Tag Archives: Jason Bateman

A random movie review from me: “Game Night” was hilarious and utterly ridiculous. Barack Obama’s beautiful speech to the 2020 graduating class. And Snoop Dogg chilling in his car to a “Frozen” song is an awesome minute.

So every Saturday night during quarantine, my wife and I have started a routine. There are so many movies we both love, but we feel like we can always view those. We agreed that during this shelter-in-place bizarre-ness, we should expose the other person to movies we love, that the other person hasn’t seen.

So thanks to her, for the first time I’ve watched “Dead Again” (pretty good, although it kinda falls apart the last 15 minutes), “The Holiday” (wildly exceeded my expectations, and I love Kate Winslet. It was terrific.) and most recently, “Rent,” which was good but of course I’m sure the play was better.

For her part, my bride was finally exposed to amazing movies I love like “Hoosiers,” “Ordinary People” (God that is such a great film) and “Spotlight.”

It’s been very cool seeing the other’s reactions and sharing in the appreciation of movies that your spouse loves (this weekend I am super-pumped to finally, finally get her to watch “Goodfellas.”)

But this past Saturday, we tried something different: A flick neither one of us had seen, but when it came out in 2018 we both said “oooh, that sounds good, we should watch it some day!”

Which led us to the delightful, hilarious and completely ridiculous “Game Night,” starring Jason Bateman, who is beloved by 99 percent of the female population, and Rachel McAdams, beloved by 99 percent of people everywhere.

It was a wildly entertaining film with so many crazy plot holes that you just don’t care anymore, you’re having so much fun.

The premise of the movie (directed by “Freaks and Geeks” alum John Francis Daley) is simple: Annie (McAdams) and Max (Bateman) are a board game-obsessed married couple who host weekly game nights with their friends. One week Max’s rich, successful, handsome brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler, having WAY more fun in this role than he got to as Coach Taylor) shows up, and tells the usual gang that he’s in town for a while, and he will be hosting game night next week.

And so Brooks tells all Max and Annie’s buddies the following week that he’s planned a “murder-mystery” game they’ll all be a part of, and the winner gets his new sports car.

From that, hijinks and insanity ensue. I really don’t want to give away much more than that, because the sheer fun of watching this movie is realizing how insane the plot is, but not caring because the acting, and the script are so great.

There are gunfights, escapes, a miraculous recovery or two, and great supporting performances from Jesse Plemons (Landry back with Coach Taylor!) and everyone else in the cast.

In the nutso last 20 minutes, McAdams and Bateman get to do one crazy thing after another as the plot twists more than a pretzel at Auntie Anne’s.

But truly, if you’re looking for an escapist, fun movie that will totally take your mind off the current state of the world, I highly recommend “Game Night.” Here’s the trailer.

Just please, don’t be like us and spend 30 minutes after the film trying to reconcile the huge plot holes. It’ll just give you a headache.

**Next up today, the last “real” President we had here in America gave a virtual commencement speech to the high school graduating class of 2020 on Saturday night, and it was boffo.

Speaking on all the major networks, Barack Obama used humor, humility and intelligence to give advice, and to offer sympathy, to his group of high school seniors who are living a wildly different world than they were when 12th grade started.

The speech Obama gave was fantastic, and got attention Sunday for the bashing of Trump and his administration without naming any names (that starts at the 5-minute mark of the video above), but I loved this advice he gave:

“So be alive to one another’s struggles. Stand up for one another’s rights. Leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us – sexism, racial prejudice, status, greed – and set the world on a different path.”

Man, I miss that guy.

**And finally today, this video made me smile and laugh big-time over the last few days.

I don’t want to say anything about it except to say, watch it: Snoop Dogg, in his car, listening to the famous song from “Frozen.”

Just amazing. And I would be remiss if I didn’t alert you to “Frozen” star Idina Menzel’s response video, which is equally fabulous (shout out to my fantastic friend Valerie for pointing me to it.)

 

“This is How I Leave You” pretty good flick, but could’ve been better. An incredible PSA about Syrian suffering. And the baseball playoffs get off to an incredible start

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With a fantastic cast and some legit funny moments in the trailer, I figured “This is How I Leave You” would at least be good for a few laughs. Best-case scenario, it’d be great, a real pleasant surprise.

And at times, this movie was really, really good, and had me and the wife chuckling pretty hard.
It was almost a great movie, except it had two major flaws: Everything that happened in the last 30 minutes was totally implausible, and a movie about a dysfunctional family reuniting after a loved one’s death had already been made recently, and it was much better. “August: Osage County” was the film “This is How I Leave You” wanted to be, it seemed, but couldn’t quite get there.

Still, it had a lot of good moments. Jason Bateman, as the seemingly-normal brother of the Altman clan, was excellent; Tina Fey, in a strange role for her was also great, as was Adam Driver and the criminally-underused Connie Britton (I love me some Mrs. Coach).

The movie just relied on way too many leaps of faith (really? A whole Little League team is in the emergency room at that time near the end when the cursing and the brawling begins?), and the story went in too many directions at once, like it didn’t trust the main storyline too much.

Still, it was a 2 1/2 star flick, so probably worth your time.

 

**Next up, with all the attention that the U.S. war on ISIS has been getting, its easy to forget just how miserable it has been for citizens of Syria the past five years.
Especially for children. Check out this remarkable PSA from an organization called The Syria Campaign. Hard to watch, and heartbreaking, but so well-done…

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

**Finally, that was one of the most amazing baseball games I’ve ever seen Tuesday night.

The Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals went back and forth, with the Royals being down 7-3, improbably rallying to 7-7, and finally winning 9-8 in the 12th inning.

Kansas City and Oakland both in the playoffs got me thinking: One of the reasons baseball lost tons of fans in the 1990s and early 2000s, besides the glacial pace of the game and rampant steroid use, is that it seemed like the same teams were always winning and playing for the World Series.
It was the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Braves, the Cardinals… and everybody else. More money was spent by the major markets, and everyone else was playing for scraps.
But it’s been a long time since that was true; just about everyone has a shot to win in today’s MLB, and it’s one of the reasons the baseball playoffs are still exciting to me, even though I barely follow the sport for six months.
Look at who’s in the playoffs this year: Kansas City. Oakland. Pittsburgh. Baltimore. All teams that a few years ago were sad-sack losers, but who now have a chance to win it all.
It was awesome to see the K.C. fans get excited about their team being in the postseason for the first time since “Back to the Future” came out.
In baseball, everybody’s got a shot. And that’s great to see.