Movie Review: Father Stu

In the world of producers and movie making, its all about buying that hot story before anyone else does, so down the road, if your lucky it might be made into a movie. True stories are always the best when it comes to movies, especially if the story is great and the film is made with quality. The surprising thing about “Father Stu” is that the story, which is good, does not seem strong enough to make a movie about. “A former boxer, down and out on his luck, tries to be an actor in Hollywood, and then a butcher in a Super Market, finds the right woman, only to get into a major Motorcycle accident where he is almost killed. While in a coma he sees a vision and wants to become a priest – only to get a rare muscle disease that robs him of most bodily functions”.

Not to give anything else away, most of this story is engrossing, although boring in too many areas, making what could have been much better just an average movie. The acting is good throughout with Mark Wahlberg as Father Stu, and Mel Gibson (who seems to have survived as an actor) as his father. The most interesting aspect of this production is the extreme weight loss and weight gain Mark Wahlberg had to do within the timeline of this story, that has to be very dangerous to anyone’s health.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Father Stu are an understandable 41% with a much higher audience rating. My rating is a passable 65% with no recommendation to see this film.

Movie Review: Uncharted

The new movie “Uncharted” is one of those “Lets take some special effects ideas that tested well with other action movies, slap together a garbage script, throw Tom Holland (Spiderman) and Mark Wahlberg into the mix, make an exciting trailer involving people and large objects falling out of planes, and we have a good shot at turning a profit. The only problem with this kind of thinking is because there is no real story, its mostly a nightmare for the audience to sit through this.

This movie is nothing more than a stew of action scenes we have all seen in several Fast And Furious movies, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation and National Treasure movies. There are two keys that open doors that exist in different parts of the world, all culminating with finding gold inside two sunken pirate ships. The only good thing about this movie are some of the special effects at the end of the film, involving people, cars and huge objects falling out of planes. The final scenes involve huge helicopters that are carrying huge pirate ships – this must have been hard to shoot and cost a great deal of money. Its too bad that the film wasn’t 20 minutes long, just showing these last parts, because sitting through the first 80% of this mostly bad movie was at times unbearable.

I agree with the very low 38% ratings for Uncharted on Rotten Tomatoes and do not recommend this film.

Movie Review: Joe Bell

The new movie “Joe Bell” is the true story of a father who lost his gay son to suicide all because of high school bullying. To honor his son, Joe Bell decides to walk across the country by himself to raise awareness to the tragedy of bullying.

Bullying has been a problem in schools for many years, and due to social media and other reasons, this issue has gotten even worse over time resulting in extreme anguish, depression and suicide for too many children around the world. Bulling has always been considered a generic human reality, part of the ride of that comes around during childhood. But bullying also exists in adulthood, even during our working lives. In all cases, bulling can cause extreme psychological and physical damage to the victims, ultimately causing all of us to ask why it exists in the first place. What is it within certain people to temporarily feel good about themselves by making someone else feel horrible about themselves? What is the gain here? Do people who bully lack so much empathy, that they just cannot stop relentlessly torturing someone else? Bullying is also an issue not isolated to boys, girls can be just as bad or worse when it comes this tragic problem.

The story of Joe Bell is one of those true events where the movie rights are bought by someone with clout, in this case, Mark Wahlberg who stars as Joe Bell. This story is a very impressive one with a great message and a double tragedy. The problem with this film is there is not enough story to tell to make it an engrossing two hour movie. The screenwriters decided to tell this story backwards, beginning with Joe Bell on his cross country walk, next to his imaginary deceased son intermixed with flashbacks. Sometimes the flashback method of storytelling can work, and other times, it can make the story hard to follow. I thought this story would have been better told in chronological order.

What happens to Joe’s son Jadin, played by Reid Miller, is told well enough with much of the bulling depicted in this movie very hard to watch. Joe Bell gives speeches at high schools during his walk across country and I thought more of these speeches would have resulted in a better movie with less walking scenes and more emotional speeches, trying to educate young people about the damage they are causing too many young people with their cruelty. There are a few good scenes with Wahlberg and actor Gary Sinise who is a local Sheriff who also has a gay son.

Due to the great message and good acting in this movie, I was very surprised at the extremely low 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 5.2 on IMDB. My rating for this movie is about 70%, mainly because the true story and message are both so strong. I give a marginal recommendation to Joe Bell.