REVIEW: “FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY” (2019) MGM

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A movie, whether based on a true story or fictional one, may be a blend of both facts and fictionalized scenes and events. “FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY” seems to be case in point depending on whom you speak to.  But instead of pointing out fact v. fiction, just sit back watch and enjoy this one folks.  Let go of the being overly critical all the time as ‘Fighting with my Family’ might have its flaws and not be completely true down to the line, it definitely does have its charms.

Probably the first thing you will do is a double take on the director and writer and make sure if it is THE Stephen Merchant doing triple duty here writing/directing/starring in this film. Turns out it is, which immediately ups the ‘interesting’ level a notch or two.  Even more crazy is to think that Merchant did not know a thing about wrestling before taking on the project.

Inspired by the story of the Knight family, the film tells the story of Saraya “Paige” Bevis (Florence Pugh) and her desire to become a female wrestler.  With the odds against her, along with a family of completely wrestling crazed parents in dad Ricky (Nick Frost), mom Julia (Lena Heady) and brother Zak (Jack Lowden), all of whom put on wrestling shows and train others in Norwich, a small suburb in the UK.  Paige and her brother get called up for a WWE tryout, but with only Paige making the cut, Zak is completely devastated and Paige must deal with not only this, but the drastic change her life is taking and the hard road to living out her dream of being a WWE Superstar.

The next hour is filled with what it’s like to attend the WWE school of hard knocks led by Hutch (Vince Vaughn), and how to alienate and then make best friends with your competition.  This part can sometimes just be all to consuming as we’ve seen this type of story many times before.  Overcoming adversity to win the challenge at the end and it’s here that the film can’t help feeling clichéd. The saving grace here is the flashbacks to Zak being left behind in Norwich and where his life is heading, or seemingly not heading to and it’s got some truly lovely, heartwarming story line.  But training montage footage galore, sibling rivalry leading to a profound confrontation that resolves the issue, and the underdog overcoming the odds gives no surprises to the ending.   Now of course, it’s going to pump in the Hollywood magic to try to help the movie. The Rock is throughout the movie, and while he wasn’t truly vital to Paige’s career, his scenes are fun. The actors do an amazing job with their roles, and have very good comedic chemistry. This movie is witty and charming but at times, it’s all over the place.

The initial presentation of the Knight family rang true, authentic and affable. Putting it in their actual home was a good idea. Frost and Headey were great in the roles as Paige’s parents and Puge did a very good job as Paige. Lowden as her brother made a good mentor, but it also tried to take the high road and make Paige an angelic character.  However, from what I understand, if you are a fan of Paige or the Knight family at all, you will quickly start to see fictionalized moments, exaggerations and inaccuracies. These are something that as a viewer who has no knowledge of the wrestling world, will not impact in the slightest.  No matter this situation, everyone will recognize names such as Hulk Hogan and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin – and of course The Rock with his signature “If you smell what The Rock is cooking” done a few times for good measure – makes you realize how far this guy has come.

Overall, the film maintains a good balance of comedy and drama and you don’t need to know anything about WWE or sports entertainment to enjoy the film. Merchant does a good job for his first run here.

Grade: C+

@pegsatthemovies

 

Review Screening Monday, February 11, 2019 ~  courtesy of LAFTV meetup

GOLDEN GLOBES: TV PICKS

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Once again you can just cue into me singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the yyeeeaarrr…”
In case you haven’t guessed already.. it’s Awards season otherwise known as ‘My Happy Time’ ~ and the first big event is the Golden Globes this Sunday. It’s where the best of both the Film & TV worlds collide in one night. With so many categories, I’m breaking it up into two separate posts and of course, who I think the winner will be and what would be my pick – because they don’t always necessarily coincide with each other!!

TELEVISION

Best TV Series, Drama

The Crown
What a show this was. I couldn’t stop watching. The acting, the story – both all engrossing

Game of Thrones
This show took itself to a whole new level this year, and I loved every second of it even if Jon Snow coming back from the dead made me giggle for a sec.

Stranger ThingsMY PICK
Fantastic storyline of something so far-fetched, yet so made you think! I loved it. The fact the acting by kids was so strong here really made it all the better.

