ONE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY PARENTS in life, for each one brings a different version of love. There are some people who have an abundance of love that they share with children, besides their own. They may not be there when you fall and scrape your knee or when you ride your bicycle for the first time without training wheels; but, they leave their handprints on your heart. I feel fortunate that I grew up with a few extra mothers in my life. You may have had one or two yourself or just as easily an extra dad since either gender provides equal amounts of love. One of my extra mothers was a neighbor who lived in our building. She lived a couple of floors below us which resulted in me learning how to get down flights of stairs earlier than other kids. Before I could walk I would crawl to the edge of the staircase, turn myself around on the edge and begin crawling down backwards. After navigating the two flights of stairs I would crawl to the door of her apartment and pat my palm on it. I never knew how she always heard me when I thought about this years later, but she would open the door every time with a big smile on her face. She always had time to play with me and for those times she didn’t, she would sing to me. THERE WAS ANOTHER WOMAN WHO WAS like an extra mother to me. She was a friend of the family who had grown up with one of my parents. She was quick to give me a deep hug that made me feel protected and safe. Though she did not know how to bowl, she loved coming to the bowling alley, taking pleasure in simply watching us try to get a strike. Her house always had the exact types of food you craved on any particular day; for example, if you wanted something sweet she had cookies or if you wanted something salty she would have pretzels. When I was little she would always write an amusing poem inside my birthday cards. Despite decades having past I still have vivid, fond memories of these women who were prominent in my life. They each had their own families; yet, I was treated as part of the family because that was the type of love they each had inside. And to a child, having that type of extra love is like a fresh coat of paint on the walls of their heart. WITH THE DEATH OF HIS WIFE and jobs scarce during the depression Michael Banks, played by Ben Whishaw (I’m Not Here, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer), had little time to watch over his children. Though things looked bleak, there was an opportunity for someone special to step in and help; that someone was Mary Poppins, played by Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place, Into the Woods). This comedic family fantasy also starred Lin-Manuel Miranda (The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Looking for Maria Sanchez) as Jack, Emily Mortimer (The Bookshop, Harry Brown) as Jane Banks and Julie Waters (Billy Elliot, Harry Potter franchise) as Ellen. Taking the original movie and moving the characters thirty years forward allowed for a whole new generation of characters to populate this theatrical musical film. I thought the acting was excellent, though Emily’s version of Mary Poppins seemed to have more of an edge to her. This picture was fun to watch but I feel those not into theater may think it is over the top. For me this updated story did not have the magic of the first movie; but part of my warm feelings came from the nostalgic aspect I have towards the original film. Besides, having another encounter with Mary Poppins is always a welcome visit.
The rule of thumb used to be we had to eat everything on our plate. I was a steadfast follower of this rule; in fact, I willingly helped others clear their plates. From the things I now hear people say, this rule is no longer in effect because they want to teach their children to stop eating once they feel full. I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort if that had been the case when I was younger. There are some rules that need to be enforced if there is going to be order such as the rules of the road for driving on the streets. If there were no rules can you imagine what a nightmare it would be just to take a 5 minute ride? Funny growing up, depending on what area of life the rule was meant to be, I would rebel against certain rules. The obvious one would be curfew or bedtime; I remember being offended when I heard there was a law that required people under the legal age not to be outside without a parent or legal guardian after a certain time. On the other hand, all of us create rules for ourselves. An example for me would be my rule that I stop eating 5 hours before I go to sleep. I set this rule up years ago as I was forming my weight loss plan; a rule that is still in force today. It works for me and I understand there may be times where I will have to break my rule; but I know there will not be terrible ramifications, unlike in this horror thriller. WHEN she accepted the job of nanny Greta Evans, played by Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead-TV, The Vampire Diaries-TV), could not believe it meant taking care of an actual doll. It was a doll with rules that needed to be followed exactly. Along with Rupert Evans (The Canal, Hellboy) as Malcom, the script had all the elements needed to construct a decent horror film. I appreciated the fact that suspense was used to frighten people instead of mostly gore. The first part of the film was fun to watch with ideal characters, music and sets. The way the story unfolded allowed the viewer to better accept the circumstances I thought. However the last half of the movie took a bad turn, becoming an average horror story we all have seen before. Riddled with cliches and predictability, I became disappointed the writer did not stick with the original story they had going in the beginning. I thought the actors worked well together and they did their best with what was given to them. Overall I did not mind seeing this film; it is a type that I refer to as a popcorn film which means cheap matinee or rental. Too bad the writer did not follow the rules for writing a good horror picture.
It is funny, the individual could be the chief executive officer of a large corporation that has a worldwide reach with thousands of employees; but as soon as they are at a family function they are seen as the shy baby brother, sister, cousin or some other relative that they were years ago. Those early images of our siblings/relatives that were imprinted in our minds never leave us. When I am around my relatives it is the only time I hear the nickname that was given to me when I was a little boy. None of my friends or business associates use that name which is fine by me. Now I am still training my relatives not to introduce me by my nickname to strangers. You see as soon as I hear that nickname memories from my childhood flood my brain, like my first ride in a convertible car to navigating an escalator for the first time without holding an adult’s hand. It doesn’t make a difference if I’m dressed up in a three piece suit or just lead a full cycle class; those images will continue to play in the background of my senses. I know this must happen for many people because I’ve seen the same thing going on with my friends and their families. You just never know how it will play out, for you could be on top of the world but in your family’s eyes you are still that spoiled little brat. REALIZING he had just lost all of his money and everyone else’s investments in his new company businessman Jake, played by Nick Kroll (Date Night, The League-TV), had to leave Manhattan and move in with his sister Justine, played by Rose Byrne (This is Where I Leave You, Annie), and her husband Danny, played by Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine, Danny Collins). Unfocused and unsure were not ideal attributes if he was going to help take care of his little nephew. This comedic drama had very little humor as far as I was concerned. I liked the cast but I found the script to be mostly bland. There was very little that happened on the screen that pulled me into the story. One possibility for my blah reaction to this movie could be the fact that it seemed like a knockoff of the film, The Skeleton Twins. That movie was so much better than this one; I just found myself getting bored here. There really was nothing new or different in this story; what did keep my attention was Rose and Bobby for the most part. Whether you call this a comedy, drama or dramedy; it won’t change the fact that it was not a very good picture.
1 3/4 stars