Flash Movie Review: Somewhere in Queens
I WAS SITTING AROUND A TABLE with eighteen other people, just the way I like it. My friend invited me to her family’s holiday dinner. The table butted up to a metal banquet table that extended from the dining room into the living room. Ornate tablecloths covered both, but it was hard to see the pattern with all the plates and bottles sitting on top. I prefer going to dinners like this, where there are multiple people included instead of sitting at a table with only the parents and/or grandparents of a friend. When I am the only guest invited, I feel there is too much attention devoted towards me and that makes me a bit uncomfortable. When there are multiple relatives/friends in attendance, I feel more relaxed simply blending in with the group. Also, as they say, “The more the merrier.” There is a fun factor when I am sitting in the middle of a group of family members because I get to see a different slice of life. Or, maybe it is more of a confirmation that my family isn’t the only one that is crazy, lol. But I will tell you this, one certainly can learn a lot about your friends or relatives when you get together for a meal. I WAS INVITED TO A FRIEND’S house for dinner; a friend who is soft spoken, I might add. After everyone showed up at my friend’s parents’ house, I quickly understood why my friend was quiet most of the time. His relatives were loud, many talking with their mouths full of food; it was a wonder if he ever got a word in edgewise. After acknowledging me, most of the family members ignored my presence except for the ones seated close to me. Through the meal relatives caused such a ruckus; one person would swear at another, someone else would tell a relative they were stupid and so on. There was such a commotion that I almost felt a headache coming on. When I was at another friend’s holiday dinner, her relatives were curious about me but not to the point where I felt as if they were intruding. Observing and being around them showed me they were a loving family who enjoyed each other’s company. I felt my friend was fortunate to be raised in such an environment. Now, I know family can be challenging at times; there are some you enjoy being around and there are others who annoy you. My own memories of big family meals are some of my fondest memories which is why I felt connected to this comedic drama film. WANTING MORE FOR HIS SON than he had, a father goes to extreme lengths to give his son a shot at an incredible opportunity. With Ray Romano (The Big Sick, Everybody Loves Raymond-TV) as Leo, Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird, The Conners-TV) as Angela, Sadie Stanley (Let Us In, The Goldbergs-TV) as Dani Brooks, Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book, The Irishman) as Frank Russo and newcomer Jacob Ward as Matthew ‘Sticks’ Russo; this movie written and directed by Ray showed a wonderful slice of life’s cherished and heartbreaking moments. I thought the dialog matched the characters perfectly and the humor from Ray’s writing was both funny and heartwarming. The chemistry between Ray and Laurie was literally a match made in heaven; they were 100% believable. Their and the other actors’ acting skills made the multiple story lines weave together seamlessly. I think it might be due to the era this film portrays; but there was a nostalgic feeling about it, that I could relate to easily. The only way I could compliment this picture is to say it was a good old-fashioned story that was seeped in family life.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Lady Bird
THE CHARACTERISTICS DETERMINING WHO or what a person is makes up their identity. My question is how much of that identity is affected by outside influences. Recently I had a lunch date with a father and daughter. They had similar facial features but that is not so unusual; their shared characteristics however really intrigued me. Besides having similar personality traits they both had common likes and dislikes, along with some interesting quirks. I was fascinated seeing them together since it was my first time meeting the daughter. Later in the day I remember thinking about the similarities between those family members and wondering how much of my identity was created by outside forces. When you think about it aren’t you usually surprised when a couple has more than one child and each one is so different? You would assume being raised in the same type of environment their children would have similar temperaments, but it is not true. ONE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS I feel a child needs to go out into this world is to be independent. This is a trait that can come about from having parent(s) active in child rearing or on the other hand not having parents involved. I have seen children grow up fiercely independent from both home environments. Not that I would ever cringe if a young adult said they wanted to be just like their mother or father, unless their parent was a serial killer; but being able to discern between positive and negative characteristics is important and I do not believe everyone can tell the difference. In previous reviews I have talked about abusers more than likely having been abused themselves. There is a family I know where the parent neglected their child for the most part. That child grew up and when they had children they did the same thing by neglecting them. On the other hand you can have a parent and child who are so much alike they might not even be aware of it, just like in this film festival winning dramatic comedy. NOT WANTING TO BE the same like everyone else Christine McPherson, played by Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn, Hanna), chose to become “Lady Bird.” It would be her way to escape her hometown of Sacramento, California and her mother Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory-TV, Roseanne-TV). Written and directed by Greta Gerwig (Jackie, Mistress America) this was one of the best coming of age stories I have seen this year. With Odeya Rush (The Giver, Almost Friends) as Jenna Walton and Timothee Chalamet (Love the Coopers, Interstellar) as Kyle Scheible, I thought the entire cast was perfect with their characters. Laurie was so outstanding I believe she could get a nomination for her role. What I appreciated most about this movie was the authenticity of the dialog and action. Without giving much away let me just say the scene where Lady Bird and her mother are shopping for a dress was pitch perfect. Now granted I have no experience regarding the mother daughter connection, but I have been privy to the dynamics of it through friends and family. I felt Greta did an excellent job capturing the feelings and flavor of the turmoil being experienced by the McPhersons. In a field of comedies and coming of age stories this one certainly stands out as being different, which is a good thing.
3 ½ stars