ABC Film Challenge – Random – W – Welcome to Me (2014)

Director: Shira Piven

Writer: Eliot Laurence (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Robbins, James Marsden


Plot: When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Very Good Drama


Story: Welcome to Me starts as we meet Alice Klieg (Wiig) who idolises Oprah studying all the tapes of her shows, she lives an isolated life but that is going to change when she wins the $86 million on the lottery. Believing the money has changed herself she drops her Dr Moffet (Robbins) who has been treating her for multiply personality disorder and heads off to Vegas with her best friend Gina (Cardellini).

When Alice meets studio team Rich Ruskin (Marsden), Gabe Ruskin (Bentley), Dawn Hurley (Cusack) and Deb Moseley (Leigh) wanting to create her own talk show which Rich sees this as a chance to save their studio. As the money being spend increases the show reaches new levels of popularity but can the studio continue to extort Alice’s mental issues to make money.


Thoughts on Welcome to Me


Characters/PerformanceAlice is a very unstable woman that has struggled through all her mental health problems for years, but after winning the lottery she gets her own show on television show where she can deal with all her problems, but can she deal with this new fame. Gabe is one of the studio producers that is willing to help Alice, but is one of the only ones that does want to help rather than use her. Gina is the best friend that gets left behind as Alice becomes obsessed with her own show. We also have the rest of the studio team that see this as a big payday.

Performance wise, Kristen Wiig is fantastic in this leading role showing she is capable of the serious performance away from the full comedy she is known for. Wes Bentley continues to turn his career around with another good performance. Linda Cardellini is also good throughout the film and the other highly respected stars also good great jobs with James Marsden being hugely memorable.

StoryThe story shows how people with mental health issues will find life difficult, but if you add money they can’t explain to themselves to the mix they will get taken advantage off by greedy people, but it also shows how money shouldn’t change friendships but it will. This is a film that has a story which is very important to show how difficult living with mental health issues can be.

Comedy/DramaThe comedy works in the limited moments because the story isn’t a full laughing matter. The drama shows the issues Alice must live with along with her new money.

SettingsThe settings are important because they show the world that Alice comes from to where she finds herself with all her money.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie that tells a very important message for the people who struggle with the mental health issues.


Overall: Very impressive film I feel people might not have heard off.





Broadcast News (1987)

Director: James L Brooks

Writer: James L Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Robert Prosky, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson


Plot: Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly.

Tagline – It’s the story of their lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Charming Throughout


Story: Broadcast News starts as we follow the younger versions of Tom, Aaron and Jane who all go onto become members of the broadcast news team, Jane (Hunter) is the hungry ambitious producer who wants to make real news, Aaron (Brooks) has worked hard to become a reporter, while Tom (Hurt) has stumbled his way up the ladder to become a new anchor for Jane’s team, his looks have helped him get the TV time but he does want to better himself and has never been satisfied by getting positions solely on his looks.

As Tom continues to grab the attention his nature draws Jane much like most of the women in his life, while Aaron is looking for his chance knowing he has the stronger knowledge to be one that gets an anchor shot. In the end we see how a broadcast news station is run with its moments of chaos and calm.


Thoughts on Broadcast News


Characters – Tom is the handsome man that’s looks have gotten him the jobs through the years, this isn’t to his liking as he wants to be taken seriously, but no one seems to give him the time to learn to improve. Aaron is the hard-working member of the team, he wants to be the anchor but loses out to Tom, his reporting skills are top level but once he jealous rises he must express his own feelings for Jane before losing everything he loves. Jane is the producer of the news, she is excellent at her job and knowing how to get the best story but her new attraction for Tom questions everything she stands for.

PerformancesWilliam Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter all received Oscar nomination for their roles and you can see why, they are all great throughout the film showing they can play a full range of emotions needed for the world they are in.

StoryThe story follows the crew of the broadcast news team, the three characters we follow are ambitious but to achieve what they want they will need to step over each other, while we never see the rivalry between them or any type of sabotage it does show us how the world can be designed with image. This story shows us the hectic world of the news and the relationships between the people involved.

Comedy/RomanceThere are moments of comedy in this romantic film but neither the sides of the genre become too apparent in the way the storyline unfolds.

SettingsMost of the film is set inside the studio as we see how the lives and relationship collide in the busy world.

