Monday, September 12, 2016

Weekend Box Office: Sully, Our Little Sister

Here is an interesting article from reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to choosing good movies to watch yourself!

Weekend Box Office: Sully, Our Little Sister

By Debbie Schlussel
Even though it’s now September, I feel like I’m still stuck in the August pet cemetery of movies, where Hollywood sends crappy movies to die a quick and painless death. Sad to say, that applies to both of the new movies in theaters today (go see the excellent “Hell or High Water” instead–I’ll try to post a review later today). Neither “The Disappointments Room” nor “When the Bough Breaks” were screened for critics (a sure sign that they’re stinkers).

* Sully – Rated PG-13: This movie’s been getting a lot of buzz, promotion, and Oscar talk. Don’t believe the hype. It’s a nothing and a big fat lie. The “Miracle on the Hudson” has been transformed in a reverse-Rumpelstiltskin to Bullcrap on the Silver Screen, complete with totally made-up villains who never existed and make-believe drama that never happened. The Brothers Grimm ain’t got nothin’ on this fairy tale.
I wondered how they were going to make a movie about something that’s a short, cut-and-dried event in real life: a pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (here played by a mustachioed Tom Hanks) masterfully lands a plane in the Hudson River, after both engines of the plane are blown out by birds. Miraculously, everyone on board survives. End of story. At least . . . that was the end of the real, true-life story, which is at best a 20-minute movie. Director Clint Eastwood needed drama and something with which to fill this slow, mundane storyline so it lasts another hour and some change. So what did he do? He and scriptwriter Todd Komarnicki bring us a completely fabricated, phony story in which the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a villainous group of the usual stock Hollywood baddies: fat, old, bald White men (and one White chick) who constantly second-guess and chastise Sully for not returning the plane to the airport or landing at another one nearby. That’s more than half of the movie. (By the way, since Blacks are clamoring for more roles in movies, why didn’t they cast any Black people as the frowning, indignant, moralizing NTSB villains? Don’t Black actor’s lives matter? Just askin’.)
But, in fact, NONE of that ever happened, as well-documented in a Bloomberg News story. Yes, there was the usual, typical NTSB investigation–as there has been, is, and would be in the case of any such emergency landing in a river. But, in real life, it was a formality, and the NTSB never attacked or criticized Sullenberger’s water landing as is depicted throughout this hour-and-thirty-five-minute-long movie. In fact, the NTSB officials praised Sully for his landing, and he praised them in “his” book, “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters,” on which this movie is supposed to be based (but barely is). [Full disclosure: the late Detroit-based journalist and best-selling author, Jeff Zaslow (a Wall Street Journal reporter)–the actual author of the Sully book (he gets co-author credit but actually wrote the whole thing)–was a friend of mine, a reader of this site, and a mensch who comforted me when my late dad was dying of cancer. We spoke about Sully and the book several times in writing and over the phone (including about the Sully sex stuff, below, which he found out about from my site). Sully spoke at his funeral. Zaslow wrote an article about me in the Wall Street Journal that I hated, but my dad loved it.]
The fact that the movie is a complete lie and defames the NTSB officials doesn’t seem to phase Sully. Apparently, Sully likes to sully others. He not only appears in the movie during the ending credits, but he is pimping the movie all over the place because he profits from it–he sold the rights to his book for this endeavor. Cha-ching! And that makes him a lot less of a “hero” than America originally gave him credit for. He was already something of a jerk in my eyes because, as I pointed out on this site, he and his wife appeared on NBC’s “Today” show to tell the world about their “rock star” sex-life after the landing on the Hudson. Um, TOO. MUCH. INFORMATION!
Yeah, this whole thing went to greedy fame-whore Sully’s head. And that’s why he probably can live with this over-hyped, hyperbolic “version” of what happened, when it is just total fiction, and he’s admitted as much on at least one TV interview I saw when asked about the NTSB dust-up and whether it really happened. But, then, he and Clint Eastwood also pimp the phony version told in this movie in a promotional video trailer they recently made. By the way, after the Hudson landing, Sully quickly quit piloting the friendly skies to become yet another motivational speaker (because America has a shortage of those and needs more!).
I hate this kind of movie because we know that morons across America will believe that the BS they see on screen is reality a la Oliver Stone’s “JFK.”
On top of this, to create more drama and–frankly–filler, the movie shows several “nightmares” Sully has of crashing his plane into buildings a la the 9/11 attacks, which is tone-deaf, given that the movie opens just two days before the 15th anniversary of those attacks. There’s also a nightmare in which he dreams that Katie Couric attacks him for landing in the Hudson. This is absurd, and I highly doubt any of that ever happened either. There are at least three of these dumb “imaginations.”
On top of that, the movie is filled with the mundanity of the heroic pilot’s post-Hudson-landing life. Do you find it exciting to see an old guy in a mustache, jogging? Then, this is your movie, as there are several scenes of that. Or how about an airline official bringing Sully a change of clothes, including socks, undies, and a sweatshirt? Wow, exciting. Only a vacuous movie needs these empty calories to fill time and space. And, then, there are the several tear-filled, overwrought phone conversations with Sully’s wife (in real life, she’s the “I’m having rock-star sex with Sully, America!” chick). He tells her he can’t fly again or come home until the NTSB investigation by the evil guys is over. Again, THAT. NEVER. HAPPENED.
Then, there are the weird scenes in which a TV makeup artist kisses Sully and a hotel manager hugs him. Did these things happen? I don’t know or care. Cuz’ I found this boring as heck, even with the casting of Aaron Eckhart (whom I normally like) as Sully’s also-mustachioed co-pilot. His presence in the movie seems like a forced bro-mance . . . and for him to utter F-bombs (and maybe to have a fellow member in the Mustache Hair Club for Men–is he not only a member, but also the president?).
The only exciting part of the movie is the depiction of what actually happened when the plane flew, collided with birds, had its emergency landing on the Hudson, and then the passengers got rescued. That showed the best in Sully and the best in America–including 1,200 (according to the movie) first-responders and others who rescued everyone. But it is so sullied (“Sully-ed”?) with flashbacks and flash-forwards that it’s a choppy, herky-jerky mess.
We already know the real story. Why pay and waste time to watch the underwhelming lie-filled version?
Time for Clint Eastwood to retire . . . along with his prevaricating scriptwriter.
I’m glad the 155 passengers and crew landed safely and lived. Sadly, I’m not happy that this fraud-on-film will also have a safe landing. With all the undeserved hype it’s getting on TV and in pop culture, it’s sure to top the box office this weekend.
But it deserves to crash and burn.

