Hot dog, I can’t plug this enough. Sometimes life is just too fucking much, you know? And you just wanna be a rock in silence, or say fuck it and break something, or enter a black hole cuz nothing matters anyways. And then someone hugs you or sweeps up your mess and damn, that pinky flick of kindness is a punch. It’s the power of love in parenting, partnerships, and doing your taxes. It’s holding on and letting go; it’s action-(fanny)packed and hanging out at a laundromat. It’s, well, you know.
Local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan develops a plan to get rich that shocks his fans and lands him in jail. (IMDb)
Main man Jan Lewan is a compelling lead–optimistic and ambitious, a criminal who is misguided but without malice, one who in the end welcomes his karma and consequences. The script here never digs deep into any of the crime or character-related intrigue though (instead of a suspenseful cat-and-mouse plot we get 2 maybe 3 scenes with the investigator), and the stuff on the surface never has quite enough zip (pizzazz?) to carry the film in its place. Nothing terribly wrong here, just needed more.
The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes. (IMDb)
It’s probably good I let this sink in a bit before rating it; it’s one of those films that as a whole is just okay (the plot’s a mash of storylines and undercooked themes and the characters either don’t develop or do so rapidly) but has lots of great moments–mostly comedic (see the sausage factory trip, Hart’s hilarious Snowball: “Ricky!”) or musical-including a good feel-good final montage set to some scrumptious throwback R&B. Desplat’s excellent jazzy score elevates a lot of other scenes.