Archive for the ‘Disease of the week’ Category

Beautiful Boy – **

Posted: November 22, 2018 in 2018, Disease of the week, Drama, USA, XX

The beautiful boy in the title is Nic Sheff, a young adult with a bright future ahead, but with an addiction to Crystal Meth. His caring father is clearly disappointed when he finds out that his son is dependent on a hard drug, but tries to help him as much as he can. To no avail. Crystal Meth addicts are immune to rehabilitation, so it seems.

It’s an okay movie, but nothing all that memorable. It kind of feels like a made for tv disease of the week movie from the nineties. (Amazon made it) Sure, the acting is great (that Timothée Chalamet is again really convincing), but the direction isn’t all that special and apart from the father/son relationship through hard times, there isn’t really a ‘story’. It’s a very American movie. Not sure why they wanted a European director.

So, wait a minute.

This movie is about a victim of the Boston attack who loses both legs, but reluctantly becomes a hero and a symbol for the Boston Strong movement. All movie long we’re supposed to empathize with a guy who doesn’t really like all the attention he is getting. yet the movie is based on a book, written by that same victim.

A book! A movie! Talk show appearances. But it’s about someone who doesn’t like the attention.

Something just doesn’t feel right.

Movie night with my mom (83). Her choice: The Leisure Seeker, a story about an older couple who, after being married for 50 years, decide to go on a road trip from their home in Massachusetts to the house of Ernest Hemingway in Key West. Both are in no condition to go on such a long trip as mr Spencer has Alzheimer’s and mrs Spencer is diagnosed with a terminal disease. Yet, off they are!

My mom liked the movie and loved the performances of Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

Personally, I thought the acting was not exciting at all. Helen Mirren is good, sure. But she’s always good. Donald Sutherland acted too much like a whimsical, confused ten-year old. That Alzheimer patients are confused, sure. And whimsical as well. Hey, the childlike behavior happens too. But it was just too much. But all the other members of the cast are acting ridiculously. Like the bunch of Trump supporters that were given the task to shout USA and look angry. It’s not even funny. Or the two guys who try to rob the couple along the highway. If that was a casting audition they’d never get another casting call.

But it’s the story that makes this movie a big disappointment. Not the general concept. The idea of a couple who have been married going on a road trip to reflect on their life is good. But to add the diseases to it is just too much. Maybe if mrs Spencer would have driven the mobile home, it would have made sense. But the storytellers preferred to have the Alzheimer patient drive the entire stretch. They depict him as not knowing this and that, yet driving a mobile home works just fine.  I’ve seen Alzheimer patients who didn’t know the name of their husbands, but were still able to play piano flawlessly. So, I get it, driving a vehicle is something you never forget. But that’s bull. It’s totally irresponsible to have a guy like Mr Spencer drive that long stretch. And not credible. That he can still quote dialogue from his favorite books, okay. But that he drives the entire stretch? no.

That said. Some moments are funny. And it’s kind of adventurous what they do. And there are a few surprises (for my mom). In her words: “It’s a movie for old people, young people probably won’t like it”.


Another movie with Carice Van Houten showing her boobs! And there’s a good excuse this time. She plays a woman with breast cancer. She’s really just second fiddle to Barry Atsma, who plays her husband. He’s a successful advertisement manager and notorious playboy, who stands by his wife during her ordeal, but who also cheats on her. It’s quite interesting to see how the focus lies with the partner. It all feels very realistic. In other movies the partner of the patient is always a saint. But people aren’t saints. It makes more sense that the playboy cheats on his wife, than that he stays loyal to her. The fact that he admits it, makes him more human. The acting is really good and the chemistry between both actors works excellent. But the directing is soso and the even though the focus lies with the partner, in the end it’s just a movie about the terrible process that cancer patients go through. With a very long and emotionally predictable end, which does not stand for guaranteed tearjerking. In fact, most likely no tear will be shed at all.

