‘Life of The Party’ is another Melissa McCarthy stinker

Watch this if you have 90 minutes of your life to kill.


Life of The Party marks the third collaboration between husband and wife combo, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. They need to stop making movies together.

While funny at times and avoiding the cinematic intersections that resemble terrible, Life of the Party is a wholly forgettable movie experience, relying on tired jokes, worn out cliches, and an urge to bring back humor that didn’t even exist in the first place.

What’s the story? McCarthy plays Deanna, a middle-aged woman who has given her entire life to the needs of her family, which centers around her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon). Deanna’s life gets spun around when her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) leaves her right after they drop Maddie off at college. What does a woman do when her life falls apart? In Deanna’s case, she goes back to college to finish her degree. The same college as her daughter. Go ahead and pour another drink, and I’ll continue.

The typical things happen. Deanna is the lovable yet overbearing mom that Maddie’s friends find adorable and sweet, so she collects twice as many friends as enemies. There’s the girl who spent eight years in a coma and another drop-dead gorgeous woman who doesn’t think highly of herself. They all bond quick with Deanna, who gets a makeover and sleeps with a guy half her age in trying to find herself. Did I mention her roommate is a closeted goth girl who may have a secret connection to someone? Yep, check.

What you have is an elementary practice that will ask for 12 dollars out of your pocket to see jokes that were done a whole lot better elsewhere. Falcone wrote the script with McCarthy, and it relies on all the strengths of the comedy actress, which is basically one thing: physical comedy. McCarthy’s unique set of skills is going back to the same well she’s used since Bridesmaids. It’s tiring, only working well when written by Paul Weitz and paired with a hilarious Jason Statham in Spy. It’s the same thing you saw in Falcone’s previous films, The Boss and Tammy.

A scene where Deanna, or “Dee Rocks” as her friends call her, has to give a verbal presentation in class, is funny. McCarthy gets to use her gross-out skills in showing us a woman facing her worst fear. Then, the movie goes back to the same-old playground of jokes. A late bit involving a musician falls flat and sends the film into a neat wrap-up.

I’ll be honest and admit I am not the biggest McCarthy fan, but she has found good content in films. When she isn’t the lead, her work isn’t as nauseating and plays better. When she plays against type, like in St. Vincent, she is good. She’s the musician that keeps getting summer-long tours, because movie fans find her relatable, so they let their comedy guard down. I am not impressed.

This will continue. Tammy grossed $100 million worldwide and The Boss made $64 million, both on budgets less than $30 million. Why would they stop making movies if they are making money? Who cares if Rotten Tomatoes rated the films at 22% and 24%, respectively?  One day, they’ll make a good movie-or movie fans will call their bluff.

Life of The Party is like drinking a milkshake on an empty stomach. It looks great on the menu and you trust the stomach to break it down, but in the end, you are in bed praying never again. Only it will happen again. Falcone and McCarthy are developing another comedy, Superintelligence, for 2019. I’ll probably review it. Hopefully, the movie won’t be a waste of my time.

Watch this movie when you are riding in the backseat of an overstuffed car during a road trip on an old laptop that freezes frequently. That way, you may get disgruntled enough to not make it to the end of this stinker.

Otherwise, I’d skip it all together.

‘Tully’ is proof that Charlize Theron is one of the best in the business

Being a mother is tough. A father simply doesn’t understand what it’s like to birth, raise, and bend your life backwards for a child. Mothers give all of themselves to a child. Marlo (Charlize Theron) knows this all too well, being the mother of two with a third child on the way. When you are a mother, the biggest struggle is retaining your former self through pregnancy and the early years.

When Jason Reitman’s beautifully rendered Tully opens up, we get a dose of the daily grind for Marlo. She wakes up and brushes (literally) the skin of her young boy, Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica), to help with his behavioral troubles. She tends to her young daughter, Sarah(Lia Frankland), before taking the two to school. Once there, she can’t leave without talking to the principal about Jonah’s “quirkiness.” Did I mention she was pregnant and her husband works too much?

Marlo needs assistance, and her brother (Mark Duplass) gets her a “night nanny,” someone to help the woman sleep at night and help Marlo transition back to a normal life. When it comes to normal and Marlo, the lines are tricky and blurred. She has suffered trauma in the past and doesn’t take easily to Tully (Mackenzie Davis) when she arrives to help.

The relationship between these two women dominates the rest of the movie, with a few unexpected twists and surprises that give the story enough tilt to come off as original and thought-provoking. Continue reading “‘Tully’ is proof that Charlize Theron is one of the best in the business”

‘Deadpool 2’ makes fun of everybody, and it’s awesome

Deadpool 2 is an overwhelming experience. In other words, I laughed a lot and that’s with only registering three quarters of the jokes, pop culture references, Marvel slams, DC Film slams, and all the other humor jammed into this two-hour action comedy blast starring the one and only Ryan Reynolds.

I say one and only because no one could pull off Wade Wilson-the merc with a mouth who needs a microphone and a sold-out Madison Square Garden stage-but Reynolds. The Canadian-born actor resuscitated his static career by replaying a character he helped malign in Wolverine: Origins back in 2009. By giving Deadpool a new coat of paint and replacing everything under the hood that 20th Century Fox and director Gavin Hood tamed down for profit, Reynolds did something truly special.

