“The Skeleton Twins” opens with one person attempting suicide, another on the verge of tempting suicide and a third already having accomplished suicide. This doesn’t quite mesh with expectations that with Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Ty Burrell starring and the coming attractions showing 2 possibly funny scenes, about a half a dozen funny lines and one lip synch scene, that it is a comedy. By the way the funny lines and funny scenes are really about all the comedy you are going to get.
Milo (Hader) and Maggie (Wiig) are twins who have not seen each other or communicated for a decade and after his suicide attempt she flies out to California where he supposedly is an actor but is really a waiter–one of the many clichés in the film–and all of a sudden they are driving (?) back to her home in New York where she lives with her husband Lance (Luke Wilson). They are, supposedly, being very active in trying to have a child though Maggie is secretly taking birth control pills and has not been exactly faithful to her husband which leads to Milo saying “I can’t wait to be the creepy gay uncle.”
Talking about creepy it turns out that Rich (Burrell) who was Milo’s English teacher, and now owns a bookstore, had seduced Milo when he was 15. There was going to be a huge scandal but something Maggie did–I have no idea–is what stopped that and when the twins fall out. Rich is now living with his girlfriend and his son–the latter isn’t explained–and Milo wants to reconnect with him. Maggie starts an affair with her scuba diving instructor, (Boyd Holbrook) and she meets an old schoolmate, Carlie, (Kathleen Rose) who has an obnoxious, bratty son.
Talk about obnoxious, like most films today, especially with “Saturday Night Live” actors, there is a farting scene. Are you laughing yet? Also, like most films today, there has to be a sex scene. Along with the obnoxious scene there is a complete waste of time scene with Judy (Joanna Gleason) as the mother of the twins as if to explain why the twins aren’t ‘happy’.
The screenplay by Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman, like the direction by Craig Johnson, is all over the place. In addition they have too many gay clichés coming out of Milo’s mouth like “Look at me, another gay cliché,” after he attempts suicide.
Afterwards after overhearing my comment about the film to the manager, said that Wiig and Hader will probably draw their SNL fans. I don’t remember the last time I saw SNL but as actors who can handle drama and comedy they both do an excellent job, as does Wilson, though Burrell’s role is too hazy and unexplained for him to do anything with it except for his last scene, another gay cliché!
Oh my comment to the manager? It wasn’t a bad film but a very boring one!
In “This Is Where I Leave You” matriarch Hillary (Jane Fonda), a best selling author and psychologist, upon the death of their father, tells her four adult children that, though he wasn’t religious, he wanted them to observe the practice of shiva, mourning for the deceased, for 7 days.
The oldest son, Paul, (Corey Stoll), worked with his father in the family owned sports equipment, and his wife Annie (Kathryn Hahn) have unsuccessfully been trying to have a child. Judd, (Jason Bateman), comes home from New York city after finding his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) in bed with his boss (Dax Shepard). The third son, the baby of the family, Philip, (Adam Driver), who obviously inherited his father’s endowment and sexual prowess, appears with Traci (Connie Britton) a beautiful, smart, much older woman, in the Porsche she bought for him. Their only sister, Wendy, (Tina Fey) with 2 children, is married to Barry, (Aaron Lazar) who does a lot of traveling and is leaving for Paris as the film opens.
Along the way we meet a childhood friend of the boys, Ben Schwartz, (Charles Grodner), who is now a Rabbi officiating over their dad’s funeral and the shiva rituals. Living across the way are Horry, (Timothy Olyphant), the first love of Wendy’s, who had brain damage in an accident involving both of them, and his mother, Linda, (Debra Monk). There is also Penny, (Rose Bryne), Judd’s high school sweetheart, who runs an ice skating rink.
Jonathan Tropper wrote the screenplay, based on his novel, and I hope many of the unnecessary potty mouth lines and sexual actions such as the emphasis on Hillary having her breasts enlarged or one of the characters called ‘Boner’, weren’t in the book. There is really only one spoiler in a movie like this as we get into all the personal baggage of each of the characters. The director, Shawn Levy, is lucky to have a cast that makes him, and Tropper, look good.
With this first rate cast some scenes are bound to be standouts such as the talks between Wendy and Judd on the roof but especially a scene where Traci talks to Judd about where her relationship is going with Philip. Jason Bateman has major scenes with most of the cast members and is, basically, the backbone of the movie but the ‘older’ women, Britton, Fonda and Monk bring the gravitas to the film making it less of a TV sitcom.
“This Is Where I Leave You” is R Rated for sexual and language content plus drug use. It is a movie in between the young adult films of summer and the Oscar contenders of autumn.
Having lived in Memphis and traveling throughout the South for 10 years I learned what good bbq tastes like.
The last time I ate at the Texas Hold ‘Em BBQ was in June 2012 in their old location on Sunrise Boulevard. It has been awhile since they moved to this new spot which probably doesn’t hold 10% of the customers the previous place held.
