NO matter how hard one works it seems as if that finish line keeps moving further away. I am referring to those plans put in place for retirement. Besides the big element of the “unknown,” the unexpected expense, it seems as if the rules and the times keep changing faster to any adjustments one tries to execute. The age of 65 used to be the goal line for retirement; now it gets pushed back depending on the year one is born. There is a grocery store I occasionally use that has a couple of small sections put aside for clearance items. One of them is in the produce section of the store and I have to tell you it is hard sometimes to watch the elderly shoppers pouring over the bruised or wrinkled fruits and vegetables, looking for one that would still be edible. I wonder what my retirement will be like when I am on a fixed income; would I be one of those shoppers looking for a bargain that potentially could make me ill? AS my friends and I grow older our conversations about are retirement years has increased. Some amongst us have multiple insurance policies to cover a variety of scenarios; others have focused on savings that they will be able to draw on once they are no longer working. One of the big concerns we all share is whether we will be able to still live independently, under our own roofs. No one in my circle of friends has had something good to say about nursing homes unless they had a super wealthy relative, who could afford one of those luxury retirement communities set up like a condominium building. They would have to buy the apartment outright and when they died the living space would revert back to the association. Since none of my friends or me could afford such an arrangement, we have come up with some creative ways on how we could take care of each other. I will tell you the option that was chosen in this comedic crime film never occurred to any of us. RETIRED friends Joe, Willie and Albert; played by Michael Caine (Inception, Batman Begins franchise), Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy, The Dark Knight franchise) and Alan Arkin (Get Smart, Argo); were falling deeper into debt. After witnessing a crime, Joe got an idea that would solve all three friends’ money issues. Directed by Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs-TV), the only reason to see this film is to watch these three actors, along with Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future franchise, Taxi-TV) as Milton and Ann-Margaret (Grumpy Old Men, Any Given Sunday) as Annie, working together. It would have been more interesting to watch them if the script had not stayed on the light side; the humor and emotional parts were rather wishy-washy. Putting aside my dilemma with celebrating crime situations, I thought the lead up story was a good motivator for the action. When the film came to an end I was left with the same feelings I had with yesterday’s picture, just a sense of “blah.” In my opinion it was a crime to have used these actors for such an uninspired script.
At some point nearly everyone has to cross the intersection of uncertainty. It may happen when you are about to become a responsible adult; for others, it could be when you come upon that mental juncture between what you do in life as opposed to what you want to do. There are so many variables on when we travel up to that crossroads during our lifetime. I have heard many people complain about their job and how it does not fulfill them; it simply is a means to earning an income. However, when they reach this intersection during their life they pause a moment to question if this is all their life will ever be. I am a firm believer in doing something you love which will nourish you. A previous job is what I credit for pushing me to explore and teach yoga. Back then my days lost color, faded into a monotone of gray colors. All I did was work, eat and sleep then repeat it all over the following day. I felt I was on a one speed treadmill with no off switch. It was during that time I realized I needed physical and mental stimulation; otherwise, I felt I was going to wither off the vine of life and be discarded in time. TIME seemed to be slipping away for struggling actor Aidan Bloom, played by Zach Braff (Oz the Great and Powerful, Scrubs-TV). Finding himself at a crossroads when his father Gabe, played by Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Chicago Hope-TV), took ill and could no longer help out financially, Aidan had to take a hard look at his life and how he would provide for his family. Directed and co-written by Zach, this comedic drama had some good elements. I thought the cast all worked well together, especially Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, Bride Wars) as Aidan’s wife Sarah, Joey King (Looper, The Crazies) as his daughter Grace and Josh Gad (Jobs, The Internship) as his brother Noah. There was an understated humor through several scenes, nothing out loud or outrageous. The multitude of story lines was the issue I had with this film. They cast a wide net, allowing many viewers the opportunity to find something relatable; however, it was way too much for me and congested the underlying story. I never found a strong connection to anything in the movie; I became uninterested and left with a blah feeling towards the whole picture. With all the movies I have seen I cannot imagine I have reached a crossroads in my reviewing. Nah, I still love what I am doing; I just wish some of the people who worked on this film felt the same way.
The prequel really came to the forefront with the Star Wars franchise. I find it to be a valid form to use in the art of making movies. For me it feels like seeing an old friend from college who is now in a love relationship and getting to hear how the two of them met. Excited to see this prequel to the classic film The Wizard of Oz, the movie studio certainly has been marketing it from a ton of commercials to the movie theater employees wearing promotional T-shirts. James Franco (127 Hours, Howl) played carnie magician Oscar Diggs who was swept up into a storm that took him far away from Kansas. Finding himself in a strange land called Oz he encountered Theodora, played by Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Ted), a witch who believed he was the wizard that the prophecy said would come to save her people. James’ acting in this role was proof that his stint as the wooden host of the Oscar telecasts was not a fluke. Joining him in the awful acting department was Mila and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn, Blue Valentine) as the witch Glinda. The only acting worth talking about came from Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy, The Deep Blue Sea) as Evanora; computer graphic China Girl, voiced by Joey King (Ramona and Beezus, Crazy Stupid Love) and flying monkey Finley, voiced by Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs-TV). There were some beautiful and magical scenes, but then there would be flat scenes that were poorly designed. My favorite part of the movie was the last 20-25 minutes that had a cool, creative flair. The script was badly written, not providing depth to the characters which made James Franco’s character extra annoying. Not only was I disappointed by the end of the movie, I felt I had gotten stuck in Oz’ deadly poppy field.
2 1/3 stars