This Is Us
Is this show cute..yes..maybe a little to cutsey & sappy for me, but I will say it’s quite well written.

WestworldWINNER
There were times when I completely understood this show and others where I literally had no idea what the bejesus was going on. But you couldn’t help yourself to keep watching with the nagging feeling of “what if?” I think this one might steal the award just because of that.

Best TV Series, Comedy/Musical

AtlantaWINNER
While I haven’t watched all the episodes of this show yet, the ones I have seen I just love. I can’t stop laughing.

Blackish
I loved this show at the beginning, now I will say I just don’t watch it all that much anymore..Sorta went the Modern Family route for me.

Mozart in the JungleMY PICK
I LOVE this show. It’s so completely different and well done about a subject I really didn’t know much about, yet made me interested in and yes, laugh.

Transparent
See Transparent has never done ‘it’ for me. I know there are those that just love it. I was done after season 1, I just really didn’t like too many of the characters enough to go to the next season.

Veep
Kinda the same as above for this one. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus humour, but this one never grabbed me enough to keep watching.

Best TV Miniseries or Movie

American Crime
This season of American Crime was mind-boggling. The best written and acted so far. I couldn’t get enough of each cliff-hanging episode.

The Dresser
While this featured a great cast I would have loved to see, I don’t have Starz channel as I cancelled cable, so was never able to see it.

The Night Manager
I still am not getting the appeal of this one. It wasn’t done plausably or even well. Sometimes I was just in awe of how ridiculous it really got.

The Night OfMY PICK
Another mind-blowing HBO min-series that just took what could have been just another murder storyline and gave it more twists than you could keep your jaw from dropping instead. Acting was top-notch to boot.

The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime StoryWINNER
I mean what can you say about this fantastic mini-series that hasn’t already been said. So many things you’d either forgotten or never knew about, told & acted by a unbelievable parade of good writing and acting. Blew me away.
By far my hardest category to decide on.

Best Actor, Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Just love Rami and this show. Rami helped keep it fresh for it’s second season.

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
While I loved this character on ‘Breaking Bad’, I couldn’t even get through the whole first season and to those that love it, kudos.

Matthew Rhys, The Americans
While the show has always been a hit or miss for me, as in I could skip a few eps., come back and still know exactly what was going on, I feel the same about it’s lead, Matthew Rhys.

Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Love Liev and the first 2 seasons his character was so something different. Now it’s just rambling as is the acting somewhat.

Billy Bob Thornton, GoliathMY PICK/WINNER
Never have been Billy Bob’s biggest fan, but damn this role was cater-made for him. He is excellent as was the show.

Best Actress, Drama

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
I’ve only ever been able to watch 2 eps. of this show considering it’s on a very pricey pay channel here, so I can’t really give a fair assessment of her acting.

Claire Foy, The CrownSLEEPER WIN
Oh Claire.. you are fantastic in this show. Simply sublime as the Queen herself might say. It’s so well written, cinematically beautiful and well acted. And you know us American’s love a good upper-class British show. Don’t anyone be surprised if she walks off with this award.

Keri Russell, The Americans
I mean who doesn’t like Keri Russell really now.. and I do, but she won’t be my pick or the HFP’s pick I’m guessing either.

Winona Ryder, Stranger ThingsMY PICK
Winona, Winona, Winona – I feel sometimes as if we’ve grown up together. And is essence we have and you are soooo good in this show. I’m so glad you’re back.

Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld WINNER
Same as the show, good acting here because sometimes you just wondered what in bejesus is she?! or WHO is she should be more the question 🙂

Best Actor, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Blackish
I’ve adored Anthony Anderson for as long as I can remember. He started off doing drama, and segwayed into comedy as easily as could be. Not my pick, but I am so glad he is nominated as it’s nice to finally have some fresh faces in this whole category.

Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
I love this show and I love Gael in it. But can he pull off another surprise win here?? I would love it but I doubt it.

Donald Glover, AtlantaMY PICK/WINNER
Another first time, fresh nominee that I love. I’m going with a first timer here on this one because of the sarcastic brilliance of this show and his character in it.

Nick Nolte, Graves
I’m going to be honest – I’ve never even heard of this show. Sorry Nick!

