It is impossible to control those things that are out of our control. This took me a long time to learn, yet periodically I still try. I came to this realization when I started my yoga studies. Prior to them, each morning I would get angry while I was stuck in traffic on the way to work. There was nothing I could do about it, though I did come up with some creative ideas on how to eliminate the cars around me. From my studies I finally made the connection that day after day I was using up my energy to get angry at something that was out of my control. I still sit in traffic every day but I stay relaxed, listening to music now. In this dramedy we got an honest portrayal of the daily challenges in a family’s life. Liev Schreiber (Salt, Defiance) and Helen Hunt (The Sessions, Twister) played married couple Ned and Jeanne. The two began to experience their daily lives veering out of control when Jeanne’s cantankerous father Ernie, played by Brian Dennehy (First Blood, Romeo + Juliet), came to live with them. At the same time their gay son Jonah, played by Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), announced he wanted to attend the school’s prom. I thought the fine acting sold the majority of the multiple story lines. What did not work for me was Ned’s office. His boss Garrett’s, played by Eddie Izzard (Ocean’s Thirteen, The Cat’s Meow), extreme requests seemed too outrageous. If Eddie’s character was supposed to represent a commentary on reality television, it was lost on me. The topics of elder care and acceptance would have been enough to make a strong story. Adding the other issues, though valid in the real world, only bogged down the pacing in this film. In addition, I believe this caused the ending to be weak. I would have preferred the writers took a couple of issues and dug deeper into them. The movie kept my interest; there was no need to get angry over its flaws. Besides, there was nothing I could do about it anyway.
2 1/3 stars — DVD
In the Latin community, so I have been told, the males need to be machismo, manly. I do not buy that, but I am aware that there is a strong focus on being a family. We can all assume that when a child is brought into this world, whatever their parents’ backgrounds, they will love their child unconditionally. If only that were really true. I have witnessed the horror of a child being kicked out of the house by their parents, because they announced they were gay. These parents only loved him as long as they believed he was straight. What made this situation worse was how the parents had nothing to do with him from that day on…until they found out years later how successful their son had become in the business world. Then all of a sudden they tried re-establishing a relationship with him. For these reasons, I was intrigued when I saw the trailer for this movie. In the mission district of San Francisco lived Che Rivera, played by Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality, Law & Order-TV). He was an ex-con, recovering alcoholic and a single dad. Respected by some, feared by others; Che’s world spun out of control when he discovered his son Jes, played by Jeremy Ray Valdez (Constantine, All She Can), was gay. Though this story can and has played out in many ways, I felt having the setting take place in a hyper masculine, Hispanic neighborhood gave the conflicts more intensity. Benjamin and Jeremy did a wonderful job of acting, in spite of several undeveloped scenes. Even if I had never known about my friend’s parents, I would have still found this dramatic film to be a truthful story. In my world, love is either an all or nothing proposition.
2 3/4 stars — DVD