Saturday, 18 May 2024

Arts & Life



‘80 FOR BRADY’ RATED PG-13

Just in time for the festivities surrounding the final playoff game of the National Football League’s season, “80 for Brady” takes us back to the run-up to Super Bowl LI in 2017 when New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would guide his team through a thrilling game.

This film, in which Brady appears as himself and also serves as producer, is the story of four mostly octogenarian Massachusetts women who gather to watch the Patriots with their fervor fueled by a love for a quarterback in the hunt for a fifth ring at the time.

“80 for Brady” is, in fact, inspired loosely by the true story of best friends living life to the fullest when they take a wild trip to Houston to see their hero, all the while wearing homemade jerseys sporting the film’s title.

The all-star cast includes Lily Tomlin’s Lou, a cancer survivor who for reasons that are understood from a flashback to chemotherapy treatments early in the century is a catalyst for the ladies love of Tom Brady.

Even though her cancer has been in remission, Lou is dodging calls from her oncologist about test results because she figures a trip to Texas could be her swan song now that the Patriots’ victory in the AFC championship game has them headed to the Super Bowl.

While Lou instigates the life-changing excursion, Jane Fonda’s Trish is the group’s most outgoing and outrageous member, who once had local fame as a model for an ad campaign and is now a novelist specializing in erotic football-themed fan fiction.

Falling in love too easily over and over is as problematic as her flirtatious behavior. Fitting for the Super Bowl is the release of her latest book titled “Between a Gronk and a Hard Place,” referring to Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The liveliest and best dancer of the quartet, Rita Moreno’s Maura, while still grieving over the loss of her husband, has moved into assisted living where her neighbor Mickey (Glynn Thurman) is drawn to her fiery passion for life.

The responsible member of the group is Sally Field’s Betty, a retired mathematics professor needing a little escape from her needy husband (Bob Balaban) who often needs a reminder to put on his pants. Is there a chance that Betty might cut loose a bit on this trip?

Hijinks come into play even before the ladies can make it to the Boston airport. First, they have to stage a jailbreak at the retirement facility to free Maura from the rules laid down by the despotic manager (Jimmy O. Yang).

Once in Houston, the fan festival NFL Experience beckons, and Betty taking up the challenge of a hot wings contest hosted by Guy Fieri portraying himself proves that being hungry will overcome extra spicy hot sauce.

With Trish being the glamorous one with a suitcase full of wigs, it’s no surprise that she’s soon caught up in a flirty hookup with smitten, fictional Super Bowl champion Dan O’Halloran (Harry Hamlin).

At a party on the night before the big game, more mischief ensues when some of them consume drug-laced edible gummies. Having a fondness for gambling, Maura ends up in a poker game where in her hallucinatory state every player looks like Guy Fieri.

Game day holds a few surprises, with Billy Porter being impressed with the women’s determination to become his backup dancers and Ron Funches comically taking his security guard role too seriously when confronting them.

What is the audience for “80 for Brady,” a female-centric story of obsession with a truly gifted football player? For a guy, it may work as a date night movie because at least there is some gridiron action to revive memories of an exciting game.

For fans of a storied franchise that once called Oakland home, the controversial “Tuck Rule Game” that resulted in the Patriots defeating the Raiders in the AFC championship game still lingers as a really bad memory.

The Silver and Black fandom would find a celebration of Brady an even more bitter pill to swallow knowing that the outcome of that contentious playoff game was the fact that Brady went on to win his first Super Bowl by prevailing over the St. Louis Rams.

One has to wonder how the film will play for audiences in Boston and Atlanta when actual footage from the game reveals incredible plays that upend what looked like an inevitable rout. The fan base sure to lament the outcome may not want to relive the experience.

A fair assessment of “80 for Brady” is that the leading ladies are not only effortlessly talented, but believable as lifelong friends bonding over their love of a team and hero worship of its star player.

Moreover, these senior citizen thespians look to be having an authentically good time throughout their adventure with an enthusiasm so infectious that, at least, it should rub off on the audience.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.



‘A MAN CALLED OTTO’ RATED PG-13

Would it surprise you that Tom Hanks playing a cranky curmudgeon who no longer sees purpose in his life following the loss of his wife would eventually transform into a modern-day version of an essentially warm Jimmy Stewart?

On two fronts, the answer is probably not. For one, Hanks is usually the nice guy in films. The other reason is his titular role in “A Man Called Otto” is based on the best-selling novel “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman, which became a Swedish film of the same title.

True to its Scandinavian roots, “A Man Called Otto” tells the story of Hanks’ Otto Anderson who lives in a townhome development where his daily routine is acting as the enforcer of homeowner rules even though no one asked him to do so.

