Movie Review: You Hurt My Feelings

For the second time in the history of this blog, a movie being reviewed – in this case “You Hurt My Feelings” has reminded me of one of the best quotes I have ever seen from the CEO and self-made billionaire of the company Spanx, Sara Blakely:

In order to be your unique creative self, you will need to let go of caring what others think about you. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It takes self-awareness, self-reflection, determination, and lots of courage, Not caring what others think about you doesn’t mean you don’t care about them, it just means you don’t need their validation to be you. It’s been my life’s practice to work on this … I hope it becomes yours too.”

The point is, never let the opinions of others affect in any way, who you are and what you believe you can do. Never let what other people think or say affect your self-worth. This concept is entirely the premise of the new movie starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “You Hurt My Feelings”. Julia plays a novelist, Beth who has released one book and has been waiting to hear back from her publisher about her first work of fiction. Her husband Don, played by Tobias Menzies is a highly paid psychiatrist – who is having doubts about his own career.

As any husband would do, Don reads Beth’s book and has some glowing comments during the entire two years Beth wrote the book and is waiting for feedback from her publisher. Unfortunately, Beth overhears her husband’s real opinion about her new book in a retail store when she is standing behind her husband and his friend. This of course leads to a major conflict resulting in a key point in this story. This issue about a husband or wife critiquing the work of their spouse is a lose-lose situation. If you do not like the work of your spouse, then that will cause major problems in the relationship. If you lie and say you like their work, when you don’t, this can cause other problems. Either your lie will be uncovered or the spouse will realize that their partner is lying. This is a situation with no middle ground. There is no way of saying, “I kind of felt just OK about your book, or work”, because this would cause a whole set of new problems. The only way out of this complex issue is to either lie and never be discovered, or genuinely love the work of your spouse. The best line during these entire two hours is when Don says to Beth, “What do you think about your book? That is the only thing that matters”. This is the essence of  Sara Blakely’s quote above.

As far as this film, it is a highly cerebral, art-like movie, where the acting and the dialogue are the most important thing. There is nothing out of the ordinary, or attempt to be very different, and of course, there are no special effects.

Other characters in this story are the real-life husband and wife David Cross and Amber Tamblyn, who play Jonathan and Carolyn, angry clients of Don, who is having serious doubts about his ability to help people, especially after Jonathan and Carolyn ask for a 33 thousand dollar refund because they have made no progress in years. The problem with too many jobs in life is that the opinions of others, good or bad, are far too closely tied to making a living. This is why so many people venture out to start their own companies, so they can be in charge of their own destiny.

You Hurt My Feelings is a high-quality film with solid acting and a good story and an important message. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are too high 95%, with my rating around 85% and a strong recommendation.

Movie Review: About My Father

In August of last year, the movie “Easter Sunday” was released, about the family and especially the mother of Jo Koy, a very good standup comedian who uses stories about his mother as part of his act. The producer of this film was none other than Steven Speilberg. The problem with Easter Sunday is that Koy’s humor in his standup act did not translate to the screen. The screenplay was also bad and the entire story was about Koy handling high-stress conflicts in his life, ending with attempted humor with his controlling mother. This film was low-rated on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB.

The new movie “About My Father” is another attempt at taking a standup act, for Sebastian Maniscalco and translating it into a film. This attempt fails even worse than Easter Sunday, mainly because the screenplay is so bad. There is no noticeable story within these two hours, just a series of events, that try to be funny, and mostly all fail. The worse failed funny scene is when Sebastian, played by Maniscalco, is on a water jet and his bathing suit falls off, and none of this is funny and its only purpose was to add a shocking scene to the movie trailer.

What probably happened here is that producers were trying to capitalize on the popularity of Sebastian Maniscalco, then when the script (co-wrote by Maniscalco), was found to be not good enough they called in a favor from Robert De Niro, in the slim hope to rescue the box office. From my experience as an avid moviegoer, this strategy never works. This is because a bad movie is simply a bad movie and cannot be rescued by throwing someone respected and famous into the cast.

I was surprised about how bad this movie was. There was no flow or continuity, just a series of scenes. This film also stars Leslie Bibb as Ellie Sebastian’s girlfriend and Kim Cattrall and David Rasche as Ellie’s parents. I would have thought, given one of the writers is Maniscalco, that there would be something that works comedically in this film, but there is nothing funny in the entire two hours – always the cardinal sin of all comedy films.

In 1999 and 2002, Robert De Niro made two good comedy movies with Billy Crystal – “Analyse This”, and “Analyse That”. Unfortunately, most of the other comedy movies he has made since then, including the very bad “Dirty Grandpa” and this movie are failed attempts at comedy. Hopefully, De Niro will steer clear of comedies and continue with dramas. Not even the great actor Robert De Niro can have too many movies this bad on his resume.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating of a very low 29% is correct this time around, with my rating of 15% and a recommendation to not waste two hours with this mess of a surprisingly bad comedy movie.