4 thoughts on “movies mmxx

  1. Not really my review, but something I wrote about Just Mercy for a thing at work.

    Just Mercy (2019)
    Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.

    Destin Daniel Cretton directed Just Mercy and he’s from Maui, so I’d encourage you to see it just to support local-grown Japanese American film-directing talent even if the film weren’t loaded with killer acting. But it is, so go see it for that.

    Michael B. Jordan plays a young Harvard Law grad working with death row inmates, assisted by Brie Larson and pretty much nobody else. Jamie Foxx is an inmate whose conviction appears questionable, and while it seems to the lawyer that a retrial is called for, other forces disagree.

    As in most courtroom dramas, some characters say and do things you’re not sure they could, but while the script is difficult to believe in a couple of big places, the film makes up for it with excellent acting and a story worth telling.

    Jordan, Foxx, Larson, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (baby Ice Cube!) are all outstanding. Foxx was nominated for a SAG award and will likely be nominated for several others, yet the real knockout performance is Tim Blake Nelson’s, which honestly left me amazed. I’ve seen him in twelve movies (and you probably have too), and while he always turns side characters into interesting people, I couldn’t have guessed he had this in him. He’ll break your heart.

    So will this movie, which reminds us that we are deeply, terribly flawed—collectively and personally—while reminding us there is hope for redemption.


  2. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
    Dir. Stanley Kramer

    This was a blockbuster adventure comedy, with a star-studded ensemble cast, including Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Jonathan Winters, Ethel Merman, among others.

    The opening scene instantly drew me into this: A man driving erratically on a cliff-side road, passes three cars and then flies over the cliff. Three men from the three cars stop and run down the cliff and find a bloodied man, who tells him of a millions of dollars buried in a park. Thus begins a race between the three to get the treasure.

    While the plot and pacing of the film was solid, unfortunately, much of the comedy fell flat for me. At some point, I kept thinking about how this had potential for a modern update, and the casting of a director and modifying of the film preoccupied much of my viewing. Steven Spielberg was one filmmaker that came to mind, and I thought that the film would be more of an adventure, with some comedy on the side, versus the other way around–sort of like the tone of Midnight Run, perhaps. The thing is, it would be a really expensive film, and a big gamble, but blockbusters are the main type of film Hollywood seems interested in.

    1. My sister and I loved this film when we were growing up, even though we didn’t know enough to recognize the cameos. I’d say there were two modern updates: both of the Cannonball Run films.

    2. When I say updates, I mean something closer to a remake. For example, the idea of three or more groups finding about a treasure and then racing and/or double-crossing the other to get to the treasure first. Actually, I would be open to removing the treasure and replacing it with something else–e.g., assassinating someone or bringing in a fugitive, although the latter would basically be Midnight Run, I guess.

      Actually the idea probably isn’t that great, although the action set pieces could be fun with a great action director like Spielberg or James Cameron. Another idea: make it with little or no dialogue. Maybe it could be set in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone has to wear gas masks all the time. (Now it’s sounding too much like Road Warrior.

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