Even if someone created a non-caloric doughnut I would not eat it if the person was not respectful and nice to other people. I would rather cycle an extra 30 minutes to burn off a calorie rich doughnut before eating one of their calorie free ones. Recently I saw a posting on the internet that said, “It does not cost you anything to be nice.” How true that is for all of us. For those people who have obtained some level of celebrity status I think these words should be heeded even more. It seems easier or maybe I should say more prevalent these days to put celebrities up on a pedestal. Now there are some that may deserve a little extra praise, but all in all they are just human beings like the rest of us. I remember the time when I was an extra on a movie set; a couple of the actors from the cast were throwing major attitude at all the extras. I thought how rude it was of them, some of these extras are idolizing you and you are standing there acting like a jerk. There was a part of me that wanted to go up to them, tap them on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me you are only an actor, you did not find a cure for cancer where you should be acting like you are something special to the world.” On the other hand, there were a few actors on the set who were so kind and generous to the extras that they won me over since I had only known them from the way the media was portraying them. Funny how a public image can be so different from the actual person, just see what happens in this dramatic film. AUTHOR David Foster Wallace, played by Jason Segel (The Five-Year Engagement, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), burst onto the scene with his incredible book, “Infinite Jest.” Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg (Now You See Me, The Social Network), wanting to make his own splash by getting the ultimate interview, arranged a 5 day trip with David during the end of his book tour. The two could not have been more different or were they? From a true story this was one of the more cerebral films I have seen in a long time. Gratefully the actors had such good chemistry that I really felt I was in on their little road trip. I have not read the book nor was familiar with David until this movie but my curiosity has been piqued now. This drama may not be for everyone because the action was kept to a bare minimum; however, for a character study on celebrity fame this film offered a unique take on it.
More than likely it is not its intentions, but life’s daily requirements can put an added burden on living. It can be tough on one person; however, if there are more people involved it can be harder. I have seen and been a victim to the aftermath of a relationship that suffered under the weight of life’s pressures. Some people can lose motivation and become lethargic. They may become depressed, feeling as if they are running on a torturous racetrack without an exit ramp. No matter how in love two people are, there is always a big adjustment when they form a union and begin to share responsibilities. It is similar to living in a balloon where the two of you are working hard to keep it inflated with your dreams, aspirations and hopes; but the outside world keeps demanding too much time from you and with you being occupied, your balloon begins to show signs of soft loose wrinkles. I now know going into a relationship my hectic schedule presents an immediate challenge. My class time depletes the finite amount of free time I have available to socialize. This is why I feel it is extra important to communicate and make sure I setup down time where the two of us can come to a place where we can talk, share, express and experience life in a way that adds to our growth. ANNIE and Jay, played by Cameron Diaz (There’s Something about Mary, The Other Woman) and Jason Segel (This is 40, The Muppets), were at a similar place in their relationship in this comedy film. The energy they wanted to devote to each other was being used towards their jobs and children, leaving little time to be romantic. To help in that department, Annie and Jay came up with the idea to film themselves being romantic; but a screwup made their lovemaking public on the internet. The mortified couple would have to go to extreme measures if they wanted to keep their dignity. Here is an instance where the movie trailer tells it all. Though the setup to the movie was good, nothing else was offered but a series of stunts to garner a laugh. I chuckled at a couple of things, but I did not find anything different or original to make me laugh. Rob Lowe (The Invention of Lying, The West Wing-TV) as Hank was the most fun character out of the cast. If you feel this movie will offer you some relief from your daily grind then by all means go see it; personally, I would find a better diversion.