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
As Jeffrey has won so many times for playing this character, I’d just love to see someone new win it again.

Best Actress, Comedy

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Rachel Bloom surprised us all with her win last year. Is there a repeat in tow?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
I kinda feel like Julia is the Meryl of TV comedy. 🙂

Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
While this show isn’t bad nor is SJP in it, I don’t think it’s going to grab a win.

Issa Rae, Insecure
I’ve not watched this one so truly can’t give it a nay or yay..

Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
While I think Gina Rodriguez is just adorable and I loved this show the first season, it waned very quickly on me during the second. Not saying she’s not still good in it, just haven’t watched in awhile.

Tracee Ellis Ross, BlackishMY PICK/WINNER
Tracee would be my pick. While I might not be watching the show all the time anymore, she should have been nominated and won like 2 seasons ago already!

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
This mini-series was just filled with fantastic acting and Sterling is part of that.

Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
While I really thought TNM was a poorly done series, there were two standouts in it that made it somewhat bearable, and one of them was Hugh Laurie.

John Lithgow, The CrownWINNER
It’s rare that they get an American to play a Brit nowadays, but Lithgow as Winston Churchill is a brilliant piece of casting.

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
I won’t lie. I kinda shook my head in disbelief when Slater walked away with this last year. I mean he’s good, but he’s not that good.

John Travolta, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonMY PICK
So yeah, I know people think it’s strange, but I’ve adored John Travolta since I was a child. yes, I admit and he’s done some really awful movies, but here, you can’t deny he was truly amazing.

Best Supporting Actress

Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Remember I said there was two things that saved the Night Manager – Olivia Colman is part two of that.

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
She’s always pretty damn amazing in this show. You can’t help but love to hate her character, but yet she still tugs at your heartstrings as she is just so flawed. Remember your show is only as good as your best evil person and she is truly fantastic at it time and time again.

Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Again, I find the show just a little to sappy, but I admire and respect the writing and the characters are all well done. It’s a tough call which person from the show to say I like more..Chrissy or Mandy.

Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Again, between the two nominated here from this, I might actually pick Mandy because her transition to this character is pretty damn good.

Thandie Newton, WestworldMY PICK/WINNER
Thandie’s character here was the one I was never confused by. She was simply put ‘badass’

Best Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Riz Ahmed, The Night OfMY PICK
This show also gave us some fantastic performances with the two nominees in this category just making this show a spectacular watch.

Bryan Cranston, All the Way
I didn’t watch this one.

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Really.. on this one. For those who me, I love and ADORE Tom Hiddleston – but there in points in time where I just rolled my eyes at some of not only the show, but his acting here. Sorry Tom.

John Turturro, The Night Of
Turturro knocked it out the park on this one. There just isn’t much else to say, you can’t be mad if he wins this one.

Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonWINNER
Again, this show was just so good! Even though you knew what was going to happen, it held you and kept you coming back. Courtney Vance was one of the main reasons why.

Best Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie

Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Always a strong actress, this seasons AC was so good and she went for it in this role.

Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Only the 3rd show on an expensive pay-per-view that I never have had or probably will.

Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. SimpsonMY PICK/WINNER
Again, mind-bending performance from this series. Sarah for me in the shoo-in to win this one.

Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
I watched this show so long ago, I forgot I’d even seen it. But I swear it was 2015 when I did see it so I’m not really quite sure why it’s under 2016 noms. Rampling always gets roles she excels at. This was no different.

Kerry Washington, Confirmation
I remember the story so we already knew what happened, but unlike the O.J. story, I didn’t get the feeling of still wanting to watch. Washington was good, but I don’t see her winning this one.

REVIEW: “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES” (2016) Lionsgate

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Featuring a talented, mostly younger British cast of actors that I truly like and admire, I must admit I have been looking forward to this take on Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith’s mash-up of “Pride and Predjudice and Zombies” for some time now. And yes, it delivers – if of course what you are looking for is a sure-fun little take on an iconic story. Here the zombie apocalypse has landed in the middle of Austen’s prim and proper story, including the now-famous attraction between Elizabeth Bennett (Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley).

