MOTIVATION IS A KEY INGREDIENT IN a person’s journey through life; I firmly believe this. It is the reason one has for behaving or acting a certain way. For example, I wanted to feel better about myself and be able to buy clothing off the rack from any store; so, I went on a diet to lose weight. Another example was my dream to visit all 50 states. I let pass social opportunities so I could save money to fund my travel plans. As long as I can remember, whenever I was motivated to do something I never had a completion date associated to it. In other words, if there was something I wanted to do or get I would stick with it until I reached my goal. Is this the norm? I do not know. From my experiences, I have seen so many variations in a person’s motivation. Now let me say upfront I found it difficult to be sympathetic to an individual who wanted to achieve something but was not motivated to go get it. I had a friend who desperately wanted to be in a love relationship; not a conversation would go by without him mentioning what he would do if he had a significant other. The problem as I saw it was he did nothing to try and meet people. I do not know if he was expecting people to come knocking on his door. WITH THE LAST EXAMPLE I DESCRIBED, the other aspect that contributes to me being unsympathetic is when the person blames others for the predicament they placed themselves in. Recognition is the first step in solving a problem. The friend I described above once in a while would meet someone by happenstance, while grocery shopping or riding the train. If they struck up a conversation and eventually went out on a couple of dates, my friend would already start to think ahead of what might happen. However, if the few dates went nowhere, he was always quick to place blame on the other person. They were conceited, stuffy, high maintenance were some of the excuses he would express to me. After hearing the same excuses over time, I had to finally suggest to him that maybe he should take a look at the things he was doing. You would have thought I was accusing him of murder or fraud; he said he was doing nothing wrong. At that point I was done and knew there was no sense in trying to reason with him. I believe I would have come to the same conclusion with the main character in this comedy. WITH NO JOB AND NO SOURCE OF INCOME; Susan, played by Sean Hayes (The Three Stooges, Will & Grace-TV), had to rely on getting money from her mother. However, the arrangement wouldn’t last if her brother had something to say about it. With Carrie Aizley (For Your Consideration, Transparent-TV) as Corrin, Margo Martindale (The Hollars, August: Osage County) as Mary, Allison Janney (Hairspray, The Girl on the Train) as Velvet and Danny Johnson (Daredevil-TV, Shades of Blue-TV) as Leon; I thought the story was interesting at the start. The cast was well suited for their roles, but I felt the script dragged on for a good portion of the film. Sean was just okay in the role; there was nothing unique to his acting. I would have preferred knowing more about how the dynamics between Susan and her family came to be. As it stood, the story did not go anywhere for me; everything seemed to stay on one level. Except for the occasional humorous scene, my pulse did not get a rise from this picture. Maybe it was expecting me to find the good parts to the plot?
1 ¾ stars
RARELY DO YOU SEE THE NEWS report on what takes place after a child’s sporting event has ended. If you are like me, you probably have seen a kid’s baseball or soccer or football game at some point in your life. I attended a relative’s son’s game. My biggest concern was the weather because it was an especially cold day and the idea of sitting outside on uncomfortable, metal bleachers was not cutting it for me; however, I agreed to go see the game anyway. When I arrived at the playing field, I found my relative and we went to claim a spot on the bleachers. The game started soon after. There was nothing exciting about the plays, but I cheered during the appropriate times. I noticed by the sidelines several adults who were bundled up walking up and down the field based on where the teams were playing. It didn’t take me long to figure out these guys were fathers of some of the players. The reason I knew was due to their behavior; they had no qualms about voicing their opinions, yelling at the referees or screaming at their own kids. I could not believe what I was hearing. To me, they sounded like an angry mob; for heaven’s sake, it was just a kid’s football game. Their children, I thought, must have been horrified by the vocal outbursts. The referees tried curtailing the Dads’ behaviors, but it only had a short-term effect before the Dads would go back to yelling. THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE WAS MAKING ME more uncomfortable than I was presently. After the game ended (it seemed like an eternity), we waited for my relative’s son. We stood off to the side of the bleachers on a path that led to the parking spots. Standing there, I was able to hear snippets of conversations from the passing people. One Dad was walking with his player son right by me. I could see the Dad was not happy based on the faces he was making as he was belittling his child. Calling his son names, telling him he was no good and a variety of other negative comments; I was disgusted by the man’s ignorance on what he really was doing to his son. The poor kid looked brokenhearted, his head hanging down, only able to stare at the ground. I wanted to shout at the father but refrained myself. What did the Dad hope to accomplish with all his yelling? I asked myself the same question as I was watching this powerful dramatic film. EX-RODEO CLOWN AND FELON JAMES LORT, played by Shia LaBeouf (The Peanut Butter Falcon, Fury), would do anything to make his son a star; even if it might hurt him. With Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird, Boy Erased) as Otis (22), Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Wonder) as Otis (12), Byron Bowers (The Chi-TV, The Eric Andre Show-TV) as Percy and Laura San Giacomo (Pretty Woman, Just Shoot Me!) as Dr. Moreno; Shia wrote the screenplay, for this film, that was based on his life experiences. I felt this was one of Shia’s best performances and I believe it had an affect on Lucas and Noah; they were just as good. If even half of the scenes in this movie were true; Shia had one torturous childhood. Sitting through this picture was like being in therapy due to the roller coaster display of intense emotions. There were times I wondered how Otis even made it to adulthood, based on the amount of pressure that was being placed on him. For several years I lost interest in Shia due to his erratic behavior that was making the news. However, after seeing what he did with the script and acting in this movie, I have a whole new appreciation for him and his acting ability.
3 ½ stars