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Flash Movie Review: Gotti

HER GRIEF-STRICKEN FACE APPEARED on the television screen after the commercial break. Huddled next to her was her husband, his head slowly dropping down to a certain point before being jerked back up by consciousness. They were freezing and had barely eaten anything for the past couple of days. Their car was stuck in a snow bank when it skidded off the road in a remote area; they were on their way to his mother’s house out of state. The snowstorm unexpectedly hit their area much harder than the weatherman had predicted. If they would have known they would not have taken the risk, especially since she was pregnant. I only knew about all these details from the news reporter that was interviewing the couple. The scenes in the snow were actually reenactments with 2 actors portraying the real couple. From everything I was watching and hearing, I honestly was amazed the couple survived that ordeal. They were just an average couple; they did not have any special skills or superpowers, only their wits. Being sensitive to the cold I know I would not have survived one night, yet these two lasted days before they were discovered.     AFTER WATCHING THAT TELEVISION SHOW, I was curious why the couple’s story was told via a newscast program instead of being turned into a movie for theatrical release. I have seen so many films based on true stories that have been unbelievable at times. Some were about famous people; but then there have been others who were nobody special, expect for the extraordinary occurrence that they were part of. For example, one of my recent reviews was for a movie about a couple who found themselves in the middle of a major storm while sailing across the ocean. Sure, the two had some sailing knowledge, but nothing could have prepared them for what they encountered. There was another film I just reviewed that was inspired by the true story of a group of friends who have been playing the same game of tag for decades. Both films were created to entertain an audience, so I am sure the writers took some liberties with the real story. The ones that get shown on TV are not in a movie format style; they usually have been a series of vignettes narrated by some type of reporter. Both productions have value, I understand it; however, today’s movie was not as clear for me.     HAVING WON MULTIPLE LAWSUITS BROUGHT AGAINST him John Gotti Sr., played by John Travolta (Hairspray, Life on the Line), received the moniker “Teflon Don.” Leading one of the largest crime families, the name suited him well. Based on true events this dramatic crime film also starred Kelly Preston (Battlefield Earth, What a Girl Wants) as Victoria Gotti, Stacy Keach (Nebraska, Escape from L.A.) as Neil Dellacroce, Spencer Rocco Lofranco (Unbroken, At Middleton) as John Gotti Jr. and Pruitt Taylor Vince (Mississippi Burning, Constantine) as Angelo Ruggiero. John did a wonderful job of acting in this film; I found his presence on screen remained strong throughout. Kelly was also good; however, the issue I had with this movie was the script or lack of one. Most of the scenes felt like they were just copies of news segments. I was somewhat entertained simply because I was curious about John Gotti, but I did not see anything I had not already known. For listing this picture a biography, I would have preferred getting more history about the characters. Instead, there were family scenes; the only difference being the father was a major crime boss. With the addition of scenes that jumped back and forth in the story, I had a difficult time staying engaged. Maybe this picture would have been better served if it had been released on television.

 

1 ¾ stars   

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Flash Movie Review: Hereditary

