Jennifer Aniston: The Dysfunctional Stripper
Most movie-goers are familiar with the “dysfunctional family themed” movie feature or television show. It usually involves a wedding, illness, funeral, family reunion, college reunion, Thanksgiving, Christmas, atypical home, or Archie Bunker type setting. As the friends or family members return and gather, each member has a different type of dysfunctional baggage that is emphasized. Some of this baggage is humorous while others are carrying the unhappy baggage of childhood, divorce, un-acceptance, and failure. Weaving each story and making a television show or movie look different from its predecessors is a screenwriting challenge.
Jennifer Aniston’s new movie The Millers attacks dysfunction, but from a completely different viewpoint:
- Jennifer Aniston’s dysfunction revolves around her job as a stripper and how far a stripper should go during and after work.
- Jason Sudeikis is a drug dealer that delivers drugs to offices and homes. His dysfunction is that he thinks delivering drugs and ruining these lives isn’t the same as dealing the same poison to those on the street.
- Emma Roberts is a young person living alone on the street. She is homeless and without direction. For her, being street smart is not the same as being life smart.
- Ed Helms lives in the same apartment building as Sudeikis. His mother left him on a date and never came back. Normally the young girl character would be the ‘picture of innocence’ in such a story. In this case, it is Helms. He is way beyond the picture of innocence. Helms is the poster child and milk carton picture of unknowing.
Aniston’s movie is formed in the opposite direction of most films. The Miller’s writers have to make this disjointed group into a family. Tough job indeed! Sudeikis needs a fake family to pick up drugs in Mexico. Bringing the drugs back in a giant RV with a family as the disguise, in his mind, should get him through the border’s checkpoint.
Throughout the movie’s drug cartel chases, serious and humorous family squabbles, swollen body parts, RV site hook-ups, double crosses, and strip tease dances, you are rooting for everyone to change.
Sometimes, your real family or make believe family can help you to do this, and sometimes it cannot. We are rooting for the Millers and think you should root for them, too, at your local cinema complex this weekend.
Cate Blanchett: The Dysfunctional Sister
Many people zoom through life and don’t ask…What if? Some ‘life travelers’ are always looking back and questioning every success, failure, decision, connection, and event in their lives.
Fast-forward and think what would happen if every time you had a past reflection, you were transported back to that instance. You can’t change failures, events or misspoken words. However, this reflection may be helpful to you in the present.
Woody Allen is his new movie, Blue Jasmine, does this again and again to Cate Blanchett. These flashbacks, as Blanchett spirals out of control, do not help her. Blanchett goes from millionaires to penniless. She is forced into the home of her poor sister who she cheated out of $200,000 while essentially ruining her sister’s life. Alex Baldwin is her money manager husband. While living the life of a prince, he cheated family, friends, and investors before going bankrupt…then throwing Blanchette out into the street.
Magazine and newspaper critics throughout the Americas are calling Blue Jasmine one of Woody Allen’s and Cate Blanchett’s best works. For the writing, directing, and acting it may be. For creativity, Midnight in Paris is still Allen’s recent standout. In Midnight you go back in time and interact with your writing heroes, rather than just reflecting on your own life. You, then, have to decide is the present a better life choice or does the past offer more to the creative thinker? Paris is a great late night rental. Try Midnight in Paris and compare it to Blue Jasmine before you believe you local movie critic who, probably, has never traveled back in time like some of us!
Richard Gere: The Dysfunctional Madoff…Arbitrage (2012)
Before continuing with our dysfunctional actor and actress theme, let’s pause and give kudos for a new movie concept and a box office breaking record. Arbitrage starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and Brit Marling was released in theaters and on Video On Demand (pay television) at the same time. It made $8,000,000 dollars in the theaters and $12,000,000 through in-home purchases. This movie venture eclipsed all records for such an undertaking.
Arbitrage basically means buying low and immediately turning that purchase around and selling it at a higher price. For years, Richard Gere did that better than any money manager. A can’t miss deal for copper in Russia puts him all in and ‘money to work with’ poor.
Gere is cheating on everyone: the company that wants to purchase his company, his wife, his daughter, his son, his mistress, and his investors. He is selling his company with a hidden $400,000,000 cooked-books deficit. Along the way his mistress is killed in an accident that he can’t reveal. It will kill the deal to sell his company. Any notoriety by Gere will cause the company’s stocks to fall and make the company far less attractive.Tim Roth, at all costs, is trying to convict Gere of the accident that Gere fled. For Roth, fabricating evidence and lying…no problem! Brit Marling as Gere’s daughter and accountant may be the only decent person in the whole movie. Arbitrage was just released on Netflix and free Video On Demand. More scenes with Sarandon and Gere would have helped this movie to higher domestic and On Demand revenues.
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