Movie Review – Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Written by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers
Directed by Spike Jonze

To be a child is to be overwhelmed. I often think back to my own messy childhood and feel pangs of regret that my way of thinking was so warped by Christian-conservative ideologues for parents that I just don’t have some of the same experiences that many of my peers did. However, I believe all children struggle with how to process their emotions. Some have good supportive parents, while others have parents who model terrible behavior. The key difference has always been a parent who can say they are sorry to their child, which my parents could not and still can’t do. The parent who does that, who can shrug off the ego, understanding that “sorry” will help shape their child into a kind person, does something revolutionary. Where the Wild Things Are is about the tension, that moment of growth from being self-centered to understanding the experiences & feelings of others.

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Movie Review – Enough Said

Enough Said (2013)
Written & Directed by Nicole Holofcener

James Gandolfini was often typecast as a tough guy, but that wasn’t really who he was outside of The Sopranos. He was an accomplished stage actor who performed in various roles, so moviegoers never quite got to see the full extent of what Gandolfini was capable of. Enough Said was released posthumously and acts as a hint of the directions his career could have gone had he not passed away. There’s not much similar to Tony Soprano beyond the actor and the character’s relationship issues. However, they are nowhere near as volatile as what Tony got up to. Instead, this is a sensitive, nuanced, character dramedy intended for a mature audience that wants a little more out of their movies.

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Movie Review – Romance & Cigarettes

Romance & Cigarettes (2005)
Written & Directed by John Turturro

When an actor turns to directing, it is always a risk. They could be pretty talented like Bo Burnham or Jordan Peele. Or they might not. I think that is sadly the case with John Turturro. This was the actor’s third film in the director’s chair and his first written solo. My takeaway is that directing isn’t a strength of the storied actor. I love seeing him in the movies of talented filmmakers, but he doesn’t seem to have the chops to make something that isn’t totally muddled and embarrassingly poor. Romance & Cigarettes has some pieces that would make for a great film. Yet there is a lot here that would inevitably ruin any movie, and as the director, it was Turturro’s job to make sure everything worked.

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Movie Review – True Romance

True Romance (1993)
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Directed by Tony Scott

While this is a James Gandolfini-centric film series, I acknowledge he has such a minuscule part in True Romance. However, that two-scene appearance managed to stand toe to toe with seasoned film veterans like Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, and others. The film itself has not aged well, in my opinion. There’s a tasteless trans joke and multiple uses of racial slurs. The worst part is that the protagonist is a complete male Mary Sue, able to pull off some of the riskiest maneuvers despite having zero credibility in the criminal element. It’s also a film with big names in minor roles, many of whom get a single scene or just a handful. The fact that Gandolfini could stand out in a movie like this is proof of what an acting talent he was and how he was capable of such great things.

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