Throwback Thursday: Little Fockers (2010)

When we go, we want to know that our legacies and our families are settled for the future. But there can be a point in which this desire overwhelms our relationships and makes us forget what is important.

The 2010 film, Little Fockers, is the third movie in the Meet the Parents trilogy. After the chaos of Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004), Greg and Pam Focker (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) have settled down into a happy life as spouses and parents. All is right with Pam’s father Jack (Robert De Niro). Before the entire family comes into town to celebrate the birthday of Greg and Pam’s twins, Jack finds out that Greg has a side gig working for a pharmaceutical company due to finance issues. Once more, Greg has to prove himself to his father-in-law that not only is he worthy, but will be able to lead the family one day.

A final movie in a film trilogy or series is supposed to once and for all, tie up the loose ends while maintaining the magic that brought audiences into the theaters. Unlike Return of the Jedi or Avengers: Endgame, which were both able to keep the narrative going and fans engaged, Little Fockers falls flat on its face. The jokes that elicited laughs in the first two movies are empty shells of what they once were. While the chemistry still exists between the actors, the honest truth is that this film illustrates once more why sequels have a bad name.

Do I recommend it? Not really.


Throwback Thursday: Meet the Fockers (2004)

Meeting one’s potential or future in-laws can be a harrowing experience. You want to be yourself, but you also want to prove that you are the right person for their child.

The 2004 film, Meet the Fockers is the sequel to Meet the Parents (2000). Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) are engaged. Now that they have cleared the hurdle of her parents, Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina (Blythe Danner), the next step is his parents. Compared to the straight laced, middle of the road Byrnes, Bernie and Rozalin Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) are very out there. Can these two very different set of parents find a middle ground and ensure that their children become Mr. and Mrs.?

Like it’s predecessor, this film is a satire. The comedy comes from the fact that the Fockers are a complete 180 from the Byrnes. My problem is that while it is funny, it relies a little too heavily on Jewish stereotypes when it comes to Hoffman’s and Streisand’s characters. While the cast is top notch, the script does not match the on-screen talent.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Joker Movie Review

Creating a villain for the sake of opposing the hero or heroine is easy. It’s harder to create a three dimensional character who is still a villain, but is just as human as the hero or heroine.

The new movie, Joker, is a standalone/maybe prequel in the world of Batman. Set somewhere in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, Arthur Fleck/Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) lives in a Gotham City plagued by crime and poverty. Arthur earns his living as a clown for hire, though his professional goal is to be a stand up comedian.

He lives with his mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Controy) in a beaten down apartment. He dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), a Johnny Carson like late night talk show host. He also suffers from mental illness and has daydreams of dating his neighbor, Sophie (Zazie Beetz).

Over the course of the film, Arthur slowly transforms into the villain that we know of as the Joker.

I admire that director Todd Phillips and his co-screenwriter Scott Silver tried to tackle the very complicated ideas of mental health and economic disparity. However, I found the violence to be a little much for my taste. The film was also a little on the long side.

Since the release of the film last weekend, there have been some concern that the portrayal of Arthur’s mental illness might be a trigger for those who suffer in real life. While I can completely understand that concern, I am also concerned that some in the audience might come out of the theater with the general idea that everyone who suffers from mental illness has violent or criminal tendencies.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Thoughts On De Niro’s “F*ck Trump” Remark On The Tony Awards

As an FYI, the clip below is not bleeped out. This is your profanity warning.

Anyone with half a brain in America these days is more than aware of the deep political divisions that could potentially pull this country apart.

Last weekend, while presenting at the 2018 Tony Awards, Robert De Niro stated the following:

“F*ck Trump”

The audience loudly cheered and clapped in agreement.

De Niro is known for not liking Donald Trump and using his status to air his views publicly. Which is his right.

As much I agree with him, I believe his statement to be out-of-place and sending the wrong message. The Tony Awards, like any awards ceremony, is not a political rally. It is held to honor those who work in that particular profession.

In order to reunite this country politically, we need to prove to those who are for Trump that he is bad for the country. Alienating those who support Trump by continuing to back their claim that Hollywood and the coastal elites are not in touch with the real America does not help.

