Mad Money: Crime Pays Honest People

Mad Money: Crime Pays Honest People

      Keaton and Latifah Go Mad!

We missed Mad Money the first time around, and its philosophy and premise as a comedy requires some thought on the part of the audience. That is rather unusual, but we came to an unpleasant conclusion.

The film really stars Diane Keaton and Ted Danson as a late middle-aged couple who bankruptcy occurs when high-pay ends. They are left with a quarter of a million dollars of debt. Housewife Keaton must return to the employment line to help win some bread.

She ends up at the Federal Rserve as a cleaning woman. It seems unlikely that a woman with a degree in Comparative Lit would do this, but she needed the benefits.

Once there, seeing money destroyed, shredded and destroyed by the Feds, she is moved to commit a criminal conspiracy. There is something disturbing that lifelong honest people will be driven to do dastardly criminal activity to survive. It may be true, though none of the honest people we have encountered would do this.

Queen Latifah is also tempted by the concept that crime is a virus and once exposed, you will turn criminal. Evne more appalling, honest people are the best kind of criminal because their native intelligence and honesty makes them a head above normal criminal imbeciles.

We had some trouble with these concepts, and it had a distinct effect on our laugh quotient. It became most unfunny to watch this caper film with a gang of unlikely ladies.

It may be a film for fans of Latifah or Keaton, but you must be dyed I the wool to put up with this kind of loose ethical standard.







Just Wright, You Cannot Go Wrong!

DATELINE: No Salad Eating Chick

  Queen & Commoner

We may be catching this about ten years too late, but better late! Hundreds of views on Amazon Prime say how much they love this movie. Queen Latifah is perfect, not Just Wright.

As one of the few oversize women in starring roles, unabashed, she steals every scene with her genuine sweetness in the face of life’s adversities.

She plays a physical therapist who has a chance encounter with an NBA star (Common). From there, the breaks seem to go every which way. Phylicia Rashaad plays Common’s mother, and Pam Grier plays Latifah’s mother. We have something going on here.

We were mostly bowled over and amused to find another Boston icon in the movie: Latifah starred with Tom Brady’s wife in one picture, and here in all the basketball scenes is former Celtic, Rajon Rondo.

This romantic comedy with a basketball setting has all the wrong turns and twists of fate you might expect that throw the crossed paths of Latifah and Common back together repeatedly.

Because Queen Latifah is not your standard trophy wife of a pro athlete type, this film takes on more gravitas. Common is a tad short for the NBA but is likeable and good-looking. But Rondo is a better actor, but Dwight Howard has a bigger scene.

The inevitable twist of fate brings the physical therapist into physical contact with the superstar in contract negotiations, and the big pay-off must satisfy the audience.

This is sheer fantasy, as any fan can tell you. Players are never thrown into a big game full-time after a career injury, but spend weeks acclimating. But this is a movie romance.

Queen Latifah even hums a few bars from “The More I See You,” in one scene as a throwaway to her old musical career. She’s billed as musical consultant. Don’t be fooled: this is still a jazzy gem.






Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, & Gisele Bundchen Star!

 DATELINE: Bad Bad Bundchen

 bad bad bundchen.jpeg

Mrs. Tom Brady Did It!

Hail a Taxi in a New York minute! This is a must-see movie classic.

Well, okay, it isn’t exactly Citizen Kane.

However, the 2004 movie called Taxi impresses in so many ways. First, its cast includes Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, and Giselle Bundchen. Unlikely and perfect casting?

Yes, the future Mrs. #TomBrady is in her movie debut with third billing. There is not even a hint of “Introducing….” She is the star. Having a billion bucks can do that.

She is top of the game as the villain, a tall model-type bank robber, heading a gang of shoot’em up women. What? You were expecting Anna Magnani in Open City? It’s enough to convince us that, if she teamed up with Tom Brady, for a movie career, we’d have another Burton and Taylor, or at least a potential Laurel and Hardy.

The movie is about a New York cabbie with a penchant for speeding (Queen Latifah in her patented sassy tough girl role) and an inept New York copper (Jimmy Fallon with a run-off at the mouth speed).

Luc Besson directs and writes this stuff to guarantee there is plenty of car-crashing action. He is the Fellini of the urban circus movie. Yeah, we give this one 8 and a Half.

If you expect to see Downton Abbey, you took a wrong turn at Antonioni’s Blow Up. Gisele rivals Vanessa Redgrave here.

We mainly stayed agog during the entire film because it is fifteen years old, and the three principal stars look exactly the same today. They have not aged one whit. #Latifah, #Fallon, and #Bundchen just stepped out of The Time Machine.

Who among us can make that claim? You might start to wonder where the Fountain of Youth is located in Central Park. Is it Tom Brady’s avocado ice cream that tells us the proof is in the pudding?

Yes, the cute strawberry blonde playing Jimmy Fallon’s mother is that Viva Las Vegas girl and Elvis co-star, Ann-Margaret. Talk about ageless

This movie is a Manhattan cake-walk.

Oscar Ignores Bessie Smith’s Story Too

DATELINE: Movies about People

With the Oscars embroiled in charges of racial bias, HBO continues to produce interesting and diverse films that are ineligible for the Academy Award. One of this year’s best movies is relegated to a second tier and second class status.

Talk about injustice.

This year’s Bessie is a classic example. Before Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters, there was Bessie Smith. She just didn’t sing the blues. She lived the blues.

Queen Latifah never fails to surprise. And, with this film, she plays the great blues singer of the 1920s, Bessie Smith, with an elan seldom seen in performances. She clearly identifies with the benighted black singer who rose from obscurity, fell back, and rose again to a comeback with the likes of Benny Goodman.

As producer and star, Queen Latifah is the real story. Her talents range from comedy to tragedy—and she can sing too.

As Bessie, Latifah has met a subject she can sink her teeth into. And the film depicts the black audiences of segregated days with their own star system. Mo’Nique matches Queen scene for scene as her mentor and friend Ma Rainey.

Like Latifah, Bessie Smith was tough and brash. She had to be to succeed in the barnstorming days of musical acts from the American South that played to the affluent black audiences of its day.

Once again, the surprise may be how much American culture is derived from these entertainment pioneers in music. The black culture seems cutting edge, precursors to the attitudes and style to develop in white America decades later.

Audiences that miss Latifah’s Bessie may also miss a chance to learn what great talent truly is.