Anyone expecting the seriousness of Ms. Austen’s 1813 novel will be disappointed ~ hence the title should have provided a pretty solid hint of that to most. While her characters and general story line act as a structure here, I expect most critics to destroy this one because it’s made simply for fun, not for art.
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Of course, any Pride and Prejudice spin-off ~ even one with zombies ~ must pay meticulous homage to Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. In this versions, it turns out that Elizabeth and her four sisters are highly trained warriors raised to survive and fight against the undead. Mr. Darcy is billed as a zombie hunter and protector of Mr. Bingley, the rich bachelor hooked on Jane Bennett. We follow suit on the original story as things are still made topsy-turvy by the devious Mr. Wickham, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and especially the flamboyant Parson Collins. The interactions between the characters juggle between loyalty, romantic attraction, emotional chaos and hand-to-hand combat – with just enough comedic elements that most viewers will find plenty of opportunities to get some good laughs in. Make no mistake though, this is no ‘Walking Dead’ rip-off and it’s nowhere near as gory with it’s details.

Lily James and Bella Heathcote in Screen Gems' PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

Lily James and Bella Heathcote in Screen Gems’ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.


And yes, this talented cast is all in. They play it mostly straight to achieve the balance between somber and silly. Lily James and Sam Riley again, are both fun to watch as Elizabeth and Darcy. They are the film’s best fighters with both swords and words. Jane (Bella Heathcoate) is “the pretty one”, who is wooed by the simply stunning Douglas Booth as Mr. Bingley.
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Lena Headey makes an impression in her limited screen time as an eye-patched Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Jack Huston is well cast as the devious Mr. Wickham. Screen veterans Charles Dance and Sally Phillips take on the role of parents to the five Bennett daughters, but it’s Matt Smith, who turns the film fun with his comedic timing and his unconventional twist on the oddball Parson Collins, who pretty much steals each of his scenes.
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Even though this entertaining film offers plenty of fun with laughs, action and romance, I am hoping it doesn’t kick off a new zombie-adaptation trend as that would truly get annoying and mundane. Personally, I just like to be entertained, even sometimes in the silliest ways like this film did for me.

Grade: C+
@pegsatthemovies

Nationwide release on Friday, February 5, 2016

“EMMY AWARDS” – 2015 – QUICK PICKS

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Just throwing out a quick roll on The Emmy’s for some of the main categories only. I always do well for my Oscar picks..but not so much on The Emmy’s. I’m guessing it’s because most of the time I haven’t seen all the shows being as I don’t have Netflix or Amazon accounts and I don’t illegally bootleg anything because good shows get cancelled because of it and people lose jobs and money. In other words.. My choices mean nothing..ha!
My picks are bolded & italicized. I probably won’t do well on this.. 😀

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
“Better Call Saul” – not my favourite new show..Some people are ranting and raving over this, I was just meh on it.

“Downton Abbey” – I mean it’s Downton.. It’s not what it once was, but it’s still very watchable.

“Game of Thrones” – This was a slow season on GOT. Just like season 2, it was very mixed with only a good episode thrown in here and there.

“Homeland” – Everyone thought this show would just go down the toilet without ‘Brody’ (Damien Lewis) instead..it was.. dare I say it..almost better. It’s all about Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend).

“House of Cards” – Only have seen an episode of this way back when..

“Mad Men” – Tis the season of Mad Men for me. This really should sweep and it’s final season proved to be hands down, one of the best ever on TV. Just truly a show to sit back, watch and be awed by.

“Orange is the New Black” – N/A

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES I just don’t have a pick here but if I had to guess…

“Louie” – I know this is a critical darling, but it’s just not my show.

“Modern Family” – it’s never bad, but it’s also rather ZZZzzzz now.

“Parks and Recreation” – I never got as hooked into this show as some did..but I did like it.

“Silicon Valley” – N/A
“Transparent – N/A
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” N/A

“Veep” – Again, another critical darling, and I watch it on occasion.

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul” – in Breaking Bad I found Saul rather humourous – in his own show..I just really didn’t gravitate towards the character at all.

Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline” – N/A – though I’ve been a Kyle Chandler fan since ‘Early Edition’..yes I said ‘Early Edition’ 😀

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” – N/A

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” – This is Jon Hamm’s year. It has to be. His performance in this last season was just sublime. And that finale..come on!!!

