SAG Award Winners 2017

In the past, the tradition has been that a SAG Award winner has a much higher percent chance of winning the Oscar. Given this tradition, I was very happy that Denzel Washington won for best actor and Hidden Figures won for best picture rather than “La La Land”, which is a very good movie but not as good as Fences, Manchester By the Sea or Hidden Figures, in my opinion.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Hidden Figures

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Stranger Things

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture: Emma Stone, La La Land

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture: Denzel Washington, Fences

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Claire Foy, The Crown

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: John Lithgow, The Crown

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series: Bryan Cranston, All the Way

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in Television Movie or Miniseries: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Viola Davis, Fences

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: William H. Macy, Shameless

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep

Movie Review: A Dog’s Purpose

The movie “A Dog’s Purpose” is about much more than just the reincarnation of one dog into the lives of several different people. This movie is about the human condition, it’s about a bad marriage born out of husband who is miserable in his job and very sick of being a traveling salesman and ironically because he is so good at selling things on the road, he is doomed to never be promoted. Because of his misery, just like the recent movie “Fences”, he takes out his anger on his family and then turns to alcohol. You wonder while you watch the unraveling of this family because of the anger and misery over a job, just how often something like this happens to people in this country and around the world. Is it possible to ever be fulfilled and happy when you hate your job and you know deserve so much better? But the problem really is, it is not your family’s fault, so why take it out on them? This movie does a beautiful job in blending together complex human problems with the simple thoughts and the simple life of a dog and suggests that a dog’s purpose is all about being there, to give some happiness and joy to people and ultimately, this is the real message of this film.

There are several different stories within this movie and they all connected to the repeated reincarnation of the same dog and within each reincarnation, the dog is able to remember previous lives. The most important story is the first one about a young boy, who is an only child, and gets his first dog and ultimately his parent’s divorce because of alcoholism. Throughout this whole film, there is narration so we can hear the thoughts of the dog, although I would have selected a different sounding voice than the one they chose for this movie. Some parts of the dog’s narrations are funny but other ones can break your heart because of their simplicity and purity. This movie doesn’t try too hard to make you cry but at times it is impossible not to, most especially at the end when the last story is expertly tied together for a very emotional ending. I would not recommend this movie to any young children because of the multiple deaths and reincarnations of this dog, but I thought overall that A Dogs Purpose was a throwback to Disney movies about animals and was very well done.

The actor Dennis Quaid is in the last story within this film and he does a solid job as one of the owners of this reincarnated dog as well as Peggy Lipton who I have not seen in a movie in many years.

Unfortunately, there is some controversy over this movie because of some possible trainer abuse of a German Shepard for one scene where the dog had to jump into water and this probably accounts for the low ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. I have heard that there was no real abuse of any animals in this film including the incident with the German Shepard and it was obvious to me that everybody involved in this film loves animals and especially dogs so I believe this controversy is unwarranted. A Dog’s Purpose is a very good movie about the love of dogs and I give it a very solid recommendation.

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans

Movie Review: Gold

One has to admire Matthew McConaughey and the fact that for two movies he has made recently, he lost and gained a great deal of weight. The first was for “Dallas Buyers Club” where he won the academy award for best actor and now for the movie “Gold” he gained a great deal of weight. For the movie “Dallas Buyers Club” he had to lose a life-threatening amount of weight to play a character who is dying of AIDS, as Tom Hanks did for “Philadelphia” in 1993. But for this movie, it didn’t seem to be necessary to gain so much weight for this role, at least 40 pounds. When you remember as an actor, that “it’s only a movie”, then you should realize that no movie or movie award is ever going to be worth your health.

As for the film, I was expecting something stronger, especially from what I have been hearing about this movie before I saw it. Overall this film was just a good story that is loosely based on the Bre-x Gold Mining scandal in Indonesia in 1993 that involved a massive fraud. What this movie shows is how extremely difficult the Gold mining business is because the risks both financially and physically are so extreme. I had to admire McConaughey’s character, Kenny Wells and his constant living on the edge of financial ruin and then the extreme risks he took investing in an area within the hot jungles of Indonesia. The risks of finding Gold anywhere in the world are obvious, but then you also run the risk of any country deciding to Nationalize your Gold Mine and that would mean a 100% total loss of all the money spent to find the Gold up to that point.

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kenny Well’s wife in this movie but she seems miscast because of McConaughey’s run down and overweight appearance in this story. The actor
Edgar Ramírez plays the friend of Kenny Wells who originally finds the Gold in Indonesia. The acting in Gold is solid throughout and there are some twists and turns at the end of this story that make the film more interesting overall, but not enough to give Gold any more than a marginal recommendation.