Tag Archives: Luke Wilson

All We Had

Katie Holmes directs herself in All We Had, and proves she isn’t afraid to paint herself in an unfavourable light. Rita Carmichael is good at loving men but terrible at picking them. When another loser reaches his expiration date, it’s her daughter Ruthie (Stefania Owen) that knows it’s time to cut ties and get the hell out of dodge. The problem is that Rita and Ruthie are chronically broke. Rita self-medicates for her crappy childhood with nullcheap booze. Between men they live out of their piece of shit car. They have almost nothing going for them but Rita makes keeping Ruthie out of child services her top priority, and so far, she’s always succeeded.

This time, though, it’s going to be extra difficult. Their car breaks down literally in front of the greasy spoon where they just dined-and-dashed and it looks like they’re stuck in whatever crummy small town this is.

All We Had is not a great movie, but it’s not bad. It’s just that Katie Holmes is so hellbent on making this an inspirational story of redemption, she leans heavily on tired formula schtick. Addictions, childhood trauma, financial crisis: this movie has it all, everything except focus. All We Had is the kind of movie you’ll make excuses for – “it means well” you’ll say, and mean  it. But that’s not quite enough. There’s not enough skill here to pull meaning from the good intentions. But if you’re willing to watch Katie Holmes try, All We Had is good for 1 hour and 45 minutes of trial and error and smudged eyeliner.

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Idiocracy

Natural selection should, in theory, favour the smartest and strongest, but what happens if it actually results in a dumbing down of the population? Evolution rewards those who reproduce the most, and in Idiocracy, intelligent people have become an endangered species.

I didn’t really care for this movie when it first came out, but waking up to a world in which Donald Trump is president brought this immediately to mind.

_88551016_trumpcoverLuke Wilson plays a very average dude waiting out his pension in an army library until he’s chosen to pioneer an experiment. Maya Rudolph, a prostitute, is also extremely average, and both have the added benefit of being completely friendless in the world, so no pesky family members to ask nosy questions when the army turns them into human popsicles in order to determine if humans can successfully “hibernate” for a year. Verdict: never trust the army, for starters. The experiment is neglected and its two subjects lay dormant for years. Meanwhile, humanity gets stupider at an alarming rate.

It’s a pretty dismal picture for the future of mankind, but as far as Idiocracy goes, it doesn’t go far enough. It fails to account for the reality TV  host of its fictional show “Ow, My Balls” not only running for president, but actually winning. That’s one little nugget that even Mike Judge couldn’t fathom, and he’s the guy that divined a Carls, Jr. burger-dispensing device that also confiscates children from unfit mothers. Reality is turning out to be even stupider than the most low-brow satire had the balls to portray.

The rest of the world is horrified. Nauseated. And not just at the 59 million racist, misogynist Americans who voted for a smug, clueless, unapologetic (boastful, even) rapist, but for the millions more who didn’t show up at all to stop him. Of course I’m heart sick and nervous about so many of my largeuncomfortably-close neighbours to the south harbouring such hatred in their hearts, but I’m almost as upset about the apathy, and what that apathy means. It means that a man can run a campaign on blatant lies, zero experience, and rampant xenophobia, and people will let him. It means Americans are not the people we thought they were. That progress is rolling backwards in that country. That now our own rational, credentialed, professional world leaders will be forced to treat Trump like an equal even though he has proven himself unqualified to open his own car door. We have embraced “sunny ways” up here in Canada but see nothing but dark days across the border. I wouldn’t have wished a Trump presidency on my worst enemy, and never wanted to believe that this Neanderthal would succeed. Would be allowed to succeed. Nevertheless, he is the president-elect, and maybe the president they deserve. It’s a wake up call to all of us. We are not without problems in Canada and as the U.S. is usually our cultural mirror, it’s safe to say we should all be taking a much longer look at ourselves and each other. We can do better than this. We ARE better than this. Even Idiocracy offers hope: in the end, the smartest man is elected. Order is restored. The righteous are vindicated.

 

 

 

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. – George Carlin

Outlaws and Angels

You know how it was in the olden days, walking to the bonnet store with your bestie, discussing the state of things on the ole homestead, the latest style in aprons, panning for gold, and the benefit of small pricks. As you do. And then suddenly your bestie gets her face shot off. It happens.

1.jpgThe olde West. There are good guys, and there are bad guys: you can barely tell the difference between them. They all wear black hats.

The really bad dude (Chad Michael Murray) has a scar. Luckily. For identification purposes. The slightly less bad guy chasing him (Luke Wilson), a bounty hunter, does not.

The really bad dude and his gang o’ miscreants decides to hole up and hide with a frontier family – a Christian ma and pop, and their two smart-ass, sassy-tongued daughters, the saucier of whom is played by Francesca Eastwood in her feature debut (that’s right: cowboy Clint’s daughter). The outlaws get more than they bargained for because little Flo (Francesca) is like a snake in your boot. A sexy snake who seduces her captors. And she’s well-florence_gun2-670x264versed in giving her daddy “rubdowns” as is the frontier way.

Director JT Mollner creates a spaghetti western send-up that abandons the sprawling land for a single interior locale. It’s not exactly wholesome though. Okay, it’s not remotely wholesome. While her daddy Clint may be used to exploring violence in westners, Francesca is busy exploring an often ignored side: sex. A very salty side indeed. This film has definitely shown me lots of outlaws, but I’m wondering if there are any angels at all. Mollner’s assessment is murkier than gravy although his long pauses and overuse of close-ups will make you think he’s making an awfully serious point. Personally, I think the blood pretty much sums it up. Bloodshed makes for excellent punctuation.