IT WAS A MONTH AFTER HER death when we came together for a memorial service of her life. She chose to be cremated; so next to a poster sized photograph of herself, sat a simple carved urn filled with her ashes. I had only met her once; she was my friend’s mother. The memorial service was being performed in a chapel that barely held all of us attendees. I knew very few people so when I arrived I immediately went to sit down after paying my respects to my friend. Being a people watcher, I watched as the guests eventually walked in to take a seat. They came from all walks of life, I must say. Some stood out by the outfits they were dressed in. I cannot say they were inappropriate; let me just say I would never have associated their clothing choices with a memorial service. With that being said, the service was touching as various individuals stood up to give eulogies and share funny stories about the deceased. It was fascinating to see the different facial expressions people had on their faces; if you did not know why everyone was gathered, you couldn’t figure out if it was a sad or happy occasion.      AFTER THE SERVICE I ACCOMPANIED my friend back to her mother’s house. She wanted me to help move and store some of her mother’s items and furniture. As we drove up to the house the first thing that struck me was that it looked like it was hand made. The house was tiny and a bit rundown. It needed a paint job and the front stairs sagged in the middle, giving off an eerie sneering appearance. When we entered the house, I was immediately struck by the assortment of either items or devices that were placed in every room. In the living room was a wooden staff leaning up against the wall, that was carved entirely with elephants stacked on each other. On the wall was a framed mirror that caught my eye. The entire frame consisted of tiny human faces that were either carved into the wood or glued on top; it was an odd piece to me. I must tell you I found the whole place somewhat weird. There was a variety of different items; whether they were relics or newer I could not tell. All I know is I was glad when we finally finished and could get out of the place; though after seeing this dramatic mystery horror film, I would rather live in my friend’s mother’s house than join this family in theirs.      AFTER HER MOTHER HAD DIED estranged daughter Annie, played by Toni Collette (Please Stand By, Little Miss Sunshine), and her family started to experience odd feelings and occurrences in and outside of their home, as if Grandma never left. With newcomer Miley Shapiro as Charlie, Alex Wolfe (Patriots Day, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) as Peter, Gabriel Byrne (Miller’s Crossing, Endless Night) as Steve and Ann Dowd (Compliance, The Manchurian Candidate) as Joan; I found this suspenseful story creepy and twisted. That was a compliment because I was easily drawn into the film by Toni’s unbelievable acting, along with the rest of the cast and the non-typical script. There were some surprises in the way the story turned and I thought the filming and directing worked in synch to create this foreboding atmosphere. Some of you know I am not a big fan of horror films that have lots of blood and violence; this picture did have a couple of scenes with blood but the majority of it was more of the suspense genre, which I enjoy more. It is funny how you think you know someone then find out later something completely different about them.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Adrift

I FEEL BETTER WHEN I CAN always still see land, even if it is far in the distance. Maybe because of all the movies I have seen, from Jules Verne stories to historical events, I am anxious whenever I am on a boat or plane. Nothing that needs medication, but the idea of being on the water with no land in sight is not comforting to me. Even with my recent vacation last week, there were warning signs and fences posted along the shoreline preventing the hotel guests from swimming in the lake. You just never know what is lurking below the surface and I for one am not interested in finding out. I have only been on a cruise once and appreciated most of our travel time was done at night from port to port. It was easier for me to go to sleep and wake up in a different city without being exposed to open waters. The only thing I really had to deal with is getting used to the movement of the ship; it took me one full day to get myself steady where I was not feeling nauseous from the ship’s movements.      FROM MY ONE AND ONLY cruise I saw an abundance of wildlife. Seated by a window in the dining hall I happened to see a school of whales breaking through the water’s surface. I recall thinking about Moby Dick, wondering if a whale could do damage to our vessel. My biggest fear took place up until we set sail; I was concerned we would get caught in a storm while out to sea. I have seen enough action films like The Perfect Storm and The Poseidon Adventure to know the storm always wins or if not, does severe damage. If these concerns were not enough, recently there have been several instances where passengers became ill while traveling by boat. If one has an imagination they can really scare themselves with all the possibilities of different disasters coming close to them. So, you see why I am less anxious if I can see land while out on the water? The same thing goes for being in an airplane. The few times I have flown overseas was either done at nighttime, where I could not see anything or during the day, where I purposely had an aisle seat. I do not understand how people can be so calm when they are so far away from land. The 2 travelers in this action, adventure drama is a perfect example.      THEIR COMMOM LOVE OF THE water made Tami Oldham’s and Richard Sharp’s, played by Shailene Woodley (Divergent franchise, The Fault in Our Stars) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Journey’s End), decision easy to set sail together across the ocean. Their trip would not go as planned due to Mother Nature. Based on a true story this movie also starred Grace Palmer (Shortland Street-TV, Home and Away-TV) as Deb, Jeffrey Thomas (Slow West, The Light Between Oceans) as Peter and Elizabeth Hawthorne (30 Days of Night, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) as Christine. What made this film engaging was Shailene’s and Sam’s acting ability. They were so good together they came across like a real couple. The script jumped back and forth between two distinct time periods. At first, I found it kept my interest up; however, as time went on I felt this writing device was diminishing the emotional level of the scenes. For the circumstances taking place, I expected more details to be shown in the story. Nonetheless, the story was beyond amazing and this picture did a decent job of telling it. And as far as I am concerned if I had any interest in taking a ride on a sailboat, this movie pretty much ended it for me.

