Love and Other Drugs

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MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material
Profanity: Extremely strong and crude language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Drinking (including drinking to deal with stress, drunkenness), drugs, marijuana
Violence/ Scariness: Tense confrontations, illness, brief violence
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: November 24, 2010
Date Released to DVD: March 1, 2011
Amazon.com ASIN: B004L3AR0K

“Love and Other Drugs” is the cure for the common movie, a smart, sexy, touching romance and a thoughtful exploration of a remarkable time that illuminates some of our most vital contemporary concerns.
“Ask your doctor about…” ads began appearing in magazines in the 1990’s. Before that, medication was a highly technical product requiring extensive medical expertise. But then pharmaceutical companies were allowed to advertise directly to consumers. This not coincidentally coincided with a flood of new drugs to make you not just get better but feel better, as in experience less anxiety and have a brighter outlook. Who wouldn’t want to ask their doctor about that?
And all of this not coincidentally coincided with the go-go years of pharmaceutical sales jobs. As the movie points out, this was the only entry level position in the world where you could begin by making six figures. It was like the California Gold Rush; an all’s fair era of claim-jumping and anything goes marketing tactics that included pens and opera tickets, lavish “medical conferences” at exotic beach and golf course resorts, generous “consulting fees” for doctors, beauty queen sale reps, and goodies for the medical staff. Anything to entice the people with the prescription pads to order up lots of Brand X instead of Brand Y.
Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is his family’s embarrassing failure. Co-writer/director Edward Zwick (“thirtysomething,” “Now and Again,” “Glory”) brings in 70’s stars the late Jill Clayburgh and George Segal as his parents, a nice touch. His father and sister are doctors. His brother is a dot.com millionaire. He was fired from selling electronic equipment (a boombox playing “Two Princes” nails the era in a nanosecond) for having sex with his manager’s girlfriend. So he takes a job in drug sales at Pfizer, goes through training, and gets a job selling mood elevators in the Ohio River valley. He has a lot of competition from the Prozac guys, and then comes Viagra. Maggie (Anne Hathaway) is a free-spirited artist with early onset Parkinson’s who takes buses of elderly people to Canada to get affordable prescription drugs. She sizes him up immediately as someone who is constantly looking for meaningless sex “for an hour or two of relief from the pain of being you” because she feels the same way.
Meaningless sex works out fine for a while, but then of course it gets complicated as Maggie has to cope with Parkinson’s and Jamie learns more about the consequences of the drug marketing. We see less and less of their bodies and their sexual encounters as we see more about what is going on with them emotionally.
Both the relationship at the heart of the story and the environment around them are absorbing and insightful. Almost as an aside, we see the benefits of this category of drugs as a homeless man who dumpster dives for the rival Prozac Jamie throws away literally cleans up his act and applies for a job. In a very moving scene Maggie happens on a Parkinson’s support group. She is overjoyed with the connection she feels to the other patients (played by real people coping with Parkinson’s) while Jamie is daunted by a glimpse of the future from a caregiver.
On one level, it works as a story about the real leap of faith each of us goes through in entering into a long-term relationship — faith not just in the other person but in our own capacity for “in sickness and in health,” the terror of not being known, the greater terror of being known and being rejected. The health care issues are presented in an even-handed but very personal way, not just through Maggie’s experience but through the doctor character superbly played by the immeasurably gifted Hank Azaria. He shows us a man who has his own lapses but is terribly frustrated with a system that squeezes him on every side, compromising treatment. Gylenhaal and Hathaway (getting along much better then they did as unhappy spouses in “Brokeback Mountain”) give performances of wit, courage, grace, and generosity. RX prn.

(more…)

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Date movie Drama DVD/Blu-Ray Pick of the Week Inspired by a true story

And the Oscar Goes To…….

