Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of June 8, 2020

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of June 8, 2020

The King of Staten Island
Rated R for language and drug use throughout, sexual content and some violence/bloody images
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74% at time of writing
Available On Demand

Comedian and SNL cast member Pete Davidson has been semi-controversial figure for years now as his personal life is almost better-known than his comedic abilities. But all of that is about to change, kind of. Two of the things Pete is best-known for, aside from his dating and break-up with Ariana Grande, is that he still lives at home with his mom and that his dad, a hero fireman, died on 9-11. So seemingly playing himself, Pete is now Scott, a young loser living at home with mom, constantly joking about his deceased dad. But then the story becomes so much more as the movie evolves into a carefully thoughtful comedy about our society, mental illness, millennials and complex relationships. The movie almost seems to be a therapy session for Pete as he tries to work out his own personal issues on screen. And in the end, regardless if it’s really acting or not, Pete is quite perfect for the part and the whole thing ends up packing a nice punch. When the credits roll, you want to give the guy a hug, and you might feel as if you just had. Of course it helps to have a director and co-writer such as Judd Apatow behind the project. Judd has done similar work Adam Sandler in Funny People and Amy Schumer in Trainwreck, where the characters play facsimiles of themselves to the point where we feel we intimately know them, even though their real lives are likely very different and we see what they want us to see. Real or fake, Judd is brilliant at making this kind of film, because he doesn’t try to exploit the characters, but rather helps us to understand their perceived strengths, weaknesses and flaws. Here in The King of Staten Island, the comedy is rich with huge laughs throughout, but the drama gives it a gravity you just don’t expect. And while I’m sure this film would have been a huge hit had it been released in theaters this summer, as I’m sure was the original intention, it’s the first film for adults this summer that I can heartily endorse as you consider paying a little more to watch what should have cost you a small fortune to see in theaters. A-

Summer of Spielberg: Week Two
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Rated PG
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
Available on Netflix and On Demand

Celebrating its 38th Anniversary this week is this most captivating of Spielberg’s films, and, in my opinion, the movie that made him an icon. It certainly was the film that created my love for movies, as it was for many of my fellow critics if you ask them, especially those in my age group. For those of you who skipped or missed the 80’s, here a young boy named Elliott discovers an alien in his backyard who has been left behind on Earth. Forming an inseparable connection, the two have quite the adventure until the government discovers E.T., threatening their relationship and their lives. It is a purely magical experience, and while I have probably seen the film literally more than a hundred times, it never gets old. Along for the ride with Spielberg again, towards the beginning of their long-lived synergy, is composer John Williams who created here, again in my opinion, the greatest piece of orchestral music since Gershwin’s April in Paris. My suggestion: buy a family size Reese’s Pieces, along with some hot popcorn, crank up the sound, and watch your kids get blown away as you bike down memory lane.