Movies and more movies

Since I have emerged from quarantine and am more than fine post-COVID infection, I wanted to share that I have been watching a number of movies. A large number. While the vaccines and booster kept the COVID wolves at bay, I still wanted to keep in “my hole” as I called it, until time passed and my wife and other son got their boosters.

So, between reading, puzzles and exercise, I watched a lot of movies. Here are a few that I found of interest. I will tell you some of these got low scores on Rotten Tomatoes, but were still a nice investment of time. I only turned away from a couple that I will not mention. If I watched again with my wife, I will note her reaction as well.

Since the number is large, I will just mention the movies with a brief blurb. In no particular order:

  • Queen of the Morning Calm (2019) – I had to watch this one because of the cool title. Tina Jung stars as a sex worker with a nine-year old daughter trying to make a better life for her family, in spite of an unreliable boyfriend. I did not recognize any of the cast, but my wife and I both enjoyed it.
  • The Last Right (2019) – Starring Michiel Huisman, Niamh Algar and Samuel Bottomley, the movie is about three people on a quest to take a man’s deceased body across Ireland to be buried with his brother who had died the week before. The interaction between the three and the underlying context makes this an enjoyable film we both liked. “Right” is spelled that way for a reason – doing something right.
  • Feast of Love (2007) – Starring a large cast with Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Jane Alexander, Rahda Mitchell, Billy Burke, Alexa Davalos, Toby Hemingway et al, this movie takes us through a range of emotions of love gained and lost. If watching with minors, beware of some surprising erotic scenes for such a known cast. Yet, the movie is good and we both enjoyed it.
  • Reindeer Games (2000) – Starring Ben Afleck, Charlize Theron, and Gary Sinise, the movie is about a group of truckers taking advantage of a released prisoner who had become a romantic pen pal with Theron’s character. The goal was to use his knowledge to rob a casino on Christmas Eve. It had a little more violence than my wife liked, but the story was interesting.
  • Downeast (2021) – Starring Greg Finley and Dylan Silver with a largely unknown cast, the story takes place in a harbor town on the coast of Maine. Finley and Silver are former lovers and she has returned to town to find out what happened to her deceased brother, Finley’s friend. The story is good, but the violence is prevalent, so my wife would only watch this one as we have relatives up there.
  • Defining Moments (2021) – this is a less acclaimed movie, but is still charming as Burt Reynolds leads an ensemble cast in his final movie. It also stars Sienna Guillory, Tammy Blanchard, Eric Peterson (who steals the film), Shawn Roberts, Kelly Van der Burg, Polly Shannon, Lara Jean Chorastecki, Christian McKenna, Graham Greene, et al. Reynolds’ character is dying which is why the added poignancy, but the movie involves the others’ stories as much as Reynolds’ character. Have some tissue handy.
  • The Station Agent (2003) – if you are in for quirky and poignant, this movie is for you. Peter Dinklage stars in this well before “Game of Thrones,” as a man who inherited a vacant train station manager’s house from his friend. It also stars Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, and Michelle Williams. The movie is about an unexpected friendship between Dinklage, Clarkson and Cannavale after Dinklage moves in. Dinklage does an excellent job at revealing why a person of small stature is untrusting of people and the difficulty for sincere friends trying to break through that protective shell. Cannavale’s character offers this genuine innocence as he will not stop trying to be Dinklage’s friend. We both liked it, but thought it was a little bizarre.

I was planning on including “Paper Moon” and “The Last Picture Show,” but mentioned them last week after Peter Bogdanovich’s death. Both of these movies received acclaim and are worth the watch. Another couple of more violent movies that are good are “Safe House” with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds and “Crisis” with Armie Hammer, Gary Odman, Evangeline Lilly and Greg Kinnear.

Tell me if you have seen these or about any other movies that caught your fancy.

The Last Movie Star

Burt Reynolds starred in a movie late in his life called “The Last Movie Star” which is surprisingly poignant. Reynolds plays Vic Edwards, an aging movie star, who accepts a lifetime achievement award from a movie lover’s group in Nashville. But, he comes to the conclusion the first night, the group waa over-advertised and beneath his dignity. So, you won’t start out liking this man.

But, stay with it. Not trying to give away too much plot, he asks Lil, the sister of the group’s leader who serves as his driver, to detour from driving him to the airport and go to Knoxville, where we find out he is from. Suffice it to say, we learn a lot about him on this journey.

The movie uses actual footage of Reynolds earlier movies. He talks with his younger screen self as a means of sharing what is going on in his aging confusion and reflections on past decisions.

The movie was directed by Adam Rifkin and stars a largely young cast – Ariel Winter as Lil, Clark Duke as Doug, and Ellar Coltrane ss Shane. Chevy Chase plays his friend Sonny and Kathleen Nolan plays Claudia, his first wife.

If you have seen this movie, let me know what you think. If you have not seen it, avoid the temptation to give up on him. Also let me know what you think, once you have. The movie was rated as OK by the rating agencies, but 93% of Google users liked it.

Note, the movie was made in 2017 and released in early, 2018. Reynolds died in September, 2018.