Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Intern

The Intern is a slick mainstream movie that really offers no surprises. By no means brilliant, probably not memorable, kind of fluffy, definitely corny.

But I ate it up and enjoyed every minute.

Robert De Niro plays a 70 year old retired, widowed business man who is content and healthy, but feels a lack in his somewhat solitary life. He signs up for a senior internship program at a hot internet startup company staffed by young Brooklyn hipsters. The Intern centers on his relationship with the founder, played by Anne Hathaway. He is initially seen as a harmless oddity in the office, but soon becomes kind of a mascot, and gentlemanly role-model for dressed-down male coworkers. With Hathaway's character he soon proves professionally valuable and they form a warm friendship.

What I liked so much about it was how affable all the characters were. There is no bad guy. It's just a sweet story of an unlikely but enriching friendship.

Lucky Numbers

Lucky Numbers is a goofy and fun movie starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow. Travolta plays a self-satisfied local weatherman who enjoys his reserved seating at the Denny's and his celebrity status. Because of poor financial management -- investment in a snowmobile store during an unseasonably warm winter -- he finds himself broke. He is charming but dumb and clueless, and smarter, meaner people around him, including his girlfriend played by Kudrow, get him involved in a plan to rig his TV station's lottery drawing. Twists and turns and he gets deeper into a situation he can't handle. Cute and funny stuff.

Whitney Cummings: I'm Your Girlfriend

I didn't like the HBO comedy special Whitney Cummings: I'm Your Girlfriend.

I was unfamiliar with this comedian and was turned off by her sharp-edged, kind of hostile style. There were some bits that I enjoyed, but much of her routine struck me as anti-sex in a strange way. She made it seem that women don't enjoy it and men are pigs, which is pretty one-dimensional and somewhat un-feminist.

Hoagland: Application for Release from the Dream

Tony Hoagland's Application for Release from the Dream is a soft and sad collection of poems, observing and reflecting on yearning and loss. I loved reading these. They were comforting in their beauty and their gentleness. There is wit and bitterness here, and there is also love, kindness, and regret. A wonderful book by a poet I very much admire.

From the last stanzas of "Crossing Water":

Each time I make the trip, I get the strange idea that this
is what is waiting at the end of life --

long stalks slanting in the breeze, then straightening --
flowers, loose-petaled as memory, grey

as the aftertaste of grief.

Tonight, I'll lie in bed and feel the day exhaling me
as part of its long sigh into the dark,

knowing that I have no plan,
knowing that I have no chance of getting there.

I will remember how those flowers swayed and then held still 
for me to look at them.

And here's some favorite lines from "Controlled Substances":

Like money,
         which teaches you to strangle time,

or the narcoleptic trance connected with a small lit screen?