 

2 ¾ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Beast

THERE WAS ONLY ONE WAY TO describe him and that would be surly. You hear that word and imagine it refers to some gruff, mean-spirited man. I know it could also be a woman but I mostly have heard males being described this way. In any case, who I am referring to is a little boy. I know what you are thinking; how could a young child act like this already? Well I really do not have an answer for you. The only thing I could come up with is the child has a defiant personality. You may be familiar with such a child; whatever you ask or tell them they always will do the opposite. The boy I described earlier was such a child. No matter what you wanted him to do he would always do the opposite. If you asked him to tie his shoe, he would say no. If you asked him to smile for a photo, he would look away or stare blankly at the camera. It was quite annoying to say the least. At some point the child’s parents started saying the opposite thing they wanted to happen, so the boy would essentially do want they originally wanted him to do. I agree it was a bit twisted.     SO YOU SEE THIS IS WHY I said there has to be some type of defiant issue a/k/a child/parent dynamics. Now I was not privy to the details about what took place behind closed doors; but I had to assume there had to be in some form an issue of dominance. Speaking about my childhood years, predominantly the teenage years, I kept my hair long for years just because I was constantly being told to cut my hair. I liked my hair but the reason being used for me to cut my hair was that it would look better; better for who I would reply. Maybe everyone goes through a stage growing up where they want to start to exert some independence. I totally understand it; but at some point, when do these remarks or should I say suggestions begin to be a power struggle? Can you imagine being told at say 30 years of age to wear your hair differently or change your makeup because the person would prefer you do it that way? I feel it is a test of dominance and if you want to see what I mean, then get ready to watch it in action in this film festival nominated drama.      LIVING AT HOME AND FEELING like she was being taken for granted laid the groundwork for Moll, played by Jessie Buckley (War & Peace-TV mini-series, Rosamund Pilcher’s Shades of Love-TV series), to quickly become enamored with the recent stranger who came to town, who the citizens thought was a murderer. With Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria, Crusade of Jeans) as Pascal Renouf, Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes franchise, Calendar Girls) as Hilary Huntington, Trystan Gravelle (Anonymous, One Chance) as Clifford and Shannon Tarbet (A Promise, Virtuoso-TV movie) as Polly; the story took a little time to sink in with me. I will say I thought the acting was excellent in an intense way. Jessie and Geraldine really stood out for me. The story was this twisted suspense that drew me in by its uneasy feeling script. There were unexpected twists in the story that just made me enjoy this movie more. I also thought the writer did an excellent job of creating an atmosphere of doubt; both in the characters and viewers. One would be hard pressed not to place themselves in such a situation. This really was a fresh, thrill ride of a picture that was worth watching even if someone told you not to go see it.

