Tag Archives: Rachel McAdams

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.)

 

“Spotlight” a must-see movie, as journalists expose the church abuse scandal. John Oliver rips terrorists a new one in classic rant. And Duke-Kentucky Tuesday night was an “un-classic”

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A quick plea/request before I start today: I’ve written here before about the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest soup kitchen in New York City and the 2nd-busiest in America. They serve more than 1,000 meals a day, I’ve been volunteering there for a few years now, and they’re in the middle of their annual fundraiser. They get some money from grants and some food from donations, but it still costs a lot to run this place. I know I have the most compassionate and generous readers on the World Wide Web; if you would consider donating a few dollars to a great cause, I’d appreciate it. Here’s the link to our fundraising page.

Thanks. On with the show….

There are certain stories that newspapers write that don’t just affect their town, or their state, or even their country.

They affect the whole world. They change history and cause ripples that extend so far beyond what could ever have been dreamed of.

The Boston Globe’s epic investigation and series of stories on the church sex abuse scandal in 2001 and 2002 was one of those stories. Literally hundreds and hundreds of cities all over the world found out, after the Globe’s investigation, that their town, too, had priests who for decades preyed up on young boys and molested them.

The Globe’s stories were an astonishing piece of journalism, and the new movie “Spotlight” shows how it all happened. It was a fantastic film, and deserves all the kudos it’s been getting (“Spotlight” has a 98 percent “Fresh” rating on Rottentomatoes.com as I write this.)

First of all, as a journalist I’m generally really disappointed with how newspapers and reporters are portrayed on screen (don’t even get me started on Drew Barrymore as a copy editor in “Never Been Kissed,”), but “Spotlight” nailed all the details. They showed the painstaking pace of these investigations, and how big breaks sometimes just happen accidentally.

Second, the acting is superb. Michael Keaton is so much better here as a newspaper editor than he was in “The Paper.” Mark Ruffalo is outstanding as always. John Slattery, who will now always be Roger Sterling to me, was fabulous, as was Rachel McAdams and the rest of a fabulous cast.

And third, the script tells you everything you need to know about how dirty and depraved these priests were, but it never feels “sensationalized.” The slow unraveling of the story, with the Globe’s reporters first believing just three priests were involved, then 13, then 70, works beautifully as the audience gets shocked just as much as the characters.

“Spotlight” feels like a thriller, but never loses sight of what the reporters’ core mission is: To expose this scandal and give these victims their day to be heard.

It’s a fantastic, fantastic movie. I predict it’ll get a slew of Oscar nominations. Go see it.

**Next up, John Oliver hasn’t had a good angry rant in awhile, and sadly last week’s terrorist attack in Paris provided him with a chance for one.

This righteous and hilarious anger is a nice antidote to all the sadness. Warning: Language is definitely NSFW, so if you’re watching this on the job, use headphones.

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**Finally today, college basketball season officially arrived this week, with the usually awesome Champions Classic on Tuesday night. It’s a fantastic “tip-off” event, with Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas all playing each other every year in some combination.

Of course I has hugely psyched for Duke-Kentucky Tuesday night, because it’s Duke-Kentucky, and I hate John Calipari as much as you can hate someone who’s never actually done anything to your family, and I hate UK’s incredibly smug and obnoxious fans (yes I realize the irony of a Duke fan saying that).

But wow, that game was an “un-classic” if I ever saw one. My Blue Devils looked overmatched and lost, especially freshmen Brandon Ingram and Derryck Thornton. When Marshall Plumlee is your best offensive weapon the first 15 minutes, that’s not good (and I love MP3 and how hard he’s worked to become a decent player. But come on, he should never lead Duke in scoring at any point in a game).

Duke fans are spoiled, of course, seeing so many freshmen come in and play great right away. This year’s crop will be fine, but they looked scared and lost against a better, deeper, more experienced Wildcats team. Tyler Ulis is fantastic, this Jamal Murray kid is going to be a star, and Kentucky simply got whatever it wanted on offense. The margin could’ve been bigger but UK got sloppy and looked vulnerable at times, too.

It’s November, so I’m far from worried about Duke. K will have them ready by March. Just disappointing how sloppy the game was.

A quick review of “Morning Glory.” And some LeBron thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  I have a lot to be thankful this year, as I do every year. As I down the delicious turkey at my aunt’s house, I will definitely be counting my blessings.

Hadn’t been to a movie in a while, so being home on vacation and all, I went to the cinema with dear old Dad on Wednesday.
We saw “Morning Glory,” which had intrigued me because it had Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford in it, plus the adorably attractive Rachel McAdams.
The verdict? Pretty good. Definitely chick-flicky, but funny and sweet. It takes a while to get going; McAdams is the plucky producer of a terrible network morning show (think “The Today Show” if it was awful), Keaton is friendly but self-righteous host, and Harrison Ford plays a Mike Wallace-type who thinks the morning news diet of cooking segments and health updates is beneath him (of course, it is.) And Ira from “Mad About You” has a big part, too! Love Ira.
As a journalist I couldn’t help but see the obvious mistakes in the plot and script (OK, McAdams gets fired from a crappy local show, then goes to a national network show, and her salary is half of what it was? Impossible.), and the movie does start off pretty slow. But it’s impossible not to like McAdams, and about 40 minutes in the movie really, really gets funny.
Not exactly a four-star classic, but you will definitely laugh. And my main man from “Modern Family,” Ty Burrell, is in the movie for 10 minutes. And he, of course, is hilarious.

**Watched some of the Miami Heat for the first time Wednesday night, and I think I get why they’re having problems. Too many superstars, no one sure who should lead.
But something else struck me as I watched LeBron James, a guy I used to really admire: Dude looked lost out there. The first analogy that came to my head was that LeBron was like the lead singer of a band, and as the frontman everything revolved around him. He got all the chicks, he made all the money, and everything the group did was dictated by him.
Then the band folded, and he joined another band, who had their own frontman.
And now LeBron is sort of just like any old guitar player/backup singer, hanging around kinda out of the spotlight, watching the lead singer (in this case, the supremely talented Dwyane Wade) and remembering fondly the days when he was The Man.
Maybe it’ll all work out in Miami, and the Heat will win a championship. But looking at LeBron, he seems to feel like McCartney did in Wings.

(Totally random thought: When I first heard of Dwyane Wade, I thought his name was Dwayne Wayne, the so-cool character in “A Different World.” So here’s a clip of the ultra-awesome Dwayne Wayne):