IF HE HAD NOT SAID ANYTHING to me, I would not have given it a second thought. My friend was expressing how his dad could never make the parent/teacher conferences because of his work. I was not aware it bothered him since there were many students who came to these meetings with only one parent. When I mentioned this to my friend, he told me he just wanted his father to show up once to one of his school functions; that his dad worked all the time. I thought about this for a minute and realized I might have only seen his father once or twice at the most through all the years we have been friends. Mentioning this to my friend, he told me his dad only thought about his job and how he could advance himself. According to my friend his dad was driven by this one thought; he did not think of anything else but what he could do to get promoted and earn more money. I felt sad for my friend; it was like he had an absentee father because within our conversation my friend told me his dad missed family birthdays, anniversaries and even some holiday get togethers. There was nothing I could say to make him feel better. THE THINGS HE SAID TO ME about his dad were not unfamiliar to me; I have known several people, including myself, who were driven by a single-mindedness to reach their goals. When I started teaching fitness, I pretty much put myself on call to make myself available when anyone needed a sub to teach their class. Rarely would I ever request a sub; I felt it was my job, so I needed to be there to teach class. There were many occasions when I could not join my friends and family in a celebration because it was my time to teach. I know my one mindedness had an affect on my relationships. Some of the people I dated ended our relationship with the excuse I was not easily available to them. At the time it was hurtful to hear because I could not see things through their eyes. I felt they were essentially asking me to choose between them and my job. Now granted, though fitness was my part time job I treated it with the same importance as my full time one. There were instructors who did not have an issue taking off time from teaching whenever they felt like it; I could not do it, that is how driven I was with teaching. After many years, I now finally understand I was not seeing the big picture of my life; I was out of balance. It was the same, I felt, for the main character in this musical comedy. NOTHING ELSE MATTERED TO LARS CRICKSSONG, played by Will Ferrell (Downhill, Holmes & Watson), then to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. His singing partner and family were certainly aware of his drive, even if they did not understand it. With Rachel McAdams (A Most Wanted Man, Game Night) as Sigrit Ericksdottir, Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, The Guest) as Alexander Lemtov, Mikael Persbrandt (In a Better World, The Hobbit franchise) as Victor Karlosson and Pierce Brosnan (Some Kind of Wonderful, Mama Mia! franchise) as Erick Erickssong; this movie could have used some fine tuning. I am not a fan of Will Ferrell; for me, he was doing a role that he has been doing since his Saturday Night Live days. There was nothing new or fresh about his character. On the other hand, Rachel was impressive; her comedic timing, acting and possible singing voice hit the right notes for me. Dan Stevens was another standout for me; he was crazy good in this role. There were patches where the story and script were amusing; but then there were times where things felt flat. Gratefully these 2 actors hit the right notes and made this movie easier to watch for me.
2 ½ stars
There is a special freedom for me when I am able to take a vacation by myself. With the responsibilities I have at my jobs where I need to constantly communicate verbally, I find a peaceful comfort when I am silent. The only time I need to speak is when I check in/out of the hotel and when I order food; otherwise, I can get lost in a new city and release my mind to accept all things visually. Away and alone I do not have to compromise, negotiate, alter or abandon anything I have set out to do while on vacation; talk about the ultimate paradise for someone with control issues. However, when I travel with someone there is the opportunity to see things through a different set of eyes, which can open up a new experience. I have a long time friend who has traveled with me for many years. Our shared adventures have produced some magical and memorable times. When there is a person you have a long history with, there is a steady ease the two of you share throughout the trip. Since I am an avid photographer, documenting everything I see while on vacation, years after our trip we get to revisit and reminiscence, letting our memories filter out with softer edges of our travels. FORMER brother-in-laws Mitch and Colin, played by Earl Lynn Nelson (Pilgrim Song, Passenger Pigeons) and Paul Eenhoorn (This is Martin Bonner, Beautiful Brit Baker), went on a trip to Iceland to share some fun, explore and try to get back their youth. These two actors created a believable connection between their characters. Where one was outgoing and silly the other had more of a quiet sophistication that worked well at balancing out each other in various scenes that unfolded in this adventure comedy. Visually the scenes were beautiful thanks to the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland. Due to the crisp and clean scenes the majority of humor was verbally generated. I enjoyed this movie for the most part though there were times I became bored. Part of the reason was due to the directing. This film had a similar vibe to the movie Thelma & Louise with the foundation of the story being a crazy road trip; it just happened to be played by a pair of friends who were of a geriatric age. Ultimately this sweet picture kept things simple by letting the characters reveal their inner thoughts and fears, while we watched two friends finding their way through life. I hope the opportunity to do that with my friends and family presents itself to me when I get to be that age.
2 3/4 stars