 

3 stars     

Flash Movie Review: Child of God

A HANDFUL OF STRANGERS STOOD AROUND videotaping a man on fire. The man was in a car accident that caused the car to catch on fire. A passerby saw what was happening and raced over to the burning man. He grabbed his coat and began slapping the accident victim, to snuff out the flames. Luckily the fire department showed up in time, extinguished the flames and rushed the victim to the hospital. It was reported later that the man survived with the help of the good Samaritan. The group of strangers captured it all on their phones. This was a true story that was reported recently here on the news. The idea of people being more concerned about filming an accident, to either share or post on one of their media sites, instead of helping a person in need is something I find appalling. There was a time where people would help those in need. It eventually diminished as more people withdrew, preferring not to get involved. I have seen this very thing on public transportation, where an altercation takes place and the nearby passengers scurry away from it. I could see if they ran to get help, but now people just want to leave as fast as they can.      WITH THE INCREASE IN VIOLENCE BEING reported currently I believe this isolation preference or desire is a contributing factor. It is so much easier to ignore a problem than deal with one. However, when the problem is a human being there can be consequences if the troubled person continues without getting some type of helpful treatment. The recent tragedies that have taken place across the country I find especially horrific. The shooting takes place, the news reports it, people question how it could happen and more times than not the parent of the perpetrator states their child was a good kid. Excuse me but I have a hard time with such a statement. It makes me wonder if the parent has been an active participant in the child’s life. One of the conversations I have been on posed this question: did we always have these troubled individuals around us and we just now are hearing more about them or are people getting crazier (someone else’s words)? I honestly did not have an answer. If someone begins displaying odd behavior traits I believe it needs to be investigated. I remember as a child there were a couple of people in the neighborhood who were labeled “crazy.” Luckily, they were harmless but I do not recall anyone questioning it. It appears the same thing was taking place in this film festival winning crime drama.      AFTER BEING KICKED OFF OF HIS bankrupt property Lester Ballard, played by Scott Haze (Midnight Special, Thank you for Your Service), had to figure out how to survive. His method took him further away from rational thought. Written and directed by James Franco (The Disaster Artist, Spring Breakers), I found this DVD disturbing. Scott was excellent in the role but I had the hardest time understanding him. It seemed like the other cast members Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four; O Brother, Where art Thou?) as Sheriff Fate, Jim Parrack (Battle Los Angeles, True Blood-TV) as Deputy Cotton and Brian Lally (As I Lay Dying, L.A. Confidential) as Greer had no such issues. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s (The Road, All the Pretty Horses) novel I assume the story is better in print form; as a movie I felt the story dragged on. It certainly was thought provoking for me as the scenes turned darker and darker. But I must tell you I wanted the film to end; not because of the subject matter, but due to it not being entertaining. There still are parts of this story lingering in my mind; for example, is Lester the result of people’s inactions?

 

1 ½ — DVD   

Flash Movie Review: The Rider

I HAVE NOTHING BUT ADMIRATION for someone who spent their entire life working to achieve one goal. During a social engagement I was talking with one of the guests who happened to be a plumber. From the conversation we were having, he expressed how he always wanted to be a plumber ever since he was a little boy. While the other kids were playing at the public swimming pool, he was in it trying to figure out where the water was going in the vents by the side of the pool walls. Another time his parents caught him trying to take apart the kitchen sink and drain with his children’s tools. I found it interesting to meet someone who had only one goal and did not care what other people said about him. He did say his parents were not thrilled that he dropped out of college so he could devote all his time to learning his craft. Seriously, one must give him credit for knowing what he wanted to do and then pursue it to make it happen. How many of us wind up in a job that we either dislike or have no investment in it?      THINKING BACK TO THE DIFFERENT paths I was on for a career choice, it amazes me that I settled into a position that nurtures me. At one time I wanted to be a full-time fitness professional; like the people you see on the infomercials who have trademarked an exercise method. While that was going on I still had dreams of being either a writer, psychiatrist or veterinarian. All of this superseded my earlier career hope of being an international DJ. Remembering all of this, all I can say is I certainly had eclectic tastes. Do I have any regrets that I did not achieve one of these as my sole profession? Not really, as you can see I had varied interests back then; I never devoted all my time towards one path. On the plus side I presently continue to get much joy out of teaching fitness/yoga classes and writing these movie reviews. I realize not everyone experiences joy from what they do, so I am quite grateful. And if and when the time comes where I can no longer do one of them I cannot imagine I will feel lost. These things are only a part of me, they do not define all of me; unlike the main character in this dramatic, film festival winner.      AFTER A SERIOUS HEAD INJURY Brady Blackburn, played by newcomer Brady Jandreau, had to find a way to redefine himself since he was being told he could not do what he loved. Based on a true story this film was made up of newcomers; there was Tim Jandreau as Wayne Blackburn and Lilly Jandreau as Lilly Blackburn. Written and directed by Chloe Zhao (The Atlas Mountains, Songs My Brothers Taught Me), I was at first thrown by this movie. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a documentary or a drama. There was a simple pureness to everything in this picture. From the landscapes to the script to the acting; there was no additional fillers. I cannot say there was action in the story; it was more like a slow burn. Add in the close-up shots and they only intensified the emotional level which I found compelling. The sport depicted in this picture was something I truthfully never gave much thought to before; however, I believe this was an honest and real depiction of these riders. I guess I have only seen the top players on television since this story showed a whole different side. The story to me was haunting and I can only imagine how it must feel being told you cannot do what you love.

