Flight = Redemption. Who Will Save Whip’s Soul?

Flight

***Warning:  If you have a deep-seated fear of flying like I do don’t watch this movie.  Or if you really want to watch this movie, from the time the plane is cleared for take-off go into another room, put on noise canceling headphones, and wait until someone you love and trust gives you the all-clear.

I’m already freaking out because the next time I travel by air my pilot may not know how to fly a plane upside down.

This movie is not what you think.  It’s absolutely the right stuff and absolutely annoying as hell, both at the same time.

I’ll try to keep the Spoilers to a minimum but stop right now if you don’t want to read any Spoilers.

***

The right stuff:  Denzel Washington and his amazing incredible uncanny ability to possess a character, Whip Whitaker, to inhabit the body and soul of a washed-up, degenerate, substance abusing loser; a miserable excuse for a man/boy-flying-wonder who manages to pull off a miracle with panache.

(Soul is the operative word here – more later.)

Not so right:  No obvious or less than obvious reason for Whip Whitaker to be an asshole, his divorce notwithstanding – It is made clear to the viewer that his assholiness predated the divorce.

The right stuff:  Secondary players.

Not so right:  Secondary players.  It wasn’t the acting.  The acting was fine.  It was the archetypes that bugged me–

1.  If all drug dealers spouted corn pone quips and dealt down-home wisdom as readily as John Goodman’s over the top, Harling Mays, we’d all be using cocaine whether we were piloting a commercial airplane or cooking up a tasty pot roast.  He makes it look that good.

2.  The holy roller co-pilot and his Stepford Wife.  Good for siccing on zombies in the post-apocalyptic world because God save us all from the wrath of the righteous, but otherwise they were useless and, frankly, offensive characters.  

3.  Slimy lawyer.  Speaking as the daughter of a lawyer I have to ask– Must all cinematic lawyers (except in some John Grisham movies) be portrayed as slime balls?

4.  The beautiful down on her luck junkie/heroine addict who, unfortunately, added nothing to the story.  Her inclusion into the Whip Whitaker saga was a bit like watching parallel play in childhood.  Two side by side stories,  neither contributing much to the other.  She was a symbol.  She never assumed any more flesh and blood than her one-dimensional photo.

The right stuff:  A suspension of disbelief.  I’m going to give the director and the actors mega-props for the outrageous flight scenes.

Not so right:  A suspension of disbelief.

1.  Pilots, and all others associated with safety in the airline industry, are drug tested– regularly and randomly.  A man who drinks heavily and uses drugs, and has done so every single day – before, during and after flights – over a twenty year period – would have been caught at some point in time.  Especially because Whip’s drinking and drug use were not secret.  The flight crew and other pilots were aware of his issues.

2.  Even the most seasoned alcoholic cannot drink as much as Whip Whitaker does in a single sitting without:

a.  Passing out behind the wheel of a car, and elsewhere.

b.  Suffering recurring bouts of alcohol poisoning requiring emergency intervention which if left untreated would lead to…

c.  Death from alcohol poisoning.

It’s simply not possible to suspend disbelief on this one.  Trust me.

Now we come to the part about redemption.  Because at its heart, that’s what this movie is all about.

Who will save Whip’s soul?

When push comes to shove, will Whip save his soul or will he save his own ass?

The question is answered by borrowing from such disparate places as a film like Brendan Fraser’s Bedazzled, a play like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and even the television series Battlestar Galactica. 

I’m referring to Willie Loman’s disintegration and descent into the depths of hell.  Elliot Richard’s meeting with God in his jail cell.  Gaius Baltar, the ultimate trickster figure, and his ever faithful sidekick, Caprica Six, with her oft-repeated whisper– “You are made in God’s image…”

These sources provide the answers Whip seeks in Flight.

Unnecessary:  Gratuitous full frontal nudity in the opening scene.  As hubs said in the beginning, “Oh my, that’s the earliest nipple shown in any movie… ever.”  While in the end he said, “That nude scene contributed nothing to the story.  This would have been a PG 13 rated film without it.”

