Movie Review: I Can Only Imagine

Most of us go to the movies to recognize ourselves in other people, to temporarily escape our own reality and perhaps to learn something about the world we never knew. The new movie “I Can Only Imagine” achieves all of these things in a short two hours.

I Can Only Imagine is about the real life story of Christian singer Bart Milard who was the child of an abusive father. Bart’s father is played by Dennis Quaid – who was on a quest to ruin the life of his young son – because he is so miserable with his own life, his bad luck and the money he will never have. If I am miserable then my wife will be miserable and so will my kids — is a common experience of too many children in the world, including me. Bad luck in life brings other people along for the ride and that is the tragedy that is the guiding force in the life of Bart Millard. There are many similarities in this movie to the film “Fences” that was released in December 2017, but the difference in this film is that this is a try story.

How such a bad childhood leads Bart into the world of Christian singing and then writing the #1 selling Christian song of all time “I Can Only Imagine” (see video below) is a very well told story and an example of excellent screenwriting that held my attention the entire two hours. The latter part of this story shows how difficult it is to rent a bus and go on the road with your friends trying to make money performing music in the deep south in the 1990’s. Bart’s show business life choice is a crap shoot that few of us are ever lucky enough to succeed at.

If your 30 years old and already know that you are going nowhere in you’re career and will never have any money are so unhappy, drunk and miserable that you take out your bad life on your child, then you should never be allowed to have a child in the first place. Having a child is first and foremost about financial security and removing that from the equation of parenthood means that you do not get to be parent especially if along the way you make child’s life as miserable as yours. When you are a child, as I have said so often in this blog, you have no choice, no options, no hope, you are going along for the ride.

This movie stars newcomer J. Michael Finley who does an outstanding job in his role as Bart Millard. 91 year old actress Cloris Leachman also has a small a role in this film – still acting at her age and still an excellent actress.

I thought this movie was very well done and it receives my highest recommendation.

Movie Review: Pacific Rim Uprising

Everybody who will see this movie will expect to see what they saw in the original Pacific Rim; giant robots fighting giant monsters that came out of the Pacific Ocean. What they will not expect is too many giant Robots fighting other giant Robots and not nearly enough monsters until the end. Perhaps there was not enough budget for the monsters this time around? Like the last movie the producer’s strategy was still the same – people come to see the fighting giant creatures, who the hell needs a screenplay. I believe that movies like this follow the Michael Bay paradigm of special effects movies, “create the effects first and then just slap the story around the effects”. Of course this is a stupid idea, but it must work in terms of money making, but it definitely does not work as far as making any kind of a good movie. The slapped together story for this second Pacific Rim installment makes absolutely no sense, and is all over the place.

Like the last Pacific Rim, I thought the overall quality of the film itself seemed less than a top notch special effects movie and I remember wondering while sitting through the long 2 hours, what is it about Japanese people that they are so fascinated with giant creatures that try to kill people running for their lives? For me this gets old pretty quickly. This Pacific Rim stars John Boyega the lead actor in the recent Star Wars movies who is clearly going for the money as an actor rather than quality roles. This is a risk for any actor who is interested in longevity in the movie industry. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn’t but the list of those who went for the money and not the quality and are now no longer viable is long.

This is a movie for 9-10 year old kids who go for the robot fighting scenes, but even for them, there are not enough fighting scenes to keep even a 10 year old from falling asleep. This film, like the last one, should be missed.

Movie Review: Love, Simon

For the new movie “Love, Simon”, I didn’t notice anyone acting or anything contrived or forced during the entire two hours. These two simple things for me made this movie memorable and justifies the high scores on Rotten Tomatoes which are 91%.

The story of Love, Simon is a simple one. A 17 year old young man has known that he is gay for 4 years and he is afraid to tell anyone about it – understandable considering the pressures of being in high school and social media in today’s world. The series of events that happen through social media after finding another young man his age by chance going through the exact same thing, are rather involved and elaborate but I thought, very well done and believable. The main character Simon, played by Nick Robinson is not overtly gay and plays the role with a very mid-America normal personality. Simon has 4 friends 3 of whom he drives to school every morning within a ritual that involves buying 4 ice coffees and having a group lunch in the cafeteria every day. Nothing unusual here, but what is unusual is the dialogue, every well written and the series of situations that lead Simon to his decision to announce to the world he is gay.

Jennifer Garner plays Simon’s mother in a role as a mother that it seems she has played many times before. The message of this movie is just how desperate human beings are to be accepted and that most of us care too much about what other people think. The fear of not being accepted sometimes makes cowards of us all.

I thought Love, Simon was a very well done story and I do recommend it.