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Flash Movie Review: American Honey

No matter how much a person thinks they are ready to move out on their own there still is an element of fear with the unknown. I knew several individuals who came from a challenging home life and when they finally decided to leave they were scared. For college age students who are fortunate to go away for school, I can say based on personal experience, it was difficult at first. College was my first time being away from home since I was never the overnight camp type of kid. My first week of college I think I had pizza and fast food meals 5 days out of 7. Food was a comfort for me back then. Doing my own laundry, making sure I got up when the alarm clock went off was solely my responsibility now. Those darn responsibilities; don’t they get in the way of living life sometimes? Having recently returned from vacation, I was talking with someone about the benefits of traveling alone. They said they could never do such a thing. I explained how freeing it was to not have to negotiate, discuss or compromise any of my decisions. The same thing applies to when I moved out on my own. Sure there was some fear in me, but it was liberating to take control of my life. Granted I wasn’t too thrilled to see the electric and gas bill in my name; but I did get a kick out of getting mail addressed to the owner, who was me. I will tell you I was not prepared for the many things like home repairs. Somehow that repairs gene was never handed down to me. I looked up at a hole in my roof caused by a raccoon and imagined filling it in with glass blocks to create a skylight. The fact that raindrops were coming down upon my head did not register this was an urgent matter I had to get fixed. Heading out on your own can be a wild ride.   MEETING the traveling group of free-spirited individuals was the spark Star, played by newcomer Sasha Lane, needed to leave the life she was forced to live. This film festival winning drama had a cast that I forgot was acting; that is how authentic they appeared to me. With Shia LaBeouf (Transformers franchise, Fury) as Jake, Riley Keough (The Runaways, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Krystal and Arielle Holmes (Heaven Knows What, 2307: Winter’s Dream) as Pagan; the cast did a great job and Sasha was outstanding. I found the story interesting in the way it kept a focus on Star’s journey, seeing things thru her eyes. The issue I had with this film was its running length of 2 hours and 43 minutes. I felt this was way too long to tell the story; there were multiple scenes that in their own way duplicated earlier scenes. This picture could have used some more editing. However, the script had strength to keep me interested in this traveling group of people. Also, the soundtrack added a fun, funky element to the experience. Despite the fact that I worked going door to door selling products when I was very young, I did not have much in common with most of the characters; but I was intrigued enough to learn more about them.

 

3 stars

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: A Hologram for the King

It seems to me to be a vulnerable position, where what you think does not matter much. One has to be quick on their feet and be able to respond to any query. The bottom line is you have something that you want someone else to buy from you. A career in sales takes a certain personality; I briefly tried and was not successful. I feel one not only has to sell their products but sell themselves to an individual. The thing that bugged me about this scenario was the person you are pitching may be making their decision on the most random of things. They may not like the way you dress or the way you look or even the way you talk; it can be based on such a biased opinion that has nothing to do with your products. I could not handle that type of environment, plus my brutal honesty did not sit well with customers. Isn’t it interesting that what I just wrote could easily be applied to dating? Think about it, aren’t people trying to sell (so to speak) themselves to other people? When two people meet with the intention to date, each one is going to try to accentuate their positive attributes. It is like a sales pitch. I knew someone who literally had a checklist of requirements that potential dates had to meet before they would agree to go out with them. I tried explaining to them that it works both ways; they needed to present themselves in the best light if they hoped their possible date would take an interest in them. Whether it is personal or business I find sales meetings to be stressful; that is why I could relate to the main character in this drama.   DESPERATE to land a sale Alan, played by Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillips), agreed to fly to Saudi Arabia to pitch his product to the monarchy. Alan would quickly realize selling to a monarchy was different than selling to a company. Based on the novel this movie also starred newcomer Alexander Black as Yousef and Sarita Choudhury (The Hunger Games franchise, Lady in the Water) as Zahra. I thought the acting was good though I felt Tom’s role had a familiar ring to it. He still did a fine performance but it did not seem as fresh to me. The idea behind this story was intriguing; however, the dual story lines hindered the telling of it. Separately I enjoyed each story but I never felt I was getting the whole tale. Now visually the film had a lot to offer just because the territory was foreign to me. I also was fascinated with the culture clash in this picture. As the film neared the end I felt things were rushed to tidy up the story. This film had some good selling points; I only wished it had sold me on its entertainment value.

 

2 ½ stars

 

 

 

Flash Movie Review: Unfinished Business

From my various job experiences I have witnessed some pretty cutthroat dealings. Unless the company you work for has a unique, one of a kind type of product; there will always be someone else who will try to outdo your company. The majority of salespeople I have encountered really are the company’s foot soldiers. One can also say they are the circus performers who do acrobatic twists and turns in order to please their customers as they try to “seal the deal.” I know I could never do sales because I do not have the temperament for it. From all my business dealings I could work with any customer until I discovered they were dishonest. Once that happens I lose all respect for them. There are certain products or stores I will not go near because of the way I was treated either as a customer or vendor. Even if a company’s salesperson meets with me and during our conversation speaks negatively about their competitor, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Some people say just by definition the word job has no place for fun; I disagree with that type of thinking. Sure it can be hard work, but I feel there needs to be something fun about the workday to keep people motivated. On the other hand I have seen where some individuals have had way too much fun.    DESPERATE to land a big business deal and save his fledgling company Dan Trunkman, played by Vince Vaughn (Couples Retreat, Delivery Man), flew to Europe with his employees Mike Pancake and Timothy McWinters, played by Dave Franco (Warm Bodies, 21 Jump Street) and Tom Wilkinson (Selma, The Lone Ranger). With stiff competition going against them the three workers were willing to do anything to win the business. Let me say right at the beginning; consider the movie trailer for this comedy to be its highlights reel. I understood what the story was trying to do, but I thought it lacked imagination and originality. There were several times where I was simply bored. One of the main issues for me had to do with Vince’s performance. It was no different from the past several roles he has performed; they were all the same and it drove me crazy. He really could use a fresh team around him that pushes him to stretch his acting ability. I will keep my fingers crossed for him since he will be starring in next season’s drama series, True Detective. Tom Wilkinson was his usual good self and I believe this was the first time I really thought Dave took ownership of his role. As a movie reviewer I am forced to see many “bad” films; I could have used combat pay for my time with this one.

 

1 3/4 stars

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