Tag Archives: Chris Cooper

IRRESISTIBLE (2020) – My Rating: 7.5/10

Irresistible is a political comedy written and directed by Jon Stewart. The film follows a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town.  Irresistible was released during the COVID-19 pandemic and cost a whopping $20 bucks to stream right into my family room.  Despite the inflated cost, I thought the movie was decent.

Irresistible opens with a successful Democratic campaigner, Gary Zimmer (Steve Corell) in despair due to the results of the 2016 election. One of Gary’s colleagues shows him a viral video of Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) reprimanding the mayor in a speech regarding the undocumented immigrant population who lives in his conservative hometown of Deerlaken, Wisconsin. Gary decides if he can run Hastings as the Democratic mayoral candidate in the next election, he can convince the American people in the heartland to vote democrat in the next presidential election. After arriving in Deerlaken, Gary soon meets Hastings and his daughter Diana Hastings (Mackenzie Davis) and pitches his idea. Hastings initially declines considering himself more of a conservative and having no real interest in politics, but later relents and agrees to run under the condition that Gary runs his campaign.

Despite the fact incumbent, Mayor Braun (Brent Sexton) is being funded by the Republican National Committee, Gary and Hastings must come up with new and innovative ideas to counter the endless money the RNC has to spend on the campaign. Gary has to depend on Democratic donations from elsewhere enabling him to upgrade their campaigning methods.

Irresistible turns out to be quite exciting and funny.  Of course in order not to spoil the movie, I will stop here except to say that there is so much more to Irresistible than you can figure out.  It’s not predictable and you will probably never see the end coming.  The film has many familiar comedians like Debra Messing and C.J. Wilson to liven up the plot.  I think this movie is a much needed comic relief in this time of tragedy and upheaval.  Irresistible was initially due to be released theatrically in May of 2020, however, the  COVID-19 pandemic happened, which caused Focus Features to release the film on video, on-demand, and in limited theaters, June 26, instead. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who called it “a soft political satire”. Irresitible is available via most cable carriers, Prime Video and Itunes.  DVD release is scheduled for September 1, 2020.  Check it out!

 

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (2019) – My rating: 8/10


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a drama directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, inspired by the 1998 article “Can You Say … Hero?” by Tom Junod, published in Esquire.
The movie focuses on the relationship between Fred Rogers and Tom Junod.  I’m so glad I decided to see this movie — it’s better than you think!

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood focuses on journalist, Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) whose life is anything but perfect. It’s 1998 and Lloyd is married to Andrea Vogel (Susan Kelchi-Watson), a public attorney and new mother. The two are struggling to maintain their marriage, mostly because of Lloyd’s cynical and pessimistic attitude. While he’s still employed by Esquire magazine, he’s on the verge of being let go of because he never has anything good to say about the people he’s written about. He’s given a new assignment and maybe his last, to interview and write about Fred Rogers of the acclaimed children’s show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The article has to be 400 words and categorized as a piece about heroes. Mr. Rogers was the only person who would allow Lloyd to interview him, which of course put Lloyd in his usual pessimistic state of mind.

You may believe Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was just a corny children’s show, but it taught some valuable lessons that were more than helpful to an impressionable child as well as an uninformed adult. Lloyd was estranged from his father who cheated on his mother before leaving her as she was dying of cancer. He also left his underaged children who went into foster care. When his father Jerry Vogel (Chris Cooper), showed up at Lloyd’s sister’s (Lorraine (Tammy Blanchard) wedding with the girlfriend he cheated on his wife with, (Dorothy (Wendy Makkeva) they get into a fistfight after an exchange of unpleasantries. Broken and angry, Lloyd travels to the WQED studio in Pittsburgh to interview Fred Rogers. Lloyd couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that Fred was legitimate. He told his wife Andrea, he had met the nicest man in the universe or the best con.