Recently widowed and having no other relatives, Otto lives alone in his gated neighborhood where he spends most of his time muttering that anybody he comes across is an idiot and confronting those who offend his sensibilities.

True to his “get off my lawn” persona, Otto yells at a young woman who has the temerity of not curbing her small dog. He chastises the UPS driver for parking on his street that is closed to anyone without a residential permit.

Forced to retire from his engineering job at an automotive plant certainly doesn’t help his disposition. Buying rope at a hardware store turns into an ordeal when he argues with the clerk about being overcharged by mere pocket change.

What troubles Otto the most are the wistful flashbacks to his younger self (Truman Hanks) when he meets his future wife Sonya (Rachel Keller) after chasing her down on a train to return a book she dropped.

In the course of these flashbacks, Otto and Sonya become a loving couple who move into the townhome which they made home for their entire adult life together. A fateful bus trip to Niagara Falls has another lasting impact.

Depressed by the death of his beloved Sonya has caused Otto to lose the will to live to the point that he not only contemplates suicide but makes some attempts that are foiled by unforeseen circumstances or ineptness.

He can only rant so much at the other residents who fail to properly recycle their garbage. Harboring grudges against neighbors who were once friends makes him even more cantankerous and unpleasant. Even the sight of a stray cat on his porch is an irritating annoyance to him.

What could possibly happen that would give Otto a reason to live? The arrival of a Hispanic immigrant couple with two young daughters only seems to make him grouchier when the clumsy husband Tommy (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) can’t parallel park a small U-Haul trailer.

Yet, it’s the pregnant Marisol (Mariana Trevino), possessing an ebullient good nature that eventually proves irresistible, who chips away at Otto’s resistance to her neighborly friendliness.

Impervious to Otto’s less-than-welcoming attitude, the charm offensive begins when Marisol drops off the gift of a homemade meal. The unassuming housewife is so spirited and feisty that rebuffs from Otto just don’t register in a lasting manner.

Soon enough, Otto is babysitting Marisol’s winsome daughters and teaching her how to drive. He reaches out to estranged friends and helps neighbors make household repairs. He befriends a teenage transgender who gets kicked out of the house.

A nice touch is when Otto takes up a fight against a predatory developer (Mike Birbiglia) trying to evict long-term residents who have become incapacitated and tricked into handing over power of attorney of their affairs.

“A Man Called Otto” has the comfortable ring of familiarity in its sentimental, heartwarming story, which has also its share of occasional humor with Otto’s biting wit when he’s most irascible.

Despite its PG-13 rating, “A Man Called Otto” is clearly made for an adult audience that welcomes a change of pace with moving performances and an inspirational story.



‘FARMER WANTS A WIFE’ ON FOX

That a dating series called “Farmer Wants a Wife” was an international sensation comes as a surprise. Until FOX announced its own version would come to the network in early March, I had no idea of its existence.

If you have hit shows about baking cakes, I guess anything is possible. After all, a series that aired in 32 countries and resulted in 180 marriages and 140 children can’t be a fluke.

“Farmer Wants a Wife” seeks to exploit the migration from city-centers to suburban and rural locales, and the romance that follows. Four farmers will embark on an adventure of a lifetime in the hopes of finding their future spouse.

Superstar entertainer and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Nettles, who has also performed in Broadway musicals, will host the “Farmer Wants a Wife” series.

We’ll see if this American series lives up to the claim of the international version being the most successful dating show in the world.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The Lake County Library 2023 NEA Big Read is underway with a schedule of events that will include writing workshops, book discussions, and more offered through Saturday, March 25.

The first week of the 2023 NEA Big Read marks the first of three poetry readings to be offered during this year’s programming.

Taste of Poetry with Richard Schmidt
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m.
Join local author and Lake County Poet Laureate Emeritus Richard Schmidt for a poetry reading at the Lakeport Library. The event will feature readings from Lake and Mendocino County poets including Michael Riedell, Dan Barth, Mimi Whitaker and more. Location: Lakeport Library, 1425 N. High St.

Big Read 2023 Author Event
Saturday, March 18, 1 to 3 p.m.
Join the Lake County Library and Lake County Friends of Mendocino College in welcoming the author of Postcolonial Love Poem, Natalie Diaz, for a virtual poetry reading, discussion, and Q&A. This event will take place on Zoom and will be live streamed from the Mendocino College Lake Campus Round Room and all four branches of the Lake County Library.
Location: Mendocino College 2565 Parallel Drive, Lakeport, or your nearest library branch in Lakeport, Clearlake, Upper Lake or Middletown.

