GATHERED IN THE HOUSE WAS A mix of adults and children for the celebration. Everyone was getting along and enjoying the food. The children were being kids with their usual interruptions of “She said” and “He did” complaints. There were a couple of incidents where a child was crying, but the adults quickly intervened to calm the child down. At some point a four-year-old came up to me and asked if I could read a story to him; in his hand, he already had a large hardbound book. I told him I would be happy to read to him. He led me over to the couch and told me where to sit. After the boy handed me the book he climbed up and sat next to me. I started reading out loud to him, pointing at the illustrations when they were being described in the story. He seemed to be enjoying the story and even asked me a couple of times to explain something further. At one point, I do not recall specifically what topic I was reading at the time, the little boy pressed his finger to a word on the page then turned and slapped me in the face. He giggled which angered me more. I closed the book, putting it down on the couch. Next, I turned to him as I started to stand up and lifted him at arms’ length away from me. We went right to his parents where I explained why I was not going to finish reading the book to him. WHERE DOES A CHILD LEARN THAT it is okay to strike someone? It is a question I have always wondered about. Some of the reasons I have come up with include the child may have seen family members fighting or the child had been a victim of abuse and/or bulling or maybe the child’s parents had poor parenting skills; I honestly do not know. There is another option I have thought about based on my experiences when I was a small boy. There are just some kids who are bad. Now you may say there is no such thing as a bad child, but I would have to disagree. Maybe it has to do with a child’s environment; however, I feel children at some point understand the difference between right and wrong. If nothing else among their peers, they would be judged on their actions and realize what is and is not appropriate behavior. In school wouldn’t the child get an explanation on why they were given a detention or sent to the principal’s office? I think some children thrive on bad behavior. If you don’t believe me then see what the young boy does in this dramatic horror thriller. HUSBAND AND WIFE JOHN AND SARAH, played by Peter Mooney (We Were Wolves, Rookie Blue-TV) and Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One, Orange is the New Black-TV), quickly realized there was something special about their son Miles, played by Jackson Robert Scott (It, Locke & Key-TV). That specialness however had a good and bad side. I was somewhat surprised by this movie and I think it is because I enjoyed the acting from Taylor and Jackson. The script was a close copy of previous child horror film scripts; there were few new elements in this story. In addition, most of the scenes meant to scare the audience were telegraphed well in advance. I did appreciate at least that the writers and director kept the blood level to a minimum. There was an opportunity here to make something different and scary, but I have to chalk it up to “bad” decisions being made that turned this film into a bland movie watching experience.
There are many people who use the word “love,” though looking at world affairs maybe not enough. I have experienced individuals who actually say the word too often, to the point where I feel it loses some of its importance. Now I am not referring necessarily to someone telling another person they love them; though I have to tell you, hearing someone say it constantly throughout the day makes me feel as if there is less specialness behind the meaning of the spoken word. I remember the first time I realized I was truly in love with someone was when they became ill. Being a person who avoids touching things like doorknobs, other people’s cell phones and their hands; when I sat looking at my loved one wishing I would have gotten sick instead of them, I knew I had fallen deeply in love. Wanting to take away their discomfort besides nursing them without thinking about all the germs was a transformative experience for me. So I use this as my litmus test: if I am willing to put the needs of someone ahead of my germ phobia then I know our relationship is meant to be. Sadly I have seen some people who could not take that extra step in their relationship. I knew someone who was in a relationship for a couple of years; they were quite in love. However when one came down with a life threatening illness, the other could not handle it. Though in their defense they did try, but after a time they ended the relationship. It was just a sad situation all around. One could certainly say love makes people do some crazy or should I say irrational things; the couple in this dramatic romance will show you another example. WHEN lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne, played by Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs, X-Men franchise) spotted what looked like an abandoned rowboat, he had no idea his life was about to change because of what he found inside the boat. This film festival nominated movie based on the bestselling book was not only beautiful to watch, it also had a wonderful soundtrack. Besides Michael there was Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl, Jason Bourne) as Isabel Graysmark and Rachel Weisz (The Lobster, Oz the Great and Powerful) as Hannah Roennfeldt; all of them were amazing with their characters. I have not read the book but I found the story interesting. Starting out slowly the script took some time before pulling me in. I will say the chemistry between Michael and Alicia was quite strong; they kept me interested in their story. However the script had some holes in it that were a distraction for me. There were some events that did not ring true to me to the point I felt the writer was focusing more on making the audience react instead of going deeper with the characters. It just came across as heavy handed and manipulative to me. Love can make a person do some uncharacteristic things but I was not totally in love with this movie.
