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Archive for the ‘Carol Kane’ Category

Thanks For Sharing

28 Sep

Thanks For Sharing – directed by Stuart Blumberg. A quartet of sex addicts in recovery stumble toward one another in mutual aid and redemption. 112 minutes Color 2013.

★★★★

Josh Gad is probably miscast as the premier liar of this story, for his casting is like casting Bud Abbott in the role. He is meant to supply fat-boy comic relief to material that does not welcome it, since the underpinnings of the lie are nothing-funny.

These people are stern addicts. And their humor would have been best served by its emerging in meetings themselves, where 12 Step style can be very funny indeed, but germane, which Gad’s is not. It’s not the actor’s fault. It’s the fault of the role.

Otherwise we have an excellent film to go to with your fellowship buddies or with those who need some education as to the catastrophe of the condition of addiction to pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism, sexual resorts, and the long list of the rest. For the film does a fair and honest and informed job of looking closely at the addiction in action and in remission – remission being no guarantee of recovery, of which no such thing has ever been known. It’s hard to quit sex addiction; harder than alcohol. You carry around your saloon in your britches.

Pink is completely convincing as the raving sex maniac who comes into the program late and, with help, finds her way toward sobriety. Mark Ruffalo plays a man five years on the sexual wagon, and he is solid in the role. Tim Robbins plays his long-time sponsor, a bleeding deacon of the S-Fellowship (which is never defined), and the parent of a son who has gone sober from drugs cold-turkey on his own. His relation to this son, his refusing to work an 8th and 9th Step with him, is a key drama in the story and one important to behold.

The Ruffalo character has not had sex or a date in five years, and, when he allows himself to, he falls quickly in a relationship with an eager beauty played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Paltrow is one of the great creatures of the modern screen. When Audrey Hepburn appears on screen one falls in love with her. There is no question as to how good an actress she is. She occupies our heart. And the same holds true for Gwyneth Paltrow, who is a very good actress indeed. She is an actress of great suppleness, intelligence, and grace. Aways fresh. She responds to everything happening to her physically, as though it belonged to her. Like Audrey Hepburn, she is a lady. But one with no stodginess to her. She is fascinating fun to watch.

And all this being true of her, the audience’s energy moves more towards whether this relationship will work out than to whether the quartet of addicts will stay sober.

But the story still honors their stories. And the record of them is true to the facts of sex addiction and its effects on everyone, addict or not, sober or not. So inform yourself. Thanks For Sharing will do for sex addiction what The Lost Weekend once did for alcoholism. It’ll give you the inside story.

 

The Princess Bride

03 Sep

The Princess Bride — directed by Rob Reiner. Fractured Fairy Tale. Two young lovers are separated by doom and dastards until both are vanquished and the lovers kiss. 98 minutes Color 1987.

★★★★★

“Have you seen The Princess Bride?”  I ask folks, and everybody I ask has. But me.

I thought it was a little girls’ movie. But, in fact, in a very pleasant and useful conceit, a bed-ridden little boy introduces it by rejecting it by the same measure as I rejected it, that it wasn’t for boys at all. This little boy, and his gramps who reads the story to him, played by that master of accessibility, Peter Falk, interlope throughout to comment on the action, halt it, and increase the magic of its grounding: that fairy tales are meant to cure the sick, All entertainment is meant to cure the sick, but fairy tales most of all.

I thought it was only made last year, but I see that brilliant actor Robin Wright , in the title role, is being introduced to the screen in it, and the year is 1987, 25 years ago.

It is not played as a straight fairy tale, but a fractured one, by which I mean a modern sensibility intrudes in the diction and demeanor of certain characters, such as those played by Carol Kane and Billy Crystal as two antediluvian Cony Island Jews pushing magic for bucks and by Wallace Shawn who’s a modern boss bastard.

Others bring other things to it, such as Mandy Patinkin playing a sword-happy hidalgo hello-bent on revenge. He wields the most wonderful sabre you have ever seen.  You want to hug André The Giant as The Giant and even Mel Smith as a torturer with cold sores and Peter Cook the clergyman who cannot pronounce his Rs or Ls. Christopher Guest and Chris Sarandon play the Basil Rathbone/James Mason parts of the evil count and his monarch. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright are just right as the lovers. You want to kiss everybody in it.

All sorts of medieval special effects are on offer, a fiery swamp complete with ROUS (rodents of unusual size) and a cliff-hanging cliff-climb and a stupefying torture chamber.

It is all as you wish it.

One of those movies that do just what movies alone can do and rarely do do. It satisfies its own medium.

 

 
 
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