Rotten Tomatoes

Mildly Enthusiastic Review: Landline

I will often watch a smaller dramedy with a bit of an indie whiff, enticed by a trailer and a premise. I will most often also end up disappointed.


Category: Movies

Find it on: IMDb

What it is:
A 2017 dramedy about a family in some crisis (a cheating crisis). It takes place in 1995 and Jenny Slate stars, which was all I needed to know to watch it.

How I found it:
The classic way: an IMDb trailer.

Summary judgment:
It’s painless (which I’m not sure it was supposed to be).

Best things about it:
As expected, Jenny Slate. I fell in love with her as Mona Lisa on Parks and Recreation and I watched her in Obvious Child (which I’m still not sure what I think of). She’s irresistibly likable, no matter what a silly or even repulsive role she plays, with impeccable comedic timing. But I liked most of the other actors, with a particular shout-out to Edie Falco as the mother, who does very little but keeps it human and likable.

Worst things about it:
It feels like a very lightweight story. Sometimes I felt unsure why I was watching it (which, admittedly, is my frequent reaction to indie comedies).

Other pluses:
✤ I liked the music, particularly the Angel Olsen song. It would be my instinct to choose around-1995 songs but – side fact – not long ago I had to create a 1997-themed playlist and most of that music really sucked. So I get it.
✤ As always, I’m a sucker for depictions of family love.

Other minuses:
✤ I’m not sure why the movie is taking place in 1995 at all. That might be some local color I don’t get but nothing (except for the landline phones) marks it as a particularly 1990s movie and it would work among a more hipsterish family.
✤ I didn’t connect with Ali. Her rambling rebellion irritated me.

How it enriched my life:
I enjoyed it well enough. That’s about it.

Fun fact:
I completely didn’t recognize Jay Duplass as Ben. Weird, after all the Mindy Project episodes I saw him in. I didn’t even have that I’m-sure-I-know-this-actor-from-somewhere feeling.

I’ll be there for Jenny Slate.

Recommended for:
People who like low-key, slice-of-life family stories, especially involving a strong sisterly bond and some wacky moments.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Next time: Three Princes


Not Singin’ in the Rain

I am a walker by necessity (no driving license and a secluded neighborhood) and preference (so much less trouble than gym) and as such a connoisseur of the special life pleasure called summer downpour. Not a summer passes by that I don’t get bone-soaked at least once… who am I kidding, it’s never just once. Yesterday was my yearly initiation into stormy weather.

Now, your experience of summer rain will depend entirely on one circumstance: are you going to or from home when it drops on you. Luckily, I was returning and so could keep my cool as I’m wont to do. Had you seen me, you would’ve been proud to know me, I’ve accepted the rain with such commendable stoicism.

The Summer Rain Experience invariably falls into phases. First, you feel anxiety and show a natural tendency to attempt avoiding getting wet. Having an umbrella prolongs the illusion that you can succeed. But then, as you run for cover, one faulty step sends you splashing into a huge puddle, fills your shoe with water and sets you on a path to freedom and carelessness (and potential pneumonia). Your makeup melts down your face, together with your sense of social propriety and a good thing it is because by then you look like a wet T-shirt contestant, only less buxom. Finally, with your hair plastered to your skull, clothes as wet as if you walked through a shower, when you have already said mental goodbye to your phone and favorite shoes, the Jerk Driver arrives. True, I observed with pleasure how most drivers slow down and veer away from the sidewalk. But then, it only takes one and he’s as sure as taxes to come by. Yesterday, with a timing happy for my stoicism, mine arrived when I had already not a dry spot on me and not a fudge to give anymore (and good for you, DPD delivery guy, ’cause if I wasn’t too wet or too slow I would’ve gotten your number and totally not do anything about it!).

But then the best part comes and here is full disclosure: I consider summer downpour one of great life pleasures. If I happen to be going home and expect a relatively soon change into dry clothes and a cup of hot tea, I actually love walking in the rain. When you’ve already given up on salvaging your clothes, hairdo and dignity it becomes incredibly liberating to just splash through the puddles, streams of water flowing down your face, all the sensible people already holed up in houses, stores and bus stops. It feels like just for a small moment, without any danger greater than a sore throat, you can step out of all everyday constrains. For a free and legal activity it’s worth recommending.

PS. WordPress suggested that I tag this post with mental-health. Stop judging me, WordPress.