THE CALLER I.D. WAS SHOWING ME a request for a favor was imminent. The only time I would hear from this friend was when he needed a favor; I was so used to his requests that they did not annoy me like they did in the beginning. We had been friends for roughly ten years, but the request calls started taking place around five years ago. At first, they were intermittent; he would call periodically to say hi or to make plans to get together between favor requests. But the past few years the social calls dropped off leaving only the request calls as our form of communication. Because of our long history, if I could help out I would; however, if it was not convenient for me then I did not. If I were to look at our relationship from outside of myself, I would say we were more like acquaintances instead of friends. Granted, I make a strong distinction between friends and acquaintances, but I cannot honestly tell you I know what is new with my friend or how work has been going for him. I tried making plans with him in the past, but he never could commit to a time and place; he would always tell me he would get back to me. He never did until there was something he needed. YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHAT DOES it take for me to stop being friends with someone. The obvious answer is if I could not trust them. However, there have been times where I thought we were friends but found out only when it worked for them. I had a friend I would hang out with from time to time, either doing a dinner or play. One day I received a mailer that a play I really wanted to see was coming to a theater in my suburb. I asked him if he wanted to see it; he gave me an enthusiastic yes. I said I would check on tickets and get back to him. The ticket prices were reasonable and there were plenty of seats, so I called him back to figure out a date. Now here is the part that changed everything for me: in the middle of us checking our calendars while on the phone, he asked where the play was being performed. When I said it was near me, he immediately said he was not interested. I asked him why and he said he was not going to travel out of the city to go see it. It came to me in an instant; from our history, he was only available for the things that were close to him; I was only a friend if I drove down to him. Maybe you have experienced something similar? I hope nothing like the friends in this comedic, horror thriller. DURING A GAME AMONGST A GROUP of friends, one of the guests is murdered. When the friends start to figure out who they can trust, their true colors begin to come out. With Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give, The Darkest Minds) as Sophie, Maria Bakalova (The Bubble, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) as Bee, Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby, Call Your Mother-TV) as Alice, Chase Sui Wonders (On the Rocks, Generation-TV) as Emma and Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island, Set It Up) as David, this story was not something I was able to connect with easily. I could see the script was part satire and a take on the twenty something age group; but when they started playing the game, I lost interest. Plus, I did not find anything humorous in the script. I do not know if it was an age thing, but there was nothing I could relate to on some level. It was not until closer to the end of the story that I became interested. Overall, I was not a fan of this movie. There were several scenes with blood and violence.
A LONG TIME AGO THERE WAS A variety show on television that I used to watch, when I was a small child. What this TV program did for me was to reveal a world of unexpectedness and surprise. I can still remember the first time I saw a human being bend backwards. For being a little kid, I was mesmerized by this woman as she bent herself into all kinds of shapes as part of a circus act that was performing on the show. Behind her there was a man who was blowing flames out of his mouth like a dragon. I wondered if that was how he cooked his dinner. My first encounter with ventriloquism took place while watching this variety show. I could not believe what I was seeing, a talking doll. Whether these episodes sparked my imagination or not, I cannot say; however, I have always gravitated towards things that could not be believed when seen. To a little child, seeing a magnifying glass set paper on fire with the sun’s rays was pure magic. I used to carry a magnifying glass when outside that I would pretend was a ray gun, so I could try and burn holes in blades of grass, tree trunks and car doors among other things. The world was a magical place of fantasy for me. THAT WORLD OF CHILDHOOD DISSOLVED AND evolved as I became educated during my school years. I discovered the reasons/science behind those things that I thought were magical. This did not make me sad; if anything, it fueled a stronger sense of curiosity or let me say inquisitiveness in me. Part of me thinks these feelings spurred me to study the sciences in my schoolings; however, by no means did it curtail my wonderment for the unbelievable. If you were to have asked me, when I was younger, if I thought there would come a time when things that stunned or surprised us would have become fewer and farther between, I would have had to be in agreement. It makes sense to me; as children there are more things of wonder than when we are aged and older. There are not many things that surprise me these days. Only recently have I seen things that I could not explain fully. Hearing the comments and beliefs some people have about other people is both startling and mind blowing to me; I cannot believe what I am seeing and hearing. My curiosity gets prodded into trying to understand how a person came to their conclusions, but the perplexed feelings I have make me stare in disbelief. It might be easier to explain this if you choose to watch this shocking comedy. HOPING TO GAIN THE UNITED STATES’ favor for his country Borat Sagdiyev, played by Sacha Baron Cohen (Les Miserables, Alice Through the Looking Glass), comes up with a plan to give his daughter away to a high elected official. He would just have to get through the politician’s supporters. With Maria Bakalova (The Father, Transgression) as Tutar Sagdiyev, Tom Hanks (Cast Away, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) playing himself, relative newcomer Dani Popescu as Premier Nazarbayev and newcomer Manuel Vieru as Dr. Yamak; this film was uncomfortable to watch at times. There certainly were scenes that shocked me into disbelief, to the point I was questioning their authenticity. As I mentioned earlier, despite being uncomfortable while watching this movie, there were other times where I laughed out loud. The fact that I saw the first Borat film, there was less of a surprise factor with this picture. Also, I thought the story within story format dulled this movie’s prospects; I started to get bored with the father/daughter dynamic early on. Yet, with some scenes I still cannot get over how outrageous they were in nature and content. Just when one thinks they have seen and heard everything the past couple of years, this movie comes along and provides a surprise.
2 2/3 stars