The Fabelmans Movie Review

It is always fascinating (at least from my perspective) to learn how and why an artist got started.

The new film, The Fabelmans, is the semi-autobiographical story of Steven Spielberg‘s early years. Co-written by Tony Kushner ( who also co-wrote West Side Story), the tale starts in 1952 in New Jersey. Sammy Fabelman (Mateo Zoryan) is going to the movies with his parents Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and Burt (Paul Dano).

The Greatest Show on Earth will change Sammy’s life. As the movie shifts in time, an older Sammy (Gabrielle LaBelle) wants to make a career as a filmmaker. While his artist mother encourages him, his scientist father would prefer that his son take another path in life. When his Uncle Boris (Judd Hirsh) comes for a short visit, he also supports Sammy’s dream.

Life becomes more complicated by two moves: the first to Arizona and the second to Northern California. By the time the family settles in California, Sammy is dealing with more complications: the end of his parent’s marriage and the blunt antisemitism he is experiencing in school. Mitzi and his father’s best friend Benny (Seth Rogen) have become more than friends, adding additional pressure to everything that Sammy is going through.

Michelle Williams is going to get at the very least, an Oscar nomination for her role. I felt for her, as both a woman and an artist. As much as she loved her husband and her children, it is obvious that she had a gift for music.

Clocking in at 2 hours and 30 minutes, it goes pretty fast. But even with that pace, some scenes could have been left on the cutting room floor. That being said, it is a love letter to movies and the families we love, foibles and all.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Fabelmans is presently in theaters.

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My Octopus Teacher Review

Nature has a lot to teach us. But we must be willing to listen.

My Octopus Teacher premiered last year on Netflix. This nature documentary follows Craig Foster, a documentary filmmaker from South Africa as he spends a year bonding with an octopus. Recovering from a depressed state, he takes to the water, looking for a reason to feel good about himself. This comes in the form of his eight legged friend. In the year that they spend together, she teaches him about life, the importance of saving the natural world, and appreciating what he has.

This movie would not be my first choice to watch. It is certainly interesting and is educational without the viewer realizing it. I can see its value and why it won the Oscar for Best Documentary. But ultimately, it is meant for a niche audience who can truly appreciate what this film has to offer.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

My Octopus Teacher is available for streaming on Netflix.

Never Give Up

There are very few of us for whom life is given to us on a silver platter. Most of us have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to reach whatever goal we are working toward.

Last weekend, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in The Revenant. It was his 6th nomination and his first win.

It’s easy to become disappointed when things go wrong or the path we think was the right one turns out to be the wrong one.

But we have to keep going. There is an old saying about when we give up our dream, that is the moment that it becomes reality.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s first Oscar nomination was in 1994 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. 22 years later, he finally walked up to the stage to accept the golden statue.

He didn’t give up and neither should we.

Dear Hollywood

Dear Hollywood

You gave the public many movies in 2014. Some we wonderful, some were merely decent and others were downright horrible.

Earlier this week, the 2015 Oscar nominations earlier this week.

Among the nominees, there is not one person of color, nor has a woman been nominated for best director.

While I recognize that there were many nominees to choose from, the list feels like it is 1965 and not 2015.

While the rest of the country reflects the diversity of the United States, Hollywood has not quite caught up with reality.

It’s time to do so.

Sincerely, a member of the movie going audience.

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