People Like Us. Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde. Walt Disney Studios. Comedy/drama. Written by Alex Kurtaman, Roberto Orci, Jody Lambert. Directed by Alex Kurtzman. 6/29/12
FILM SYNOPSIS: Sam is a workaholic who returns home after his father suddenly passes away. In the course of putting his familyís affairs in order, Sam discovers he has an older sister. As their relationship builds, he begins to reevaluate his life.
REVIEW: After countless movies about superheroes and super-villains bouncing each other off every conceivable surface, itís always a pleasure to see a film about relationships. And I maintain that the true special effects arenít those conceived in a studio CGI workshop, but those found in story, dialogue and performance. These are the lasting elements because they touch the heart, mind and spirit, not the testosterone levels. Well, People Like Us effectively touches us. The film has developing relationships, life lessons and a moving ending that makes us feel good when we leave the theater.
And itís kind of refreshing to have a story about a brother and sister discovering the importance of family. Each character is somewhat self-centered until they realize that true happiness only comes when you begin to put others first. But there is one small problem Ė canít anyone in a serious movie from this decade refrain from using inappropriate language?
ďJesus! Jesus Christ! For Christís sake!Ē Forgive me, but Iím trying to make a point. Our Lordís name, he who was without sin, who gave his life on our behalf, is bandied about by nearly every movie star in the business. So along with everyone using the s-word, including a foul-mouthed kid with attitude, in this film we have the lead, Chris Pine, as the main offender. Was this profanity on the written page or just delivered by an actor, limited in his communication skills, trying to express frustration. Either way, it signifies an unwillingness by actor and filmmaker to show reverence for the Son of God or respect for film viewers who still subscribe to the teachings of Exodus 20.
I know the war has been lost. Members of the creative community wonít discontinue this practice and Christian moviegoers have long since given up the battle. Iím just about the only member of my group who critique movies from a Christian perspective who still mentions this offense.
Well, I guess I should stop bringing it up. It doesnít seem to do any good. Does anybody else even care if Christís name is misused in a movie? Do they stay away from a film that contains irreverence for Creator? And I guess I do tend to go on and on about this subject. (Look at this so-called review, for instance.) I guess I should stop. Yeah, thatís what Iím going to do. Iíll stop talking about the profane use of Godís name in movies.
The hell I will.
PG-13 (a few crude comments, mostly with sexual overtones, each coming from a boy; everybody gets to swear in this one, including the boy, who, among other obscenities, uses the f-word; around twenty obscenities; four misuses of Christís name and the expression ďOh my GodĒ is uttered several times; a mother slaps her grown son; a woman starts hitting a man when she loses her temper; kids set off an explosion at a school; a couple live together, there is an implied sexual situation, but nothing graphic is shown; the female lead attends AA meetings, but to support her son, she works as a bartender; as the boy befriends a stranger Ė itís his uncle Ė he makes a couple of comments about sexual predators; this is done for humorís sake). Running Time: 120 min. Intended Audience: Older teens and up
DVD Alternatives (each is old because I wanted to stay away from films that used profanity Ė sometimes you have to go way back to do that): TOGETHER. (2002) This Chinese film concerns a widowed father who sacrifices everything in order to support his teenage sonís gifted musical abilities. The son canít see the sacrifices made on his behalf until the end. Beautifully filmed in the ďForbidden CityĒ of China, full of humor, drama and insight, TOGETHER is a powerful morality tale with an ending that moved me to tears. This film reminded me of 1 Timothy 5:8, ďIf anyone does not provide for his relatives, he has denied the faith.Ē
BABETTE'S FEAST (1987). Winner of that year's Best Foreign Film Oscar and based on a short story by Isak Dinessen, it concerns two sisters in a small Danish town who take in a homeless woman as their servant. More like viewing a fine old painting or enjoying a sumptuous meal, it is a remarkable example that American filmmakers could take a lesson from.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962). Gregory Peck. Horton Foote's winning screenplay of the Harper Lee novel about rural life, justice, honor and bigotry as seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl. A beautifully photographed black-and-white movie with a haunting score by Elmer Bernstein. Peck was never better.
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941). Winner of five Oscars, directed by John Ford and starring Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Pidgeon and Donald Crisp - now there's ingredients for a successful video excursion. Tenderhearted adaptation of a devoted family in a Welsh coal-mining community.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (1945). James Dunn (Best Actor Oscar), Dorothy McGuire, Peggy Ann Garner. The memoirs of a sensitive young girl growing up in turn-of-the-century New York with a ne'er-do-well father. A flawless movie, one of the best I've ever seen. It celebrates the dreamer and honors the realist.
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