Past Movie Review: The Company Men

When I saw “The Company Men” six years ago this month, I thought it was one of the best movies I have ever seen about the realities of life, money and working for other people. This film is about injustice and greed and the story can be defined very simply as a CEO of a company, played by Craig T Nelson, who became extremely rich off of the hard work of his employees for 30 years and then when it was time to make even more money, he fired almost all of them, not caring what happened to any of these people who built the company that made him rich. This film is about people back-stabbing and screwing over other people for their own financial gain. Most of the employees of this major company were living at their means, felt financially safe and secure and then all of the sudden, they all lost their jobs and there were no other jobs to be had anywhere. Most of the people who were fired had families and lived as if things would always be safe and secure and the money would always be coming in, never thinking that they would ever lose their jobs, which is a tragic reality for too many people.

The main focus of the film centers around Bobby Walker, played very well by Ben Affleck and his family and their struggles after he loses his job after the massive downsizing at his company. We follow Walker through the process of going to a job search company where they supposedly try to help you to get another job. As the months go by, he is forced to sell his car and other possessions and is worried about losing his own home. He is screwed around by recruiters and other contacts for months as he desperately tries to find another job before it is too late. Walker’s desperation and extreme anger at the company he helped built and his inability to find another job is very well portrayed in this film as is another fired employee Phil Woodward played very well by Chris Cooper. Kevin Costner also has a small role in this film as Bobby Walker’s brother in law and this is one of his better performances in recent years.

This movie came out at the perfect time, less than two years after the 2008 financial crisis and everyone can relate to the sheer terror of losing your job and financial security and finding no way out. The voice of compassion in this movie is portrayed extremely well by Tommy Lee Jones, who is the vice president of the company and tries to talk some reason and human decency into the CEO to try and stop him from firing so many good people.

This movie is a hidden gem that came out in 2010 and one of those small movies that everyone can relate to. I highly recommend The Company Men for everyone who has not seen this great film.

Movie Review: Live By Night

It is a very rare thing in my experience when one person both directs and writes the screenplay for a movie. For the movie “Live By Night” Ben Affleck, wrote the screenplay, has the starring role, directed this movie and also had a producer credit as well. This must have been a ton of work, for probably years and the end result is a very solid gangster movie much like the gangster movies made in the 40’s about running molasses and selling bootleg liquor during Prohibition. I cannot remember the last time I have seen a period movie about the early 20’s and the Prohibition era like this one. There is a good deal of violence in this movie, which is understandable considering the crime and corruption during this time and you have to realize while watching this movie that the passing of Prohibition could have been one of the worst mistakes ever made in Congress, recognizing how badly that decision backfired over so many years. One can only speculate how many gangs were created, crimes committed and people who were killed as a direct result of Prohibition.

As I have recently said about the World War Two movie that came out about a month ago “Allied”, I am always impressed with movies that use many cars from other eras that for decades have been maintained in warehouses around the world, which you have to figure have to be paid for by the largest movie production companies just in case they make a period movie about the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s. This must cost a fortune and it must be challenging to get these very old cars to run after so many years. On top of this, several vintage cars from the 20’s were destroyed in this movie.

As far as the story behind this movie, I thought it was well told and flowed well, so there were not too many areas that dragged or were boring. One flaw I thought was with the accents of the people involved and in some cases the slurring of words, very often you could not understand what people were saying. At certain points, the story was a little hard to follow, mainly because of the word slurring, but overall the story corrected itself along the way and everything made sense. Other stars in this movie include Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper and I thought that the acting was very well done throughout.

The fundamental message I got from this movie and especially the ending was that if you are a person who has no trouble killing people over a long period of time, then it is inevitable that your day is coming. What goes around comes around.

I thought Live By Night was a solid Gangster movie about the Prohibition era and I do recommend it.