Even with that there were only about 11 customers for lunch. I had eaten in this place when it was another restaurant and the new owner really hasn’t done much to improve it. When I started in the restaurant business in 1955 I was told you can tell how good a restaurant is by their rest room area. I would suggest you don’t go to the rest room before dining.
Allen and I both had the Combo dinner which consists of two meats and two sides with bbq sauce ($16.50 each) and diet sodas ($2.50 each) We wanted the brisket–which the server said didn’t come with the combo–so we had the pulled pork, maybe 2 ounces, and spare ribs–three ribs–plus a side of cole slaw and a side of macaroni & cheese.
The ribs were dry and I don’t mean dry rubbed–just dry! The pulled pork was okay, the slaw good and the macaroni and cheese just about passable. There haven’t been any improvements in the food since they moved and I still don’t understand their not serving coffee.
The server Staci was the only one working in the front of the house, both the restaurant and bar. She was fast, pleasant and efficient.
The check came to $48.28 including tax and tip and having a Groupon it cost us $38.28 so the bottom line came to $19.14 each for lunch. Way too much for a mediocre meal.
There are far too many good, and two great, bbq restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, to spend so much for so little at the Texas Hold ‘Em BBQ.
On the right side of the theatre was the usher’s dressing room. You walked up a long flight of stairs–well at 15 it seemed like a long flight—where I would go to change into my uniform and, yes, to once in awhile bring up someone to have sex with. Among the audience were married men who came into the movie theatre for ‘quickies’, some with women, some with men. While the women were generally hookers the gay men were there just for sex.
I would, occasionally. exchange looks with someone and when I was sure I would nod my head and tell them to follow me which they did and we went to the usher’s room. Also I would now and then roam down to the men’s room where obvious cruising would be going on and once in awhile I would let two guys use the usher’s room and sometimes I would join them.
It may have been the third or fourth week I was working there when one of the security cops who worked the movie houses called me over to where he was holding an obviously very frightened man and asked me if I had seen him expose himself in the men’s room or had he made a pass at me. I was completely dumbfounded by what was going on especially when, without my saying anything, next the cop said to the man, “Look I have this kid as a witness. He is a minor and this could get you into a lot of trouble but if you want to pay your fine without going to court or before the judge I will let you go this time.” He was shaking down this poor frightened married guy—as I was to learn he (they) only picked on married men–and as soon as the guy gave him whatever he had in his pocket/wallet the cop would tell him to get the hell out and never come back.
I don’t quite remember all that the cop said to me about cutting me in if I would set up some guys in the men’s room or get them up to the usher’s room so they could come in and catch them in the act with me. I don’t remember what I answered but it was some sort of form of ‘no’ and he warned me that I better never ever bring a guy up to the usher’s room again as he had seen me do or he would arrest both of us. I was shaking in my shoes and went to the manager to tell him what was going on and his reply was that he had hired me because I was a good looking kid and could help them all make a little money. To say I was shocked would be to put it mildly but something told me to speak up.
Once again I don’t remember what I said but I worked there the rest of the summer without getting involved with the manager–who was cute and did make a pass at me–or the various cops who were running the scam and continued to bring guys up to the usher’s room without anyone bothering us.
That I didn’t speak up or turn the cops in–to who?–and saw married men getting taken in and being very scared that their life would be ruined, shames me to this day and no way would I turn a blind eye if the circumstances repeated themselves.
By the way the Lyric theatre today has been combined with another old theatre and both were gutted and today make up the Ford Theatre of the Performing Arts and is a part of what has been called ‘the Disneyfying of Times Square’ and I am sure there is no resemblance to The Lyric Theatre where I got an ’education’ at 15 and can still hear Danny Kaye using a French accent and singing “On The Riviera”!
I was 15 and on summer vacation up in our summer home in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey, and I wanted/needed to get away from my family so I went looking for a job in Manhattan. I don’t know whether it was through an ad or I was just passing by and decided to stop in but I got a job as an usher at the Lyric Theatre on 42nd street better known as Times Square and many years before it was :Disneyfied”,
The Lyric Theatre at one time was a first rate theatre that presented such stars as Sarah Bernhardt and was considered a gem among theatres in New York. By the time I had become a teenager it was a second rate movie theatre in what was becoming a seedy Times Square. While The Victoria Theatre next door started to show ‘racy’ films The Lyric showed second run movies from major companies. I remember seeing Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvert in “On The Riveria” at least 22 times–in fact I can still quote many of the lines!
It was an hour bus drive from/to Lake Hiawatha so I had to get up at six in the morning to catch the bus into the city and get the 6 PM bus back to the Lake. (An aside: one morning my brother came rushing into my bedroom yelling. “Hurry up! You are going to be late! You will miss the bus. It is after 7.” I jumped up, washed my fast quickly got dressed and was just about to run out of the house when I saw my brother laughing hysterically. It being my day off–I worked 6 days–I had taken an afternoon nap and it was 6 PM in the evening, not morning, when my brother woke me up!)
