Labor Day: Movie Review

Labor Day movie poster

Movie: Labor Day

Director: Jason Reitman

Writers: Jason Reitman

Rating: ♥ – Poor

Stars:
Kate Winslet Kate Winslet as Adele

Josh Brolin Josh Brolin as Frank

Gattlin Griffith Gattlin Griffith as Henry

Read the Labor Day book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Adele (Winslet) is the most literal kind of stay at home mom. She never leaves the house. She lives with her son, Henry (Griffith), who only sees his dad and stepfamily on Sunday evenings. They’re living their hermit crab life when one day they have to go out because Henry’s outgrowing his clothes.  At the store they run into a shady guy (Brolin) who asks them for a ride. To their house. Fearing that this has become a hostage situation, Adele agrees. Adele and Henry find out that he escaped from prison (which he was in for murder) but still start to enjoy his company and he becomes a weird husband/father/captor to them.

What did you think?
I enjoyed it less than I enjoyed the book which was borderline impossible. The only thing the book had going for it was that I was curious to find out what happened, but since I knew what was going to happen there was essentially nothing going for the movie. At first, I had some hope that movie might be better. When Adele and Henry met Frank in the book, she seemed pretty willing to take a complete stranger to her home. In the movie, she was not so down for the idea but it felt a lot more like a hostage situation. Frank appeared to be threatening Henry, so she agreed in order to protect her son. Although it still wasn’t the best, it was a lot more believable than the scene in the book.

But soon my hopes were crushed and I was back to hating everything. The plot was stupid and laced with weird flashbacks that were confusing and unnecessary. Eventually it gets put together and explained, but they were really unnecessary. It didn’t spark my interest to find out the details, it just made me think “Wait…what? This is really dumb.”

Was it a good adaption?
Yes, they both sucked.

There’s not much else to say about it. The movie slightly improves the scene when Adele and Henry meet Frank and cut one of the worst parts from the book, so I guess that’s good. But it also made a small change in the story behind why Frank was arrested in the first place which somehow made it even worse than it was in the book.

Should I watch it?
Only if you you love watching movies that suck. But if that’s what you like then you do you. You can get a copy onAmazon (but there isn’t a point).

Here’s the trailer, just in case you still aren’t convinced that this movie sucks.

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The Wolf of Wall Street: Movie Review

The Wolf of Wall Street movie poster

Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writers: Terence Winter

Rating: ♥ ♥ – Okay

Stars:
Leonardo DiCaprio Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

Margot Robbie Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia

Jonah Hill Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff

Read the The Wolf of Wall Street book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Stock fraud, sex and drugs.

Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) is a hotshot stockbroker in the ’90s living a very lucrative and illegal life. He makes millions of dollars a day and lives a caricature of a real life. Every aspect of his life is extraordinarily excessive and oozes extravagance; there’s nothing too lavish or luxurious for Jordan or his wife. Also, everyone is crazy. It’s hard to believe this is based on someone’s actual life.

What did you think?
There’s almost nothing relatable about Jordan or his life. His ridiculous and offensive behavior is like a train wreck, you just can’t look away. But at the same time, train wrecks don’t go on for three hours. There aren’t a lot of movies that can go for three hours and be enjoyable the whole way through (not every movie can be a Titanic or The Departed). Once you get a taste of how ludicrous Jordan’s life is, it starts to feel repetitive. There’s only so much drugs, nudity and stock fraud you can take before it gets old and tired.

Was it a good adaption?
Ehh. The book was a lot easier to digest than the movie and a lot more interesting. Any time Jordan starts to talk about what he’s actually doing to get away with fraud, he just says something like “I’m not going to bore you with the hard facts, just know that it is super illegal.” When reading the book, I found the “how” really interesting, it also showed just how smart Jordan was. It was a way to get a good look inside the workings of Jordan’s brilliantly corrupt brain. Another pro of reading about the legal details, is that it was a break from all the insanity. Since that was excluded from the movie, you never get a break from the circus of sex and drugs.

Should I watch it?
I wouldn’t watch it again. I mostly just watched because it was nominated for Best Picture and I’ll watch almost anything if Leo’s there. If you’re into critically-acclaimed three hour long shit shows, you can buy The Wolf of Wall Street DVD on Amazon.

Here’s the trailer:

The Spectacular Now: Movie Review

The Spectacular Now movie poster

Movie: The Spectacular Now

Director: James Ponsoldt

Writers: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Rating: ♥ ♥ ½

Stars:
Miles TellerMiles Teller as Sutter Keely

Shailene WoodleyShailene Woodley as Aimee Finicky

Read the book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Basically Sutter Keely is a pretty cool kid but he has no future. He loves fun, parties, drinks, girls and not much else. After his girlfriend dumps him, he drinks too much and ends up on a stranger’s lawn where Aimee finds him. She’s his classmate but they’ve never met because she’s a bit of an outsider to the social scene. Sutter decides to help her out by taking her to a party but things don’t quite as he planned.

What did you think?
I liked it. It was really well cast and I especially loved Teller as Sutter. Teller and Woodley were really cute together in the movie and I loved their chemistry. They’re even an adorable couple IRL (see: #17). But other than that the movie was only okay. Much like the book, it was a pretty average but not unenjoyable.

Was it a good adaption?
Yes. There’s always more details in the books that movies can’t capture, but overall the movie was very true to the book. There were of course things that happened in the book that were cut out of the movie, but that’s expected; if the movie included everything in the book, it would be way too long. I think the writers did a really good job of deciding what to keep and what to leave out of the movie.

The biggest difference between the book and the movie is Sutter. It’s always hardest when the book is written from the first person perspective. It’s so much harder to convey Sutter’s motivations and reasoning in the movie, whereas in the book he straight up tells you. When you can get inside Sutter’s head, he’s a much more interesting character. While he’s unguided and frustrating in both, he felt a lot more vanilla to me in the movie. Even if I didn’t always agree with Sutter, when I was reading I at least understood where he was coming and that wasn’t always clear to me in the movie. But maybe I’m just being nit picky.

Should I watch it?
I wouldn’t try to dissuade you from watching, but I wouldn’t urge you to watch it either. Not worth a big investment but not a waste of time either, it’s on the fence.