Netflix Movie Review: You People

The new Netflix movie “You People” has a positive aspect – in trying to address the awkward guilt that white people sometimes have with black people and the awkward resentment that some black people have toward white people. Most of this awkwardness is made humorous – and some of this works, some of this does not work. The main negative aspect of this screenplay, co-wrote by Jonah Hill is that the relationship between Jewish and overweight Jonah Hill, who plays Ezra, and Lauren London who plays Amira is not at all believable.

This story is kind of like an attempted comedic version of “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner”, released in 1967, starring Sydney Potier, Spenser Tracy, and Katherine Hepburn. It is not fair to compare these two movies, mainly because the eras between 55 years ago and now are so different, but the main reason is that Guess Who is Coming to Dinner is a drama and You People is a comedy.

The other flaw here is that Eddie Murphy is in this movie and is never really funny. Murphy comes off as both bored and bland throughout his entire role. This is a big problem when your main comedic well-known star is never funny. Murphy plays Amira’s father Akbar, and along with Ezra’s mother Shelly, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus – they create the main obstacles in the dating and marriage of Ezra and Amira. Through rude comments by both of them, and in the case of Shelly, her trying too hard to understand and appreciate black people, comes off as bigoted rather than supportive. Some of this is funny, but too much of this can be just awkward, and too awkward is never funny.

The acting in this light comedy is mostly good and includes David Duchovny, who pulls off the most awkward scene where he tries to sing at a piano – even though his singing is extremely off-key. Duchovny seems very out of place in this role. Nia Long plays Fatima, Amira’s mother, and also seems like she is barely in this movie mostly sleepwalking through her role.

Despite the flaws, this movie has enough positive aspects including message, and funny moments to give it a passable review and a mild recommendation. The Rotten Tomatoes rating of only 45 is once again, dead wrong.

Netflix Movie Review: All Quiet on the Western Front

As I have said several times on this blog, starting with the most significant war movie ever produced, “Saving Private Ryan”, released in July 1998. When you make a war movie, you have an obligation as the producer and director to make the war scenes as horrific as possible. If you do not show war the way it really is, then you disrespect the millions who have fought and died in all Wars. If someone thinks that the violence and horror in this or any other war movie are too much, then they simply should not see the film. War is war, it should not exist in the world, but it does, and showing what it was really like is mandatory for all war movies.

The new Netflix movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” is about World War I. In terms of horrendous death during the battles in this war that started in 1914, World War I is one of the worst, mainly because of the use of chemical warfare. The depiction of the mud, rain, horrendous conditions, huge trenches, and non-stop death were shot as well as any war movie I have ever seen. There was one scene where they showed a dead body high in the air at the top of a tree, because the soldier was blown up and thrown into the air. One can only imagine being a young man of only 20 years old, born at the exact wrong time in history. Too poor to avoid living through unimaginable daily death, wondering if the next minute it was your turn to die. Scenes like these are commonplace in all wars.

All Quiet on the Western Front was also released in 1930 and 1979, starring actor Richard Thomas. This time around, this Netflix version has been correctly nominated for 9 Academy awards, including best picture. There are no named actors in this movie, but all of the acting starting with Felix Kammerer as Paul Bäumer is outstanding throughout these 2 hours. The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this film is correct and very high 92%. I agree with his rating and give this movie my highest recommendation.

Movie Review: The Son

After reading some of the reviews for “The Son” I was stunned at the low 27% ratings for this movie. This film is very well acted and, is about a very important problem with young people in this country – depression. The Son is far from a great movie, but it is also far from worthy of a very low 27% rating. After reading one of the reviews, I was reminded of one flaw in the story that you could drive a truck through – which is very unfortunate because this one error takes too much away from the overall quality of the screenplay. This might explain some of the bad reviews, but despite this mistake – this is definitely not a bad movie.

The Son stars Hugh Jackman, who gives one of his very best dramatic performances, worthy of a Golden Globe nomination he received a few weeks ago. Jackman stars as Peter, the father of a troubled 17-year-old young man Nicholas, played by Zen McGrath. Peter divorced his first wife Kate, played by Laura Dern, and then has a son with his second wife Beth, played by Vanessa Kirby. Through it all, Nicholas is extremely depressed because he never adapted to his parent’s divorcing, and for this reason, his teen years are far more difficult for him than for other kids his age. Nicholas is also a very sensitive and delicate young man, never easy when trying to get through high school.

There are periods within this story, where the story reverts to too much dialogue-noise and not enough substance and detail about what Nicholas’ depression is all about – other than the fact that he greatly resents his father for leaving his mother and him for another woman and that he thinks he will never “measure up” to the success of his father. This mostly results in Nicholas not attending school, and in a severe and dangerous depression. This movie also stars Anthony Hopkins who plays Peter’s cruel father in only one scene, that is very well acted.

The huge hole in this script is when Nicholas tells his father that he found his gun in the laundry room – and despite this news, Peter does nothing to REMOVE the gun entirely from the house. Nobody would do something this stupid, considering the extreme circumstances. This is why screenwriting is the most challenging art form, for reasons like this one, because you cannot make a mistake like this. Screenwriting is also challenging for the time when the critics trash your movie, despite months and years of hard work.

What I find the most profound about the critics is that they give a well-acted and conceived story like this a 27% rating and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is in the 95% range. This is despite the hot-dog-finger-dancing, rubber-penis-fighting and dancing-plastic-forehead-eyes-head-ware. To say nothing of the giant bagel time portal. Can anything make sense in the movie industry again, after what happened in 2022? Just plain insane.

Due to the acting and extremely important story involved in The Son, I give it a solid 85% rating and a strong recommendation, despite that huge mistake in the story. This time around, the critics are very wrong.