But the nude scene is probably why some people will now hurry to watch it.

Interesting mini factoid:  Tamara Tunie (flight attendant Margaret Thomason) got her start on As the World Turns.  She sure landed a plum role.  She’s great in Flight.

 

Looper, a Hit and a Miss.

Looper.

Hit:  Stylish futuristic noir thriller.

Miss:  A chimera of themes.  Is this a time paradox movie or a Mutant movie?  Shades of The Phoenix, i.e., Jean Grey’s alter ego.

Hit:  The acting.

Miss:  Plot holes big enough to fly an Airbus A380 through.

Hit:  Entertaining.

Miss:  The demon child.

Has anyone else seen Looper?  If so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

I DNF’d It After Twenty Minutes.

Those of you who know me know I am a big Channing Tatum fan.  Big as in huge.  As in enormous.  As in those extra eight inches, uh, I mean those extra four inches huge erect edifice big huge.

How big?  This big!

How big? This big!

But man oh man I DNF’d Magic Mike after twenty excruciating minutes of embarrassment.  It’s awfulness embarrassed me – not personally, as in I wasn’t personally embarrassed for watching, or attempting to watch the movie, but because it was sooooo piss-poor terrible.   Cringe-worthy.  Came very close to grossing me out.

Story?

What story?

We got naked male butts, we don’t need no stinkin’ story!

Uh, yeah, sorry honey, you do need a story.

A butt out of context, no matter how stacked, is just a butt.

A butt.

A butt.

 

 

In Blood and Chocolate…

the filmmakers actually used real live wolves instead of CGI effects.  And it works just fine.

A young woman, an American orphan descended from a long line of werewolves, is raised by her aunt in Bucharest, Romania– which I find of interest, of course, since some of my ancestors came from Romania, my great grandfather was named Loupu, or Wolf– anyway, she’s promised in marriage to the leader of the pack but she falls in love with an American artist visiting Bucharest where he’s working on a graphic novel about the Loup-Garou.

So think violent paranormal pop romance.  Didn’t get great ratings, however, it wasn’t half bad.  In fact, it was pretty darn decent.  Intelligent script.  Solid acting.  Appealing and/or despicable characters.  Filmed on location.  Real wolves.  The special effects- handling the change from human to wolf was beautifully done.

Because of the focus on story and character and relationships instead of CGI effects I actually enjoyed Blood and Chocolate far more than a lot of the recent paranormal romances that have been made into movies.

So, my minority report… Two Thumbs Up.

Blood and Chocolate, starring Agnes Bruckner, Oliver Martinez, Hugh Darcy, directed by Katja von Garnier, produced by the same  people who produced Underworld with Kate Beckinsale.

I planned to post but…

instead I watched 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.  I admit it… I’ve been hot on Channing Tatum since I very first saw him in Step Up.  And now he’s in Magic Mike, which I’ll probably have to see by myself since I doubt hubby wants to get up close and personal with male strippers.

Sometimes an actor charms me.  Channing Tatum charms me.  And Jonah Hill– I’ve loved him since Superbad.

A quick announcement:  My Everything is now on Amazon.  Check it out.  Thanks for all your hard work, Jaye.

Security consultant Ben McCall is alone. His wife and unborn child are dead, victims of an assassination attempt meant for someone else. He blames himself. Grieving, he disappears, dead to almost everyone and everything from his past. When his best friend is in danger Ben resurfaces, only to find his friend isn’t the target of a murderer, he is.

Grace Adams is one of the walking wounded. A pain specialist who treats cancer patients, she’s lost her new husband to leukemia. One night she finds herself incapacitated by a severe headache. From out of nowhere a man comes to her aid. He’s the man she fell in love with years before, Ben McCall. As the passion between them reignites, Grace too becomes a target of the madman who stalks Ben.

Now it’s not just their rekindled love at stake, it’s their very lives.