It was not planned that a 1989 old-fashioned film about parenting and the travails of same would air the seem weekend that I dutifully taped the very hip and modern "Sex in the City" but so it was.
So The Wise I gives a review of both movies, the similarities (few), the differences (many...how times change) and attempts to draw a moral from it all.
With pics and video you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.
Pic of the Day
DISCLAIMER: Movie Reviews
I rarely see a first-run movie so any movie reviews I do are likely older ones. But if you're looking to rent a DVD for the weekend, or just want a new perspective on a movie you remember fondly, or not-so-fondly, read on.
Review Two Movies-One from 1989, One from 2008
I planned to watch one of the movies reviewed below as I went to great lengths to DVR the thing. The other movie happened to be playing at a time when I had nothing better to watch. I do pay a premium for these movies and so when I saw Steve Martin starring in yet another movie where he’s a great Dad I decided to settle in, surf the net, and let the movie play out as a sort of background noise.
This spur of the moment movie was titled “Parenthood” and let me say right now that Steve Martin should be the best father on the planet because he’s hardly ever in any other film besides being cast as a loving but beleaguered father. I don’t even know if Steve Martin has kids but I’d sure like to talk to them, get the inside scoop so to speak.
The other, properly DVR’d and relished for proper watching time was “Sex in the City”. Which is odd, I’d offer, in that I have NEVER watched a single episode of that vaunted TV show. I sure heard plenty about it, however, and I thought, cool, I’ll watch the movie and catch up on everything.
Both movies featured a segment of the population that were very far apart. And both movies did a pretty good job of it.
“Parenthood” was by far the better movie in terms of acting, fluidity of screen play, message and believability.
Yes indeed, yon reader, you read this right. One might think “Parenthood” would be a schmaltzy movie, a shallow affair that is filled with knee-jerk emotions and armchair solutions.
Well there’s that.
“Sex in the City” however, no matter how vaunted its TV predecessor, was a disjointed, illogical, confusing mess of a film. “Parenthood” flowed logically, was comprehensible and the acting was pretty good.
“Parenthood” is the story of the Buckman family. The patriarch of the Buckman, played wonderfully by Jason Robards, is himself an imperfect parent, at least as his grown kids see it. Frank Buckman has four kids and this movie is the story of those kids and how they struggle to deal with THEIR kids.
Gil Buckman, played by Martin, has three children. His kids are weird, the oldest labeled as psychologically troubled by the school, the youngest a toddler who oddly enjoys banging his head against things.
One of Gil’s sisters has a troublesome teenaged daughter and a son entering puberty roughly and without the help of a father. The movie deals with her struggles to deal with the daughter and her errant boyfriend, dating as a single parent, and that son who is overwhelmed as his body changes and new urges come upon him.
Gil’s other sister is married to an anal control freak, played by Rick Moranis. They have one daughter who the control freak spends endless hours teaching her things way above her age level.
The youngest of the Buckman brood is the black sheep who makes a sudden appearance after many years away. He brings back a son, obviously a half-black child who was abandoned on his doorstep by the child’s mother. The Buckman black sheep is his biological father as we are to understand.
This black sheep is beloved by patriarch Frank Buckman even as the cherished son attempts to steal his father’s joy, a classic car he nourished from junk to spit shine. This black sheep turns out to have amassed some huge gambling debts and when chicanery doesn’t work, he approaches his father for $26,000 to prevent his murder from those bookies he owes.
The movie plows along, engagingly and entertainingly, yes it does. The characters struggle with their children, quit their jobs, fulfill their obligations, see their children ran off, suffer the pain of life gone awry, deal with unwanted pregnancies, all the things parents deal with on a regular basis across America’s fruited plains.
As expected, the movie does have a semi-sweet ending. The solutions come but they are not perfect. The black sheep runs away rather than accept the maturity to handle his debts. The half-black son is abandoned but accepted with great love into the Buckman clan, an invitation the child eagerly accepts so the Buckmans can’t be all that bad. Remarriages happen, unplanned babies are birthed, teenage marriages succeed if only temporarily.
Frank Buckman’s mother sums the whole thing up in a scene and while it might be knee jerk, it’s different and thoughtful. Something about a roller coaster.
I quite enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to almost anyone. In fact I want my own granddaughter Kaitlyn Mae to watch it some day.
Below, one of Steve Martin’s best scenes in the movie.