A rash of new movies are out, and many of them feature great courage, sexy hunky men, raging bulls in human form (or testosterone run amok) and potent social themes. Here are my four picks for the last month.
“Thanks for Sharing” 4**** How a group of “losers” can help other “losers” get over or at least feel better about their sex addiction
Director: Stuart Blumberg
Best Parts: Tim Robbins for his portrayal of his relationship with his son and as the Sponsor for the addict; the power of the 12-step program approach for creating a sense of “fellowship” or a real life extended family of support; I loved the way the film created the flavor and tone of the 12-step community of support toward helping members abstain from disabling out of control behaviors and finding solace in each other. I think they delicately approached the complexities of sexual addiction. Spoiler alert: However, I predict that if the film went into a sequel the two male/female “buddies” who were helping each other stay sexually sober would be fucking each other like the best of ’em.
Worst Parts: The message embedded throughout that JUST being in a 12-step program will cure all ills of sex addiction; some of these folks need traditional long-term counseling or therapy to address their issues. I don’t ascribe to the disease model of sex addiction, but prefer to regard this as a compulsive behaviors issue; and I use my own holistic approach of teaching clients how to locate then manage their energies instead. Some people, however, are so hopelessly out of control, that they do require more intensive interventions, such as out-patient or in-patient abstinence and care in a facility of well trained staff. I really am starting not to focus or care about labels—sex addition, sexual compulsive, sexually energetically incompetent; more importantly, UNLIKE the downer of a movie “Shame”, this one had the layering required to posit such a difficult and wide range of issues and challenges that anyone identifying as a sex addict may face.
“Rush” 3.5 *** How testosterone on steroids and an ego the size of a Brahman bull’s balls can crash a car and your life
Director: Ron Howard
Best Parts: Er duh; Chris Hemsworth race car star driver James Hunt; Thor and now a race car legend. Yum. Not just a pretty face and hunky frame, this guy can emote and act. Good story; thrilling rides; great tension. Based on a true story. Love those!
Worst Parts: Formula One race car driver rival, the German Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl); nothing about him was likeable; despite his accident and the tragic disfigurement that meant to provoke compassion, he was ugly in and out before that; I hated the courtship moments with him and the woman. I felt a presence of vileness and utter narcissism.
“Gravity” in 3D 5*****How to overcome grief by soaring away from your ills and become a national hero with a mission that wins you appeal
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Best Parts: The incredible visuals and special effects; it felt like we were there with them in deep black space, floating and turning our bodies to avert the disaster of oncoming chaotic debris hitting us or space stations falling apart; the acting was superb. Oscar, anyone, for both? Especially for Sandra Bullock. Wow. And the role of George Clooney’s character ran deep and poignant. I loved everything about this film and I think I lost a pound from sweating and clenching my fists! Truly this film is the year’s “Avatar”!
Worst Parts: That Clooney’s character ended the way it did. Nope, not going to give you a spoiler alert.
“Captain Phillips” 5***** Why armed guards are now necessary on ships that sail African waters and how one good guy beat the bad guys
Director: Paul Greengrass
Best Parts: Ok, Tom Hanks deserves an Oscar bid. He was solid, complex, in the character throughout the journey, and played it authentically. Based on a true story and I also happen to have a friend that knows this guy whose story is true. Oddly, the woman sitting next to us in the little country town theater (which sports fine digital cinema) was about 62 years old; a stranger. As we got seated, waiting for the Previews to show, while dipping into the popcorn and sipping her soda she kept saying, “I can’t wait to see this film, I just can’t wait!”. When I asked her what she did for a living, which his not my usual casual repartee, she replied, “Oh, this. I’m a merchant marine sea captain, just like him.” Reality imitates art. Life is always better than fiction. Loved it. Loved all the action, the tension building, the visuals and the absolute terror it evoked. Also, the fact that the Somali pirates were played by NON-actors rocked my boat with Barkhad Abdi destined for an award nomination! They may both get Oscars!
Worst Parts: None. It is well worth the wide screen visual experience. And don’t ask me to change careers to navigate anything in those oceanic waters.