If any movie about alcoholism is ever going to have any chance of being a quality production, then the story should show the problem of heavy drinking in its full form, but then also show why the person is an alcoholic.
The new movie “The Good House” starring Sigourney Weaver , a local real estate agent, and Kevin Kline as Frank Getchel a local owner of a construction company, define both of these important aspects of alcoholism very well. This solidly constructed screenplay includes a very well-told story about a once very successful real estate agent, Hindy Good on the coast of Massachusetts, who is showing many common ravages of real life. Her business is failing, her husband divorced her because he discovered he is gay after 22 years of marriage, and she is running out of money in her 70s. Other pressures include what people in her small town are saying about her and think about her – that for many people is the most important thing in their lives – their reputation. All of this causes Hindy to drink constantly, to the point where her family and friends conduct an intervention to get her to go to rehab. For a time it appears that Hindy has defeated the problem, and then, like so many, she falls off the wagon and drinks again. She even drinks and drives risking her own life and the lives of others.
There are other very interesting side stories in this drama, including her former friend trying to steal her real estate clients from her. Her assistant is a disaster that she is too kind to fire and a close friend of hers is having an affair with another married man. Ultimately this leads to a satisfying story for the whole 2 hours and a very well constructed ending. This movie also has the highly unusual idea of having the main character narrate part of the movie while looking directly into the camera – that has both good and bad aspects.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this film are a solid 78%, with my rating about 85% and a strong recommendation for the story and the acting of both Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline.
The new movie “Don’t Worry Darling” directed by Olivia Wilde has more to do with the marketing power of the Rotten Tomatoes Web Site than the story within this film. Over the years, Rotten Tomatoes has become so powerful, that its ratings can completely make or break the box office of any movie even before it is released. This is the case of Don’t Worry Darling which is nothing more than a combination clone of both “The Stepford Wives” and “The Matrix”. Unfortunately, originality does not come from combining two other ideas that are original and then expecting anyone will think that a “combination of 2 great story ideas” will also be considered original. In my experience, most audiences do not like any movie or TV show that they view as a rip-off. Originality and quality are what sell, not playing the odds of trying to capitalize on something that worked in the past.
Considering the money and time involved to produce a movie like Don’t Worry Darling – what happened with this film is that the producers knew that the critics on Rotten Tomatoes would be giving this movie a low 38% rating long before it was released, so the producers decided to put out manufactured news stories to try and save the box office. These stories included having one of the lead actors Harry Styles, supposedly spitting on Chris Pine. Other stories circulated about Olivia Wilde’s firing of Shia LaBeouf, who was originally hired for the Harry Styles role. There were other stories about conflicts between the director Olivia Wilde and Florence Pugh. We have seen this before, when producers are so desperate to save a movie that they insert last-minute nude scenes or create major news stories to save the box office of a newly released movie – mostly because of the low Rotten Tomatoes ratings. This also happened with Sylvestor Stallone’s recent movie on Amazon Prime, “Samaritan” which was released days after the announcement that Stallone would be getting a divorce from his wife Jennifer Flavin after 25 years. Some days ago, it looks like Stallone and Flavin may have reconciled. The problem with this strategy is that the public knows that this is a marketing ploy to get people to pay for a new movie that might not be any good.
Remarkably, this film is almost entirely told from the perspective of Alice Chambers, played by Florence Pugh. All of the other actors in this production have very small parts compared to Pugh, which I thought was a flaw in the overall screenplay. The problem with the convoluted concept of this story is that the ultimate payoff takes too long to be fully revealed and when it is fully revealed, some of the previous scenes in some cases do not hold water. The positive aspects are that Florence Pugh (despite her extremely unfortunate last name) is a big-time upcoming new star, who is a strong enough presence to carry this entire movie – despite its obvious flaws. She has an almost perfect movie star face, that deserves a better screenplay than this one. Other stars including Chris Pine and Harry Styles hold their own despite their relatively small presence within this story.
I agree with the low scores of 38% on Rotten Tomatoes and do not recommend this film.
I am proud to report that for the 5th time in the history of this blog, which started almost 8 years ago, I have been asked to review an Independently produced movie “The Haunting of the Murder House”.
For all aspiring movie directors, actors, and screenwriters, the dream for all of us is to win an Oscar. To one day be one of the very lucky few who are standing on the Oscar stage after years of impossible and unlikely struggles to finally realize a dream that for all of us, seems so far away. As a screenwriter, how can someone even get an agent, because, without an agent, you cannot even submit a screenplay to any producer? As an actor, how many rejections and auditions will it take to get that lucky break, that first part that just maybe be the one that starts your acting career. As for writers and actors, your career is in the ever-changing and very often inaccurate opinions of other people, who somehow found themselves in a career in show business ahead of you. For a director, sometimes the only way to break into this impossible field is to start your own production company, spend your own money and produce your own movies. This is the essential idea behind Independent “Indy” film productions.
I have always had great admiration for all of the 5 producers who have asked me to review and promote their films. This respect and admiration come from the work it takes to write and direct any new movie and the financial risk it takes to produce a movie on your own. Independent filmmaking represents great risk against little chance of reward in almost all cases. Behind all of this is someone who is willing to pay the dues it takes to break into what many of us believe is just about the best industry to work in.
Unfortunately, this film (see Vimeo link below) represents the harsh reality of trying to write, produce and direct any movie with little budget. The actors in this horror film all look like they have never acted before with on-the-nose dialogue throughout this entire production. The constant dialogue of WTF and Holy S – are used far too often at a level I have never seen before. It seems the idea behind this film was to achieve some kind of a “Blair Witch Project” concept that unfortunately fails because of too many flaws in the acting, dialogue, and overall story.
I do recommend this film for all those are appreciate those to are in the movie trenches, trying to achieve their dreams in the only way possible – by taking risks and forever trying by continuing to create, act and write.