Two days prior to watching this movie I had to complete an advanced abuse prevention training for one of the health facilities. The subjects I reviewed did not surprise me; it was remembering things I witnessed during my school years and how they would be so unacceptable now. How many of you remember a teacher keeping a student after class or having a pupil sitting alone with an instructor in a room for detention. According to the training module I read it is no longer acceptable, unless there is easy visibility for other individuals to see the teacher and student. I can go down a list of my teachers and find many who would be considered violators now, besides being inappropriate back then. There was one teacher who periodically would be drunk in class; his face turning bright red as he slurred his words. There was another teacher who was living with one of their former students. Oh and how could I forget the teacher who would throw a ball at their students’ heads to get their attention? If you combine all of my teachers together as one, I am not sure they would be the worst teacher ever compared to the bad teacher in this comedy. Cameron Diaz (Gangs of New York, There’s Something About Mary) played Elizabeth Halsey; who after being dumped by her wealthy fiance was forced to teach at a middle school. Her motivation had nothing to do with the students; instead it was how quickly she could get money to pay for her breast augmentation procedure. I enjoyed Cameron in this role and thought she was outrageous, doing a decent job. The other teachers were too much like cartoon characters, such as Lucy Punch (Hot Fuzz, Stand Up Guys) as Amy Squirrel and Phyllis Smith (Butter, The Office-TV) as Lynn Davies. Surprisingly I thought Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Muppets) was not used enough as PE instructor Russell Gettis and Justin Timberlake’s (In Time, Runner Runner) character was just weird. This award winning movie was crude in parts, but there were a couple of chuckle worthy scenes. I did not find the ending satisfying with the change that took place. Overall watching this film would be a harmless activity, unlike having to be a student at this school.
2 1/4 stars — DVD
Words of encouragement can make such a difference in a person’s life. In a similar way, a lack of encouraging words can also have a dramatic effect on an individual. When there is a new member in my yoga classes, I make a point to tell the person they did a good job at the end of class. Especially when they have paid attention to what their body was physically able to do; instead of trying to copy my every move. When I first started attending group exercise classes, I felt intimidated. It seemed as if everyone knew the moves. There I was trying to copy the steps; not only feeling uncomfortable, but aware that the extra 85 pounds I was carrying made me stand out even more. A kind word or two would have been nice. I never went back to that particular class. In this animated film, I was surprised to find what motivated the main character Gru, voiced by Steve Carell (Hope Springs, Date Night). When the world discovered the Great Pyramid of Giza was stolen, Gru was determined to do something even more spectacular. He wanted to be the most evil villain of all time. Not only would he not be outshone but he would make his mother proud. His mother was voiced by Julie Andrews (Tooth Fairy, Victor Victoria). His plan to beat master thief Vector, voiced by Jason Segel (The Muppets, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), hit a speed bump when three orphaned girls entered his life. The movie started out slow for me, but I soon realized the humor had a certain amusing sophistication to it, not a typical slapstick schtick. While Steve did a perfect job with his character, I had no idea Julie and Jason were the voices of their characters. The humor was appropriate for all ages and I liked the added twists to the story. It is amazing what some people will do just to get approval. I for one approved of this movie.
3 stars — DVD
A relationship cannot survive without communication. Already aware of this, the point was enforced further as I watched this film. There has to be a willingness to compromise with the person you love. I would also add: being able to handle the things that test you. For example, if you cannot stand seeing dirty dishes left out by your partner, can you find peace of mind; instead of picking a fight with them? These were some of the issues Violet and Tom needed to deal with in this romantic comedy. Played by Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria, The Adjustment Bureau) and Jason Segel (Jeff, Who Lives at Home; The Muppets), Tom Solomon proposed to Violet Barnes on their one year anniversary. Their planned short engagement had to be extended when Violet was accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Michigan. Tom would have to quit his job and move with Violet from San Francisco to Ann Arbor. There were parts of the film that dealt with the couple’s transitions with honesty along with touches of humor and sadness. The story needed some editing, for it dragged in parts. Also, I did not find Jason’s performance convincing, especially his outdoorsman phase. There were several bright spots to what was otherwise a long movie about a long engagement.
2 1/3 stars
Some people may find signs in burnt toast or water stained walls, others acknowledge no such occurences. Was it a sign when years ago I had locked myself in an apartment basement, while a couple of bullies were pounding on the door and the skies opened up with a fierce downpour of rain? As they ran for shelter, I was able to escape and make my way home. As a kid, I took it as a huge sign. Interestingly, the character of Jeff in this movie, played by Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Muppets), spends his time trying to make sense of what he believed to be signs. His brother Pat, played by Ed Helms (The Hangover, Cedar Rapids), was the opposite. He had a plan in life or so he thought until one day he spotted his wife out with another man. Though it appeared the brothers did not get along, Jeff helped his brother with his plans, using signs to guide his actions. It was an interesting premise for a movie and it was a relief to see Jason Segel act without his comedic shtick. There were no big laughs in the movie; instead, scenes were set up to induce a chuckle or smirk from the viewer. I enjoyed the even pacing of the film and was taken by surprise, shall we say,with the twist of fate event.
2 2/3 stars