* Our Little Sister [Umimachi Diary]– Rated PG: I’ve seen some really great, moving Japanese movies (such as “Departures”–read my review). This was not one of them. I found this movie to be slow, boring, and utterly pointless. Like what befell Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this too is an atomic bomb. (What–too soon?) I guess if you have more than two hours of your life to waste and absolutely nothing to do whatsoever (plus you’ve already seen every other movie and other source of entertainment ever made), this would be okay. I struggled to stay awake, waiting for a little something to happen that never did. And, again, it’s more than two hours long. Yaaaawn.
The story: three 20-something Japanese sisters go to their estranged father’s funeral in the country. He left them decades ago after cheating on their mother, and they have little connection to him. Their mother, who is still alive, also left them, after their father’s cheating and leaving, and they live together in their mother’s former house in the city.
When they go to the funeral, the the girls meet their younger, teen-aged half-sister, who is the product of the union of their father’s affair and then marriage to the woman that broke up the three sister’s parents marriage. The woman has since died, and their father is now married to wife number three
(who has a baby with him and a boy from a previous marriage). Yeah, I know, it sounds like a soap opera, a dysfunctional family, or merely a start in your typical, normal NBA player’s set of extended family and baby-mamas.
The three older sisters invite their younger half-sister to come live with them, as–with the death of their father–she now has no one.
The rest of the movie shows us the three sisters’ humdrum lives, and it’s hard to keep track of them because at least two of them look very alike. Yeah, I know, that sounds “RAAAAAYCIST!” But, sorry, they look as alike as actresses Sally Struthers and Jacki Weaver do (and they’re White). Not that I cared about these sisters. You learn nothing about them, and they’re boring. One works at a bank, another works at a hospital (apparently as a nurse), and another works at a sporting goods store. One sister is having an affair with a married man who won’t leave his wife for her but wants her to move to Boston with him, and another sister quickly goes through boyfriends. The young half-sister plays soccer at her new school and has a boyfriend. Then, the movie–running out of boring things to tell us about these sisters, starts introducing us to other boring and melancholy characters, including a woman who owns a diner, but is dying of cancer.
And the purpose of this movie is . . . I’m not sure. But it’s useless to me, and will be to you. Nothing offensive about it. But nothing worthwhile about it either.
A total waste of time.

No comments: