In our world, currency of any kind is a necessity. Without it, we cannot provide for ourselves and our families. But it also has the power to corrupt.
In the 2016 film, Money Monster, Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the host of a financial television program. The set is hijacked by Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), an irate investor. Lee and his producer, Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), have a limited amount of time to unravel a conspiracy in front of millions of viewers before it is too late.
Directed by Jodie Foster, this film is fantastic. Roberts and Clooney, as usual, have fantastic chemistry. There is an unspoken knowledge of each other that makes their characters click perfectly as host and producer. Though O’Connell may seem like the typical unhinged antagonist, the motives behind his actions, unfortunately, make sense.
Ridley Road: This PBS/Masterpiece program is based on the book of the same name by Jo Bloom. It tells the story of a young woman of Jewish descent in the 1960s who goes undercover to stop a Neo-Nazi group from destroying the UK.
A recent college graduate, Lily is on vacation to Bali with her bestie Wren (Billie Lourd) before the real world comes calling. When she meets Gede (Maxime Bouttier), their relationship goes from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. When Lily tells her parents that she is engaged, David and Georgia book a flight to the island. Their goal is to prevent their daughter from making the same mistake they did. The pilot behind the controls is Paul (Lucas Bravo), Georgia’s boyfriend.
This is a proper rom-com. Clooney and Roberts have a chemistry that is both undeniable and off the charts. I truly believed that their characters were once in love and are now in hate with one another. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but there were plenty of chuckles along the way.
Given what is going on in the world right now, I needed a break from reality. Ticket to Paradise is everything I could have asked for in that break.
Martha becomes an unlikely hero for democracy as she realizes that her husband is in on the scheme and does everything she can (in her own way of course), to save the nation and her man.
What I am enjoying so far is that the spotlight is not on the usual suspects (i.e men), but on the women whose heroic acts are either ignored or downsized. I also like that Martha is unwilling to stay silent in the face of truth, even if it means opening the door to trouble. The acting is fantastic, the storytelling (so far at least) is easily watchable, and the politics is a reminder that even though it’s been 50-ish years, nothing has changed.
When we pictures our wedding day, we picture a happily married couple, ready to spend their lives together. The image that does not come to mind is the bride leaving her groom at the altar.
In the 1999 film, Runaway Bride, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is engaged for the 4th time. Having dumped her previous fiancés on the day they were supposed to say “I do”, she is now engaged to local high school coach Bob Kelly (Chris Meloni). Ike Graham (Richard Gere) is a reporter from New York who has heard about this supposed “runaway bride” from a colleague. Smelling a potential story, Ike decides to visit the small town in Maryland that Maggie calls home.
Using charm and writers intuition, Ike is able to get the scoop on his latest subject before she can convince her friends and family to keep their mouths shut. Along the way, Ike falls for Maggie and she begins to develop feelings for him. The impending question is, will she go through with the wedding and if she does not, how does Ike play a role in her 4th avoidance of the big day?
As romantic comedies go, this movie is pretty standard. But what makes it stand out is the re-pairing of Gere and Roberts. Almost a decade after Pretty Woman was released, it is their chemistry and on screen compatibility that slightly elevates it above others in the genre.
I normally consider myself to be an easy-going person. Most things just roll off my back.
But two headlines from last week didn’t roll off my back. They sat with me and bothered me.
WTF News Item #1
In the early 1990s, when the script for the film Harriet was first being shopped around to different studios, one hair-brained executive suggested that Julia Roberts play the lead role.
This person’s reasoning was as follows:
“It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.”
In a word: no. Don’t get me wrong, Julia Roberts is a fine actress. But that casting, had it become a reality, would have been completely inappropriate.
WTFNews Item #2
Companies are bought and sold all of the time. Unless one is in that particular industry, it is just another line of business news. Last week, Kylie Jenner (who is a member of a certain family who shall not be named on this blog) earned $600 million dollars when she sold half of the controlling stake in her cosmetics company to another Coty Inc.
This girl earned more money in a single day than most of us can only dream of earning over our lifetimes. She doesn’t have to get out of bed if she does not want to. Her daughter and any future children will be able to afford any college they want to attend. Student loans will be a foreign concept to them.
I am sure that she did not just snap her fingers and get her company to the point of which half of the controlling stakes are sold for millions of dollars. Like anything that is worth having, it probably took time and effort. But she also has the family name to back her up.
