Tag Archive: holly hunter


The Incredibles 2

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past week we made what might be our last trip to the drive-in for the summer.

You never know, we could make another trip because one must watch scary movies at the drive-in. In reality, I am guessing we are done.

The_Incredibles_2 posterBut it was a great one to finish off the summer season – a double feature with The Incredibles 2 and Christopher Robin. I will talk about the latter sometime in the future. But right now I want to talk about the long-awaited sequel to what I think is one of the best movies of all time.

Why did Brad Bird wait so long to make this sequel? I am sure he has some good reasons. Timing was not right, didn’t want a fake storyline to drive the plot, couldn’t figure out how to make Edna a crucial part of the storyline.

I am sure the reasons were endless.

Luckily what we get is a great storyline.

The supers remain in hiding. And when a bad guy shows up, the family tries to stop him. However, their attempts are futile; the bad guy gets away despite our favorite super heroes managing to save the capitol building.

That is when Lucius meets this rich guy named Winston Deavor. He is super rich and super crazy about supers. Winston is the salesman of the company while his sister, Evelyn, is the creative genius who invents items for the future of right now.

They want the supers to be supers again.

And their choice for this job is Elastigirl – Helen.

The reason why becomes clear. Elastigirl is smoother, more about finesse than bombast power. That means less damages, and more feel-good moments.

But for Helen, it is also about guilt. The guilt of not being there for the kids while breaking the law to help supers be legal once more.

the-incredibles-2 meeting

Frozone, Elastigirl, and Mr. Incredible meeting with Winston Deavor

What I loved about the first Incredibles movie is that it explored the idea of giving participation trophies and making everyone feel they’re special.

This movie is exploring the guilt of life. Helen deals with working mother guilt even though she is smart and good at her job. Bob is guilty over not being out doing superhero stuff while wondering if he is doing a good enough job as a dad. Two other characters deals with the guilt of the should-of’s and could-of’s we all face in life when something tragic happens. Their individual response may be different to that guilt but how they deal with it is interesting.

Yes, these guilt issues are a part of the subtext, but we also get a ton of great action scenes. Elastigirl is the star, people love her, even fellow heroes. Jack-Jack is starting to display all of his powers which can be frightening and exciting. Edna is fascinating for all of her fashion personality quirks.

Can you have a movie that is fun and exciting while dealing with all of these emotions? Yes! Just because we are getting a lot of great action scenes with super-powered people doesn’t mean we can’t handle a few emotions along the way. Everyone knows that emotions are so much messier than the end results of a great battle. But dealing with them and coming to a new understanding can be a great adventure.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

One of my most favorite movies of all time in The Incredibles.

The Incredibles IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

I don’t mean favorite animated movie or favorite family movie.

I meant what I said that this is one of my favorite movies of all time.

It is almost a perfect movie. You could ask me next week and I might say it is a perfect movie.

The story is about a family who are secretly supers. They each have special powers and abilities. Super strength, super stretchiness, super speed, and super energy control. They have to hide their super powers after various lawsuits against supers go badly.

Bob works in an insurance company as a claims adjuster who tries to hard to make claims go through. The problem is his boss wants them to not go through and save money for the shareholders.

It doesn’t help that life, after being a super, is kinda boring. Go to work, have supper, clean up, go to bed, do it all over again. You can wait for something exciting to happen or make it happen. Bob makes a decision that will cause excitement in his life. But it is a decision that will fully impact his family.

What makes this movie one of the greats is that nearly every scene is capable of being a stand alone moment. These are perfectly captured moments of human emotion. The feeling of being left behind, of not being able to use your skills to their full abilities, of loving life in the moment, of being afraid or happy or joyful.

It doesn’t hurt that the action scenes are well choreographed and interesting. How a super can move, depending on their abilities, is fascinating. From the Fro-zone to the baby’s developing skills, we see just one these suits can do to protect the wear. What is more interesting is seeing the children discover their power and abilities.

It is also the comic touches that make this movie great. The heaviness of the movie is lightened time and again which keeps an audience engaged. The scene in which Bob visits the superhero costume designer is classic for the character’s persona. Her subsequent visit from Helen is another exercise of comic explanation of super suits.

I find myself laughing and crying and smiling within each scene. There are many times that I marvel at the ease and beauty of the animation and the music that accompanies each scene to set the emotion. I like that we know each character really well, that we understand their motivations.

We don’t always get that in a movie like this. We barely learn a person’s reasoning for doing their actions or hiding rational reasons. Some characters remain a mystery. But not in this movie.

I would watch it whenever it showed up on TV, because it is just that good. And with the new sequels about to show up, it is always good to have back up information about the new movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The Big Sick

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Some movies make it through the festival rounds, find a distributor, and hit it big.

They are called sleeper hits or big surprises or revelations. They make us think while finding a common denominator that everyone can relate to.

