Sam & Kate

Posted on November 10, 2022 at 5:01 pm

B
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and drug use
Profanity: Strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Marijuana and alcohol
Violence/ Scariness: Sad death
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: November 11, 2022
Copyright 2022 Vertical Entertainment

The movie is called Sam and Kate, but it is equally about Bill and Tina. And it is about the actors who play them. Bill is played by Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman. and his son Sam is played by Hoffman’s real-life son, Jake Hoffman. Tina is played by Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek, and her daughter Kate is played by Spacek’s real-life daughter, Schuyler Fisk. That real-life connection gives the film extra interest and extra grounding. There is a palpable sense of trust in the scenes of Sam and Kate interacting with their parents that lets them show frustration without making us for a moment doubt their love.

It will take a while for Sam and Kate to learn that they have a lot in common. They each lived somewhere else and have returned to a small town to help care for their parents. Bill is cranky and demanding. We first see Sam resignedly sitting on a chair in a huge big box store as Bill rides around on a scooter annoying the staff. Tina and Kate have a warmer relationship, but we will learn that Tina is more dependent on Kate than she seemed.

Sam loves to draw but he is stuck working at a chocolate factory. His Kate owns a bookstore. Both are feeling isolated and lost, though Sam has hoped that Kate will help him feel less lost. He awkwardly tries to ask her out in her store but she says she is not dating at the moment.

On Christmas, all four attend the same church service. When Tina’s car stalls in the church parking lot, Bill tries to help, and the four get acquainted. Bill takes Tina on a date and Kate agrees to let Sam take her out.

First time feature riter/director Darren Le Gallo is better with the in-between moments than the plot developments, which is often the case with beginners who have not yet learned to trust the audience. When the chaacters are just interacting quietly they convey a great deal and the events interrupt the delicacy of those scenes. Jake Hoffman, very impressive in small roles in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (as shoe designer turned felon Steve Madden) and in the otherwise disappointing “Otherhood” moves smoothly into a central role. And Fisk, an engaging screen presence going back to 1995’s “Babysitter’s Club,” has a lovely, expressive light. Watching them together as Sam and Kate begin to open up despite all of the baggage and self-protective distance and fear of vulnerability is touching and a reminder that it is those in between moments that can matter most.

Parents should know that this film has a non-explicit sexual situation and some crude sexual references, strong language, alcohol and marijuana, and a sad death.

Family discussion: Why did Sam and Kate change over the course of the film? What kind of help did they give their parents?

If you like this, try: “”Kalbuey,” “Laggies,” “Maggie’s Plan,” and “A Little Help”

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How Many Versions of Carrie Have There Been (So Far)?

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 8:00 am

The 1976 Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel about a bullied girl whose telekinetic powers cause mass destruction after she is humiliated at the prom, is still one of the most unforgettable horror movies of all time.  Both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were nominated for Oscars.

The remake with Chloë Grace Moritz and Julianne Moore opens this week, which makes it a good time to look back.

The New York Times has a piece about the previous versions of “Carrie”, including a Broadway musical that got catastrophically bad reviews.  “The only thing terrifying about ‘Carrie’ is that there’s a second act.'”

It closed after five performances. But it was revived in 2012 and the Times says its anti-bullying message has led to some high school productions.

Spacek and Laurie did not return for The Rage: Carrie 2, which had Emily Bergl as another girl who is raised by a fanatical mother (J. Smith-Cameron), but Amy Irving reprised her role from the first film. A television remake with Angela Bettis and Patricia Clarkson aired on NBC in 2002. And there have been parody versions in drag.

The new one will never have the shock factor of the original, but with two brilliant actresses, it seems like good Halloween fun.

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For Your Netflix Queue Original Version

Blast From the Past

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:16 am

Brendan Fraser plays Adam, who was born in 1962, in an elaborate bomb shelter constructed by his eccentric genius of a father (Christopher Walken). His parents, mistakenly believing that a nuclear bomb exploded in Los Angeles, stayed in the shelter for 35 years. Adam comes out in 1997 to get supplies. He meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone) who is at first annoyed and bewildered by his innocence and old-fashioned values, but then charmed by them.

This leisurely comedy has no surprises or special insights, but it does have attractive performers (including Dave Foley as Troy, the gay best friend). It doesn’t waste much time on Adam’s surprise at the changes of the last 35 years. Instead, it allows us to share his undiluted joy from the simple pleasures he has never had a chance to experience, like the sunrise and the ocean. And it even has some poignance as Troy and Eve envy Adam’s old-fashioned good manners and love for his family.

Parents should know that there is some strong language and some sexual references, including a prostitute of ambiguous gender and adult video stores (nothing shown), and “comic” alcohol abuse (Adam’s mother, played by Sissy Spacek, becomes an alcoholic while she is confined to the bomb shelter). Some parents may also be concerned about an addled character who founds a new age style religion based on the belief that Adam and his family are gods. In general, the movie’s values are sound, however, emphasizing Eve’s essential honesty and her appreciation of Adam’s integrity and courtesy.

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Comedy
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