Corona Virus: Global Pandemic

If someone would have asked the best odds maker who ever lived on December 1, 2019, “what are the odds of a global pandemic that in less than 4 months would kill almost 34,000 people, and cause extremely serious damage to the economy of the entire world”, his answer would probably have been, “trillion to 1 odds”. The reason why the odds of something like this happening were so unlikely a short 4 months ago, is because medical advances have been astronomical since the Spanish Flu killed 50 million people in the world, 102 years ago. Medicine has leaped forward since the days of medical treatments that included blood letting. There are agencies, including WHO (The World Health Organization) that were created to prevent viruses like COVID-19 from infecting the world that have been vigilant in preventing viruses like this one.

What we all have right now, is one of the most fast moving and unlikely events in the history of the world.  Almost everyone is either quarantined or staying at home as much as possible. Working from home is now the standard, taxing the internet and servers more than ever before. Who would have ever thought that we would all see every movie theater close?  All gyms are closed, malls are closed, and the phrase “social distancing” the most common phrase. Through it all, there are still people who refuse to follow the common sense edicts that included  avoiding crowds, no doubt causing more people to test positive for this disease.  From the current ongoing pandemic nightmare, the world now is fully aware that it could all end one day. Not from an asteroid or another world war that would involve nuclear weapons, but from a tiny microscopic disease that is measurably more fast moving and deadly than COVID-19.

Against this disaster that has forever changed everything as we knew it before, we have all learned that inevitable losses in the stock market mean nothing against 34,000 people who have died so far and many more thousands who will suffer with this disease in the future. Then add the thousands more who will lose their jobs and businesses that will fail. The entire world is now on the same page. How long will this go on? Will life ever get back to the way it was before this all began?  We all now routinely worry about respirators, lack of hospital supplies and medical professionals. Will we be overwhelmed by this disease beyond the medical resources of countries around the world? For those who have compared this virus to the flu, and claim the media is making too much of this, the alarming growth rate of this virus, mortality rate and the fact that there is no vaccine are the obvious reasons why this is nothing like the flu. This virus has also taught us that we are all the same, regardless of fame, wealth or luck in life. Tom Hanks and his wife have this disease, Prince Charles, Boris Johnson and even Harvey Weinstein have all tested positive. This disease makes no exceptions. Anybody can get it and anybody can die from it.

As far as movies and the loyal readers of this blog, my first thought after all movie theaters have closed was NETFLIX or Amazon prime movies. Unfortunately, I have not found a movie on these two services so far that have inspired me to write another blog entry. Hopefully this will change in the near future and thank you to all who have read any of my movie reviews that I have been compiling for over 5 years.

What else is there to say about this extremely challenging and unusual time in the world other than for all to stay indoors, stay safe and pray that this will all be over soon.

Movie Review: The Way Back

Over the decades since the beginning of the movie industry, many films have been made about alcoholism. Most of these films deal how alcoholism effects the person with this disease and those around them. Fewer movies deal with the reason why the person became an alcoholic in the first place.

The new movie “The Way Back” is about a down and out construction worker Jack Cunningham, played by Ben Affleck who becomes a high school basketball coach, despite being a very heavy drinker. What makes this story great, is because it explains why Jack became a dangerous alcoholic. One reason was because of the problems he had with his father while in high school, when Jack was a great high school basketball player. The other reason is a huge tragedy he shares with his wife Angela, played by Janina Gavankar. Considering the trauma Jack and his wife endured, anyone could easily understand Jack’s problems with alcoholism

The story starts with Jack being hired as the high school basketball coach of same high school where he was the greatest player in team history. At first Jack is very reluctant to take this job, but over time he turns a very bad team with a record of 1-11 into a huge winner. The basketball scenes are outstanding as are the practice sessions, where Jack hammers home the most important basketball concepts, starting with constant trapping and rabid team defense. As with all great stories, nothing is easy, and the twist at the end is very well done. In the history of movies, there has probably never been a better actor to play this part, than Ben Affleck, who has had years of publicized and very severe alcohol problems himself. I agree with many of the critics who believe this is the best acting performance of Affleck’s career. This is a very well done sports movie, one of the best I have ever seen.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie are a very high 87% and I agree with this rating and hope, despite the early release of this film, that Affleck receives a best actor nomination.

Movie Review: Ordinary Love

It is certain that most of us would rather not have any advance notice when its our time to leave this world. Many would probably pay for this privilege, knowing that the fear of knowing they have some kind of terminal illness, might very well be worse than the illness itself. At the top of this list is Cancer, the disease that has both ravaged and terrified the population of the world for centuries.

The new movie “Ordinary Love” is all about Cancer and a couple in their 60’s , Joan, played by Leslie Manville and Tom, played by Liam Neeson coping with Joan finding out that she has breast Cancer. This story is not for the faint of heart because it shows all of the ups and huge downs of being diagnosed with life’s most devastating disease. We all know the main recommended cures; removing body parts and chemo therapy that ravages the human body and reduces the immune system to almost nothing. This barbaric method of treatment can kill cancer cells, but it also kills other cells as well, and this weakening of the body can cause other diseases and bring the cancer back in the future. Then add the constant worries that include, “will the insurance company cover this treatment?”.

It is so hard to believe that after many years and trillions of dollars of research, that a real cure to Cancer has still never been found. Considering the world wide economy that includes cancer treatment, does the world ever really want to cure this dreaded disease, considering the financial loss? Most difficult to watch are scenes where Joan and Tom are the waiting for test results or encouraging news, followed by bad news, then nausea, loss of hair and non stop terror caused by this terrible disease. The worry and the terror weakens any person as much as the Cancer itself.

Ordinary Love is one of the very few non-action movies that Liam Neeson has made in the last 15 years, and his performance in this real-life movie as well as Leslie Manville is outstanding. I agree with the very high 93% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and strongly recommend this well acted movie.