Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
I have two strong candidates for you today. You might want to see both of them.
The first is Promised Land (2012, Rated R, Available on DVD).
Steve Butler (Matt Damon) and his colleague Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) arrive in a small town as representatives of a company that wants to buy drilling rights for natural gas. At first, they're welcomed. The economy is bad, and people need the money. But then questions and concerns arise from former teacher Frank Yates (Hal Holbrook) and the leader of a grassroots campaign against fracking, Dustin Noble (John Krasinski).
This movie isn't brilliant, but it's interesting and worth watching to see how certain characters evolve. The conclusion has a twist that I didn't see coming. Damon, McDormand, and Krasinski are almost always worth watching. In fact, Damon and Krasinski wrote the screenplay, along with Dave Eggers. Gus Van Sant directed.
I wouldn't watch this movie with young children since it's rated R, but teenagers might learn something from it. I don't know if they'd be interested, though.
Promised Land earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.
And now we have a somewhat older movie: Feast of Love (2007, Rated R, Available on DVD).
Directed by the great Robert Benton, Feast of Love explores those small, intimate moments when we fall in and out of love. Bradley Smith (Greg Kinnear) owns a coffee shop in a small Oregon town where some of the characters meet, and where former professor Harry Stevenson (Morgan Freeman) likes to hang out, sometimes dispensing advice.
Bradley has difficulty finding the right woman. Bradley employs young Oscar (Toby Hemingway), who falls in love at first sight with Chloe (Alexa Davalos). Oscar and Chloe dream of a bright future together. One woman falls in love with another woman, and yet another woman loves a married man. When Harry goes home, he mourns the death of their son with his wife, Esther (the beautiful and dignified Jane Alexander).
I had never heard of this movie until Netflix told me I would probably like it. And I didn't like it. I loved it. Feast of Love has that sweet, magical touch that can only be found with the mystery of love as the central topic and Morgan Freeman as a central character. One might think that all the characters revolve around Bradley because he owns the coffee shop, but Morgan Freeman is the sun against whom everything rises and sets.
This movie is not for children. It has some pretty graphic sex scenes and nudity. Also, Oscar's father is violent and filled with hatred. You have to decide if it's okay for older teens to watch.
I admit that the conclusion of this movie might have left me with a tear in my eye. It could have been an eyelash. I'm not admitting to definite tears, but if there were tears, it was only one or two.
Feast of Love earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.
Infinities of love,