A new week, some newer dramas to talk about. Up first is Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2. I remember liking the first film SLC Punk. It had a Trainspotting type vibe to it. I knew about this sequel because of crowd funding so I was looking forward to seeing it. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it at all. It’s been a long time since I saw the original, but this seemed to lack everything I remember about the original. This one is about the son of one of the lead’s in the original who doesn’t know his dad because he died. He’s very straight edge until one day starts drinking and doing drugs. He goes on a road trip with another guy and girl and end up at a big punk show. That’s all I got out of it. It seemed completely unnecessary or maybe incomplete. Maybe they didn’t have enough money to make the film they wanted to make and this is the result. I’m not sure. Nothing about it stood out. The original has a great cult following to it, I think most fans will be disappointed in this. If you know of this film and liked the original, watch it for yourself, but keep your expectations low. Even the music wasn’t all that great.
Next we have The North Star. I know it’s awful to say, but this movie about slavery really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s a straight forward film and after watching it, I really didn’t have much to say about it. The performances and production are all fine, but it’s not something I’d watch again. It’s definitely one of those, watched it once, that’s all you need to do with it type. It’s about two slaves escaping to the North thanks to the Underground Railroad and meeting famous historical figures. The only take away I got from it was that slave owners paid high bounties for big runaways. The one character is huge and had a big bounty for his return. Other than that, there’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
Third we have I Smile Back. I’m not a big fan of Sarah Silverman, but I really liked her in this. Unfortunately the movie itself isn’t so good. I haven’t really liked her in anything so I have no idea where this performance came from. I think every comedic actor has a strong dramatic turn in them and this is Sarah’s. I feel like I’ve seen this movie before. Silverman’s character takes drugs, sleeps around and right before she loses everything, tries to reconcile and fix her life. It’s all too familiar, but I’m really shocked at Silverman. I hope she does more characters like this and stops the over the top zany ones she’s known for. Josh Charles is always good and he’s good with Silverman here. I wish it was a different film because Silverman really does shine here. If you like her, definitely watch it though because you’ve never seen her like this.
Last we have When Bette Met Mae. Even though I work in film and write about film, I’m terrible with Old Hollywood. I know that’s sad to say, but it’s true. The story in this is totally new to me so it’s hard to say if others will like this or not. I thought the performances were really good and you almost second guess if they are actresses or the real deal. I’m not sure if this story is accurate, but for what it is, it’s pretty entertaining. You’re talking about two icons and seeing the interaction between them is pretty fascinating. Plus it shows you a different world before 24 hours news and social media. The original audio isn’t super easy to understand, but it’s a film that you enjoy because of the concept and not necessarily the overall picture. There’s some voiceover and side stuff I didn’t think were necessary, but I did very much enjoy the concept of this. It might be more a curiosity watch than anything else, but for something I wasn’t familiar with, I liked it.