Thursday, May 3, 2012

Celebrating the Imperfections in a Perfect Family

I had the pleasure of seeing "The Perfect Family" at the Newport Beach Film Festival the other night. Kathleen Turner stars and executive produces. Sure, she's not the sexy young minx she was in "Body Heat" or "Romancing the Stone," but come on guys... she's 57 years old. She has reinvented herself, much like former sex symbol Alec Baldwin has done in his older years... and I'm so glad. We didn't see a lot of her in starring feature film roles for a while, but it was so fantastic watching her leading the cast again on the big screen. Her comedy chops are in full force reminiscent of her highly acclaimed performance in "Serial Mom." Emily Deschanel from tv's "Bones" plays her daughter, Jason Ritter from tv's "Parenthood" plays her son and we also get solid performances from Elizabeth Pena, Sharon Lawrence (though too young to play a former high school classmate of Turner), Michael McGrady and Richard Chamberlain. But remember, this blog is NOT about movie reviews. It's about what we take away from movies. So... let's talk about "perfect" families. Those of us from divorced or poor families tend to look at other families and think they have it all. Oh, they're so lucky. But if you ever peel away the layers, I think you'll find that many of those "perfect" families are the most IMperfect of all. I've fallen into the trap myself, where I've looked at people, who live in the gorgeous homes with the beautifully manicured lawns and white picket fences with the fantastic children and the most fabulous dog, and thought "Man, they have it all." But often behind closed doors, the PTA mom is cheating on her husband with her trainer, the man of the house is embezzling from his company and the high school valedictorian is popping pills. The things that happen on "Desperate Housewives" may not be so far from reality after all. So, instead of dreaming we had a "perfect" family for ourselves, we should probably just celebrate the family we do have, appreciate them and make the best of sometimes challenging situations. Let's put the FUN in dysfunction!!!

Getting Your Swerve On

The Newport Beach Film Festival comes to a close today and though some would say I'm a film connoisseur, not to mention I lived in Newport Beach throughout college, I must admit that this is the first time I ever attended. I'm so glad I did, though I wish I had time to see more films and take part in all it has to offer. I'm looking at it as an appetizer for years to come. The first movie I saw there is called "Swerve" and comes to us from Australia. That means no subtitles for those of you, who turn away from foreign films!!! The movie reminds me a bit of "No Country for Old Men" or "A Simple Plan" starring Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton. It's the story of money and honesty. If you found a large sum of money, would you keep it or turn it in? If you decided to turn it in, would it be because it's the right thing to do or because you were afraid of the circumstances that could follow? Karma really can be a bitch! On the flip side, if you decided to keep it, how far would you go to get away with it? Starting over in a different country? Breaking other laws to keep your secret? Committing murder? Depending on your answer, chances are you won't admit the truth here on a blog. But this may be a good time to think about it. How important is money to you and what lengths will you go to to get your grubby little hands on it? As for the actors, David Lyons, Emma Booth and Jason Clarke do a fine job. Lyons should soon become a movie star here in America. Yes, he is a real dream boat (did I really just say dream boat?), but he certainly has the acting chops to back up his physical attributes. Booth is sort of a Nicole Kidman or Jessica Chastain type, though sexier, and Clarke plays a solid heavy. All three could easily make a successful transition to film and television here in the U.S., so watch for these Aussies getting their "Swerve" on... on a big or small screen near you!