Do I really need to tell you what this sequel is about? Fine, let’s do it, just in case you miss the second-to-none marketing campaign, countless parody trailers, and hilarious usage of social media by Reynolds and his co-star Josh Brolin ( taking a break from infinity stone theft here in a different Marvel arena). Continue reading “‘Deadpool 2’ makes fun of everybody, and it’s awesome”

South City Confessions: Parents shouldn’t force their kids to play sports

Know when to say “it’s okay to not play”

He was serious this time.

I walked up to the playground and the first words out of Vinny’s mouth on a hot and dry Monday afternoon were, “daddy, I don’t want to play tee-ball anymore.”

I didn’t argue. For two weeks, my son had slowly but surely lost interest in playing the sport. Six years old isn’t an age where a boy or girl should be forced to play a sport in order to satisfy some childlike urge from their parents or in order to feel like they belong. Vinny wasn’t having fun, so he was done.

As a matter of fact, I can’t fucking stand parents who force their kids to play sports at any age. There’s nothing worse than the dad with a very tight Under Armour t-shirt on screaming on their kid to keep their glove on the dirt or for a nine-year-old to perfect a pitching motion. I’ve seen all of it and felt like walking up to the parent and jamming the aluminum bat up their ass. For fucks sake, pick your battles and don’t be the overly oppressive parent. It doesn’t matter which sport, all the overbearing parents look the same. Continue reading “South City Confessions: Parents shouldn’t force their kids to play sports”

‘The Looming Tower’ holds no mercy in stirring your 9/11 emotions

Get a whole new perspective on 9/11 here.

Warning: The Looming Tower, a Hulu series based on a Lawrence Wright book, is going to make you very mad. An insightful blend of anger will rise up inside you as you watch this highly vivid account of the years leading up to 9/11 and the dysfunction in the United States Government that may-or may not have-led to the disaster.

Then, after you have calmed down and hit a punching bag twenty times with a glass of bourbon storming down your throat, let it settle into you, because Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney have created a dynamic show that should live on for decades. If you think you know what led to that Tuesday morning massacre, you are most likely wrong. While every living soul in the world knows what happened that day, few know why and the intricate background details that weren’t made public until Wright’s detailed account was released.

Wright, who assisted on the show’s creation, picked former FBI bureau New York chief, John O’Neill (a never-better Jeff Daniels), as the show’s moral center. In an interview with The Washington Post, Wright found it fascinating that in the end, “O’Neill didn’t get Bin Laden; Bin Laden got him.” O’Neill saw the power and danger of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group mounting before many did, but his warnings fell on deaf ears. By choosing this intense individual as his centerpiece, Wright gives viewers the moral center of the tale. O’Neill is our champion throughout this event, all the way to the bitter end. Continue reading “‘The Looming Tower’ holds no mercy in stirring your 9/11 emotions”

St. Louis radio point man Eric Messersmith saves his heart for home life

The selfless 590 The Fan host spreads the love around

Eric Messersmith is living the dream. Well, sort of.

When Messersmith first thought about speaking into a microphone more than 20 years ago, he didn’t think it would be sports talk radio. The Penn State University alum wanted to be a play-by-play baseball announcer, calling the game he loved since a kid. He certainly has the voice for it. Instead, Messersmith got into a different kind of radio, landing gigs in Pennsylvania, Texas, and now Missouri.

He spends the days talking St. Louis sports with former University of Columbia, Missouri tight end, T.J. Moe, and former St. Louis Blues enforcer, Cam Janssen, during the afternoon drive on 590 The Fan KFNS. Playing the point for a couple hot takes dispensing former athletes doesn’t sound like an easy job. There are times where one could believe a referee jersey would fit Messersmith quite well. He makes it look easy, serving up points for his co-hosts to slam home before delivering the statistical analysis grounds the theories of his teammates. Continue reading “St. Louis radio point man Eric Messersmith saves his heart for home life”

‘A Quiet Place’ is the best movie I’ve seen this year

Stop what you are doing and watch this movie.

Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) Abbott have one simple goal: keep their children safe. When the world is overtaken by predatory creatures who track their victims strictly through sound, this family has to rely on the most unique of survival instincts and methods to stay alive. Make a loud noise and these disgusting things will hunt you down like Liam Neeson.

A Quiet Place, directed and co-written by Krasinski, is easily the scariest film I’ve seen in years and an early candidate for best film of the year. What you have here is an emotionally-driven horror film with the most organic suspense that moviegoers have seen in the past decade. Alfred Hitchcock would have adored this film’s setup and follow-through.

Coming in at a lean 90 minutes, Krasinski and company don’t waste a minute of your time, grabbing your attention in the first five minutes with a gripping sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the experience. I dare you to check your phone or use the restroom during this movie. If you must leave the theater for an unforeseen reason, I hope you were a sprinter in high school, because you will miss something. Continue reading “‘A Quiet Place’ is the best movie I’ve seen this year”