 

3 ¼ stars

Flash Movie Review: Disobedience

HIS BITTERNESS WOULD NOT ALLOW him to let go of his grudges; it is true. If he got into an argument or altercation where he felt just even slighted in any way, he would hold a grudge against the person forever. I understood because I used to do the same thing; but that was years ago. You can choose whether it was maturity or growing old, but I do not have the same intensity now like I did back then. Granted nowadays I will not forget, but I do not go out of my way to get back at the “perpetrator.” Instead I ignore the person, devoting as little energy as possible to them. There is a member at one of the fitness centers where I teach who was the owner of a company that was a customer of mine. We used to be on friendly terms and though they ran a little slow with their payments, he would work to get us paid. When the economy started to drop the payments got slower and slower. I had to call their accounts payable department and get a hold of him at the fitness center. Finally, when I found him he told me they were working on our invoices and not to hold up their orders; that he would remember who worked with them once they turned things around. So, I released his current order with us and after a few weeks went by his company filed bankruptcy. To this day when I see him I make no acknowledgment of his existence.      NOW THIS MAY SEEM HARSH to some of you, but it really does not take any energy away from me. It is as if he is a stranger passing me by, though by the look on his face he does try to avoid me. The difference I was referring to between me and my friend is he would have turned his feelings all to hatred and made foul comments to the owner any chance he would have seen him. His feelings for an individual would get twisted with any other negative feelings he had stuffed inside of himself; so, his reactions were always at an extreme level, way beyond what the situation warranted. As I am getting older I do not have the energy nor the desire to hold grudges. Sure, as I said before, I may not forget what happened but I do not want to spend my time resenting the individual who wronged me. I have seen some elderly people who are unpleasant to be around because they are filled with resentment and anger. If I was in a similar situation like what was depicted in this romantic drama, I do not know if I would want to be around those individuals.      IT WAS HARD FOR RONIT KRISHNA, played by Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, The Light Between the Oceans), to return for her father’s funeral to the community that had looked down at her. Their reason was still walking the streets. This film festival nominee also starred Rachel McAdams (Game Night, Spotlight) as Esti Kuperman, Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Ginger & Rosa) as David Kuperman and Allan Corduner (Defiance, The Merchant of Venice) as Moshe Hartog. Due to the beautiful acting from both Rachels I could get through the slowness at times of the story. The 2 actresses both had this special way of using their physical features to convey their feelings. It took some time for me to get used to the pacing before I was pulled into this film. I did find the setting interesting for it added a religious element to the love story that I found thought provoking. On a curious note I was intrigued with the way people dealt with their grudges.

