Custom Search




banner2

banner3

banner3

tel:18003484095


Brad’s Status

Battle Of The Sexes

October 5, 2017

Brad’s Status (****) R   

If you are a certain type of film goer, you know that every once in a great while a movie comes along that seems to be about and made just for you. Films like this speak to us personally as human beings. They give us insight into our own lives and force us to reevaluate and face some of the hard and ugly truths that we may be reluctant to deal with as we go through the day to day process of this thing called life. In doing so they remind us what a gift the movies can truly be and separate the folks who think movies are just entertainment from those that are smart and insightful enough to know better. Writer-director Mike White’s film, Brad’s Status, is one of those great life-altering experiences. As such, it’s also one of the best films I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this year and I’m all the richer for it.   

Brad’s Status is many things, but at its heart I believe it’s an indictment of the Facebook culture in which we live.

Austin Abrams & Ben Stiller in Brad’s Status

As most of us can attest the culture we live in assaults and bombards us on a daily level with the seemingly great accomplishments of our contemporaries and comrades. Those who regularly contribute to the social media platform inadvertently make us feel less worthy with their videos and pictures illuminating the seemingly exciting and fulfilled lives they seem to be leading. It’s hard not to compare one’s self to others in this environment even if deep down we know that this is a rabbit hole we shouldn’t allow ourselves to wander into. These are the universal truths that White’s film taps into in a most profoundly moving and insightful way.   

Ben Stiller has never been better than he is in the role of the title character, Brad Sloane. Stiller has a sadness about him here that I don’t recall seeing before. His performance, in many ways, was a revelation to me. The character, Brad, is forty-seven and running a seemingly successful non-profit business. He has a nice home, a good marriage and an accomplished offspring. Still, somehow Brad feels a sense of melancholia and discontent when comparing his own life to the lives of his college friends. A feeling that his best years are behind him and that his current status in life is as good as it gets.     

All of Brad’s growing seeds of discontent come to a head during a trip to Boston that he embarks upon with his musician son (very well embodied by Austin Abrams, who’s also a revelation) as they go forth on a tour of colleges. The character of Brad provides contrapuntal commentary to the events depicted onscreen in a most unique way that harkens to back to the use of voice-over in director Billy Wilder’s films.    

Brad’s Status has quite a few great belly laughs but it’s the more serious stuff that stays with you. It made me reflect on my own choices and my own current station in life and, if you let it, it’s liable to do the same for you. It also managed to move me very deeply on more than one occasion. Through it all it never hits a false note. It’s one of the year’s best films and it deserves to be seen. 

Brad’s Status is playing in Charlotte.

Battle of the Sexes

(***) PG-13

The story of the celebrated 1973 tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs gets its second go round, this time as a feature film—the first attempt was a 2001 ABC TV Movie—in the engaging and involving Battle of the Sexes. Because this is a theatrical film, parts of the story that would have had trouble getting past the censors in that earlier version have now been integrated into the story and it works in the film’s favor. The most notable of which is King’s coming to terms with her sexuality. As a result Battle of the Sexes is certainly worthy of attention.

Emma Stone, in the first feature starring the actress to be released following her La La Land Oscar win, proves to be an excellent choice in the role of women’s tennis champ, Billie Jean King. Though the physical resemblance between Stone and her real life counterpart isn’t all that close, the actress still manages to lose herself in the role in such a way that we forget that it’s Stone we’re watching and not the real Billie Jean King. Steve Carrell, on the other hand, IS a dead ringer for Bobby Riggs. Carrell is also so good at humanizing the character that he actually elicits sympathy for the man. That’s a feat that isn’t that easy to pull off when one stops to consider how polarizing Riggs was in life.

The film begins with its participants in much different stages in their lives. King is a reigning women’s tennis champ and, by all appearances, happily married and with a contented life both on and off the court.

Emma Stone & Steve Carrell in Battle of the Sexes

Riggs, on the other hand, is a former men’s tennis champ, somewhat forgotten and working in an office for his father in law.

