Over the last 10-15 years, Aubrey Plaza is known as one of the most naturally funny actors, especially on talk shows. Her talent is in her eyes and her ability to make a mundane story funny just by the way she talks, describes something or makes a face . Few people can use their eyes to be funny. Johnny Carson, John Candy, Will Ferrell, Chelsea Handler, are some of the people who have had this very rare talent.
In the new movie “Black Bear” Aubrey Plaza plays a struggling movie director, Allison who visits a married couple who have a long cabin. Within a few minutes it is obvious that the young couple Gabe, played by Christopher Abbott and Blair – who is pregnant played by Sarah Gadon are bickering and obviously are having massive marital problems. This very strange film has two parts – the first part nothing but conversation with these 3 people and the second part, is a group of people making a movie in the same log cabin. None of the two parts are connected or make any sense and I have always hated movies like this. The only good part of this movie is in the second part, where Aubrey Plaza conclusively shows that she is a very good dramatic actor as well a very good comedic actor. Unfortunately, the audience has to sit through 2 hours of a disconnected mess of a story to get to the only good part within a screenplay, that never should have been made into a movie.
The critics are viewing this movie rather highly, and I have no idea why. This is a pretty bad 2 hours, that should be missed.
The new movie “Nomadland” starring Francis McDormand is about one of those subjects no person ever wants to think about – homelessness. In this country, homelessness has always been an ongoing problem for far too many good people. Now considering the Covid-19 health Pandemic that has killed almost 500,000 Americans, this problem is as bad as its ever been and could get worse in the coming months and years.
Fern, played by McDormand just lost her husband and after a local factory closed she is out of work and quickly ran out of money. Her only options are to get in her van and drive, anywhere. This film takes place in South Dakota, that is famous for barren vistas and cold and a great deal of this movie is all about Fern driving on very long roads with nothing by emptiness. Fern runs into a group of campers who all rationalize that their homeless life is better than the old ways, forgetting that they are living in their car, a camper or a van. Especially grim is showing the different sizes of rubber and plastic containers when it is time to go to the bathroom. Nothing is easy with a life like this, and far too many of us are homeless or are far too close to becomming homeless. It should not be this way, but in this world if you have no money, you are in for a very rough ride.
Francis McDormand is one of the best actresses during the last few decades, starting with her 1996 best actress Academy Award for Fargo. She won best actress again for 2017 “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” in 2017 and now looks to be a shoe-in for another best actress win for this impressive film.
Nomadland plays more like a documentary insight into the lives of homeless nomads who travel the country looking for temporary work and a legal place to park. This film is directed by Chloé Zhao who did an outstanding job showing the dark and depressing lives of people who are living on the edge, trying to survive from one hour to the next. Zhao is collecting a series of impressive credits lately and now is a major sought out director. She might win best director for this movie.
The Rotten Tomatoes rating for Nomadland are a very impressive 94% and I agree with this rating and recommend this movie that shows the true life of far too many millions of people.