 

3 stars       

Flash Movie Review: Tully

WAY BEFORE THE MATRIX MOVIES were released people were already feeling more like a machine than human. I believe this is true; just look around and you will see individuals who are stuck in a rut that causes them to lose their zest for life. There are times I feel overwhelmed when I find myself in this cyclical pattern of sleep, eat and work; sleep, eat and work; sleep, eat and work. Life becomes a repetitious pattern of events over and over to the point where one day is no different from the next. What helps me get through these periods of time is an active mind. Keep in mind my daydreaming was used as a defense to get through the dark periods of my earlier life; so now, when I feel myself getting into a rut I fire up the creative furnace of my brain and enter a fantasy land of hopes and dreams. I am aware this method may not be suitable for someone else; in that case, they would need to find a way to bring joy back into their life. Only existing day by day, I feel is not enough to experience life and I will add, living.      THERE WAS A MAN I KNEW who would change jobs every time he felt he was getting into a rut. At first, I thought he was just being aggressive in trying to advance himself up the career ladder; but after a couple of different positions, I realized they were more of a lateral move instead of advancement. Within five years he had already changed companies 4 times. Each time he started a new job he was excited and gung ho about it; then as time passed on, you could see the life being drained out of him. Looking back at it I now wonder if he was experiencing some form of depression. It would be understandable if a person felt trapped or stuck in a place. Then that is the time therapy should come into play, instead of running away from the issue like this guy seemed to be doing by changing jobs multiple times. Taking in consideration the stress of changing jobs, I can only wonder if this also played a factor in his decision-making process. Let us face it; for some people it is easier to avoid such feelings and just change the environment instead. But there are some positions that one does not get a choice; they must deal with life’s trials and tribulations. Look what was going on in this film festival nominated comedic drama.      WITH EACH CHILD AND BABY demanding all her attention Marlo, played by Charlize Theron (The Fate of the Furious, Atomic Blonde), had nothing left in her to deal with anything else. It came to the point her husband Craig, played by Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed, The One I Love), suggested they get a nanny; not just a regular nanny, but a night one. What was a night nanny? Written by Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) this film also starred Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Blade Runner 2049) as Tully and Ron Livingston (The Conjuring, Adaptation) as Drew. This movie was all about Charlize’s character and she did not disappoint, even gaining 50 pounds for the role. I enjoyed the story and most of the script because it came across as believable. There were no apologies about anything nor the painting of a happy picture when there really was nothing to be happy about; this was I believe a true portrayal of what motherhood entails for some women. Having sat through a rut of uninteresting movies this picture was a needed respite.

 

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Finding Your Feet

I AVOID HER LIKE THE PLAGUE; that is how strong I feel about her. When I am at the grocery store and she is there, I will not go into her checkout line. Please understand I know she is doing her job; but I find it irritating that she must look at every single coupon I have cut out of the newspaper, match it to the corresponding product on my receipt before she will scan it. That is what the scanner is supposed to do; if I did not purchase the product the coupon would not work! You would think I am taking the money straight out of her pocket. One time I had words with her because I had a coupon for a free box of pasta that happened to be on a two for one sale, buy 1 box and you get a 2nd box free. So technically with my coupon I would be getting both boxes free, right? She told me I could not use my coupon because the item was on sale. I told her that did not make sense and to scan the coupon. Do you know I had to hold up the line of people behind me before she begrudgingly gave in and scanned the coupon, which the scanner took by the way.     I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY SOME people internalize their job position then laud it over other individuals. When I travel to other fitness centers I can immediately tell by the way the instructor walks into the room whether they think they are “special” or not. Some instructors I have met have this attitude that I find to be narcissistic; they want everyone to look at them as if they are the oracle for everything that has to do with fitness. Taking a class from a person like this is no fun for me. It is interesting because I wonder if that instructor is so wrapped up into their job label that they cannot have fun even outside the classroom. There was a summer job I had years ago where the owner’s wife walked around the company as if she was royalty. She barely spoke to any of the employees. I mean really, so she was the wife of the president/owner; where was it written that she could not be civil and polite? When I come across people who act like this I cannot imagine them ever having a good time because they are so busy putting on their façade. The same thing was happening to the wife in this dramatic comedy.      IT WAS BAD ENOUGH FINDING out her husband was cheating on her, but to leave the life she was accustomed to would turn out to be even harder for Lady Sandra Abbott, played by Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, Harry Potter franchise). This film festival winner also starred Celia Imrie (Imagine Me & You, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel franchise) as Bif, Joanna Lumley (The Wolf of Wall Street, Absolutely Fabulous-TV) as Jackie, Timothy Spall (The Party, Mr. Turner) as Charlie and David Hayman (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Sid & Nancy) as Ted. I have to tell you the cast was over qualified in this romantic comedy. The script did okay trying not to make everything appear like a cliché, but I felt it needed more drama. This was sort of like a happy-go-lucky type of story; however, the actors were so polished it appeared as if the actors were not even acting. They were living the lives of their characters. With the style of directing and the way the script was written, this film wasn’t trying to be something it was not; it was simply being a light British comedic romance.

