Movie Review: A Good Person

One of the most remarkable things about the great new drama “A Good Person” is those movies that are of this high quality, normally come out at the end of the year, due to Academy Award consideration.

A Good Person, both written and directed by Zach Braff – in a normal movie world – that we are clearly not living in – is good enough to win the Academy Award this year for best picture with best actress for Florence Pugh, Best Actor for Morgan Freeman and best supporting actress for Molly Shannon. This is one of the best screenplays, stories, and acting that I have seen in a long time.

A Good Person is mostly about one thing – the accepted dark part of life that can happen to anyone alive. With some exceptions, most adults have to drive. They have jobs, errands, appointments, obligations, and in most of this country, with the exception of major cities, getting from point a to point b requires taking the risk of getting in your car and then on a highway or some smaller road and expecting that there will be no mishap during your trip. However, how many people die on this country’s roads every year? You can be the best driver in the world, with the best reflexes and someone is drunk, or texting, or falling asleep – and your life, or the life of someone else can be over in an instant. This is the way it is, something that we all accept as part of life, part of our reality. The entire story of A Good Person is about one such car accident tragedy, where the driver just looked away for an instant to look at the GPS on her phone, and due to a giant tractor shovel that went into her lane, she swerved and two of the passengers in her car were killed. The horrible truth is that this kind of nightmarish tragedy happens every day in this country.

There are some people who have the type of brain where they can rationalize that because the accident was really not their fault, they can move on, and get back to their normal life. For most of the rest of us, the replaying of the accident and the guilt over being the driver of the car where two of your passengers died, might drive you insane, for the rest of your life. The only solution for too many of us is to escape from reality, to run away, to numb ourselves with alcohol and opioids so we feel nothing. This is the main part of the story of this very good movie.

The opioid crisis in this country has been going on for many years, mainly because of the greed of the companies who create the drugs like Purdue Pharmaceutical (the subject of the great Hulu Series Dopesick) reviewed in this blog. People who are injured and in pain eventually become addicted to drugs like OxyContin, long after their pain is gone because they can no longer live without the drug and face their lives without chemical help.

The low Rotten Tomatoes ratings of only 58% could just be the stupidest one yet. This movie is a solid 95%, with my highest recommendation.

Movie Reviews: John Wick: Chapter 4

The challenge for any franchise like the incredibly action-packed John Wick series is that they must top themselves for each new installment. Considering the fantastic action and special effects in the previous 3 movies(especially the last one), making installment #4 even more amazing had to seem close to impossible to pull off. Due to several new ideas (even including overhead action scenes inside of a building), this 4th movie does surpass the last one. As far as the story, that has never mattered for any of the John Wick movies. Like all of these films, you have to suspend any thought process or common sense because of what happens to John Wick this time around, he should have died about 100 times in this film. To list just some of the injuries Wick endures this time around:

Wick is hit by a car no less than 4 times. He falls from 4 to 5 balconies and lands on the ground or on a car, another 4 times. Wick is shot several times, especially at the end, during a final duel to the death. Wick falls down about 11 flights of stairs about 3 times and never breaks a bone. Wick is shot at probably 1000 times during these 2 hours and 49 minutes (this film does not seem nearly this long), but due to his suit, which is made of advanced body armor – the times he is shot to his body do not injure him. The problem is that the over-the-top dumb logic does not consider that Wick would have to be shot in the head at some point, killing him instantly, but this never happens despite him being vastly outnumbered in almost all the action scenes. Of course, we all realize that this is part of the insanity of this movie franchise, but I do not believe that many of the action scenes have to be this completely crazy. Most of the action should meet somewhere in the middle between crazy off the wall, and trying to follow at least some of the laws of physics and human physiology. There is also a master martial arts character in this movie who has incredible skills, even though he is blind. Another too-way-over the top example.

The main characters in this film return again for the 4th movie, played by Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, and Ian McShane. Unfortunately, only a few days before the opening of this film, Lance Reddick who has appeared in all 4 movies, tragically died at only 60 – due to “natural causes” and his true cause of death has never been revealed.

For moviegoers who hate gratuitous violence, even those fans would have to appreciate the amount of work, planning, and rehearsal it takes to pull off some of the amazing effects in this movie. The design and planning of some of these amazing stunts must not only look believable but also have to make sure that nobody gets hurt or killed. The recent Alec Baldwin tragedy is a recent example of someone who was killed while making a movie. For some of the stunts, especially those showing Wick getting hit by a car and then slammed into another car, and falling down so many stairs – it is hard to believe that even the most experienced top stuntmen in the industry could pull off action scenes this impressive.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for John Wick 4 are a very high 95% and due to the impressive action scenes, just about the best for all 4 movies, I agree with this rating and give this movie an equally high recommendation.

Movie Review: Moving On

The new movie “Moving on” is a well-told story about retribution – one of the many reasons why we all go to the movies. Everybody wants things to work out the right way, when the good guy wins, that so very often never happens in real life.

The story of Moving on starts with a funeral of a friend of Claire, played by Jane Fonda. Within a few minutes of this story, Claire tells her friend’s husband Howard, played by Malcolm McDowell, that now that her friend is gone, she is going to kill him. The reason for Claire’s extreme hatred is not skillfully revealed until very close to the end of this film. I did like the way this story was told in an unusual way, and not sequentially like so many other stories we have all seen before.

Claire’s friend is Evelyn, played by Lily Tomlin and the rest of this story is mostly about their different ideas about how best to do away with Howard, turning from a handgun, to poison, to of all things a flare gun. I thought the ending for this story was very well done with a nice trick surprise.

There are some side stories that both worked and did not work, but the acting was very good as well as the ongoing chemistry between close friends Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie are a too-low 66%, with my rating around 75 and a solid recommendation.