Movie Review: Night School

When it comes to stand-up comedy, Kevin Hart is one of the best comedians to come around in many years. His story telling, facial expressions and natural ability to make people laugh are all about as good as it gets. This is why his stand-up movie specials are some of the best ever produced. Unfortunately, his excellent stand-up talent has yet to translate into a comedy movie that has been memorable – and this includes his latest movie also starring Tiffany Hadish, “Night School”. Writing and producing a great comedy movie is probably the most difficult to create and you cannot just put in some slap-stick scenes and think that the movie is going to be funny because of physical comedy. The problem with Night School is that there is too much physical slap-stick comedy with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Hadish – including some ridiculous wrestling scenes that were never funny. The other actors in this movie including Rob Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Taran Killam, Romany Malco and Ben Schwartz all seemed like they were sleep walking through their roles, hoping that the months of shooting will be over soon. The problem with this comedy movie is as always the obvious problem – its just not funny enough.

I thought that the message of this story was a good one, never give up and Dyslexia is an abnormality of the brain that can be treated and you are not stupid if you have this problem. Perhaps this is another flaw with this story, because Kevin Hart’s learning disabled character has a life affliction that can never be funny.

I remember thinking that this story has some parallels to Kevin Hart in real life because I read his book I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons. As I have said in the past within this blog, would any of us be able to go through all that Kevin Hart had to go through to become successful in a field as remote and challenging as stand-up comedy? Kevin Hart in the end was hugely successful after being a shoe salesman and almost a high school drop-out, but how few of us would be able to endure all the years of hardship and disappointment that he had to go through to get where he is today? Kevin Hart was raised by a hard working single mother, his father was a drug addict who was frequently in prison. He struggled for many years making almost no money trying to break into stand-comedy. In 2016 Hart made 87.5 million dollars, making him by far the highest paid stand-up comedian, but the dues he paid to get there are almost unbelievable and what he should be admired the most for.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating for Night School are a very low 30% and for IMDB, the rating is only 5.4. I agree with these ratings and if you are a fan of Kevin Hart, you would be better off renting one of his stand-up comedy movies – and miss this latest unfunny film.

Movie Review: Life Itself

There are several things I found shocking and unique about the new movie “Life Itself”. The first is the extremely low ratings of only 13% on Rotten Tomatoes for a film that does not deserve anywhere near ratings this low. The second is that the screenplay is in four acts where the first two acts are closely related and the last two initially seem to be not related and then the end connect to the first two acts – something I have never seen before. I appreciated the hard work it must have taken to write a story like this for the screenwriter and creator of TV show “This is Us”, Dan Fogelman and I also can relate to how bad he must feel now that the critics are trashing his film. The problem here is that this movie is “too much” of a tearjerker. There is too much death, too much loss and depression and downside. There are some very shocking scenes making this movie not an experience for any child under the age of 15. Aside from all of this – this movie is well acted and the story told well enough to appreciate the thought and hard work it told to create it and should have a rating more in the 60% range – not good enough, but definitely not a bad movie.

Life Itself also has several big named stars, including Annette Benning, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde and all are very good in their roles, although I did not like the smoking Annette Benning does at the start of this film or the insane narration done by Samuel L. Jackson, which seemed extremely out of place.

As far as the TV show This is Us, starting its 3rd season on September 25, 2018, Fogelman’s timeline idea is one of the most original and best concepts for a Television show of all time. Unfortunately, as always happens when a great new original idea is created, there are clones of the original idea – too many of them, that rip off the original. One of them, “Me, Myself and I”, starring SNL actor Bobby Moynihan has already failed and the new ABC Series “A Million Little things” debuts on ABC this fall – is also stealing the timeline idea. In my experience, TV shows that steal from another great idea always fail, not that this has ever prevented this phenomenon on TV from happening way too often.

The movie Life Itself is not for the faint of heart or for anyone who is depressed because it is almost overwhelming in some parts at how depressing it is. Despite all of this and the too low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, I do recommend this film, but prepare yourself for way too many depressing scenes.

Movie Review: Fahrenheit 11/9

Whether you like Micheal Moore or hate him because he is so extremely liberal, there is no denying the greatness of the documentaries he produces or his incredible energy, passion and anger when it comes to seeking out horrendous injustice and with his research and hard work. Moore tries to do something about the worst problems this country faces because he cares so much about this country and hard working people. The title of this new film is similar to Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 documentary, this time with the 119, meaning 11/9/2016 when Trump was officially elected.

The truth about his new movie, “Fahrenheit 11/9” is that its about far more than just the insanity of the 2016 election. Moore covers many other subjects in this movie and the number one criminal injustice he shows are the sick and callous actions of the Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder, who according to Moore, unnecessarily re-routed the water sources to the city of Flint entirely for his own financial greed. Then even after the water was found to be contaminated, Snyder continued to poison the citizens of Flint for a long period of time. The water contamination stopped only when the bad water was proven to be responsible for damaging automobile parts in a GM plant, one of Snyder’s main contributors. Since the water contamination in Flint, tens of thousands of children will forever have lead poisoning and many people have died from legionaries disease and other health problems that are caused by lead in their blood. This one part of Moore’s documentary is worthy of a major new film all on its own and is even more shocking and infuriating than the movie “Erin Brockovich”, that was released in 2000. While watching the Flint water contamination story, one can only wonder why Rick Snyder is not in prison for life right now along with all the criminals responsible for this criminal outrage.

Fahrenheit 11/9 is shocking with some of its revelations right from the start when it suggests that Donald Trump’s entire reason for wanting to be president was born from his jealousy of singer Gwen Stefani, when she was paid more on the TV show “The Voice” than Trump was being paid for “The Apprentice” – almost impossible to believe if this insanity is true. Moore also compares Trump being elected to what happened in Nazi Germany and Hitler, that many less angry people might consider a little over the top.

I was also amazed at how many political experts in this country – practically ALL of them, thought that there was no way Trump would ever win the 2016 election, many of them even laughing at the idea that Trump could ever win in 2016. From the beginning most people thought Trump was running to be President only for publicity and never really wanted to be President.

Moore also covers the Parkland, Florida shooting and showed many of his meetings with the students who after this horrible shooting in February 2018 – just had enough of this sick insanity of school shootings going on for decades and started a new movement including the marches on Washington in March 2018.

Moore’s movie is not all negative as he covers the emergence of new young politicians who actually are trying to do good things and effect lasting change in this country and many of them are winning elections. It was encouraging to see that there is still hope in this country and so many people, along with Moore, care greatly about the future of this country. Moore spares no one in this film and even has some negative segments about Hilary Clinton and surprisingly Barack Obama, who Moore has called a great President.

I thought Fahrenheit 11/9 is one of Michael Moore’s best movies, along with “Sicko” – a must see movie about the disastrous state of medical insurance in this country. Ironically this new film goes back to Flint Michigan frequently, the site of Moore’s first movie “Roger and Me”, released in 1989. I highly recommend Fahrenheit 119 as one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.