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Flash Movie Review: Hearts Beat Loud

IT WAS THE COOLEST ROOM in the house and I am not talking about temperature. As you walked in there was a closet on your left that was long and narrow. Past that was a perfectly square room with only one window near a corner. Around the entire space were vinyl albums; most of them were lined up vertically, filling up bookshelves that were on every wall. Any flat surfaces, such as the top of a dresser or bookcase, had record albums stacked on top of them. It was like walking into a treasure trove of musical history. There were different genres of music to satisfy almost anyone; from classical to Broadway musicals, opera to blues, Top 40 to Jazz. No matter what type of mood one was in, they could always find something among the shelves of records to satisfy themselves. The other thing that stood out in this room was the record player; yes, an actual record player. It was a rectangular box covered in cream colored vinyl that stood on a short pedestal. With a clasp on top, once it was opened it would allow two speakers to swing out on hinges like a double door revealing a turntable that one would need to pull down like a Murphy bed.     OUTSIDE OF THIS ROOM THERE was another place I found that had even more vinyl records. It was a small store situated between a clothing store and a barbershop, on a commercial street in a residential neighborhood. More times than not there was at least one cat lounging in the front window. Walking inside the place was like entering a concert hall; there was always music playing from a set of speakers that were hanging in opposite sides of the space. The proprietor was a balding man with a thick beard. Everyone thought he was a genius. You could recite one line of a lyric and he would know what song it was from. If you told him which artist you liked, he would ask you if you heard about another artist that was similar and then go find their album to show you. He had arranged the store with rows of bins without any breaks; so, once you entered a row you could only exit it at the ends. On the walls he had hung posters, all were of musical artists and none of them were hung straight. I had almost forgotten about this store until I saw this film festival winning, musical drama.     THEIR LOVE OF MUSIC MADE a special bond between Sam Fisher, played by Kiersey Clemons (Flatliners, Dope), and her Dad Frank, played by Nick Offerman (The Founder, Parks and Recreation-TV), just as his record shop was closing and college looming for her. With Ted Danson (Made in America, Body Heat) as Dave, Toni Collette (Hereditary, The Sixth Sense) as Leslie and Sasha Lane (American Honey, Shotgun) as Rose; I thought this was one of Nick’s better roles. This charming story had a script that was easy with little surprise. Maybe because I admire Toni, I wished the story had incorporated more of her character. Granted she was a secondary character, but I was left feeling there was unfinished business and that is all I will say about it. Kiersey was excellent; I especially enjoyed the songs her character sang. Part of my hesitation for giving this movie a full endorsement had to do with the continuous one level of emotional depth that came across the screen. Sure, there were some touching spots in the story but overall there was not enough drama for me. If nothing else though, I certainly got a kick out of seeing Frank’s record store and listening to some decent music.

 

2 ½ stars     

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Flash Movie Review: Dope

She did not even give me a chance to show her what I could do. I noticed her looking me up and down as I walked into her office for the interview. After we went over my work history she asked me about my teaching style. I gave her a brief description and offered to give a demonstration. She declined the offer which confirmed by suspicions. The way she looked at me in the beginning told me she was judging me based on my looks. I did not look like the typical fitness instructor because I did not have a smooth chiseled body; I was pudgy (I preferred saying soft and malleable) and hairy with a full beard. She had no idea how committed I would be to the job, nor see how hard I would work alongside the members of the health club. Due to the challenges I had in PE classes during my school years, I pushed myself harder than other fitness instructors. Maybe I was trying to prove a point of just fight my way to acceptance; it probably was a mixture of both. I was upset that this fitness manager was basing her decisions on the way I looked; I wanted to tell her that true good health began on the inside. She had no idea that I was able to teach 3 classes in a row, giving each one of them 100% of myself. Sadly she was not the first person to judge me based on my looks. I understood it; however, it still stung because I was never one to make a judgement based solely on the surface of a person. The main character in this movie could relate I am sure.    LIVING in a tough neighborhood was a challenge for high school senior Malcolm, played by Shameik Moore (Joyful Noise, Incredible Crew-TV). Added pressure coming from the upcoming college entrance exams, that he needed to help get him into Harvard, Malcolm took a break by going to a party with his friends. It was a party that would have a major impact on all of them. This film festival winning comedic drama offered a different take on the typical coming of age tale. There was grittiness to the story with the use of some strong language. With Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Perfect Game) as Jib and Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road, Good Kill) as Nakia, the cast was good though I did not always find them believable. The script had a hint of being a screwball comedy in places as certain events unfolded. There were a couple of people who walked out in the middle of this movie. Maybe they had preconceived notions of what this film was supposed to be.

 

2 3/4 stars

 

 

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