I picked up one of these types of movies, not knowing if I would like it or not.

The Big Sick starring Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazen is described as a romantic comedies of sorts.

big-sickThe story line is about a Pakistani stand-up comic and Uber driver who meets an American grad student one night at one of his shows. They sort of hit it off, decide not to date, and then begin to do exactly that. Meanwhile his mother is constantly trying to fix him up with Pakistani women so that he can marry and have a traditional family.

The problem is he has fallen in love with Emily, who is definitely not Pakistani. He puts off having her meet his family until she breaks up with him. Once faced with the end of their relationship, it gets worse. Much worse. Suddenly Kumail must figure life out also getting to know her parents as Emily is in a coma.

In case you have not figured it out, this not a movie for little kids. We have sexual situations, swearing, and scenes dealing with huge illness and family dynamics that are not always happy. Even contextually, this is not a movie little kids are going to want to watch. I would guess since there are no car chases or explosions a few big kids will not be interested either.

But don’t let that stop you. People in my house were surprised that they actually liked it because this seemed to be more of a chick flick. You have an unlikely couple falling in love, facing family differences, and being challenged. What keeps this from being a soupy mess is the heart and challenges faced beyond the big illness displayed by actors Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

Big sick 2One scene that I especially loved was Kumail getting challenged by a Pakistani woman, who could be a good match for him, for not being honest with her. Both characters are leading lives that are outside of the definitions of their family and culture, both are searching for meaning within and beyond those constraints. But she is demanding something even more elusive. It is both painful honest and stunningly accurate.

What I love is that we are never hit with the frying pan of knowledge. This movie allows us to figure things out. It doesn’t move in the direction of most romantic comedies with obvious montages and giddy simplicity. Like most great romantic comedies, it explores a different issue beyond the love plot line. In this case, why one moves to a different country and then expects to have all of the old customs.

This movie has seen some awards come its way and I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes some nominations and awards at Oscar time.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

After the Feast…

Family Movie Night

Thanksgiving is done.

The turkey on the table was surrounded by the favorite side dishes. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes or sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and a relish tray. Then there were desserts.

Pie.

Pumpkin pie, mince meat pie, apple pie, Key Lime Pie Cheesecake.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t happen that way at your house. Maybe the deviled eggs are replaced with something else. Stuffing is made with sage and onion instead of oysters and onion.

No matter, we gathered together to give thanks and dig in to a great feast. But now it is the day after and people with the day off are looking around. The kids might be looking for something to do .

Edmund Gween as Kris Kringle in "Miracle on 34th Street." Picture from IMDb.com

That is when you dip into the bag of classic movies. My favorite movie to watch is Miracle On 34th Street (1947). Yes, it is black and white. It was made during the post war era when the feeling of hope was palatable. Then there is Edmund Gwenn, who may have been the most perfect Santa ever. We meet him as he is walking down a street in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day.

He is telling a shop keeper how to arrange the reindeer in proper order when he sees a drunken Santa on the Macy’s float. That is when Gwenn meets Maureen O’Hara and she asks him to be the Macy’s Santa. Maureen O’Hara represents the bitterness of the era who is secretly seeking hope without knowing if she will ever find it. Meanwhile, attractive bachelor corporate lawyer John Payne, the personification of optimism and populist idealism, is trying to attract the beautiful O’Hara.

You do not have to watch the movie for all of the deeper meanings. It is a lovely film that epitomizes the spirit of the Christmas season, reminding us to believe in faith alone and to be grateful for what we have in this world.  This is one movie that all members of the family can watch and enjoy together.

Home for the Holidays, picture from IMDb.com

Another movie that is better for adult-only viewing is Home For The Holidays starring Holly Hunter as an artistic restorer who is going home to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. She has just been fired, her daughter tells her this is the weekend she is staying with her boyfriend and her stylish coat has been lost at O’Hare Airport.

But wait it gets better. Her priggish sister insists on making a whole separate meal that is ‘healthier’ while looking down her nose at their gay brother. The gay brother brings along a friend who may be interested in Hunter.

Why I like this movie has to do with moments of hope and understanding as adult children learn to understand their parents, siblings and maybe themselves. While parents, siblings and kids might drive each other crazy, for most there is a reservoir of love that keeps you coming back.

Picture from IMDb.com

Last, but not least, is perhaps what I think may be one of the funniest and sweetest Thanksgiving movies ever made. I was visiting Emjayandthem’s blog when I saw the reminder of what a great movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles really is. It may not be appropriate for every member in the house, although I think kids 13 and up can watch this one.

John Candy and Steve Martin charm in this movie as two travelers who are trying to get home when getting home for Thanksgiving is just not working out. I love it from start to finish. Cabbie race scene, uncomfortable train ride, car burning, confrontation and realizing you are an ass – all of it is great movie making.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below. Become my friend on Facebook.