing to him, let alone to people nowhere near her. This film festival winning movie’s story was quite unusual. It started out slow or more to the point confusing to me; however, once I felt I understood what Gloria’s drinking represented I was able to sit back and enjoy this quirky film. Anne did a wonderful job of acting with her character and the bonus was watching her play against Jason Sudeikis (Masterminds, Mother’s Day) as Oscar. He was amazing in his ability to switch back and forth between comedy and seriousness. I honestly do not see this picture going into wide release because I would not consider it a mainstream movie. However the story really had a way of pulling in the viewer; one only needed to suspend reality and watch how actions speak louder than words at times.
Growing up in a state where 21 years of age was the legal limit for buying alcoholic beverages, my friends had a better appreciation of me going to college out of state. The reason being the university was in a state where 18 was the legal drinking age. You would have thought I would have taken advantage of the situation, but it only took one time of me getting drunk that ended my drinking with visiting friends. The dumbest thing I did was skip breakfast and lunch the day after because I was hung over. Those who know me know I never miss a meal. What I do not understand is when I was drunk that one time I did not have the desire to take off my clothes in public or dance on top of cars. Why then would I care to watch someone else act out in a drunken state? So I could review this movie for you. Known for writing The Hangover and Wedding Crashers, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore chose to make their directorial debut with this story. Straight A college student Jeff Chang, played by Justin Chon (Twilight franchise, Hang Loose) had one of the most important meetings of his life set up the morning after his 21st birthday. His father Dr. Chang, played by Francois Chau (Lost-TV, Rescue Dawn) would be picking him up promptly, first thing in the morning. Unplanned was the surprise visit from Jeff’s two best friends Miller and Casey, played by Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole, Project X) and Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Taking Woodstock). Pleading with Jeff to let them take him out for one drink, Miller and Casey promised they would bring him right back. I do not have to say anything else; that is how predictable the story was in this sordid film. Honestly, there was nothing creative except for a couple of stupid stunts as the trio went on a drinking binge. Maybe I did not get the memo on what was required to view this movie–a six pack of beer, not that I am encouraging anyone to drink. My advice is to save your money and go rent the movie Animal House instead.
1 2/3 stars
In social situations where my answer to drink requests was water; more times than not, I was asked if I had an issue with alcohol. I explained to the person that no, I did not like the taste of it; preferring to use calories on a chocolate chip cookie. As a child I remember being horrified as I saw relatives acting out from being drunk. Inevitably an argument would ensue making everyone around uncomfortable. It usually was not a pleasant situation when the drunk person’s date or spouse was not in a similar inebriated state. This comedic drama gave a straight forward, unapologetic look at the challenges encountered when one person in a relationship attempts to make a change. Kate and Charlie Hannah, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Thing, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad-TV, The Last House on the Left) had the best times together when alcohol was involved. From backyard games to night time drunken bicycle rides, life was a constant high. But after hungover Kate vomited in front of her 1st grade students, those good times seemed less fun. What could replace her’s and Charlie’s favorite activity? The story was well thought out in this compelling film. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul were not only believable in their raw performances; they brought a subtle darkness to the characters. I was moved to the point where I felt a twinge of anxiety, similar to what I felt as a kid. The remaining cast for the most part were secondary; I thought Octavia Spencer (The Help, Seven Pounds) as Kate’s mentor Jenny could have been a stronger character. With an outstanding performance from Mary Elizabeth, this movie transcended from a story about two heavy drinkers to a keen observation on the choices one makes in life.