BY THE WAY THEY RESPONDED TO my question, I could tell there was something more they were not telling me. I was at a lunchtime event, where I met this couple. We were talking about the trips we have taken outside of our state, when they mentioned they recently had visited Washington, D.C. When I asked what sights they got to see, they said very few because they were there to visit their son. Being curious, I asked why their son was in DC; they replied he worked for the government. Since I knew several government workers out there, and being an inquisitive type of guy, I asked which agency. They told me he worked somewhere in the operations department. As far as I knew, there was no such department. Granted, most departments, I am sure, had staff that were responsible for the internal procedures of the department; but there was not a specific government department devoted to operations. I could see the husband was fidgeting with his napkin, while his wife avoided making direct eye contact with me. Though I was more curious now, I knew better than to pushback against two people that I had just met for the first time. LATER IN THE DAY, WHEN MY mind circled back to the exchange I had with that couple, it dawned on me that I encountered the same type of scenario a couple of times before; however, it was the parent who had a mysterious job. I had one friend whose dad was rarely seen in the neighborhood. When he was spotted, he was always dressed in a suit, hat and carrying a black briefcase. It did not matter if it was a weekday or weekend; he was always wearing the same type of clothing. My friend told me his dad said he worked in international trading, but my friend did not believe it. The reason being his dad sometimes left in the middle of the night with his briefcase and hat in tow, along with other times when he had to “go to the office” on a Saturday or Sunday. The two of us wished we knew how to drive so we could follow and see where his dad was going. One time we snuck upstairs to the dad’s office to see what we could find out; but the desk was locked as well as the briefcase that sat on top of it. We never found out, or at least I never found out about the father’s profession. I wondered how my friend would have been if he had known what his dad did for work; would it have scared or excited him. While watching the daughter in this action, comedy fantasy; I wondered about the same thing. NOT PULLING IN ENOUGH MONEY FROM his pool cleaning business, a divorced dad supplemented his income with a second, more lucrative profession. The only problem was that it could kill him. With Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy, Horrible Bosses franchises) as Bud Jablonski, Dave Franco (The Disaster Artist, 6 Underground) as Seth, Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Crazy About You, Hotel Mumbai) as Heather, Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, Brick) as Jocelyn Jablonski and Karla Souza (We are the Nobles, How to Get Away with Murder-TV) as Audrey San Fernando; this story set in the San Fernando Valley had several fun moments provided predominantly by Dave and Jamie. I thought they worked well together; however, the script took the bite out of the story. It was predictable all the way through and never went over the top with emotions, humor, or fun. However, it did exceed with blood and violence. Through most of this film, I felt as if it was created more from a paint by number point of view; in other words, where the writers looked at what they perceived to make a successful film and randomly pulled it into their story, whether it made sense or not. Overall, this movie was a light distraction.
I HAD A PAIR OF SHOES that I walked to death. Being extremely picky when it comes to shoes, I remember exactly where I was when I bought that pair of shoes; in a department store shopping for a gift. As I was walking around I wound up by the shoe department. On an endcap was a display of shoes that caught my eye. I liked the style and the fact they were on sale, so I decided to try on a pair. The minute my foot slipped into the shoe I immediately was taken by the comfort. This was something that doesn’t often happen to me when it comes to shoes. After I tried on the other shoe I walked over to a mirror to see how they looked on my feet. One glance and it was confirmed, the shoes were going to be mine. Normally I bring shoes home and wear them around the house for a couple of weeks to make sure they will not cause any discomfort; however, this pair of shoes I wore that night when I met friends for dinner. From that first day, I wore those shoes every day for every occasion. Even when the heels were worn down and the sole’s tread smoothed out into baldness, I could not give up those shoes. THERE ARE SOME THINGS, ONCE WE acquire them, we cannot let them go. I know this is a HUGE challenge for me. If I find something that brings me some form of joyfulness, I understand myself well enough to know I will never want to give it up. There are mementos around my house that I have had since childhood that still bring me joy to this day. A candy dish I played with as a kid; a plastic salad bowl that sat on our dining room table; even a pine cone that was given to me by a classmate in school when we got lost in a forest during a break in studies; each of these things represent a fond memory that I never want to forget. Maybe it is easy for you to remove yourself from your personal possessions; I have some friends who do a purge of their things every year to keep their homes sparse and clutter-free. I can do that on a smaller scale, but every time I try I get bogged down in the memories that float back into my consciousness from each item I see. On first meeting the home owner in this dramatic, horror mystery; I thought he had the same issue of not being able to detach himself from his possessions. MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM CITY DWELLERS to country homeowners appeared easy for married couple Annie and Scott Russell, played by Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, The Unborn) and Michael Ealy (About Last Night, Seven Pounds). It was not as easy for the man who sold the house to them. With Dennis Quaid (A Dog’s Purpose, Far From Heaven) as Charlie Peck, Joseph Sikora (Charlie Wilson’s War, Ghost World) as Mike and Alvina August (Bad Times at the El Royale, The Good Doctor-TV) as Rachel; the story seemed quite familiar to me, as if it had been done many times before. If the writers had taken a different direction, maybe this picture would have had more to offer; since the cast was quite capable. Instead, the script was awful, insulting the intelligence of the viewer. It seemed as if every other scene with Dennis focused on his sardonic, sinister smile while the couple continued to make lame decisions. I was so bored by this movie I kept hoping the house would just catch on fire to end the story. When I left the theater, I was mad I had given up my valuable time to sit and watch this ridiculous film.
1 ½ stars