So What Exactly Happens When A Highly Dysfunctional Family Spends 7 Days Together?

“This Is Where I Leave You”

We’ve all been there…The moment you find yourself in the middle of a family function and you think to yourself: “My god, we’re dysfunctional” (Oh wait, that’s just me?!). In case you’ve ever wondered what happens when a group of highly dysfunctional, yet incredibly loving (in their own right) members of one family get together, you’ve finally got a chance to find out. “This Is Where I Leave You”.

"This Is Where I Leave You" Movie Review

Release Date: Friday September 19th, 2014

Total Screen Time: 103  Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R

After the death of their father, the Altman siblings (Judd, played by Jason Bateman; Wendy, played by Tina Fey; Phillip, played by Adam Driver; and Paul, played by Corey Stall) are forced to come together for the first time in years.  At the behest of their overly-involved mother (played by none other than Jane Fonda), the foursome discover that they must set aside their personal problems and their differences to spend an entire week mourning the loss of their beloved Dad. Together.

“This Is Where I Leave You” attracts audiences with its cast of really great, incredible players like Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”), Rose Byrne (“Neighbors”), Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”, “Nashville”), Dax Shepard (“Parenthood”), Tina Fey (“30 Rock”, “SNL”), and Jane Fonda (“9 To 5”) but what moviegoers will ultimately love best is the hilarity that ensues when this family gets together.

Within the first five minutes or so of “This Is Where I Leave You”, audiences are introduced to some fairly deep and heavy material from infidelity to infertility but, somehow, the film never seems to feel depressing or gloomy. It becomes fairly obvious that the death of the Altman’s paterfamilias is really the least of their problems. It’s truly something special when a writer (and director) can create a film that covers such serious topics with such levity that it’s consistently funny throughout.

On the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from 1-10 where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the best again, I give “This Is Where I Leave You” a glowing 9.873487187 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “It feels so wrong to laugh this hard. But it’s right.”


The Unorthodox Review of “Endless Love”

Happy weekend, everyone! I hope you all had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day. I wanted to break away from my typical structure for the movie review of “Endless Love” which hit theaters yesterday. I hope you find it to be a refreshing change of pace for my reviews. I’m looking forward to connecting with you all with some personal posts this week as well as a few tutorials leading up to a big birthday weekend in our house (more on that later). In the meantime, enjoy…

Endless Love

Release Date: Friday February 14, 2014

Run Time:  103 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying

Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson

If you’re anything like me (a slightly cynical twenty-something who enjoys a good thematic adventure), you probably cringe upon hearing the word “remake”.  For that reason, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t realize that the movie “Endless Love”, which opened in theaters this weekend, is a remake of the 1981 film with the same title.  The original featured Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) and Martin Hewitt (General Hospital) with Tom Cruise (Going Crazy on Oprah’s Couch) and James Spader (The Blacklist) also appearing in smaller roles.  The newest version of the story stars Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (Carrie) along with Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck).

Audience members are first introduced to the cast at the high school graduation of Jade Butterfield (played by Gabriella Wilde) and David Elliot (played by Alex Pettyfer).  It’s there that we learn about the events in Jade’s recent past that left the privileged youth with the burden of living up to her parent’s high expectations, even at the expense of having a (social) life of her own.  Moviegoers are also clued into David’s infatuation with Jade, the girl who has never noticed his existence…until now.  The remainder of the film follows their love affair, the events that unfold threatening to keep them apart, and the promise that true love lasts forever (or at least until the end of the film).

When you take the film at face value (ignoring the fact that we’re watching two teenagers, who hardly know one another, fall “madly in love” within a matter of days), it’s easy to appreciate what it’s trying to accomplish.  It’s a sappy love story, at best, but it has some redeeming qualities that are worth the rental when it comes out on Red Box.  I enjoyed the use of comedy to break up some of the more serious moments in the movie and found it to be entertaining.  Everyone needs a good love story for Valentine’s Day (or, as I like to call it, “National Ferris Wheel Day”) and this film accomplishes just that.

Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten, where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again…I give “Endless Love” a 8.39253 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Awwww, that’s sweet”.