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the-kings-speech.jpg * Best Picture – The King’s Speech
* Best Director – Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech
* Best Actor – Colin Firth for The King’s Speech
* Best Actress – Natalie Portman for Black Swan
* Best Supporting Actor – Christian Bale
* Best Supporting Actress – Melissa Leo for The FighterLeo-Bale.jpg
* Best Animated Feature – Toy Story 3
* Best Original Screenplay – The King’s Speech
* Best Adapted Screenplay – The Social Network
* Best Foreign Language Film – In A Better World, Denmark
* Art Direction – Alice in Wonderland
* Cinematography – Inception
* Costume Design – Alice in Wonderland
* Documentary Feature – Inside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson
* Film Editing – The Social Network
* Makeup – The Wolfman
* Original Score – The Social Network
* Original Song – “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3
* Animated Short – The Lost Thing
* Live Action Short – God of Love
* Sound Editing – Inception
* Sound Mixing – Inception
* Visual Effects – Inception
* Short Documentary – Strangers No More

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Awards
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Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Taylor

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Today we send birthday and get well greetings to one of Hollywood’s all-time most enduring and alluring stars, Elizabeth Taylor. Here are some of my favorite Taylor movies for family viewing:

1. Lassie Come Home Taylor co-stars with Roddy McDowall and cinema’s most beloved dog in this classic story.

2. National Velvet The all-time best girl and a horse movie ever stars has Taylor as Velvet Brown, who raced her horse in the Grand National with the help of Mickey Rooney, Angela Lansbury, and the magnificent Ann Revere as her mother.

3. Father of the Bride One of the most beautiful sights ever put on screen is Elizabeth Taylor walking down the aisle in this gentle comedy about a wedding that creates great upheaval in the family, especially for the bride’s father (Spencer Tracy).

4. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Mature teens and their parents will appreciate this Tennessee Williams dysfunctional family story about power, money, frustration, and ambition, also starring Paul Newman and Burl Ives.

5. The Taming of the Shrew Taylor and then-husband Richard Burton star in Shakespeare’s rowdy comedy about an angry and outspoken woman “tamed” by a high-spirited man who thinks all he wants in a wife is money but finds himself falling in love (some mature material, brief nudity).

6. Little Women Taylor plays the artistic and sometimes socially ambitious daughter Amy, the youngest of the March girls, in this version of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel.

7. Jane Eyre Taylor has a small but unforgettable part as the young Jane’s only friend in the cruel boarding school.

8. Ivanhoe Taylor’s performance as Rebecca is so winning that it makes it hard to root for Ivanhoe’s romance with Rowena.

And here’s her charming appearance on “What’s My Line?”

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Actors For Your Netflix Queue Lists Stars

Independent Spirit and Razzie Awards

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Just before the Oscars every year, the Film Independent Spirit and Razzie awards are given out. It was a good year for “Black Swan” and not such a good year for “The Last Airbender” and Jessica Alba.independentspiritaward.jpg
Film Independent gives awards for independent films, some of them produced on micro-budgets. Some of them feature big Hollywood stars; others feature unknowns or the film-makers themselves. But all of them are deeply personal works that reflect the passionate commitment of the people who make them.
Best Feature
Black Swan Producers: Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver
Best Director black-swan-movie-1.jpg
Darren Aronofsky Black Swan
Best Screenplay
The Kids Are All Right Writers: Stuart Blumberg & Lisa Cholodenko
Best First Feature Sony Pictures Classics
Get Low Director: Aaron Schneider
Producers: David Gundlach, Dean Zanuck
Best First Screenplay
Lena Dunham Tiny Furniture
John Cassavetes Award
(For the best feature made under $500,000) Writers/Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Daddy Longlegs Producers: Casey Neistat, Tom Scott
Best Supporting Female
Dale Dickey Winter’s Bone
Best Supporting Male
John Hawkes Winter’s Bone
Best Female
Natalie Portman Black Swan
Best Male
James Franco 127 Hours
Best Cinematography
Matthew Libatique Black Swan

Best Foreign Film

The King’s Speech Director: Tom Hooper
Best Documentary
Exit Through The Gift Shop
And the Razzies recognize the worst that Hollywood gave the world over the last year. The “winners” for 2011 are:
Aang Last Airbender.jpgWorst Picture
The Last Airbender
Worst Actor
Ashton Kutcher, Killers and Valentine’s Day

Worst Actress

Sex and the City 2 — All four leading ladies
Worst Supporting Actor
Jackson Rathbone, The Last Airbender‘ and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Worst Supporting Actress
Jessica Alba, The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete, and Valentine’s Day
Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3-D
The Last Airbender
Worst Screen Couple/Ensemble
The Entire Cast, Sex and the City 2
Worst Director
The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan

Worst Screenplay

The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel
Sex and the City 2

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Awards
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