Poets Laureate Reading
Saturday, March 25, 1 to 2 p.m.
Join Lake County Poet Laureate Georgina Marie Guardado for a poetry reading featuring California's new State Poet Laureate Lee Herrick, Ukiah Poet Laureate Emerita Linda Noel, Alameda Poet Laureate Kimi Sugioka, and Ukiah Poet Laureate Emeritus Jabez Churchill. The featured Poets Laureate will read original work and select poems by Natalie Diaz. Location: Lakeport Library, 1425 N. High St.

The public is invited to attend all NEA Big Read events at no cost, and free books are provided at each event and all library branches until supply runs out.

To view the full schedule of events, go to http://www.lakecountybigread.com/.

Follow the Big Read on Facebook by visiting https://www.facebook.com/LakeCountyBigRead/.

The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, which seeks to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The NEA Big Read showcases a diverse range of contemporary titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery.

Visit https://www.arts.gov/initiatives/nea-big-read for more information about the NEA Big Read. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s at https://artsmidwest.org/ for more information.



UPPER LAKE, Calif. — The annual winter concert series at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake continues on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 3 p.m. in Riffe’s Meeting House next to the hotel.

The program features the veteran Bay Area jazz and blues pianist and educator Macy Blackman and two members of his band, the “Mighty Fines,” Nancy Wright on sax and vocals and Bing Nathan on bass.

“Hearing Macy Blackman at the piano is like stepping into an uptown New Orleans club circa 1955” says Tallman and Blue Wing owner Bernie Butcher. “He’s a great entertainer with a wonderful trio including our personal favorite Nancy Wright on sax.”

A renowned musicologist, Macy has been into New Orleans-influenced jazz music since before graduating from NYU with a music degree in 1970.

He moved to San Francisco in 2000 to teach courses at UC Berkeley. These popular classes explored major American musical styles of the 20th century — rhythm and blues, swing and classic jazz.

He soon drifted back to his roots in New Orleans R&B and formed The Mighty Fines in 2003. That band has recorded four CDs including the most recent titled Shoorah Shoorah — The Songs of Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint.

Sax mistress Nancy Wright needs no introduction to Lake County music fans as she’s performed here at the Blue Wing Blues Festival, the Soper-Reese Theatre and a variety of other venues.

She has recorded and performed in the U.S. and abroad with artists including John Lee Hooker, B. B. King, Elvin Bishop, Joe Louis Walker, and Commander Cody and she now has her own “Rhythm and Roots” Band.

Tickets at $30 + tax are available by online at www.eventbrite.com or calling the Tallman Hotel at 707-275-2244, Extension 0. Coffee and cookies are served to guests.

The 3 p.m. start offers opportunities for either a late lunch or early supper at the Blue Wing Restaurant next door.

Dooby and family. Photo by Matt Davis.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. — The Middletown Art Center is hosting a Valentine’s concert and fundraiser for Dooby Logic of The Higher Logic Project, a local and beloved high energy, reggae inspired dance rock group.

The “Love is Everything” concert will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the MAC, 21456 Highway 175.

Since moving to Lake County in 2011, Dooby has been a generous supporter of other community members, causes specific to Lake Count, and the very land itself. Now it’s our turn to show up for a friend in need.

On Christmas, while visiting family in Santa Barbara, Dooby received the tragic news that his house burned down. With only a few days of clothing, and one of his three dogs, Dooby lost everything in one fell swoop.

Fortunately, his friend and house sitter, Daniel Green, was able to rescue his other two dogs, after entering the blaze four times and sustaining some burns and risking his own life.

“The dogs were the most important thing, and if they had not survived I would not be processing this loss in the same way,” Dooby said.

Lost in the fire was upward of $50,000 of musical equipment that is essential for Dooby’s performances and what the fundraiser hopes to help him replace so that he can continue to make music which ultimately brings people together.

Not only a musician and an artist, Dooby is a community builder and networker. Over the past few years he has wholeheartedly showed up for others in need. When 7 year old Lily Lauwer developed a brain tumor and when Coty-Alma Husson was diagnosed with cancer, Dooby was instrumental in fundraising performances for both, and these are only two examples of his commitment to supporting fellow community members.

Friend to several local tribal elders, Dooby dialogues with them about shared visions of healing Lake County’s history of violence and oppression.

He performed multiple times at Hands Around Clearlake, a cross-cultural grassroots festival and healing ceremony for the lake, land and people of this place.

“No one can truly own land, but we can take on the responsibility of caring for it,” Dooby said.

And that is his greatest wish for the five acres in Kelseyville he calls home. He hopes that in rebuilding his house a process will unfold that includes bringing community together, creating and teaching art and music, self-sufficiency, and ultimately holding forgiveness for the histories that haunt Kelseyville.

The fundraiser includes performances from The Higher Logic Project, DJ Murti, and Frankie & Jared.

