The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.
Follows the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve. Ben's wary mother Holly Burns (Roberts) welcomes her beloved son's return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm's way. During the 24 hours that may change their lives forever, Holly must do everything in her power to avoid the family's downfall.
Lucas Hedges had a wonderful start of a career. Attractive, and born to rich Hollywood connected parents, he was given opportunities to star in some really great films that most actors could only dream of, and he did well in them. Lately, however, he seems in over his head. His acting in Ben is Back and Boy Erased was just not believable. I am concerned he is turning into the next Jaden Smith with his parents giving him more than he is ready for, and him thinking he deserves it all and more.
The writing and direction by Lucas' dad was pretty weak.
Julia Roberts married to a domineering black man, and driving her son around to drug dens? Get serious people.
Lucas willing to kill himself to rectify a situation in which a drug dealer who is owed a debt has his crew break into Lucas' family home, kidnap the family pet, and hold it hostage as leverage, while being careful not to do too much damage or steal anything, and never once expressly threatening any real harm to the animal? Yes, you read that right. Not to mention that the drug dealer forgot to tell Lucas that he is holding the pet hostage, causing Lucas to spend all night looking for his lost lil buddy. Huh?
Crime bosses that look like they could get beaten up by the residents of your local nursing home, obsessed for months, if not years, about getting revenge for unpaid balances of less than $1,000? How slow can business be?
A serial addict over-dosing on one hit?
Women walking up to Lucas and saying "you're hot!"? Knowing that this was written by his dad, that is one proud papa, not to mention slightly creepy.
Gay sex for drugs with your high-school teacher? If you want to go for shocking, you have to at least try to be original.
It goes on and on.
I was hoping for a great independent film about addiction, but this is not it. If you want to see that, watch Requiem for a Dream. It is everything this movie is not. Another option, but not as epic as Requiem, would be Beautiful Boy. I like Lucas, but Lucas Hedges v. Timothée Chalamet is no contest. It is an interesting comparison in that Lucas and his dad are trying desperately to get Lucas on the same career trajectory as Timothee (i.e., Timothee does Call me By Your Name and Lucas follows with Boy Erased, Timothee does Beautiful Boy and Lucas follows with Ben is Back). However, whereas Timothee always shocks with a mind-blowingly convincing performance, Lucas is just pretty good.
All that said, I enjoyed the movie. Mainly because I find it fascinating to see what happens when you write a movie because you are 100% obsessed with your son achieving super-stardom by any means necessary. Talk about a case of stage parenting gone wild. Just wait for it to be released on cable and realize it is grade B at best.
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