One of the great challenges of life (at least from my experience) was getting that first job after graduating college. The second greatest challenge is finding a new job after getting fired and having to start over in a new position.
In the 2016 film, Get a Job, Will (Miles Teller) and Jillian (Anna Kendrick) are brand-new college graduates. While trying to maintain their relationship, they are navigating the working world for the first time and dealing with its pitfalls. While this is happening, Will’s middle-aged father Roger (Bryan Cranston) has recently lost his own job. Due to his age and years of experience, his search for new employment is just as difficult.
Though the reviewers disliked the film, I did. It speaks to (at least in my mind), the drive that it requires to get a job in an environment that is not kind to those who are not employed and are seeking a new position.
The workplace, in its various forms, is red meat for writers. There is so much material to work with that it is too tempting to not look away.
In the 2009 film, Up in the Air, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), spends more time traveling than at home. As a downsizing expert, his job is to help corporations reduce their staff. On the cusp of earning ten million frequent flyer miles, his world is shaken up by two women.
The first is Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). She is essentially the female version of himself. Though he is an avowed bachelor whose entire life is his job, Alex makes him question his decisions. The other is Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick). She is young, ambitious, and has ideas that threaten to shake up his professional normal.
Released at the height of the great recession, the overall narrative reflected a cynicism about the corporate world and the truth of white-collar jobs. We are expendable and replaceable (despite the promises of a family-like atmosphere coming from some managers and higher-ups).
What I liked was that both Alex and Natalie are given equal weight to Ryan in the narrative. However, there is a scene in which Alex is momentarily reduced to a sex object and Ryan is not.
Other than that, it is enjoyable and entertaining.
It used to be that adults in middle age experienced a mid-life crisis. The new crisis experienced by the younger generation is called the Quarter-life crisis.
This is the basic premise for Pitch Perfect 3. It’s been three years since the audience has seen the Barden Bellas. Adulting has not come easy for them, to say the least. The Bella’s unofficial leader, Beca (Anna Kendrick) is working for a record label, but it seems that the career she imagined in college does not fit her reality. At a Bella’s reunion, Audrey (Anna Camp) informs the girls that she can get them onto a USO tour. When the girls arrive at their first stop, they discover that the tour is actually a competition. The winner of the competition will be the opening act for DJ Khaled. Not only are the Bellas going against acts who use instruments, there is also a little issue with Fat Amy’s (Rebel Wilson) previously unknown father, played by John Lithgow.
Can the Barden Bellas win the competition or are they stuck in the past?
Directed by Trish Sie, in terms of the narrative, it is the weakest of the films in the franchise. However, there is an undercurrent of girl power and diversity that helps to make up for the parts of the narrative that needs work. The overall message of the film, which I truly appreciate is that family, whether by blood or emotional connection is forever and it is ok to move on with our lives, if we have the courage to.
There are two typical reactions to a sequel: the first is utter horror. The pleasure of the first movie is stripped away and replaced with questions about why you even bothered seeing the sequel.
The second reaction is utter joy. You loved the first movie and the joy is compounded by the second movie. Thankfully, Pitch Perfect 2 is not the horror it could have been.
At the start of the film, the Barden Bellas are on top of their game. They are performing for the President when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. The reputation of the Bellas is down the tubes. To save their reputations, the Bellas agree to what seems to be an impossible obstacle: win an international competition where they will competing with acapella groups around the world. But no American team has ever won.
The leader of the Bellas, Beca (Anna Kendrick) is not only dealing with the upcoming competition, but she is starting an internship at a record company. Added to the plot are two subplots: the newest Bella, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), whose mother, Katherine (Katey Sagal) was part of the Barden Bellas in the 1980’s. There is also a will they or won’t they relationship between Fat Amy and Bumper (Adam DeVine).
This movie is aca-awesome. It could have been the typical sequel, but it wasn’t. It still contains the same humor (some of which is not exactly politically correct) and the music is completely catchy.