Amazon Movie Review: American Dreamer

When the company UBER was founded in 2009, there has probably never been an important invention that took advantage of another invention (The Smartphone and the internet) more than this company. UBER is the perfect merging of technologies that since 2009, has changed the world. Now anyone in the world can dial up their smart phone and hail a car driven by an ordinary person in the most efficient way, that uses amazing technology. UBER has generated billions of revenue for not only the company but also for millions of people around the world.

Like most things, even though UBER is a fantastic technology, there is a downside. The movie “America Dreamer”, released in 2018, starring Jim Gaffigan is about this downside. Actor and stand up comedian Jim Gaffigan plays Cam, a down on his luck UBER driver who is divorced and unfortunately for him, has little money, little prospects for a high paying job and owes child support payments. Cam’s desperation for money increases when it looks like he may have to go to prison for missing too many payments to his wife – a sad comentary on the realities of life and marriage in this country. There is one scene where the police show up as Cam and his x-wife are on the front lawn and he is pleading just to talk to his son for a few minutes. One of the saddest and most pathetic moments of this desperate man’s existence.

One day Cam picks up a vicious drug dealer who pulls a gun on another dealer while Cam looks on. Any person would have immediately driven off after seeing this, but Cam does not, setting the scene for a series of events that are entirely based on Cam’s desperation to get money. Unfortunately too many of Cam’s actions are far fetched, even despite his desperation to save his life. Nobody would do most of the things Cam does in this story which for the most part represent some serious flaws in the screenplay.

The acting is very good both with Jim Gaffigan and Robbie Jones who plays Mazz, the drug dealing criminal Cam picks up.

Once again the Rotten Tomatoes review of 53% is way off with my rating in the 75% range, mostly for Gaffigan’s acting which is outstanding. With Gaffigan’s acting ability in many films over the years, he just might be the first stand-comedian to win an Academy Award. I give American Dreamer a solid recommendation, despite the occasional flaws.

Movie Review: Four Good Days

We all probably knew that when the opioid crisis in this country hit its depressing highs in recent years that there would be many movies about this problem that would follow. The new movie “Four Good Days”, starring Mila Kunis and Glenn Close is another one of these movies and I thought the realities of this human disaster were very well told.

I recently discovered that Glen Close lost her 8th Oscar nomination last week for Hillbilly Elegy. While it is unlikely she will win a best actress Oscar for this role, it is still long overdue that she wins an Oscar very soon. Close plays Deb who is the mother of Molly, played by Mila Kunis – in arguably her most important role, as a seriously ill drug addict. One has to admire how bad Mila Kunis looked for this role, including some serious weight loss. Her face had serious marks, her eyes were dark and sunken and her teeth looked like they were rotting away. Like so many, her opioid and following Heroin addition came after a skiing accident where her doctor prescribed way too many pain pills. One of the most tragic parts of this National crisis is that doctors and drug companies are the most responsible for making the problem as bad as it has been. All because of the money. One of the most significant lines in this film was “Opioids have a 97% relapse rate“.

This story is all about Deb trying to practice tough love and Molly trying to lie and manipulate her mother in order to get more drugs, any way she can. We learn in this movie what we have all already known. The torture the parents and love ones go through to save their child is in many ways as bad or even worse than the drug addicts themselves. Deb’s new husband tries to help his wife to save herself, mostly to no avail. His attempts to use basic logic and common sense mostly caused huge arguments, as Deb lashes out at him to try and let go so much worry and frustration for so many years.

One of the best scenes in this movie is Molly’s speech to a high school class, trying to save them from the bad choices she made in her life that turned her from a straight A student at age 17, to a total disaster 31 year old. Molly’s drug addiction cost her custody of her kids and her marriage and for the most part probably ruined her health for good – to say nothing about her constant chain-smoking, that once again I found extremely annoying.

The title of this movie “Four Good Days” is about Molly’s challenge to stay clear for 4 days so a doctor can give her a drug that prevents any ability to get high from drug abuse. Molly and her mothers struggle to get through these 4 days is the cornerstone of this moving and depressing story.

From all of the movies about this level of extreme addition that I have seen in the last few years, the message has always been the same. The drug addict has to want to help themselves, because of they don’t, then nobody can help them. Any drug addict never has any right to drag their families down the drain with them. Primarily, you have to want to save yourself, you have to want to live, there is no other solution.

Due to the excellent acting in this film and the very good story, the idiotic 53% Rotten Tomatoes reviews are about the most absurd that I have ever seen. The critic Richard Roper was correct when he gave this movie a solid 80%, calling Mila Kunis acting the best of her career – a very accurate assessment. This is a solid story about one of the worst human disasters this country has ever seen, and it should not be discarded with a 53% rating. I give this movie a high 85% due to the acting performances and its message and I highly recommend it.