Thursday, August 25, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: RICKI AND THE FLASH

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today's movie wasn't a blockbuster at the box office and it didn't garner another Academy Award nomination for its star, Meryl Streep, but I love it. It's something different for Meryl. She's the lead singer in a not-very-successful band called Ricki and The Flash (2015, PG-13, Available On DVD).


Once upon a time, a woman named Linda was married to a man named Pete (Kevin Kline). They had three children. But Linda left her family so she could live her rock and roll dream. She becomes Ricki, who as an older woman has never achieved stardom, but Ricki and The Flash are the house band at a small bar. Ricki also works as a cashier at a Whole Foods-type store. Her band mate, Greg (Rick Springfield), is her lover. She's estranged from her now-adult children.

Then Pete calls Ricki and asks her to visit because their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer, who is Meryl Streep's daughter and a successful actress in her own right) has suffered a crisis. Pete's wife Maureen (Audra McDonald, a singer of great fame on Broadway who does not sing in this movie) has been a devoted step-mother, but she's out of town.

Ricki reluctantly returns for an uncomfortable reunion with her children. She connects with Julie, but Ricki's sons openly resent her and look down on her. Maureen returns and makes it clear that Ricki is not needed nor wanted.

Can this disparate group of people form a family of some sort?

I can't say that Jonathan Demme's direction of this movie is brilliant, nor is Diablo Cody's writing a revelation. I like the general plot, although it's rather predictable.

It's Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer who make the movie worth watching. Gummer's Julie is heartbroken. One look at her face shows it. The relationship that develops between Ricki and Julie helps Julie "walk on." Streep has a beautiful voice, though some wouldn't agree with me after Mama Mia!, but she proved it long ago in Postcards From the Edge. In Ricki and The Flash, Streep speaks and sings in a lower register. It's fun to see The Iron Lady and The Devil [who] Wears Prada as the odd woman out because of her rocker sensibilities.

I also like the relationship between Ricki and Greg. I would not kick former heartthrob Rick Springfield out of my bed for eating crackers.

Ricki and The Flash earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Coolness and Approval. It's not for children. I don't know if it would interest older teens.

My neighborhood postal worker who doesn't always pick up my mail delivered this DVD to me on behalf of Netflix.

Happy viewing!

Rick, will you please sing us out?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Meryl Streep as Ricki


Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield

Mamie Gummer and Meryl Streep

24 comments:

  1. Doubt that I will see this movie, on a Meryl Streep boycott lately plus this movie just doesn't appeal to me. I have too many reasons not to like this one plus I would not watch it for the hair braiding alone.

    But I am happy to know you liked it and really that is all that counts.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Not watching it for the hair braiding alone makes me laugh.

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  2. Hi Janie - it was a fun movie ... and one I enjoyed. Cheers Hilary

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  3. Why am I not surprised that Rick Springfield is in this? And is Mamie Gummer related to Grace Gummer? I know nothing about either actress, except that Grace was in The Newsroom. Side note: every time I visit your blog I see an ad for an Aaron Sorkin screenwriting class. Boy, if I had a lot more time and money I'd be all over that. Sorkin is my writing idol!

    Sorry this was off-topic. Glad you enjoyed the movie though!

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    1. Mamie and Grace are Meryl's daughters (they both have her kind of crooked nose) with her husband whose first name might be Henry and whose last name is definitely Gummer. The Gummers also have a son. I loved The Newsroom. Aaron Sorkin is a great writer.

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  4. Haven't seen it but your review makes me want to!

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    1. I hope you get to see it and you like it.

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  5. Sounds like a winner!!!! Maybe with a hint of the Bird Cage mixed in?

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    1. Only a tiny bit of bird cage in that one parent left and another person stepped in to be the mom. In The Bird Cage, the mom and son didn't know each other at all. Ricki's kids know who she is and resent her for leaving.

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  6. I totally meant to go see this movie when it was out in theaters but never made it . I really do want to see this. Whats there NOT to leave with Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep. Thank you for the review. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. I hadn't seen Rick Springfield in years. I still like him. We've grown old . . . er together.

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  7. Oh, that sounds like a fun movie! Im a big fan of Meryl Streep. I'll have to check this out. :)

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    1. Streep and her daughter have some lovely moments together on screen.

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  8. This has been in my queue for a long time (along with hundreds of other DVDs--LOL!). Seeing Meryl in such a different role was why I put it on my list to begin with. Now that I know it has your seal of approval I might have to move it up higher. Thanks, Janie! :)

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    1. If you don't like it, I'll be shocked. Shocked, I tell you! Worthless! Absolutely worthless!

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  9. Well, I do love me some Rick Springfield!

    -andi

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  10. You had me at Rick Springfield. I might have to check this one out.

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