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Love this show..Love the character and the acting.. But again, it’s all Jon Hamm for me this year.

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan” – same as above..I love Liev..but. yeah..it’s just all about Jon Hamm.

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire” – this over-the-top show and character are amusing if nothing else..

Claire Danes, “Homeland” – Again, fantastic season and performance by Claire, but she’s won before..and the faces..oh those faces!! 😀

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder” – I love Viola as an actress.but this show is sorely lacking and I can’t for that reason alone.

Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” – oh Tatiana..I love you and this show equally..I do..and you so deserve this nomination.

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men” – But I gotta go with Peggy Olsen. And not just because she is a ‘Peggy’ in this too..but because I still have that totally badass episode of her from 2014 on my DVR with her and Don.. plus her ciggie eps. She was just incredible.

Robin Wright, “House of Cards” – N/A

LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, “black-ish” – I enjoyed this show from the beginning and I’m a big Anthony Anderson fan from way back but I did sorta lose steam for it.. It’s an ‘on occasion’ show for me now.

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes” – Matt playing over-the-top Matt..is so fun.

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” – Not a fan of this show..

Will Forte, “The Last Man On Earth” – I gave this one 2 eps. and then I was done..

Louis C.K., “Louie” – yeah..not my fav. in any way, shape or form.

William H. Macy, “Shameless” – Love Bill Macy – so-so on the show.

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” – N/A

LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Lisa Kudrow, “The Comeback” – It’s Valerie Cherish – do I need to say anything more?

Lily Tomlin, “Grace And Frankie” – N/A

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer” – comedy’s ‘It Girl’ of the moment right now..and I LOVE her.

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” – Oh Jackie..I will miss you. No one’s ever had a nurse like you.

Amy Poehler, “Parks And Recreation” – Love Amy.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” – Julia is comedy gold..

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul” – Big fan of Banks, but again, the character that worked so well for me on Breaking Bad, doesn’t work for me here.

Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline” – Ben Mendelsohn is a fantastic actor that can truly play almost any role. Wish I could see him in this..truly.

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” – I think everyone likes Mr. Carson just not enough for a win here.

Peter Dinklage, “Game Of Thrones” – Dinklage was a highlight of a slow season.

Alan Cumming, “The Good Wife” – When does Alan not bring it on this show? Even with an uneven season..he’s always spot on.

Michael Kelly, “House Of Cards” – N/A

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” – last years surprise winner to almost everyone but me.. 😀

Lena Headey, “Game Of Thrones” – Lena gave it her all.. literally..

Emilia Clarke, “Game Of Thrones” – another fav. character for me from the show.

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” – Hands down, my winner. Christine is priceless.

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” – Joan really gave it to us for the final season. Stepping up into her own and really giving us an insight into what the fight for equal rights for women possibly entailed. I won’t be mad if she wins.

Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is The New Black” – N/A

SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – for me, this is the funniest show on TV..And Andre just brings it to this role.

Adam Driver, “Girls” – don’t really like the show and not an Adam Driver fan so..

Keegan-Michael Key, “Key & Peele” – they have some damn funny skits.

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” – ZZZZzzzz oh..sorry..I like Ty but I’m pretty over their run.

Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – N/A

Tony Hale, “Veep” – I’ve just not got a thing to say here..ha! I just haven’t watched the show enough to really say yay! or nay!!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory” – not my show, just never got the ‘ha ha’ from it.

Niecy Nash, “Getting On” – Never seen this show. and I’m fine with that!

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” – See ‘Ty Burrell’

Allison Janney, “Mom” – I’ve watched this show a few times trying my best to get into it.. I just didn’t succeed, but I do love Alison

Kate McKinnon “Saturday Night Live” – She’s just a gem all the time, every character.

Gaby Hoffmann, “Transparent” – N/A

Jane Krakowski, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – N/A

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep” – I like ‘out of the box’..this is a good ‘out of the box’ character for Anna.. but just not enough for me.

That’s it!! Wish I had more time to get in-depth on these and more categories..Just pressed for time. Let’s just hope that the Emmy’s aren’t the same ol’ same ol’ that they can sometimes be and pick some new different and I might add, much deserving winners.
Cheers all!!