Still Alice (2014)

Directed By – Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland

Screenplay By – Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland

Cinematography By – Denis Lenoir

Starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin & Kristen Stewart

101 min.

Still Alice is a fireball of emotion. Interestingly, the emotional level was extremely high in the beginning and as Alice slowly fades from reality the emotionality of the situation fades too. That’s not to say that what is happening to Alice isn’t extremely sad. On the contrary, it’s deeply deeply devastating. But the movie strictly focuses on how alzheimer’s effects Alice and as the disease takes away her life it also takes away her emotional connection to life.

And that comes to the next amazing thing about Still Alice. Going into the movie I had my preconceived notions of what the movie was going to be about. Not having read the book the movie was based on but having had a familial experience with the disease I thought I’d know how the story goes. My grandfather was diagnosed with alzheimer’s when I was around nine, and it being my grandpa and a grandparent who lived a plane flight away, the disease took him while I was growing up far away and worrying about puberty. Not to mention, how well can an eight or nine year old really know an adult anyways, even if it is his own grandfather. So the disease did not effect me as much as it effected my father as he had to, from a distance, experience his father fade from reality.

Now alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease because it doesn’t just effect the person with the disease, but it effects that person’s entire family. That’s not to say something like cancer doesn’t effect the entire family but alzheimer’s debilitates a person and makes them dependent on others to do even the most basic of functions. Alzheimer’s takes an adult and makes them an infant. And this effects families in sad and complicated ways. And with this knowledge is how I went into watching Still Alice.

Still Alice, though, is wholly and completely about Alice and how the disease effects her. It makes you watch for 101 minutes how a disease takes everything from a person. Because of how the disease works, most of the stories about alzheimer’s are from the perspective of someone other than the person with the disease as they themselves are unable to relate what exactly is going on. Even my personal experience with the disease is more about the disease effecting my father and our entire family than it is about how the disease effected my grandfather. But Still Alice tries and I would say does as good a job as possible to tell Alice’s side of the story, from Alice’s perspective.

Alice is an important movie that everyone should watch.

God Bless America

P.S. Julianne Moore kicks butt and will win the Oscar.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Directed By – James Foley

Screenplay By – David Mamet

Cinematography By – Juan Ruiz Anchía

Starring Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, & Alec Baldwin

100 min.

For some reason I’ve been putting off watching this one for a while. I think it’s because the title seems boring, but in fact this is a terrific film with great acting from the entire cast. The movie, based on the play by David Mamet, has great dialogue for every character and turns out to be a very quick 100 minutes of film.

For those of us born in the 90’s we might not know Jack Lemmon as an acting icon but watch this movie and you’ll quickly get why the guy’s a legend. The rest of the cast is terrific as well. Pacino as the suave hot-shot, Ed Harris as the angry failure, Alan Arkin as the bumbling fool, and Kevin Spacey as the young hardass, everyone delivers. Admittedly, it is Alec Baldwin’s scene stealing performance that sets this movie up for what it is. Baldwin comes in for one scene, kicks ass, takes names, then bails, setting up the rest of the cast to be anxious angry wrecks for the remainder of the film.

Sales has never been portrayed in such a rough and vulnerable light as it is in Glengarry Glen Ross and by golly it deserves to be looked at. Watch this acting tour de force.