Coming out of the closet is never easy. It’s even harder when someone else outs you publicly.
In the 1997 film, In And Out, Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) has just had his world turned upside down. His former student, Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon) has just won an Oscar and publicly outs Howard during his acceptance speech. Howard is engaged to Emily Montgomery (Joan Cusack) who has finally gotten past her self-esteem issues. That is until Cameron’s speech. When the press descends on Howard’s small town in Indiana, Howard must ask himself some rather tough questions.
I think what makes this movie stand out is that it deals with a difficult subject in a broad comedic sense. The chaos that ensues after Cameron’s acceptance speech is funny, but it also forces the characters and the audience to ask some very tough and delicate questions. Looking back on the 20 years since the movie’s release, it’s small, but significant breakthrough to the mainstream audience about the LGBTQ community is never the less important.
I recommend it.
Sometimes, in life, you have to follow your dream. Even if following your dream means leaving the ones that you love.
In Ricki and the Flash, Ricki Randazzo aka Linda Brummel (Meryl Streep), gave her up middle class, middle American suburban life decades ago to live the rock and roll life style in Los Angeles. Her ex-husband, Pete (Kevin Kline) remarried and his second wife, Maureen (Audra McDonald), basically took over the mother-void left by Ricki. Then Julie (Mamie Gummer, Streep’s real life daughter), Pete and Ricki’s daughter has an emotional breakdown after her husband leaves her. Returning to the life she left nearly 30 years ago, Ricki/Linda has to face her past and the choices she made.
Some of the reviews that I read tried to put a positive spin on the film, but in reality, other than praising Streep’s performance (as they tend to do, because she is Meryl Streep), they were not kind. I disagree with those reviews. I found this film to be enjoyable, funny and very entertaining. Streep has once again proved why she has the stature as an actress, disappearing into the skin of a woman who made the tough choice to live the dream and leave the typical suburban life that was expected of her.
For a woman who only sings when the part requires, she has a great voice. Her playing felt very authentic. But what struck me as the overarching theme of the film is forgiveness and second chances. We can never predict how the choices we make will affect our lives and the ones who love us. But we can hope that we can be forgiven for our mistakes and have the opportunity for a second chance.
I absolutely recommend it.
Ricki And The Flash is playing in theaters.
In the 1990’s, Will Smith could do no wrong as actor. Independence Day, Bad Boys and and Men In Black were all hits at the box office.
Then Wild Wild West (1999) was released. The results were not the same as it’s predecessors.
Jim West (Will Smith) is a Civil War hero who is the brawn to Artemus Gordon’s (Kevin Kline)’s brains. Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) is a former Confederate soldier who is eager to reclaim the glory that the South lost when the North won the war. President Ulysses S Grant (also Kevin Kline) teams up Jim and Artemus to stop Dr. Loveless. Aided by Rita Escobar (Salma Hayek), Jim and Artemus are on a journey to prevent Dr. Loveless from succeeding, but it won’t be easy.
Combining the genres of action, the old west, comedy, history and a little science fiction, this movie tries to entertain the audience. Were the critics wrong? No. But at least the theme song wasn’t all that bad.