The Trouble With Bliss An Underrated Dramedy

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/Lightning Media/7A Productions/Topiary Productions, Inc./OffHollywood/Tornsky Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Lightning Media/7A Productions/Topiary Productions, Inc./OffHollywood/Tornsky Entertainment

The Trouble With Bliss is both a funny and touching dramedy that while not the first movie to ever enter the world of the coming-of-age genre, still manages to stand on its own two feet.  The story, which is based on Douglas Light’s novel, East Fifth Bliss, has largely been met with mixed reviews by critics and audiences alike.  More than likely the reason for those mixed reviews is that while the story isn’t the first of the coming-of-age genre, it doesn’t exactly fit into the standard mold of said style.  The concept of an unemployed thirty-something living at home with his father while dating an eighteen-year old is humorous.  But what sets the story apart from others in its genre is its ability to balance that quirky standard story with the deeper and more emotional father-son dynamic, which is ultimately at the heart of the entire story.  Though, this isn’t made entirely clear until the story’s end.  This perhaps is what led to so many critics and viewers panning this underrated story.   

The Trouble With Bliss is an underrated story in that it’s one of those works that isn’t spoon-fed to viewers.  Audiences think they know everything about Morris’ blissfully (get the title now?) ignorant lifestyle through most of the movie.  But it isn’t until the story’s end that viewers discover that instead of living in bliss, he has been living in denial all along.  That denial is centered in his relationship—or lack thereof—with his father (played by Peter Fonda).  He isn’t stuck at home with his father.  He has made the choice to live there. It can be argued in understanding this and looking back at the story that it is his mother not being there that has led Morris to be living with his father at thirty-five years old and dating an eighteen-year old.  Having only had his father for parental guidance through his youth, that was all that Morris ever knew.  So it became his comfort zone.  Understanding this makes Morris something of an underdog type of figure; a sympathetic character so to speak.  He becomes a figure that audiences might not have rooted for had they not had this knowledge.  What really makes his an underdog figure in hindsight is why his mother is not in the picture.  That reveal in the story’s final minutes is perhaps the culmination of everything that audiences experienced leading up to that point.

Some audiences might ask if this is the case, why he started acting as an adult before that moment.  The answer is that what happened as a result of his interactions with Stephanie and Andrea was just the catalyst that he had needed to start realizing and growing as a person.  His whole life up until that point was ignorant bliss.  Finally having been faced with a situation that forced him out of his comfort zone, it acted as a kick in the pants so to speak. That eventually lead to the deepest center of what had led to his first introduction to audiences.  The result is that it leads to hindsight among audiences and in turn will lead them to see he’s really quite the underdog character.  And in understanding all of this one can only hope that those who criticized the movie will take all of this hindsight and give the movie a second chance and see it for the underrated and underappreciated work that it is.

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Disney’s New Fairy Tale A Welcome Addition To Disney Fairies Franchise

Courtesy: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Walt Disney Studios announced before the release of its 2010 movie, Tangled, that the movie in question would be the last of its princess movies for the foreseeable future.  It noted that it wanted to focus more on male audiences.  This announcement sent waves through the entertainment world.  While Tangled may have been the last of Disney’s princess movies for the foreseeable future, young female audiences did still have movies aimed at them in the form of the new Tinkerbell adventures.  These movies have seen their own level of success.  Now another new movie has been released featuring Peter Pan’s fairy sidekick.  It’s called Secret of the Wings

The Secret of the Wings is another good addition to the Disney Fairies franchise.  The first thing that stands out about this new release is that it carries on the long held Disney tradition of emphasizing the importance of family.  The continued tradition is directly linked to the secret that Tink discovers when she sneaks across the border into the Winter Mountains.  She meets “The Keeper”, and another fairy who as it turns out, will change everything that she ever knew about her life.  The secret that she learns the first time she goes to meet “The Keeper” is only one secret.  As a result of this first revelation, Tinkerbell also makes an even bigger revelation at the story’s end.  That revelation is tied into another familiar element that makes this a good movie for its audiences.

As already noted, Secret of the Wings will impress viewers as it maintains the theme of family importance that the company’s older works have held.  There is another long held element that makes this movie just as good as its previous princess movies.  Whether it was princess Jasmine, Ariel, Rapunzel, or any of the others, Disney has always made its princesses relatively headstrong.  That headstrong nature has helped lead to change in their kingdoms.  Tinkerbell is much the same way in Secret of the Wings.  It’s because of her determination to overcome the old ways that change eventually comes both to Pixie Hollow and the Winter Mountains.  Of course, that headstrong nature is also the catalyst for the conflict that would eventually lead to the change, too.

The conflict caused by Tinkerbell’s determination leads to another positive factor for the feature’s audiences.  It teaches audiences about the values of not only teamwork, but also of friendship and the importance of family.  The value of teamwork and friendship is something that both male and female audiences can appreciate.  And in terms of the value of family, young female audiences will especially appreciate this message as it’s directly tied to the secret that Tinkerbell learns in this story.

The central themes of Secret of the Wings are important elements in this feature’s success.  They go a long way toward making a story worth watching again and again.  The computer generated world created here will especially keep audiences watching.  The lush colors of Pixie Hollow and the contrast of the Winter Mountains are expertly designed.  They come together to stand out quite well against Disney’s other CG based features that have previously been released.  The people behind this world’s creation are to be commended for that, as it’s nice to see a CG based movie that doesn’t serve as a mirror image to so many others in its genre. 

So much work went into bringing Secret of the Wings to life.  Both the writing and the time spent creating the computer generated world had to have been intensive.  There is one more element that helped to make Secret of the Wings a success.  That element was the voice acting.  The voice cast for this movie reads like a who’s who of Hollywood A-listers.  Veteran actor Timothy Dalton (James Bond, The Rocketeer) joins Anjelica Huston (50/50, The Darjeeling Limited, Martian Child) who returns again as the voice of Queen Clarion.  Dalton lends his talents as the voice of Queen Clarion’s love interest, Lord Milori.  They aren’t the only well known names on board for this ride.  Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels, Kung Fu Panda, Kill Bill Vol. 1), Raven-Symone (The Cosby Show, That’s So Raven) and pop star Jesse McCartney are all on board this time around.  The chemistry between the cast adds another element of enjoyment for audiences of all ages.    That chemistry mixes with all of the aforementioned elements to make a feature that audiences will enjoy both the first and hundred and first time they have seen it.

Secret of the Wings is available now on DVD, DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and a four disc set including the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, a 3-D Blu-ray, and a digital copy of the movie.  It can be ordered direct via Disney’s online store at http://www.disneystore.com

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