Everybody’s Fine One Of De Niro’s Finest Performances

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Miramax

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Miramax

Everybody’s Fine is one of veteran actor Robert De Niro’s “finest” moments.  There are those who have already had their say of this atypical holiday family film. But odds are the people who have lambasted it have done so because it is indeed such a mirror image of reality that they don’t want to have to admit how real it is.  The story centers on widower Frank (De Niro) who recently lost his wife.  Having been married for over four decades, Frank is heartbroken after the loss of his wife.  How she died isn’t immediately revealed.  Nor is it important how she died.  It’s the psychological and emotional impact on Frank that makes this story so believable.

Frank’s emotional and psychological response to having lost his wife is so real in that as much as people may not want to admit it to themselves, his reaction is very much the same as any older person with adult children.  He reaches out for support from his now adult children.  Although in his mind, he’s just trying to get his kids together at least one more time.  As he sets off to surprise his kids, audiences learn that Frank spent most of his life helping to set up the telephone lines that criss-cross the country.  It’s these lines that eventually play a metaphorical role in that while he helped put up the lines, it’s those same lines that his own adult children use to keep a painful secret from him.  They’re keeping the secret not to be mean, but to protect their father purely out of love and respect for him.  That secret is the basis of the real story in Everybody’s Fine.

The real story of Everybody’s Fine is less about Frank’s relationship with Amy, Rosie and Robert and more about his strained relationship with his other son, David.  The relationship between David and Frank had been strained ever since David was a boy.  Writer/Director Kirk Jones hints at this through flashbacks that Frank has during the course of the movie’s roughly ninety-minute plus run time.  While Frank obviously loves his kids, it’s David that he’s really focused on.  He wants so badly to see David; so much so that as audiences hear the conversations between Frank’s other children over the telephone wires he helped put up through his career, it makes them feel that much more for Frank.  As much as his relationship with David was seemingly strained, Frank still loved David unconditionally, just as any parent would their own child.  Again, it’s that mirror image of real life that helps maintain the story’s relateability.

The story between Frank and David does have at least a somewhat happy ending.  Though perhaps bittersweet would be the better suited term to use here.  But there is closure for both figures nonetheless.  And it’s that closure that leads to an ending that wraps everything in its own deeply moving gift to audiences.  Everybody’s Fine is not the standard happy-go-lucky movie that audiences might think of when they think of holiday movies.  But its deeply emotional story about family makes it a holiday movie that stands out among the crowd even today as it has been re-issued on blu-ray.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via the Lionsgate online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com.

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Piranna 3DD Ups The Ante From Its Predecessor

Courtesy: Dimension Films

Those evil flesh eating prehistoric fish are back.  And yes, they’re hungry again in Piranna 3DD.  This sequel to the remake of the 1978 horror/comedy flick is the dream come true of every pubescent boy and college frat boy across the country.  In simple terms, this movie is not meant for young audiences.  With more than enough sex, drugs, violence, and yes even full frontal nudity to make it a borderline NC-17 or even “X”,one can’t help but wonder how this movie managed to eke out an “R” rating.  It’s pretty obvious that as with its predecessors, this exploitation flick doesn’t take itself the least bit seriously, not should audiences who brave “wading” into it.

Piranna 3DD picks up pretty much where its predecessor left off.  This time, instead of terrorizing a lake resort, the killer fish are disturbed when the money hungry Chet (David Koechner) re-opens a water park that is half owned by his step daughter Maddy (Danielle Panabaker).  Maddy discovers that Chet has turned it from a water park to a sex filled adult themed water park.  In the process, he has drilled a well that would filter water into the water park.  That well woke up a bunch of flesh hungry piranhas.  So not only do they terrorize the nearby lake feeding the water park, they eventually get into the park itself.  Of course, loads of violence and bloodshed happens from here.  The story is so outrageous that there’s no way at all for it to be taken seriously.  For that matter, there’s so much blood and gore that those with weak stomachs probably would do well to steer clear of this one.  If anything, the real scare factor of this movie is that it leaves the door wide open for another movie.

It goes without saying in considering all of this that Piranna 3DD is very much a niche movie.  It is not meant for all audiences.  It’s obviously aimed mainly at a very specific audience.  Keeping that in mind, for those audiences who are looking for a great laugh and scare at the same time this Halloween, this flick might be a perfect fit.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.