365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


Molly’s Game (2017)

In my personal life, I've mentioned many times that I am so glad I am not addicted to gambling. I have many other problems and the added temptation of a big payday by sacrificing my own hard-earned money with less than successful odds sounds absolutely miserable.

In Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, he tells the story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain - A Most Violent Year, Take Shelter), an Olympic level skier who once ran one of the most exclusive high-stakes poker games for more than a decade, two years before her arrest that saw FBI agents surrounding her house with automatic guns in the middle of the night. It's a legitimate directorial debut and one that is worthy of its high praise. But despite how well made the movie is, I believe it to be a much more enjoyable and educational film if you are familiar with the game of poker. I have no idea how to play the game, so while I was fascinated by the movie, there were definitely many parts where I felt like the odd one sitting around a kitchen table because there were many terms thrown around that I did not understand as well as actions, motives, dialogue, and even purposes that felt very foreign to me. As a result, the movie didn't hook me like it did many of the other films that Sorkin also wrote (The Social Network, Moneyball, Steve Jobs, Charlie Wilson's War not to mention his credits as a lead writer on television's The West Wing and Newsroom). That's not to say Sorkin should stick to screenwriting. He absolutely should not. It's just that I will look forward to seeing him direct a movie revolving around a different theme in the future rather than revisiting Molly's Game, a film that, frankly, will be one that I will forever forget about soon after I write this review.


St. Vincent (2014)

Theodore Melfi's St. Vincent, his first full length feature film, is a movie I should have probably liked a little more than I did. Unfortunately, though it did it better than many of its predecessors, it follows a very familiar been there, done that approach. It's no wonder that, despite some great performance (especially from its lead), it got lost in the shuffle and ultimately got shut out from any Academy Award nominations. There is only so much you can do with portraying a down and out lead character who hits rock bottom and then has to fight just to be again. In some flicks we see these character have bottomed before the movie begins (Crazy Heart, The Dark Knight Rises) and others where the character really hit rock bottom over the course of the film (The Wrestler, Shame, Leaving Las Vegas). St. Vincent is more like the latter and while some might like it better, I thought it came no where close to any of the five movies I mentioned in the previous sentence. While Bill Murray (Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation) gave his best lead performance in over a decade, the film offered nothing that I hadn't seen before and I liked the avenues that each of these five aforementioned movies took.


This is 40 (2012)

This Is 40 is an incredibly depressing movie that is not really that funny at all. I love a good, raunchy comedy as much as anyone, but when it's raunchy and not funny, it just becomes really dumb. I say this with lots and lots of love for director Judd Apatow. Apatow has written and directed two of the funniest movies of all-time (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up). He has also helped produce some of the other major comedies of the last decade including Superbad, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Still, this is just the fourth movie he is directed and, one of those, Funny People, was anything but funny. This Is 40 should have been a big hit. Apatow is talented enough to make a movie surrounding this topic into something funny. But ultimately, This Is 40 is a failure. I have yet to talk to a person who has seen this movie and said, "I loved it and can't wait to see it again." I've heard, "I didn't like that." I've heard, "I saw it and I'm glad I saw it, but I wouldn't watch it again." My thought on the movie was "I saw it and I'm not sure that I'm glad I saw it because, being near 40, I found parts of it to be too real and parts of it to be not real at all." I'll try to explain.


Bridesmaids (2011)

Though 2010 was the best year for movie releases in my lifetime with the likes of movies like The Town, Inception, Shutter Island, Blue Valentine, 127 Hours, Black Swan, and The King's Speech, it still liked that one killer comedy (although Date Night was a very fun movie). I have also heard very good things about Get Him to the Greek, I still have not seen it. 2011 on the other hand has had some fantastic comedies including The Hangover Part 2 (sure it was basically the first movie all over again, but it was still laugh out loud hilarious so who really cares), Hall PassHorrible Bosses, and the more sentimental Crazy, Stupid, Love. which was just as endearing as it was funny. But, without a doubt, the funniest movie of the year was Bridesmaids.