 

2 ½ stars      

Flash Movie Review: The Miracle Season

MAYBE IT IS PAYBACK OR simply karma from all those years doing nothing when we had a substitute teacher. Not that I did anything disrespectful, but allegedly I instigated a couple of disruptions. My thing back then was to shoot “spitballs” out of a hollow pen. I know that was not right; however, compared to some of the other stunts students did when we had a substitute teacher, my act was almost benign. There was one student who glued the teacher’s handbook to the desk. When the substitute came in and tried to lift the book up the back cover would not budge. The teacher had to spend time slowly trying to scrap the cover off the desk without ripping it too much. Another time we had a substitute who went to write something on the chalkboard but all the chalk and erasers were hidden by a couple of students. It was not easy for a substitute teacher to come in and take over the class for a day or two. For us students a sub meant it was going to be an easy day, at least in theory.      FAST FORWARD TO WHEN I BECAME a fitness instructor full time. In the beginning I had my schedule of classes but also would help the other instructors by being a substitute for their classes. Because I am one, I totally get members who want the same thing they are used to with an instructor. Here I walk in and have my own style of teaching; you should have seen some of the faces the members would make to show their displeasure with me. I subbed for a yoga instructor and as I began my introduction a member asked if I could turn off the lights. When I explained I could do it later in the class, after I see how everyone moves in the poses; the member harrumphed, rolled up her mat and stormed out of the room. This was before I even did one pose. It is challenging to fill in for a teacher who is popular with a strong following. When members find someone they enjoy they only want to work out with that particular instructor. If a substitute comes in they must perform at their best and try to win the participants over or at least not lose them 5 minutes into the class. Therefore, I understood and felt bad for the main character in this dramatic sports film.      AFTER A TRAGIC ACCIDENT THAT LEFT their volleyball team without a captain it was decided to move Kelley Fliehler, played by Erin Moriarty (Captain Fantastic, The Kings of Summer), into that position. She would not only have to win points but even harder, win over her teammates. This film based on a true story also starred Helen Hunt (The Sessions, As Good as it Gets) as Kathy Bresnahan, Tiera Skovbye (Midnight Sun, Supernatural-TV) as Brie, William Hurt (A History of Violence, Days and Nights) as Ernie Found and Danika Yarosh (Heroes Reborn-TV, Shameless-TV) as Caroline “Line” Found. The story in this picture was inspiring; however, I felt it was not executed to its best advantage. Pretty much this was a straightforward telling of the events and here is where I think the script does not do the story justice. There was nothing different about this film compared to others I have seen with this type of story. Without delving much into the characters, I never felt fully connected to any of them. The parts I enjoyed were the actual volleyball matches. Outside of that there was nothing horrible or great about this movie, which in sports talk I guess would translate it to not being a win or loss but only a tie.

 

2 stars          

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