Upon meeting Fred, Lloyd discovered that Fred Rogers cared more about the interviewer than being interviewed. Fred worked with troubled children and their families to help them cope with depression, tragedy and death. He loved to take on dysfunctional families in order to teach them that there’s a better way to live. While many of the events in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood were true, like Fred’s friendship with Lloyd, whose real name is Tom Junod, whom Fred taught to appreciate himself and Mr. Roger’s use of puppets and his studio set up to attract a younger audience in order to make a better presentation.

I didn’t think I would enjoy A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood but I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t like the made-up parts of the story like the fact Tom Junod’s name was changed to Lloyd Vogel, I can’t figure why or the made-up wedding of Lloyd’s sister that never happened. The acting and the story were entertaining and since A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on a true story about Fred Roger’s and his relationship with Lloyd Vogel, I must say this film stayed focused on the prize. I highly recommend A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to all, which grossed $61 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $62.2 million, against a production budget of $25 million. The aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 95%, based on 277 reviews, with an average rating of 8.18/10. The website’s critical consensus reads: “Much like the beloved TV personality that inspired it, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood offers a powerfully affecting message about acceptance and understanding.” Lloyd’s 10,000-word article, titled “Can You Say … Hero?”, is published as Esquire’s cover story. Check It Out!

[A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hanks) — Totaling 1 Oscar nomination]

 

LITTLE WOMEN (2019) – My rating: 8/10

Little Women is a coming-of-age period drama written and directed by Greta Gerwig. It is the seventh film adaptation of the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott.  This is a good version of Little Women but not the best version I’ve seen.

It’s 1868, Little Women introduces Josephine “Jo” March (Saoirse Ronan) who is a teacher and a writer living in New York. She meets with an editor, Mr. Dashwood (Tracy Letts) and gets her story published subject to considerable editing. Jo’s sister Amy (Florence Pugh), is in Paris with their Aunt March (Meryl Streep). While in transit Amy runs into her very good childhood friend, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence (Timothée Chalamet) and invites him to a party.  They catch-up right there in the street while Aunt March awaits in their horse-drawn carriage.  Later at the party, Amy grows angry at Laurie’s drunken behavior. Meanwhile back in New York, Jo meets with Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrel), a professor who despite being infatuated with her, criticizes her work, which infuriates Jo. Shortly after, a letter arrives at the boarding house where Jo stays informing her that her younger sister Elizabeth “Beth”(Eliza Scanlen) has taken a turn for the worst, so Jo heads home to Massachusetts.

Flashing back to 1861 in Massachusetts, Jo and her older sister Meg (Emma Watson) go to a party where Jo first meets Laurie, the grandson of their neighbor Mr. Laurence (Chris Cooper). On Christmas morning, their mother Marmee (Laura Dern) persuades the girls to give their breakfast to their poverty-stricken neighbor, Mrs. Hummel (Sasha Frolova), who has five children, which includes an infant. Upon returning home, the girls see their table full of food, provided by Mr. Laurence. In addition, a letter from their father (Bob Odenkirk) who is fighting in the Civil War has been delivered.

So the above two paragraphs give you a window into the life of Little Women.  Remaking Little Woman has proven to be a smart move if you want to be represented for a movie award.  Little Woman has been remade more than any other film I can think of.  It is an excellent story of family, love adventure, drama and sadness about a near-perfect family.  Their ups and downs are pretty exciting yet pretty normal.  I didn’t love the flashing back and forward as it interrupted the flow of the story for me.  I actually liked the 1994 version of Little Women better, as it really made me feel like part of the family.  The acting was brilliant and the costume design was fabulous.  Despite some minor issues, I did like Little Women (2019) and highly recommend the film, it’s a nice change of pace.  In the meanwhile, Little Women has grossed $75,008,520 domestically and $108,522,277 worldwide.  It received critical acclaim and was chosen by both the American Film Institute and Time magazine as one of the top ten films of 2019. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, it received two nominations, including Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Ronan, and it was also nominated for five British Academy Film Awards, including Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Pugh), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

[LITTLE WOMEN is Oscar-nominated for BEST: Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress, Costume Design, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay —  TOTALING 6 OSCAR NOMINATIONS]