Someone needs anger management classes. I’m giving Fist Fight a C+.
High school English teacher, Andy Campbell (played by Charlie Day) is a nice guy. His wife is due to have their second child any day. His daughter is picked on in her middle school so she wants to show up her mean girl in the school talent show. Roosevelt High is cutting teachers and it’s the last day of school before summer vacation. Keeping his job is uppermost in his mind.
All the crazy senior pranks send ordinary teachers over the edge but when strict teacher, Mr. Strickland (played by Ice Cube), uses an ax to make a point, the principal makes a point to fire both teachers unless he learns what really happened. Campbell will do anything to keep his job, even rat out another teacher, setting up an after school fight between Strickland and Campbell.
Roosevelt High is a zoo. The kids rule the school and the principal doesn’t care. A horse on meth, runs the hallway. Porn’s on display in the school award case and the principal is being followed by a Mariachi band. The sports teams always lose. The school counselor has a drug problem and chases after the students and the French teacher (played by Christina Hendricks) is sex on a stick but cray-cray, encouraging Strickland to cut Campbell up bad.
Along the lines of Old School and National Lampoon, Fist Fight relies on raunchy language and crude humor to get the laughs. Most of the good moments involve the pranks and how hapless the teachers are. Produced by Ice Cube, it does have a message about the importance of good teachers and strong funding for schools but the message isn’t beaten into the viewer.
The movie takes place in one day and takes license with the reality of teaching. As a teacher, I don’t have time to run to the bathroom, let alone to the Apple store to buy a Macbook Pro to bribe a student. Fist Fight certainly is not a movie I would spend big bucks on, but rather one to see when it comes to video. I have a feeling it will become a favorite much like the old American Pie movies.
Escapism at its finest. I’m giving Fifty Shades Darker a B.
Picking up where the first movie ended, Anastasia and Christian have broken up and she is enjoying her new job with a publishing house. But Christian can’t live without her and woos her the only way he knows how—with lavish gifts. Unable to say no to him, Anastasia and Christian get back together but with some new conditions. She wants to know more about him and the past he keeps hidden.
When danger stalks Ana, Christian sets out to keep her safe, but his heavy-handedness sets them up for conflict. Then there’s Mrs. Robinson who seduced Christian as a teen and set him on the path to BDSM. Played by Kim Basinger, Elena sets out to ‘warn’ Ana about Christian’s needs, but only pushes Ana to fight for him more. The outside conflict brings to light how different Christian’s life is but he’s determination to change for Ana gives her hope.
Christian uses his money as a way to control his environment and tries to do that with Ana. What’s $24,000 between lovers? As in any relationship, give and take is needed and they try to work things out when disagreements arise, even in the case of her boss…Christian was right but Ana handled it on her own. Sadly, while Ana appears to try to hold her own and keep to her beliefs, one smoldering look from Christian and she gives in. The mixed messages they both send distracted me from the movie. I found myself wanting to rewrite some of the dialogue.
Fifty Shades Darker is a romance with light-kink. The nudity is rampant and there’s enough sizzle to keep the easily embarrassed covering their eyes. Yet even with the danger lurking, the story ends with happily ever after as love triumphs. Fifty Shades appeals to the fans of the series and makes for a perfect girls’ night out, complete with masks. Just be sure to stay for the sneak peek during the credits for the third installment coming next year.
Teenagers are the same no matter where they are born. I give The Space between Us an A-.
Gardner Elliot is a young man who was born on the Mars station of East Texas. His mother was the lead astronaut on the mission when she learned of her pregnancy. Sadly, she passes giving birth, leaving Gardner alone with only the remaining crewmembers for family.
The Space between Us is a movie about belonging and understanding who we are, which is why a teenage hero is perfect. It’s a time when most kids are separating from their parents and learning what makes them unique. Gardner is no different, even though he’s never set foot on Earth.
His relationship with a young girl on Earth (Tulsa) shows him about love as he risks everything in an effort to find his father. Twists and surprises abound on the adventure across the Western US. Of course, Gardner and Tulsa fall in love and celebrate their passion under the stars. This felt contrived and wasn’t really necessary for the storyline. It’s not as if every teenager must have sex when they find someone they are attracted to, let alone one who hasn’t even kissed one person and a girl who had been shuffled around through Child Protective Services system.
Asa Butterfield is Gardner and does a wonderful job as not just an awkward teen but a brilliant one who uses the magnet in his pacemaker to deactivate locks yet, struggles with heavy gravity and the wonder of Earth. His gait and movements seem silly but give viewers a look at how life differs on the two planets. We’ve seen a lot of Asa lately in Mrs. Peregrine’s and Ender’s Game and I anticipate we will see more.
With a large supporting cast of mainly B-list actors, the faces are familiar but lack the big names to draw audiences. It reminds me of the early 80’s movies before Molly Ringwald became a recognizable face. The Space between Us pulls at your heartstrings, so you may need a Kleenex but the message is overall very positive and has you leaving the theater with a smile on your face.
This movie will appeal to fans of a good story with interesting characters, some humor and a happy ending.
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