2 ½ stars
I am discovering it is not easy to write a movie review about a group of mothers. Unless you have a mother like Carrie White or Joan Crawford, how can anyone say something negative about mothers? A recent survey shows 68% of all moms take care of the majority of household duties; 56% do most of the parenting; 30% work 2 or more jobs and 47% help their children every night with homework. C’mon, talk about being able to multitask; mothers are amazing. I do not want to cause any conflict within your family, but I recently read a retail association’s survey that showed the average price paid for a mother’s day gift this year was $163.00, down from last year’s $169.00. This is just my opinion but mothers are being underpaid; then again, we can have a whole conversation about females being paid less than men. Opening this past mother’s day weekend was this comedy about a group of mothers. Desperate for a night out without the kids Allyson, played by Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy-TV, Everwood-TV), made dinner plans with her friends Sondra and Zoe, played by Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond-TV, The Middle-TV) and Logan White (Me Again, Revelation Road franchise). With their husbands taking care of the children the three women could have a quiet, peaceful meal without cutting up someone’s food or wiping a runny nose. Obviously nothing could possibly go wrong when you have the fathers taking care of the kids. The best thing going for this film was it being family friendly; there were no inappropriate scenes or use of strong language. Unfortunately it was the only positive thing I could say about this movie. If this was to be a gift for all the mothers out there, everyone involved in the making of this picture must have issues regarding their parents. The script was so awful; I found nothing original or funny. In fact, I think all the characters were bad stereotypes. Sean Astin (The Goonies, The Lord of the Rings franchise) as Allyson’s husband Sean was a generic version of every harried father character that has been done before. The acting was close to non-exsistent, though the script did not help one single bit. Patricia Heaton was listed as an executive producer and I am sorry, she should have known better. It was so painful watching this movie that I felt I had done something wrong and was being forced to sit through it to the very end as punishment.
1 1/2 stars
There are some people who are not cut out for the responsibility; for it is a lifetime commitment. I have seen all types of parenting skills; some I have admired, some horrified me. It is curious that we need a license to drive a vehicle, but we do not need one to have a child. I remember a case study we discussed in one of my college psychology classes. A married couple had two sons, where the oldest one committed suicide with a rifle. The following Christmas the parents wrapped the gun up in holiday paper and gave it to their surviving son as a gift. What kind of message do you think the parents were trying to convey to their child? This romantic comedy took a light hearted look at parenting. Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers franchise, When in Rome) played Holly Berenson and Eric Messer; two available single people. They had been fixed up with each other on a blind date that went bad very quickly. Because they each were friends of the married couple who had brought them together, Holly and Eric were still forced to see each periodically. When a tragic accident suddenly took the lives of their friends, Holly and Eric discovered they were the co-guardians of the couple’s infant daughter. The two adults who could barely stand each other now had to share parenting responsibilities in raising little Sophie. How would this work in the best interests of the baby? The idea of the story was a little far-fetched; I mean c’mon, who lists someone as guardian without talking to them first about it? Katherine, Josh and Josh Lucas (American Psycho, A Beautiful Mind) as Dr. Sam, were good in their roles. Instead of tackling some tough issues, the writers took an easy way towards the ending. I also thought the pacing of the movie dragged at times, going through similar scenarios with Sophie. It takes a certain kind of person to raise a child and now I see it takes a particular group of people to bring the story to the big screen.
2 stars — DVD