Movie Review: The Confirmation (2016)

Humor and caring richly imbue this inspiring ultimate modern family movie 10/10
Review by Brian R. Wright

No fewer than four actors in this exceptional film deserve Oscar nominations, including, of course, Clive Owen (Walt), then the others: Jaeden Lieberher (playing Walt’s son Anthony), Patton Oswalt (Drake: the meth addict with a heart of gold who embarrassingly tries to help the father-son team), and Robert Forster (Otto: Walt’s friend and confidant thru Walt’s struggles with alcoholism). Then you can toss in Maria Bello (Walt’s ex, Bonnie who wants Anthony to find moral grounding in her Catholic faith—hence the title, referring to Anthony’s impending confirmation—and even Matthew Modine (Kyle: Bonnie’s kindhearted yet fluttery new husband) for Academy recognition as well.

As we’re doing nominations, let’s also not forget writer/director Bob Nelson, either. Nelson takes the father-son personal, mutual journey to new heights, and reminds us that simple humanity can be sublime, even divine. The movie is pure magic, everyone involved simply hits the artistic target dead, solid, perfect. Every viewing reveals a subtle new truth.


Of what? This is the central metaphor that leaps right off the screen. We know from the first scenes when Walt comes to pick up Anthony (via visitation arrangements of the divorce), that Bonnie is making a special move to have Anthony attend church and ‘get with the program’ so to speak, by the rite of confirmation (which is designed to initiate a child into spiritual adulthood in many Christian denominations).  Continue reading

Movie Review: Lost Weekend (1945)

Groundbreaking piece on bottle trouble ___ 8/10

Lost WeekendDon Birnam: Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can’t take quiet desperation!

Don Birnam: It shrinks my liver, doesn’t it, Nat? It pickles my kidneys, yeah. But what it does to the mind? It tosses the sandbags overboard so the balloon can soar. Suddenly I’m above the ordinary. I’m competent. I’m walking a tightrope over Niagara Falls. I’m one of the great ones. I’m Michelangelo, molding the beard of Moses. I’m Van Gogh painting pure sunlight. I’m Horowitz, playing the Emperor Concerto. I’m John Barrymore before movies got him by the throat. I’m Jesse James and his two brothers, all three of them. I’m W. Shakespeare. And out there it’s not Third Avenue any longer, it’s the Nile. Nat, it’s the Nile and down it moves the barge of Cleopatra. Continue reading