Riggs’ compulsion to gamble leads him to the idea of challenging King in a tennis match that’s bound to garner publicity. Riggs sees it as an opportunity to get back into the limelight and maybe clean up financially in the process. King eventually came to realize that a match between herself and Riggs was a chance to prove that women are equal to men in a society that believes otherwise. To state that they both had a dog in the fight is an old adage that seems appropriate.

Battle of the Sexes devotes a good chunk of its early section to King’s sexual awakening, which, as depicted in the film, comes after a chance encounter with hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough). King is conflicted with the image she is expected to maintain and her own deep desires, leading to all sorts of emotional turmoil. There’s also her battle with tennis head Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), who’s basically portrayed as a man so slimy in his sexist views that he oozes from place to place.

The period detail is great and, as previously noted, the performances are spot on. If there’s a quibble to be made it would with the light tone of the film that feels a bit in conflict with the heady subjects being dealt with but that’s a small complaint for a film that’s got so much in its favor.

Battle of the Sexes is playing in Charlotte.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

ARCHIVES:

American Made

mother!
Kingsman: The Golden Circle

It

Good Time

Logan Lucky • Crown Heights

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power • Wind River

13 Minutes & In This Corner Of The World

Annabelle: Creation & Detroit

A Ghost Story

Maudie & Atomic Blonde

War For The Planet Of The Apes • Dunkirk

The Big Sick • The Hero

Spiderman: Homecoming

The Beguiled & Baby Driver

All Eyez On Me

It Comes At Night & Paris Can Wait

The Lovers • The Mummy

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales & Wonder Woman

Alien: Covenant

Snatched

Guardians Of The Galaxy & Volume 2

The Lost City Of Z

Colossal

The Fate Of The Furious & Going In Style

T2 Trainspotting

Life • Wilson

The Sense Of An Ending

Kedi

Kong: Skull Island

I Am Not Your Negro & Logan

Get Out & The Red Turtle

A Cure For Wellness & Fifty Shades Darker

Rings & John Wick: Chapter 2

Gold

Split • The Founder

Silence • Patriots Day

A Monster Calls & Hidden Figures

Paterson & 20th Century Women

Jackie

Fences • Sing • Rogue One

Nocturnal Animals • La La Land & Collateral Beauty

Why Him?

Manchester By The Sea Allied • Loving

Rules Don’t Apply • Moana & Bad Santa 2

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them • Moonlight

Arrival & Dr. Strange

Hacksaw Ridge

Inferno & Ouija: Origin Of Evil

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The Girl On The Train & The Accountant

Masterminds • Deep Water Horizon • Birth Of A Nation

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Snowden & The Magnificent Seven

Bridget Jones’ Baby & Blair Witch

Sully

The Light Between Oceans

Hell Or High Water & Don't Breathe

Sausage Party & Indignation

Florence Foster Jenkins & Pete's Dragon • Café Society

Eat That Question & Suicide Squad

Star Trek Beyond & Jason Bourne

Lights Out

Ghostbusters

The Purge: Election Year

Independence Day: Resurgence • The BFG

Free State Of Jones & DePalma

Now You See Me 2 & Finding Dory

The Conjuring 2 & Me Before You

X Men: Apocalypse Love And Friendship

The Lobster & The Meddler

Money Monster • The Nice Guys Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Miles Ahead

Elvis And Nixon Green Room

Midnight Special Everybody Wants Some

The Jungle Book

I Saw The Light • The Boss

Hello My Name Is Doris & Krisha

Divergent: Allegiant & Batman v Superman

10 Cloverfield Lane & Brothers Grimsby

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & London Has Fallen

Triple 9 & 45 Years

Eddie The Eagle• The Witch

Where To Invade Next & Son Of Saul

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

Anomalisa • 13 Hours: The & Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi

The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip

In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn

Spotlight

‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before

Trumbo

Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck

Self/Less

Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &
Tomorrowland

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows

Divergent

Cinderella

Chappie

Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3

Unbroken

Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie

Foxcatcher

Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar

Nightcrawler

Ouija

Fury

The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now

Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies


 

 

 

RenFaire2017.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2017 Tucker Productions, Inc.