A Million Little Pieces (2018)

A Million Little Pieces
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Writer: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam Taylor-Johnson
Based on: James Frey‘s memoir/novel
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Odessa Young, Charlie Hunnam, Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Billy Bob Thornton, David Dastmalchian, Dash Mihok, Ryan Hurst
Part of: Toronto International Film Festival
Seen on: 11.9.2018

Plot:
After falling from a balcony because he is so high, James (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is finally admitted into a rehab center in Minnesota by his brother (Charlie Hunnam). As James slowly starts to work through is own issues and becoming clean, he gets to know his rehab colleagues, above all Lilly (Odessa Young) whom he feels very drawn to, his roommate (Giovanni Ribisi) and Leonard (Billy Bob Thornton) who becomes something like a guide for him.

A Million Little Pieces is a strong film that interestingly enough puts the body front and center, drawing on dance as a form of expression and is much more serious and less sensationalistic than I expected after the book’s history. I was much more impressed by it than I thought it would be.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the film.
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The Judge (2014)

The Judge
Director: David Dobkin
Writer: Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio,Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, David Krumholtz, Denis O’Hare

Plot:
Hank (Robert Downey Jr.) fled from his hometown and his harsh, strict father (Robert Duvall), a well-respected judge, as soon as he was able to and never returned. Now a successful lawyer, Hank finally has to make the trip back home after his mother dies. But practically as soon as he arrives, his father becomes a murder suspect, forcing Hank to stay longer and not only confront his feelings about his father, but also his two brothers Dale (Jeremy Strong) and Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio), and even his old girlfriend Samantha (Vera Farmiga).

I wouldn’t have thought it possible that a film with that cast could ever bore me – because if all else fails, there’d still be this brilliant cast to watch – but thanks to a really bad script and uninspired direction, the film managed just that.

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Pushing Tin (1999)

Pushing Tin
Director: Mike Newell
Writer: Glen Charles, Les Charles
Based on: Darcy Frey‘s article “Something’s Got To Give”
Cast: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Jake Weber, Kurt Fuller, Vicki Lewis, Matt Ross

Plot:
Nick (John Cusack) is an air traffic controller – a job with a lot of responsibility and pressure. But he’s extremely good at it, he loves it and he’s happy with his wife Connie (Cate Blanchett). That is, until Russell (Billy Bob Thornton) shows up. Russell is aloof, cool and calls Nick’s entire standing into question. Threatened by everything about Russell, Nick gets into a giant pissing contest with him.

Pushing Tin has very funny moments and a pretty good cast, but boy does that testosterone-fueled competition between Nick and Russell get exhausting. A little more focus on the women would have made the movie so much better.

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Puss in Boots (2011)

Puss in Boots
Director: Chris Miller
Writer:  Tom Wheeler, David H. Steinberg, Brian Lynch, Jon Zack
Based on: Charles Perrault‘s character and the Shrek movies to which it is a prequel
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Guillermo del Toro

Plot:
Puss (Antonio Banderas) is a talented thief who has set his eyes on the magic beans, currently in the possession of the criminals Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris). But when he tries to steal them, he crosses paths with the mysterious Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). Kitty is working with Puss’ former best friend Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) who is obsessed with the magic beans – and the goose that lays golden eggs to which the beans lead. And so the three of them throw their lots together to best Jack and Jill.

This movie could and should have been better than it actually was. It was not totally bad but it left me with a vague sense of unfulfilment.

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