Scene of the Movie –
Teaching Aaron.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last scene with Tom.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look into the world of broadcast news in the late 80s it shows the chaos behind the scenes, the relationship between the people and the struggle to become a success.


Overall: Great look at broadcast news.




School of Rock (2003)

schoolDirector: Richard Linklater

Writer: Mike White (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Black, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White, Lucas Babin, Joan Cusack, Jordan-Claire Green


Plot: After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a strict elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Great Fun Comedy


Story: School of Rock starts as we meet Dewey Finn (Black) a down on his luck musician who is kicked out of his band and about to become homeless unless he kind find the money to pay rent to his long-time roommate Theo (Pascal).

Dewey takes a job as a substitute teacher that is meant to be for Theo and sees his class as a new band that he can enter into the battle of the bands. His class turns into band practise and this gives him a chance to learn to grow up himself and teach the children to be ready for the big world.

School of Rock is a film that shows elements of coming of age tale where we see one man who has never accomplished much who finds his passion for life in helping the next generation stand out from the crowd. This is an entertaining comedy that just spices something new into the teacher student relationship which is always one of the most important in developing the next generation and you can see that this is one role Jack Black was perfect to play, so much so you couldn’t see anyone else doing this role.


Overall: This is a perfectly cast fun comedy that can be enjoyed by all.





Tim Robbins Weekend – Arlington Road (1999)

logoDirector: Mark Pellington

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis, Robert Gossett, Mason Gamble, Spencer Treat Clark, Stanley Anderson

Plot: A college professor begins to suspect that his neighbour is a terrorist.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Socking Thriller

Story: Arlington Road starts when Michael Faraday (Bridges) finds a young boy walking down the street servilely injured before rushing him to hospital. The boy Brady (Gamble) lives across the street from Michael but as the family has only recently moved in he hasn’t got to know them. The parent Oliver (Robbins) and Cheryl (Cusack) show their gratitude for saving their son opening up a friendship between the two families.

We learn that Michael lost his wife who working for the FBI and that he along with his son are still coming to terms of losing her, Michael is a lecturer who has started with a new relationship with Brooke (Davis). Michael also teaches about terrorism where he preaches about how the effects of certain crimes including the one that saw his wife die, he doesn’t believe the story he has been told.

When Michael starts questioning certain details about the Lang’s he doesn’t know what he will find but what when he does discover the truth he will be left shocked while trying to find a way to spread the truth.

Arlington Road is a film that plays along the idea of conspiracy where our lead thinks something is going on but no one wants to believe him. I do like the idea that this film give us because just because we think someone might be up to something doesn’t mean they are. With the ending being one of the most shocking in modern film I think this is a stand out film that isn’t afraid to go where other films wouldn’t dare. (9/10)

Actor Review

Jeff Bridges: Michael Faraday is the widowed single father who lost his wife in a terrorist attack, he is still dealing with the consequences of her death while trying to move on with his life. When he befriends the new neighbours he thinks it is a chance for his son to make new friends, but when certain things come up between him and Oliver about stories Michael starts investigating the truth. Jeff does a great job in this role showing just how desperate he is to make sure his son is safe going through to the completely on the edge by the end of the film. (9/10)michael

Tim Robbins: Oliver Lang is the neighbour across the road, everything comes off very friendly but when Michael digs into his past he learns that he might be a very different person than he is letting on to be. Tim does a good job keeping everything calm and calculated through the film. (8/10)lang

Joan Cusack: Cheryl Lang is the wife of Oliver also comes off very friendly but is she helping cover up the truth about Oliver or just as involved in what is going on. Joan does a solid job but doesn’t get the screen time required. (6/10)

Hope Davis: Brooke Wolfe is the new girlfriend of Michael, she is just started the relationship so isn’t trying to replace his late wife but is trying to build the bridges with his son. She thinks Michael is getting paranoid while he looks into the truth about the new neighbours. Hope does a solid job but doesn’t get on the par as the leading males. (6/10)

Support Cast: Arlington Road has a supporting cast that includes the kids from both family’s as well as the FBI friend who tries to keep Michael’s feet on the ground.