What bothers me is that that amount of money could do a whole lot of good in this world. There are so many people who could benefit from even a 1/10th of the profits of that sale. And yet, those who need the help most may never receive it.
No wonder there is a huge difference between the 1% and the rest of us.
That ends this post of WTF Moments. Have a lovely evening.
Heroes do not always wear capes or masks. They are sometimes ordinary people who see an injustice and take up the fight for those who cannot.
In 1993, Erin Brockovich was just a single mother trying to do her best to get by and care for her kids. Hired by lawyer Edward L Masry to work as a legal assistant in his firm, she discovered that the water in Hinkley, California was contaminated. Advising her boss to take the case, they would expose the reason for the contamination and the reason why area residents were getting sick.
In 2000, a film with Julia Roberts in the starring role, told Erin’s story. At the beginning of the film, Erin is an unemployed single mother who is desperate for a job. Then her luck changes when after being hit by a car, when she convinces her lawyer Edward L Masry (Albert Finney) to allow her to work off what would have been her bill. She starts off as a woman who is barely hanging by the skin of her teeth and ends up taking down a billion dollar corporation.
Julia Roberts deserved the Oscar for this role. Erin is an every woman. She is a mother trying to survive. She is trying to find a job to feed her kids. Most importantly, she becomes a hero who proves once more that David can take down Goliath.
Being a mother is the hardest job in the world. It is a job that lasts a lifetime. The title of Mom is not a 9-5 job. But it is the most rewarding title a woman can have, if she chooses it.
In 1998’s Stepmom, Jackie Harrison (Susan Sarandon) has been diagnosed with potentially life threatening cancer. Her ex-husband, Luke (Ed Harris) has settled down with Isabel Kelly (Julia Roberts). Jackie, a stay at home mother, is trying to acclimate her children to their father’s new girlfriend. Isabel tries to balance her successful career as a photographer with her new responsibilities as a stepmother. Can Isabel and Jackie see eye to eye and come to terms with the life, the man and the children that they will be sharing?
I haven’t seen this movie in a long time, but it is a proper, heartbreaking drama. With an excellent cast and a realistic and potent story, this movie makes me grateful for my own mother and the sacrifices she made.
In the Kids Are All Right (2010), Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together for a long time. Their children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) were both conceived via artificial insemination. Nic, the doctor, likes control and order while Jules, who is starting a landscaping business is less into control and order.
Enter Paul (Mark Ruffalo), Joni and Laser’s biological father and sperm donor. With the chaos that Paul brings to their lives, what will happen when the dust settles? Will Paul be a permanent fixture in their lives or will he continue to be just the sperm donor?
I happen to like this movie very much. Not just that it disproves that LGBTQ couples are incapable of raising responsible, capable children, but also that their relationships are no different than their straight counterparts. It is also proves that families come in all different forms and life no matter your gender or sexual preference is never simple.
Sometimes we need to get away from it all. The job, the family, the constant stress that life brings.
Elizabeth Gilbert did just that. In her 2007 book, Eat, Pray, Love, Ms. Gilbert got away from it all. Traveling to (and eating through) India, Italy and Indonesia, she used her time away from every day life to find the balance she was looking for.
In 2007, the book was made into a movie with Julia Roberts in the lead role. Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) thinks she has everything a modern woman is supposed to have. She has a thriving career, a loving spouse and a comfortable home. But all is not what it seems to be. When her marriage ends, Liz is unsure on what to do next. Taking a chance, she leaves her life behind to find the peace and and sense of self that she thought she had.
Were the critics wrong? To be fair, I never read the book, so I can only go by the movie. Unfortunately, the critics were not wrong. While the scenery was gorgeous and the food looked mouthwatering, the movie was not what it could have been. The message of letting go and allowing yourself to not be weighed down by life was lost somewhere in between the book and the movie. Every performer has a movie or two that despite the best effort and intentions of all involved, it is just plain bad. This movie is in this category.
Peter Pan is now Peter Banning (Robin Williams), married to Wendy’s (Dame Maggie Smith) granddaughter, Moira (Caroline Goodall). When Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps Peter’s kids, Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) has to find Peter and bring back the boy she knew. But the Peter she finds is not the Peter she remembers. He has more in common with his arch enemy than the boy she knew.
I love this movie, it’s such an integral part of my childhood. What I still love about this movie more than twenty years later is that it’s about being an adult, but still remembering the child you were.