Tuesday, April 2, 2013

HOT: Larry Crowne

It is sort of amazing to see how long it has taken me to get through this list. I realize life has gotten in the way, and obviously, even as much as I love him, watching a Tom Hanks film every night was not really an option.

But, to put it in perspective just how long it has taken - this film was just entering the theaters when I thought up this hair-brained idea. And, now I finally near the conclusion of this list and I finally get to watch it.

Hanks stars as the titular character Larry Crowne, a man that never went to college but instead joined the Navy, but he has carved a nice little niche for himself as a sales employee at UMart. One fine afternoon he is called into the break room for a meeting - thinking he, yet again, was being named Employee of the Month. But, instead he is fired because of his lack of education - he has risen as high as he could go without a college degree and had been passed over multiple times by people less deserving because of this.

On top of this, he is recently divorced and after losing his job finds it very difficult to find another job. As a cook in the Navy, but it wasn't something he was hoping to do long time. His friend, Frank (Ian Gomez), runs a diner and hires him as a cook - with enough leeway that he can go back to school.

He really cuts back on everything in his life - sells a lot of stuff, and switches from an SUV to a used scooter - in hopes to try and save his home from foreclosure.

He enrolls in just a few classes, one of which is a public speaking class taught by Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts). Tainot is an educated professor that appears to be stuck in this college she hates - when she first walks into her class only nine students are present and due to rules of the school that each class needs 10 to happen she cancels the class. But, Crowne enters at the last minute - much to Tainot's chagrin.

Crowne, now riding a scooter, befriends another scooter pal Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), whom he also has economics with. Economics is a much larger class taught in a stadium-style classroom by Dr. Ed Matsutani (George Takei).

Tainot is married to Dean (Bryan Cranston), who was also once a professor but is now a full-time writer/blogger after getting something published. But, what he really does all day is look at porn - even though Tainot knows this.

Eventually Tainot and Dean get into an argument and she gets out of the car a long way from her apartment. She is discovered, however, by Crowne and his scooter gang - and he helps her by giving her a ride to her apartment.

I guess there are a few morals you can take from this story - like it is never too late - or what you want in life may be right in front of you.

Hanks was amazing and very likable as Crowne. Never heard of Mbatha-Raw before, but she was also very likable as Talia, the young girl that befriends and helps Crowne. Takei was absolutely amazing as the economics teacher - his scenes were very few, but he definitely rocked them. I am not the biggest Roberts fan, but even I enjoyed her in this role.

Another group I enjoyed were those in Crowne's public speaking class - which he befriends. Steve (Rami Malek), Lala (Maria Canals Barrera) and Dave (Malcolm Barrett). They were actually some great characters, and you see that they become good friends with Crowne - but they were not used enough, and the friendships weren't seen growing, mostly seen through musical interludes.

But, Hanks carries the film. And, if you don't like him or even his portrayal of Crowne, you are not going to enjoy the movie very much. But, I do - and I did.


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