Tickets cost $20 and will be available at the door. Beer, wine and food will be available for purchase.

You can also support Dooby at this Go Fund Me page, A Home in Ashes and the Vision.



‘WILL TRENT’ ON ABC

After a three-year hiatus, the biannual press tour that brings members of the Television Critics Association as well as unaffiliated critics together for panel discussions has finally returned to an in-person affair.

The gathering of critics afforded ABC the opportunity to present its newest crime drama “Will Trent,” which is based on the New York Times best-selling book series by Karin Slaughter.

In the role of the titular character, Ramon Rodriguez shared his thoughts that his role as a special agent allowed him to be a “resilient human being that had a complicated past” who has figured how to navigate in a unique way that “actually helps him with cases.”

Indeed, Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has an intuitive approach to his police work that would remind some viewers of Tony Shaloub’s Adrian Monk solving crimes in the “Monk” series.

While Monk’s obsessive-compulsive disorder caused his departure from the police department to private sleuthing, Agent Trent has his own cross to bear for being a straight-arrow who made enemies in the Atlanta Police Department for uncovering corruption in the ranks.

The first two episodes, which are now streaming on Hulu, involve Trent investigating two deaths and the kidnapping of a college girl at the home of wealthy car dealer Paul Campano (Mark-Paul Gosselaar).

What looks to be a rather settled crime scene turns out to be something quite different after Trent is summoned by his boss at the Bureau, Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn), to apply his set of skills to the investigation.

Trent’s background is important to the series. He grew up in Atlanta’s foster care system. He suffers from dyslexia and records his observation with a tape recorder. An inability to read does not hinder his matchless ability to read a crime scene.

Though loath to partner with anyone, Trent finds himself reluctantly having to work with Atlanta PD detective Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson) who’s smart enough to appreciate his brilliance as well as to call him out when necessary.

In his private life, the fastidious Trent, who wears three-piece suits, has a curious cyclical romantic relationship with Atlanta PD detective Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen) as they share the common bond of growing up in the same foster home.

One unlikely four-legged star is a chihuahua named Betty that Trent reluctantly adopts after the animal shelter claims they don’t have a no-kill policy.

“Will Trent” presents itself as an interesting drama with some compelling characters, who may be flawed but are agreeable and easy to root for as they deal with work-related and personal issues.



‘ACCUSED’ ON FOX

FOX television’s new crime thriller “Accused” is akin to an anthology rather than a traditional series in that it is a collection of 15 intense and exquisitely human stories of crime and punishment.

Each episode is a fast-paced provocative thriller, exploring a different crime, in a different city, with an entirely original cast.

“Accused” is based on the British series of the same title that first aired a dozen years ago. The BBC drama series followed a different character in each episode as they await their verdict in court, including well-known actors such as Olivia Colman, Sean Bean and Naomie Harris.

The American version opens in a courtroom with a defendant that the viewers know nothing about their crime or how they ended up on trial.

Told from the defendant’s point of view through flashbacks, the show holds up a mirror to current times with evocative and emotional stories.

In the end, the idea is for audiences to discover how an ordinary person gets caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and how one impulsive decision can impact the course of that life and the lives of others forever.

Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale (“The Americans”) and Emmy Award nominee Molly Parker (“House of Cards”) are slated for a gripping episode tackling conspiracy theories.

Rachel Bilson (“The O.C.”) and Jack Davenport (“The Morning Show’) star in a thrilling episode with a family caught in a troubling situation.

Acclaimed Broadway star J. Harrison Ghee (“Kinky Boots”) will appear in a Billy Porter-directed episode about a drag queen’s affair and its aftermath.

Ian Anthony Dale (“Hawaii Five-O”) has been cast in an episode about a brother striving to protect his sibling who was injured in a devastating car accident as a child.

The director and writer of FX’s “Reservation Dogs” has been set to write and direct an episode about Native American activists protesting a uranium mine that has been polluting tribal lands for decades.

“Accused” will draw a wide range of actors to its ranks, including familiar faces such as Michael Chiklis, Jill Hennessy, Abigail Breslin, Wendell Pierce, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Rhea Pearlman and Malcolm Jamal Warner.

As an aside, “Fantasy Island” returns for its second season just in time as a way to forget the winter cold. Wouldn’t it be swell to vacation at a luxury tropical island resort? Unfortunately, there’s always a catch.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

Upcoming Calendar

18May
05.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
18May
05.18.2024 10:00 am - 05.19.2024 4:00 pm
Buckingham Test and Tune
18May
05.18.2024 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Land Trust benefit
21May
05.21.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
22May
05.22.2024 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lake Leadership Forum
25May
05.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
27May
05.27.2024
Memorial Day
28May
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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