Patients is a quite a unique movie experience about a young man who is paralyzed after a silly diving incident in the swimming pool and tries to live with the fact that he’ll never be a professional basketball player or physical trainer anymore . The synopsis may not be all that appealing, but go see it anyways. It’s really well done.What makes the experience great (and appealing for a different kind of crowd that usually watches ‘disease of the week’ movies) is the storytelling. It’s not politically correct, it’s not sensitive, it’s not overdramatizing… It’s just very real. It also has a lot of humor as well (even though the references and jokes get lost in translation). And it’s filled with great tracks ranging from modern instrumental tunes to heartfelt rap.  Because of its multicultural cast, it may appeal to an audience that normally can’t relate to stories of disabled people. Just because in general they are always white. The main character in this movie is also white, but the rehabilitation centre that he stays at is very bbb (beur black blanc – north african, black, white). It’s sad that anno 2017 you notice this difference to other movies about disabled characters. But it makes it intriguing as well. The acting is very good. Especially by Pablo Pauly in the lead role. The topic is delivered in the most truthful way. The situations are real. The directing is brilliant. There are quite some original shots. The scenes are edited extremely well, especially during the musical intervals. In fact, this is great cinema. A must.

Still Alice – **

Posted: December 24, 2015 in 2014, Disease of the week, Drama, USA, XX

Thanks to the great acting by Julianne Moore (who won an Oscar for this part) and the underrated Alec Baldwin and Kirsten Stewart, this melodrama keeps you ‘entertained’ until the end and is worth the watch. If it were made with C-list actors, it most likely would never have had the same buzz. It would have been just another disease of the week television drama.

Moore is Alice, a smart linguistic docent at Columbia University who discovers that she’s having a rare variation of the Alzheimers disease. She tries to delay the total destruction by coming up with techniques to train her memory, just like she would try to teach young children to use a language.

It’s not a bad movie at all. It’s just not a touching movie. Especially if you have experience with Alzheimer patients. It may be good as an introduction for those who know nothing about the disease. But the story never captivates. In particular because it’s way too positive. This is one of the shittiest diseases you can ever have and it’s not pleasant at all. Not for the patient (who, well, forgets about it fast) and definitely not for those around the patient. A movie focussing on the frustration of those around an Alzheimer patient would have been more interesting. Now everyone just seems way too cool about the condition of their loved one.

Heavy stuff, this ‘love tale’ about two highbrow eighty-somethings in Paris who face the biggest challenge of their long life together: taking care of one another in old age and disability.

Michael Haneke is a unique director. His movies disturb every single time. So, it’s not surprise that he even makes the viewers uncomfortable while watching two older people love each other. For better and for worse.

Emmanuelle Riva won several awards for her performance as a disabled octogenarian. And yes, she’s pretty powerful, lying there half paralyzed most of the time. But it’s Louis Trintignant who’s the real powerhouse here. His character is very intriguing and the performance is flawless.

The synopsis may not really make you want to watch the movie. It’s not nice to see two old people struggle. However, it’s very ‘entertaining’ in the sense that every single scene is well presented and necessary. Michael Haneke has a specific style that you either love or loathe, but at least he never bores.

Try it.

E.R. Season 15 – *(*)

Posted: December 12, 2014 in 2009, Disease of the week, Drama, USA, X1/2

Last season.

Really not the best.

Not even the cameo’s of former cast members are good.

Badly scripted and acted as if they all wanted it to end.


If you’re a sixteen year old boy and you want to score on your first date, you take your possible girlfriend to The Fault In Our Stars and shed a tear or two at the end. A guaranteed score! You most likely won’t have to pretend, because it IS a sad story and the acting of the characters is touching. However, it’s still a (young adult) chick flick filled with a lot of obvious clichés.

It does have its merits though. It’s an indie movie for the masses, with an indie soundtrack of course and two unknown, average but good-looking leads who aren’t quite the antiheroes the director would love them to be, but still deliver. The ‘original’ aspect of this romantic teen drama is the fact that both are cancer patients. They share the same experiences and emotions. It makes them bond. They meet in a council group and start hanging out, discussing life (and death) and go on an adventure that will bring them even closer.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter so much that they are sick. It’s really just a story about a boy and girl who meet and fall in love. And that just isn’t enough for a great movie. They meet, fall in love and stay in love. Boring! Okay, it’s based on a popular novel written for young people and the producers didn’t want to change too much to the story, but as an adult you kind of expect more sarcasm, more frustration, more doubts and less cheesiness. And the adventure is just a promo clip for the specific destination.

I have lost two dear friends to cancer, yet this story didn’t touch me as much as I hoped it would. I blame the age. It’s sad really, because it’s not a bad movie at all.

This is good television. Too much focus on the love affairs between the doctors, nurses and even patients. But still entertaining. Not every episode is great. The ones with Forest Whitaker are a drag and the wedding special leads to a huge yawn as well. But there’s always Sam, the incredible Linda Cardellini, who steals every scene she’s in!