DESPITE BEING ROCK HARD AND OVER done, I pretended the chocolate chip cookies were delicious. They are my favorite type of cookie and my relative knew it; so, how could I say the cookies she baked did not taste good? I had known for some time she was not a very good cook or baker and I was not alone in that sentiment. In the grand scheme of things, her poor cooking skills were no big deal to me because I knew she meant well. While growing up those words “meant well” were said often enough that I always associated them with her. She was such a kind and warm individual; when she asked you, “How are you?” she meant it because she really wanted to hear what you had to say. And it was funny to me how she did not make eye contact after she asked that question; instead, she would cock her slightly to the side and gaze down towards the floor. It looked like she was thinking deeply about every word you were saying. One of the things I remember about her was how quiet she was when she moved about. There were times people would become startled by her appearance next to them because they had not heard her walk up. ONE OF THE THINGS I FOUND amusing about her was her demeanor. Most people never took the time to talk to her except for surface type conversations. I am not sure if most of you will understand this analogy, but on the outside, she closely resembled the character Aunt Clara from the old television show, Bewitched. Like the character, she came across as this bumbling confused individual, who had a slightly off perception of things compared to the people in her life. However, if one spent a little more time with her, they would discover she was intelligent and highly knowledgeable about many things. For example, what I took to be small, decorative ceramic pieces in her china cabinet turned out to be steeped in history. She spent the time to explain each piece, when she saw me standing in front of the cabinet’s glass doors. I found out some of the pieces were more than 100 years old which explained why she never allowed me to play with them. Those little pieces, by the way, were only one of many items she had in her home. Sometimes one would have to clear off a space to be able to sit down; but again, it did not bother anyone because everyone knew she always meant well. I have similar feelings about this biographical adventure drama; everyone meant well in bringing this story to the big screen. DESPERATE TO FIND FUNDS TO SATISFY the bank loan on his orphanage, the owner enters some of his kids into a fishing contest who had never fished before. One caught fish could change the lives of everyone. With Dennis Quaid (A Dog’s Journey, The Intruder) as Wade, Jimmy Gonzales (Happy Death Day franchise, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) as Omar, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Tombstone, Nashville-TV) as Tricia Bisbee, Fernanda Urrejola (Imprisoned, Narcos: Mexico-TV) as Becca and Raymond Cruz (Training Day, Clear and Present Danger) as Hector; this movie based on a true story was simply a feel good movie. As I said earlier, I believe everyone associated with this film meant well. The script was predictable and there were almost no levels of depth to any of the characters. Also, there was a bit of manipulation to tug at the heartstrings of viewers. In spite of these negatives, I enjoyed watching this film. The scenery was pretty; there was nothing offensive or assaulting to the senses within the framework of this picture. I felt everyone tried their best; but It just did not make it over the finish line and yet I am glad I saw this movie.
2 ½ stars
MOST ADULTS, WHETHER THEY THEMSELVES ARE parents or not, do not want to see any harm befall a child. Newborn babies and animals are the most innocent beings on the planet. It is their environment that can color their pure behavior into different shades. There are a couple of mothers I know who have done incredible work finding the best options for their special needs children. One picked up and moved her entire family to a different city that had a learning facility with a stellar reputation for the things they had done with special needs children. This mother first worked tirelessly to get her child acclimated to the new environment, then focused on ushering her child into a new routine created by the learning facility. Because of the mother’s dedication, her child found their niche to excel in a particular field in the arts. The last I had heard, this child had become responsible enough to live in a dorm while taking classes; a huge milestone in this family’s journey. WITH ANOTHER FAMILY I KNOW, THE mother did not want her child to experience the things she had in her life. So, from an early age this mother instilled a fear in her child that festered and grew. When the child reached high school age, they were not prepared for all the changes that usually take place in a high school. Things like clubs and teams to join were threatening to the child as was driver’s education. From that setting the fears infiltrated into life outside of school. Taking public transportation was not an option because the child was afraid of the other passengers; the child imagined one of the passengers could follow them off the bus and do bodily harm or someone could sit next to them and try to do something inappropriate. As you can see the child’s world for the most part was a scary place. Though the mother thought she was doing the best thing, her fears got passed down to her child. The intentions may have been in the right place, but the delivery was off-kilter. At the other end of the spectrum, I recently was part of a conversation where one person was talking about a 6-year-old girl who had no boundaries, whose actions were shocking for their age. The parents did not discipline the child because they did not want to inhibit her. The school administration was having a hard time handling this child. I have been exposed to a wide range of parenting skills, so I was not surprised. However, what took place with the mother in this horror thriller was something completely new to me. THINKING IT WAS A DOMESTIC ISSUE, case worker Anna Tate-Garcia, played by Linda Cardellini (Green Book, Avengers: Age of Ultron), took action when she thought two brothers were in trouble. Their trouble would become her own children’s trouble. With newcomer Roman Christou as Chris, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen (Self/Less, Enchanted Christmas-TV movie) as Samantha, Raymond Cruz (Clear and Present Danger, Training Day) as Rafael Olvera and Sean Patrick Thomas (Save the Last Dance, Cruel Intentions) as Detective Cooper; this mystery film had the potential to give the viewers a scary time. There were some well done scenes; though I have to say, pretty much any scenario involving children would put people on edge and make them pay attention. Unfortunately, the script was a series of standard shock scenes that did not have any substance between them. I enjoyed the buildup of suspense though there was a familiarity to the scary parts. Maybe with a little more thought and research this horror picture could have delivered a better script. As it stands now I do not think your mother would approve of you going to see it.
1 ¾ stars