Working on Times Square at that age was quite an eye opener in many ways. Many well dressed men either looking for jobs or being salesmen would come in to waste a few hours, some even to take a nap. There was a balcony split into 2 sections where practically every kind of sex you could think of took place. My manager told me to ignore it unless they were noisy, rowdy or disrupting those who came to see the movie and sat in the balcony because it was where you could smoke. It was quite an education for a 15 year old kid seeing men with women, men with men, women with women and some you couldn’t tell which was which.
It was also an education in entrapment and blackmail and shakedowns.
To be continued…
It is said that the longer a person owns a dog the more they get to resemble each other. In “The Drop” within minutes of Bob (Tom Hardy) finding a beat up puppy in a trash can, picks him up and holds him close to his face, the resemblance is already there. The hurt puppy’s eyes are reflected in the eyes of the man who just rescued him. This is a pit bull puppy who almost steals the movie away and yet defines Bob in many ways.
Rosco, as the puppy is named by Bob, is in the trash can of a waitress, who owns the house, named Nadia (Noomi Rapace), who may or may not know how the dog was in the garbage. After Bob confesses to her that he never had a pet, and doesn’t know how to take care of a dog, she volunteers to help him go shopping for the necessities and provides a love interest for Bob who is very slow on the uptake and in many other instances.
Bob is a bartender in a bar once owned by, and still named after, his cousin Marvin (James Gandolfini) until it was taken over by Chechens, who seem to rule the neighborhood, headed by Chovka (Michael Aronov). There are peripheral characters such as creepy Eric (Matthias Schoenaertas) who seems to have originally owned the puppy, has some connections to Nadia and boasts about murdering a man a decade earlier. There is also Detective Torres (John Oritz) who is more annoying than detective and Dottie (Ann Dowd) as Marvin’s sister who seems to have been added to pad out the movie which was originally a short story.
The acting by all, including Gandolfini in his last film role, is okay though Rapace seems just off key and until the end you don’t really see and/or understand what a great job Hardy does. I did try to catch the real name of Rosco who certainly deserves credit but didn’t see it.
As a Brooklyn gangster old fashioned thriller “The Drop” is slow getting to the revelation, which I admit caught me by surprise, but that was not enough to save the film.
(THE LATE ALBYN–IN FRONT–AND JOE–IN CENTER–CELEBRATING THEIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY–THEY HAD BEEN TOGETHER 56 YEARS WHEN JOE DIED FIRST–THAT IS ME IN THE REAR.)
Marriage as practiced by opposite sexes is a failure. Even before people’s lives were extended 2-3 lifetimes marriage became a disposable part of modern day life. There is no more ‘for better or worse’, people are experiencing more than one marriage.
Something I have always liked about most, not all, gay people, well males at least, was their promiscuity. It was a major difference between gay and nongay males and defined, to me, what gay meant. Okay that’s for another discussion.
By law all people getting married have to have a license issued by the State but after that where does it say you have to have a wedding cake? Why not a candy bush? Why do you have to walk down the aisle? Can’t each walk around the room and meet at a certain wall? Why can’t the ‘best man’ be the one with the biggest penis and displays it? Come on, these are gay men and for many penis defines gay because without it would they be a gay man? How about ‘forever’ be for 10 years and every decade they have to get ‘remarried‘?
Yes I can see some of you behind the monitors shaking your head but does it make a difference what you do after you get that State license?
Shouldn’t we be doing everything to prevent the 50.02% divorce rate that nongays have? Obviously they are doing something wrong and if gays want to have a successful life, partnership, forever after together, they have to break the rules, which gays have always been good at.
Why aren’t we setting our own traditions? Say the couple give the guests gifts instead of the way it has always been? Why are we using the words such as husband and wife when we have imagination to come up with words that are special to the gay couple?
Let’s stand “marriage” on its head and revise what it has meant for years and had lead to failures for centuries.
Where is that gay couple strong enough, imaginative enough, trend setters, style and fashion setters, that can stand up and say that he is not my husband or wife but my—-? Who can come up with traditions that nongays haven’t owned, that gays can say we started them and, of course, now the nongays are copying us again?
Where are the smart, sharp, FAB-U-LOUS gays who can set the world on their heads by making legal coupling last and not end in divorce in 8.8 years? Come on out and tell us your suggestions!
Or are all stereotypes, clichés about gays just a myth?
By the way, it might take a month or two but it is on my list to write about and that is seeing a whole new conception of two people making their lives together successfully yet giving the nongay people their idea of marriage and gay people complete equality and status.
Last but not least, I have been basically talking about the laws and rules regarding ‘marriage’ in the USA–what are the advantages and disadvantages of getting ‘married’ in your country?