Movie Review: Friends With Benefits

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis play friends who decide to hook up with no emotional strings attached. While this seems to work for them, things continue to get complicated and make the arrangement a bit challenging. Not one for the kids, this was a funny movie and the chemistry of the main characters was quite strong. Woody Harrelson is funny in a supporting role and all things considered, this was 1.5 hours of entertaining fun. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

R.E.M.: Automatic For The People

Named after the slogan of a local restaurant in their native Athens, GA, Automatic For The People was made to order in 1992. Coming in at #2 on my all-time favorite albums list, there is really nothing about this record I do not like. There are several rockers which break up the chill vibes, but this album is fueled by an emotional gasoline which lights a fire in your soul. If you do not have emotional reactions to songs like Everybody Hurts, Nightswimming and Find The River, I am not sure your heart is truly open for business. R.E.M. has a special place in the music pantheon and this record is a crowning achievement.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Lloyd Cole: Music In A Foreign Language

Released in 2003, Music In A Foreign Language is not likely to be at the apex of many of Lloyd Cole’s fans’ favorite albums. That is not the case for me. I have a large music collection and this album has been on the top of the heap since it penetrated my ears. It is an album with a movie buried in its soul. I am not sure Lloyd meant for the songs to tell a story, but this is how I hear them. The album is melancholy and subdued, but therein lie its strengths. The characters slowly etch themselves in your psyche and you wonder what will happen next. The scenes shift from somber to sadness, but the moodiness makes this painting a true work of art. This album is meant to be listened to actively. There are no uptempo tracks, just lilting stories of people living life as best they can. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Movie Review: Full Count

This Netflix film was very good. Part baseball, part farming, all entertaining. Milton has a tough home life and a strong right arm. He dreams of pitching in the big leagues while being trapped on a small farm in Watkinsville, GA. I am not going to give this one away, just watch it! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Movie Review: Adopt A Highway

Ethan Hawke plays a convict fresh out of prison and looking to make it in a world he knows nothing about. He is making it, albeit slowly, but with no family to turn to he is on his own. One night he finds an abandoned baby and his life is altered completely. You feel for his every struggle and hope he comes out fine on the other side of each one. The story is not all that developed and the ending leaves you wanting more, but this was an entertaining and emotionally fueled film. 🌟🌟1/2

Movie Review: The Way Back

The new Ben Affleck film, The Way Back, follows the story of Jack Cunningham, a former basketball standout with some serious issues. He put up points in high school the way he knocks back cold ones whenever he has a free moment. The story gets off to a bit of a slow start, but it does build as Jack is forced to confront his demons on, but mostly off the court. I was entertained and engaged throughout the movie, though I am not sure they screened the movie very well as the ending was less than I’d hoped. Overall, I give it 🌟🌟🌟1/2 as it was entertaining, but the flat ending brings it down a rung.

Movie Review: Dark Waters

Mark Ruffalo is tremendous in this movie about greed, corruption and the exploitation of a community in pursuit of the almighty dollar. DuPont paid a price for its cover up of the chemicals which caused the residents and animals inhabiting a West Virginia town to develop cancer. The fact people can knowingly do something like this speaks to the imperfections of humans and the sad fact many of us will not accept responsibility for our actions. The lawyer portrayed in the film displays a grit and the strong moral compass all of us should aspire to achieve. He risked everything he had for a group of people he didn’t even know because it was the right thing to do, not for any selfish reasons. This film will likely stir many different thoughts and emotions, but the soup in the pot at the end will be well worth your time.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Huey Lewis & The News: Weather

When Huey Lewis was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, it appeared as though the band’s career was over. If Weather turns out to be their swan song, this former bar band who made it big will finish with a storm. While more of an EP than an album, this seven song collection is a stylistic sojourn which mirrors their career. Rock, soul, country and more occupy the stools along the bar as the good times roll. Fans of the band will instantly travel back in time to the simpler days when three chords and the truth was a mantra for many bands from the Bay Area and beyond. Time moves on and bands come and go. While not the hit makers they once were, Weather is a reminder of how great Huey Lewis & The News were, are and forever will be. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Movie Review: Just Mercy

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 My wife and I were really looking forward to seeing this film and we were not disappointed. The performances were excellent and the true life story was a sad but true tale of racial tensions and a difficult fight for justice. It is sad to think this type of thing happens in America, but we are certainly not perfect. While our overall fabric is strong, it is flawed with frayed characters. Let this movie be a reminder of where we were lest we become destined to repeat our prior sins. You will leave this movie feeling great about the triumph of human spirit and the quest for just mercy.

What’s On My Mind

Anything goes for the β€œWhat’s On My Mind” posts. I can and will share my thoughts and ideas. Nothing is off limits (within reason). Today, I am wondering why we educate our kids the way we do. I understand being well rounded, but how about including life skills and skipping all the nonsense kids don’t want or need to know unless they plan to pursue a career in a specific area. What about providing overview classes to expose students to various subjects and areas of interest, such as a sciences overview where they spend a couple weeks each getting exposed to physics, chemistry and other subjects in this area. What if we use elementary school to provide the foundation for each student and give them exposure to direct their high school curriculum in a direction of personal interests and not our current β€œone size fits all” approach? Every child is different and we need to start encouraging each of them to follow their passions. School should be the start of the path to success for all individuals, not something most students just complete because they have to and not because they enjoy it.