Movie Review: Book Club: The Next Chapter

The new movie “Book Club: The Next Chapter” is one of the few sequels of a below-average original movie ever released. The original “Book Club”, released in 2018, was mostly about the embarrassment of a group of older women over reading “50 Shades of Grey”, arguably the worst book in the history of publishing – to generate an enormous amount of money. This new version of Book Club starts as a book club meeting with all of the original cast members, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen for the first few minutes, and then the story mutates into a travelogue for a trip the 4 women make to Italy for the wedding of Jane Fonda’s character Vivian.

I remember thinking while watching this mostly boring and unnecessary film, that the real upside of this story is that for the millions of us who never have the desire or money to travel to Italy and see all of the major cities of Rome, Tuscany, and Venice – this is your opportunity to visit Italy without actually going there. Other than this positive point, this is not really a movie, but a series of vignettes and some attempts of humor that mostly do not work. The idea of the producers is to draw the audience from the original movie released in 2018 by calling this movie Book Club and then changing the story into a wedding in Italy and a series of mostly boring events.

Just about all of the male counterparts in this production are miscast, starting with Don Johnson, who plays Arthur about to marry Jane Fonda’s character. The problem is that Jane Fonda is 85 years old and Johnson is 73 and they have no chemistry, mainly because of the age difference. The same problem with Diane Keaton’s character Diane who is 76 and her boyfriend played by Andy Garcia is 66. Both of these relationships, central to the story, are not believable.

Odds are high that this new installment will be out of theaters in less than 3 weeks.

I agree with the low Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 49% and I do not recommend this film.

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.

Movie Review: 80 For Brady

In the history of organized team sports in this country, it is impossible to find any athlete who has had more good fortune, great coach, great owner, and downright stunning coaching gifts of 2 super bowl wins (against Seattle and Atlanta) than New England and Tom Brady. For the Seattle and Atlanta wins, New England should have lost both of those games, they won only because of the horrendous coaching of the opposing teams. Brady also won 3 Super Bowls by 3 points each and could have lost any of those games. Brady’s only outright dominant win in Super Bowl #55 was against Kansas City, where the Tampa Bay defense and offensive line injuries made the Kansas City offense impossible to run. Patrick Mahomes was running for his life in almost every play. In this history of the NFL, and 32 teams and many years, no other NFL team has 7 Super Bowl wins like Tom Brady has as a player.

The other day, after changing his mind last year, Tom Brady finally decided to retire from the NFL. One has to wonder about the timing and potential marketing involved for the new movie “80 For Brady”, which not only stars Tom Brady, but at the end of this film, has him talking about his retirement, and considering returning to the NFL yet again. None of this is a coincidence.

80 For Brady is a true story about women in their 80’s who are big fans of Tom Brady and one year (for the New England and Atlanta) super bowl, find a way to get extremely expensive Super Bowl tickets. The problem with this story is that there is not nearly enough story to create a movie about, and because of this, there is too much time to fill. The filling of all of this excess time through jokes, some pratfalls, and too many side stories, makes for a mostly boring movie. This film probably could have been much better but any screenwriter would be hard-pressed to come up with enough new ideas to fill these two hours.

80 For Brady stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno. Their performances and acting were more or less equal to the light concept of this film with the remarkable caveat of Jane Fonda looking more like she is 50 than 85 due to all of that makeup.

Unfortunately, the Rotten Tomatoes critics are right this time around, with a low 62% rating. This is not really a movie, but a travelogue for going to a Super Bowl.