This week on the Richard Crouse Show Podcast we meet Craig Taylor, author of “New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time.” Taylor is a chronicler of some of the world’s greatest cities. His book “Londoners” was called the “best book about London in at least a decade” and the new one on New York City, which is made up of profiles of bodega cashiers, hospital nurses, elevator repairmen, emergency dispatchers; the people who wire the lights at the top of the Empire State Building, clean the windows of Rockefeller Center, and keep the subway running. It’s a book about the New York you don’t often read about and it is already getting rave reviews. The Independent called it, “Jaw-dropping…enthralling…Start spreading the news: Taylor’s book is a stunning work of modern social history.”
Then Anthony Q. Farrell joins us. He’s a former stand up comedian who has written for “The Office,” was executive story editor for “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and is known for his work as a writer on the Nickelodeon sitcom “The Thundermans.” He’s back with two new shows “The Parker Andersons” and “Amelia Parker” which you’ll find on the Super Channel. What makes these shows unique is that they are two stand-alone comedy series, each with their own storylines and episodes, but are connected by larger overarching plot lines tying the two independent shows together.
Finally, you know my guest Lucas Hedges from his Academy Award nominated performance in “Manchester by the Sea” and you’ve seen him in “Lady Bird” and the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” His latest movie, “French Exit” has him starring opposite Michele Pfeiffer. He joins us to talk about his claim that he took on the role of the son of a soon to be broke Manhattan socialite because he wanted to be bored while playing a character.
Each week on the nationally syndicated Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to hear in-depth interviews with actors and directors, to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favourite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Recent guests include Ethan Hawke, director Brad Bird, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Eric Roberts, Brian Henson, Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The most interesting man in the world,” and best selling author Linwood Barclay.
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Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including the mighty monster mash-up of “Godzilla Vs. Kong,” the family drama (with horses!) “Concrete Cowboy” and the charming quirkiness of “French Exit.”
“French Exit,” now playing in theatres, takes place in New York City and Paris, but to be honest, I’m not sure what planet most of these characters live on.
Michelle Pfeiffer is Frances Price, a stylish, eccentric New Yorker whose inherited fortune has almost run dry. She’s famous in society circles for her once giant bank account and in the tabloids as the wealthy widow who discovered her husband Franklin (Tracy Letts) dead in his bed, but didn’t report it until after she returned from a planned weekend ski trip. She has lived her life with no apologies and always says what’s on her mind. “The plan was to die before the money ran out,” she says, “but I kept, and keep on, not dying and here I am.”
Her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) has drifted through life since his mother pulled him out of private school at age twelve. They share a rambling mansion, but not everything is out in the open, like his engagement to the prim Susan (Imogen Poots).
With no means to stay in New York, mother, son and their mysterious cat Small Frank (voiced by Tracey Letts), sell off assets and decamp to Paris, staying in the apartment of Frances’ closest friend Joan (Susan Coyne). There, Frances continues her lavish ways, vastly over tipping waiters, going through whatever money is left, as if to fulfill her prophesy that she will go when the money is gone.
An air of ennui hangs heavy over “French Exit” but it’s not a depressing film. The collection of quirky characters—including lonely expat New Yorker Mme Reynaud (Valerie Mahaffey), private investigator Julius (Isaach de Bankole) and clairvoyant Madeleine (Danielle Macdonald)—juice the inherent nihilistic farce out of the story. This doesn’t feel like real life because it isn’t. It takes place in a world constructed by Frances, populated by people who cater to her whims. A séance to locate a missing cat who may, or may not, embody the spirit of her late husband? Sure, and that’s not even her most idiosyncratic request.
At the centre of it all, holding it all together is Pfeiffer. Monumentally self-absorbed and arch, it comes as no surprise when she gets a waiter’s attention by lighting the flowers on her table on fire. She is given to larger-than-life behaviour but as farce gives way to tragedy Pfeiffer takes pains to allow some real humanity to shine through. She is so form-fitted to the character it’s impossible to imagine anyone else hitting the right notes of humour and heartache.
The talented cast stops “French Exit” from becoming a twee Wes Anderson clone. It may not always feel like real life but its unique feel contains just enough earnestness to make an unreal situation feel real and alive.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including Shia LeBeouf’s semi-autobiographical story “Honey Boy,” the eco-doc “Spaceship Earth,” the period dramedy “Emma,” the ripped-from-the-headlines “The Assistant,” the family drama “Ordinary Love,” the horror comedy “Extra ordinary,” the ugly divorce proceedings of “Hope Gap” and the neo-realist look at the gig economy “Sorry We Missed You.”
Written as an exercise while in rehab, Shia LeBeouf’s script for “Honey Boy” is a biographical piece about growing up as a child actor with an addicted former rodeo clown and Vietnam Vet father who didn’t always have his son’s best interest in mind. By turns touching and bleak, tender and therapeutic, the film is a testament to art as a tonic to heal wounds.
LeBeouf’s alter ego is Otis, played as a twelve-year-old by Noah Jupe, a twenty-two year-old Hollywood stunt man by Lucas Hedges. We first meet him as a young adult on his way to court-ordered rehab after an altercation. There he begins putting pen to paper as a way to come to grips with an unconventional young life.
Cutting between present day and the events of a decade before, “Honey Boy” documents twelve-year-old Otis’s relationship with his unpredictable father James (LaBeouf). James is a frustrated and frustrating burn-out who relies on his son financially. He is the very embodiment of a man “doing the best he can” with his son, but it’s not nearly enough. Otis, an innocent, is forced to grow up fast, to define his love-hate relationship with James. He imagines telling his old man, “I’ve always been waiting for you to act like a real dad,” but, instead he says, “You work for me. I’m your boss.”
“Honey Boy” is about a terrible relationship but it isn’t an angry movie. LeBeouf’s script and the direction of Alma Har’el, capture a heartbreaking melancholy of a father who never recovered from having his dreams shattered. Otis may say “The only thing my father gave me of any value was pain,” but there is empathy in the words and in LeBeouf’s portrayal of James. He’s abusive, drunk, prone to violence, but he’s broken and knows no other path. It’s not an excuse, simply an observation. “Stop bringing up the past,” James tells Otis. “I can’t get out from under it.”
The film’s coda, an earnest reckoning between father and son, sheds light on the aftermath of their abusive relationship. It’s here “Honey Boy” shows its greatest compassion for a damaged person. Raw and powerful, it’s father and son coming to an understanding after a lifetime of turmoil. When James says, “As you get older you get to learn about life. You get to know where you come from,” it feels like LeBeouf’s acceptance of their relationship. The choice of closing credit song, Bob Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do” reinforces the feeling. “All I really want to do,” Dylan rasps, “Is, baby, be friends with you.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Frozen 2,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Marriage Story” and “Waves.”