Director Review: Mark PellingtonMark gives us a thriller that isn’t afraid to shock us and for that he deserves all the praise. (9/10)

Crime: Arlington Road lets us know early on that this will be about a terrorist crime but just what the plan is remains the question. (8/10)

Thriller: Arlington Road keep you on the edge of your seat until the credits because you will be shocked with how the film ends. (10/10)

Settings: Arlington Road creates a normal suburban neighbourhood for the setting which only adds to the shock value. (10/10)

Suggestion: Arlington Road is a film that must be watched mainly just for how shockingly it ends. (Watch)

Best Part: The End.

Worst Part: When you think about what has happened at the end.

Oh My God Moment: The End

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $24 Million

Budget: $21.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: How well do you know your neighbour?

Trivia: The script for “Arlington Road”, written by Ehren Kruger, was discovered when it won the Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting competition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This film is only the sixth winner of the competition to actually be produced.

Overall: Truly shocking, stunning thriller


Toy Story 3 (2010)

logoDirector: Lee Unkrich

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay) John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich (Story)

Starring: (Voice Work) Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, New Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger


Plot: The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant third instalment


Story: Toy Story 3 starts by the toys trying to get the attention of a now 17 year old Andy, resigned to being put in the attic the toys prepare for their move. After mistakenly being put out for trash the toys decide to go to Sunnyside day care centre but Woody knows the truth and tries to stop them. The group end up feeling welcome to the new day care centre but it turns out not everything is as it seems. The leader of the group Lotso wants the new toys to be played with the younger children who mistreat them and after Buzz is reset the rest have to try and escape, while Woody plans a rescue mission.

It took time get this third part to the story and boy were we treated to something special. We get a very real effect too, we get to see how a child has grown up and now will be moving on with his life leaving things behind. Another big part is see how the dog has gone from puppy to very old which shows us the time between the films. This is a very real look at things that will happen to all of us in life, we will have all grown up and changed things in our lives. Even though this feels like a fitting third for the fans of the series it will still appeal to the children just getting into the film. Overall we get a great story that is an improvement again. (10/10)


Character Review


Woody: After witnessing where the toys are being put he has to talk them all into returning to Andy’s against everyone he just wants to stay loyal to Andy. When Woody gets taken home by nice sweet little girl he learns that Sunnyside isn’t what it seems and goes back to rescue his friends. Woody is a great character and this time he goes on to show loyalty to his friends. (10/10)


Buzz Lightyear: Our space ranger who steps up to lead the group after Woody leaves, but after he gets reset he keeps everyone captive for the evil Lotso. Buzz also gets the extra laughs over Woody and his Spanish mode makes you laugh the whole time. (10/10)


Lotso: After coming off as nice welcoming leader of Sunnyside he shows a much darker side when it comes to the new toys but it all stems back to his origin story. He keeps our heroes captive until they have served enough time and most likely get damaged. Lotso makes a great villain in what looks like an innocent world. (10/10)


Ken: Scene stealer who falls for Barbie who also shows everyone around but his love for Barbie conflicts which side he wants to help. Ken would be the most recognizable addition to the series and has a laugh every time he is on screen. (10/10)


Support Characters: With the largest selection of supporting characters in the series they all offer something unique to the story that will give extra laughs throughout.


Director Review: Lee Unkrich – Brilliant directing to create the most emotional addition to the Toy Story series. (10/10)


Animation: Toy Story 3 is a Pixar film showing how they have grown to the top level of animation this is one of the best you will see. (10/10)

Comedy: Toy Story 3 Has plenty of laughs but could have a higher level of comedy if it wanted to. (8/10)

Family: Toy Story 3 is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. (10/10)

Settings: Showing different location that toys could naturally end up in with the day care centre. (10/10)

Suggestion: Just out the DVD/Blu-Ray in and enjoy Toy Story 3. (Watch)


Best Part: Spanish Buzz

Worst Part: Nothing.

Action Scene Of The Film: Landfill scene.

Funniest Scene: Spanish Buzz


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: By the end you might with the final scene (7/10)

Chances of Sequel: There are plans for one.

Post Credits Scene: We what happens to Sunnyside after Lotso under Ken and how our heroes settle with their new owner.


Oscar Chances: Won 2 Oscars, including Best Animated Feature, and Best achievement in music.

Box Office: $1 Billion

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: No toy gets left behind

Trivia: There are 302 characters in the film.


Overall: Stunning Conclusion to Andy’s Childhood

Rating 97