It’s akin to finding out that a friend’s significant other is cheating on them. When you tell this friend that their significant other is two timing them, this friend does not believe you and gets engaged to said significant other.

We need political unity in this country, not divisiveness. Unfortunately, De Niro’s comment only hurts, not helps this need to bring Americans together politically.

The 2016 Election, The Trump Tapes And Perhaps, Finally A Change For The Better

In light of the leaking of the tapes this weekend, perhaps a change for the better is on the horizon.

The language in the video is not new. Women have been viewed as mindless, brainless, soul less sexual objects since the beginning of time. The Republican Party (especially the male politicians) in recent years has not been shy about their repellent and antiquated views on women-centric topics (i.e. abortion, rape and sexual assault).

Only time will tell who takes the oath of office next year. I can only hope that the leak of the Trump tapes will open the door to an honest discussion of very difficult topics and the steps we need to take to ensure that these conversations are no longer needed.

I’m still with her and you should be too.

Throwback Thursday- Robert De Niro Double Feature- A Bronx Tale (1993) & Meet The Parents (2000)

Every generation has it’s iconic actors. They are the actors that audiences clamor to see on screen and the actors that young performers look to for inspiration.

Robert De Niro is one of those actors.

Known for playing gangsters, he played against type in 1993’s A Bronx Tale.

Lorenzo (Robert De Niro) is a bus driver in Bronx in the 1960’s. When his son, Calogero (Lillo Brancato), becomes friendly with a local gangster, Sonny (Chazz Palminteri), Lorenzo is concerned that his son is becoming too enamored of that life. While Calogero is spending his free time with Sonny, he is also falling for Jane (Taral Hicks), a young African-American woman.

Being a teenager is never easy, no matter what time period you are living in. Being a teenager means attempting to forge your own identity, even if that means disappointing the ones you love most.

In 2000, De Niro, once again played against type in Meet The Parents. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is getting ready to propose to his girlfriend, Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo). But before he can pop the question, Greg learns that he must get approval from Pam’s over-protective, ex CIA father, Jack ( Robert De Niro). Attending the wedding of Pam’s sister, Greg does everything to impress his potential in laws. The problem is that everything that could go wrong, does.

While some audience members might be disturbed by the inter religious relationship between Pam and Greg and the almost cartoonish attempts by Greg to win over his girlfriend’s family, I find this movie to be very funny. Meeting the parents/family of your significant other is always nerve wracking. While the hijinks in this movie are over the top, the emotions and the nerves are real.

I recommend both.

Throwback Thursday-Movies Celebrating Their Silver Anniversaries- Pretty Woman (1990), Goodfellas (1990) And Problem Child (1990)

For a movie to be remembered and talked about 25 years after it’s initial release, it has to be something special. While there are some movies from 1990 that are barely worthy of one viewing, Pretty Woman, Goodfellas and Problem Child are worthy of multiple viewings, especially 25 years later.

In Pretty Woman, Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) is a business man who is in Los Angeles for a week on business. Desiring company for the week, he hires a prostitute, Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) to join him for the week.  What starts out as a business transaction becomes something much more.

In terms of rom-coms, this movie ranks as one of the best. While the formula is simple, the story is just enough to keep the viewer engaged to the very end.

Goodfellas is the gold standard of gangster movies. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a small time gangster. When he teams up with James Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), their goals become much bigger.  As James and Tommy begin to climb up the mob hierarchy, Henry begins to feel resentful. To bring his partners down, how far will he go?

While I am not normally a fan of the gangster movies, this movie is an interesting tale of how far we will go to achieve our goals, even it means betraying our closest allies.

Junior (Michael Oliver), in Problem Child, is well, a problem child. He has been adopted and returned to the orphanage several times. The nuns who run the orphanage know all too well what Junior is capable of. Ben (the late John Ritter) and Flo (Amy Yasbeck) are unable to have children the old fashioned way and turn to adoption. They hope to adopt a sweet, loving child. Instead they get Junior.

I remember thinking, that as a kid, this movie was incredibly funny.  While it does not stand the test of time as other movies from the early 1990’s do, I still have fond memories of this film.

I recommend all three.

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