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Flash Movie Review: King Richard

AS GRANDMOTHERS GO, SHE WAS THE worst I had ever seen. I was a little kid when I met her, and I thought back then she was a mean person. There was never a smile on her face, nor did she ever want to play with us. I was good friends with her granddaughter; you would have thought she would have made an exception for me, though I quickly learned not to be around her. I still can remember playing outside and she came out with a bag of candy. She appeared surprised when she saw us before she came over to offer her granddaughter a piece of candy. I was sitting right there next to her, but the grandmother did not offer me a piece. Instead, she walked back to the entryway and remained there eating her candy. I felt sad that she did not offer me any candy; but I was not shocked because her daughter, my friend’s mother, acted the same way. This is why I was never asked to stay for lunch or dinner, despite my friend coming over to our house to eat. For the several years we were friends, I noticed more and more how my friend’s mother was so much like her mother. It made sense since children learn from their parents, whether the parents know it or not.      WHERE THAT GRANDMOTHER WAS PASSIVELY TEACHING her daughter, I had a neighbor on the block who was molding his five children in his own likeness. I know this sounds almost God like, but the kids dressed like their father even. He was a scientist who always had a studious look on his face. With horn-rimmed glasses that 4 out of his five kids also wore, he was not a parent who you would find playing in the backyard with his family. When I saw him there, he was either building something or reading a book. His kids would either help him or they would be doing some type of activity such as reading, painting or constructing something on their own. They were polite, but not overly friendly; I remember the mother being the friendliest one out of the group. They went to the same neighborhood school as I did; but I rarely saw any of them in a class or hallway. I used to wonder what they could be doing because they were nowhere to be found until I discovered all their free time was spent in the school library. The only thing I could think of was the kids were being groomed to become scientists whether they wanted to or not. I had always wondered the same thing about the world class tennis playing sisters in this biographical sports drama.      FROM THE TIME THEY WERE LITTLE Richard William, played by Will Smith (Gemini Man, Suicide Squad), had a plan that would make his daughters known around the world, whether they wanted it or not. With Aunjanue Ellis (The Help, Men of Honor) as Oracene “Brandy” Williams, Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, Fury) as Rick Macci, Saniyya Sidney (Fences, Hidden Figures) as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton (Goldie, Godfather of Harlem-TV) as Serena Williams; this movie based on historical events was fascinating to me. Maybe it is because I am a fan of tennis; but I found the story fascinating. Granted, I do not know if everything I was seeing happened in real life; however, Will’s performance was so good that it kept me drawn into the story. At times, I thought there was too much tennis being shown that took away from the story and I also would have appreciated getting more back story when the girls and Richard were much younger. The other aspect I admired in this film was the purposeful way they stressed education and fun. Whether scenes were accurate or not, this was an engaging film and there is no denying the sisters are history worthy.

3 1/3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: The Battle of the Sexes

YOU HAVE NO IDEA how good it feels to be writing this review. I apologize for being away so long but I experienced something that has never happened to me before. For the 1st time in my adult life I found myself being admitted into the hospital. After being home a few days with these weird non-painful symptoms such as zero energy, my daily banana now tasting like rotten flesh; I drove to one of those clinics inside a retail establishment. I think people refer to them as “doc in the box.” They could not have been nicer and immediately called the ER to let them know I was on my way. Once there I walked through the front door, gave my name at registration and I was ushered immediately into a room. The next hours became a blur as I was hooked up to IV solutions, getting a chest X-ray and some other stuff; at that point all my defenses were down and I did not care. However, they did offer me the opportunity to watch movies on the monitor hanging up in the corner of the room. I wondered how they knew I love films.      MY TIME IN THE HOSPITAL was an experience I will never forget. The bed with all the whistles and lights, though sleek and obvious hi-tech, had to have been based on torture racks from medieval times. The mattress on its own would move in spots, so at first I thought I must have been hungover because it made it feel like the room was spinning at times. Through the ups and downs during my days there the one thing that stood out way above everything else was this group of strangers involved with me. I felt I must have woken up from a dream because there were females, males, people from different religious backgrounds, from different countries, old and young, different races, different sexual identity; it was the most utopian place I had ever seen. These people were working side by side; the only drama in the room ironically was me. During those times where my temperature would spike up in a matter of minutes, there were women and men on either side of me placing heated blankets and heat packs around my body. Even one particular nurse I scared after she tried to draw blood from my hand twice at 1 in the morning, looked at me and said she was scared to touch me. I told her she should be; she still came back the next day to see how I was doing. I am telling you it was such an incredible sight, these people who were focused on me but were not just doing their job; they were listening and hearing each other and me. Why couldn’t the real world outside be like this; each of these individuals set a prime example of what it means to be human. I will never forget them and tell the stories they shared with me; I will honor them by trying to be a better human being and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. There was no battle between the sexes, everyone was equal and all were just doing the right thing in the true sense of what it means to be human. Sadly this is not the case yet in many places in the world currently and it sure did not take place back in the 1970s where this famous event between one man and one woman took place.      THIS FILM FESTIVAL nominated biographical comedy based on a true event succeeded with 2 special actors: Emma Stone (La La Land, Magic in the Moonlight) and Steve Carell (The Big Short, Foxcatcher) as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. They were outstanding with the look and mannerisms of the actual celebrities. Steve was truly Bobby, it was mind-blowing. Also cast in this sports film was Andrea Riseborough (Nocturnal Animals, Happy-Go-Lucky) as Marilyn Barnett, Sarah Silverman (The Book of Henry, I Smile Back) as Gladys Heldman and Bill Pullman (The Equalizer, While you Were Sleeping) as Jack Kramer. It is hard to believe that it was only 40 years ago, but there was this wedge between the sexes. As I just wrote that I realize we are living it now with that football quarterback’s comments to the female reporter’s question. Though the acting was this picture’s biggest strength, the script was not strong enough for such a big event. It was obvious Billie Jean and Bobby were the main topic but the way the script was written did not give enough to the rest of the cast to keep up. I wanted more consistent levels of intensity; some scenes were brilliant, but others were drab. It did not make this movie go bad, it just dulled the shine it deserved. On the one hand it seems ludicrous that this event needed to take place; but on the other hand, the event caused an important shift to take place in the way people thought about females and males. I certainly wish no harm to anyone but I wish you could experience the staff I had the honor to be part of in a perilous situation and trust me, there is no such thing as one man being better than one female or 1 woman being better than 1 male.

 

3 stars

 

 

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