|Trash bag poncho--what a great idea!|
First off, we parked directly across from the theater, which is a two-mile drive from our house. Buying our tickets, I saved $2.50 just for having reached the age I am, whereas Mitch, who occupied the same amount of space in the theater and absorbed as much of the film into his eyes as I did into mine, had to pay full price. Then we sat in our favorite seats, the kind that rock back and forth and have built-in cup holders, right in the middle of the middle. We would have had the place all to ourselves except for one lone woman. Fortunately she was quiet, unlike my friend Deb who shouts out to the screen as if the actors can hear her--it's quite a spectacle, really, but anyway she wasn't there and the lady who was made not a peep.
The subject matter might offend some, since modern movies are mainly for escape and mental illness is certainly a disturbing topic, even more so now than when Olivia de Havilland overacted in "The Snake Pit" back in 1948. Bradley Cooper plays a young man with bipolar disorder who is struggling to get a grip on his runaway life after a marital breakup, emotional breakdown and eight-month lockup in the loony bin. Back living with his parents, one of whom is Robert DeNiro who naturally nails the part of the sad but also crazy dad, he's desperate to get his wife back and return to normalcy. This involves cops at the door, an attractive new love interest, and a lot of Bradley running in the streets of Philadelphia wearing a trash bag. A big chunk of the film is a remake of the dance contest rehearsal scenes and final contest we saw in "Saturday Night Fever," and I'd like to say here and now that Bradley Cooper is no John Travolta.
If you have grown kids who are "finding themselves," or know anyone with mental illness or even live on the edge of crazy yourself, it's an interesting, up-close look at what some people go through just to have a day, forget having a nice one. There are a few laughs along the way which are instantly forgettable, but just consider them some of those silver linings when they show up.