Google+

Streep Performance Saves An Overplotted, Feel-Bad Flick

August_Osage_County_2013_posterAugust: Osage County

DVD Review by Kam Williams

 

Streep Performance Saves An Overplotted, Feel-Bad Flick

 

In 2008, August: Osage County not only won a Pulitzer Prize, but it also took home a quintet of Tony Awards, including Best Play. However, the screen version of Tracy Letts’ haunting tale about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family was less well-received, given the tawdry tale’s relentlessly-morose plot.

That being said, the picture nevertheless does boast a very impressive, stellar cast headed by Meryl Streep, even if in service of a kitchen sink soap opera. She turns in another Oscar-quality performance as Violet, the substance-abusing, cancer-stricken matriarch of the Weston clan.

The film revolves around the return home of that downer of a character’s three daughters in the wake their suicidal father’s (Sam Shepard) sudden disappearance. As the action unfolds, we find each of her offspring involved in a relationship more bizarre than the next.

Eldest Barbara (Julia Roberts) arrives from Colorado escorted by her estranged husband, Bill (Ewan McGregor), even though the philandering college professor is dating one of his students. Along for the ride is their 14 year-old daughter, Jean (Abigail Breslin), a sullen stoner ostensibly upset about the state of her parents’ disintegrating marriage.

Youngest sister Karen (Juliette Lewis) shows up with her creepy fiancé, Steve (Dermot Mulroney), a successful businessman whose money has her deep in denial (until he hits on her niece) about his being a pedophile. Meanwhile, middle child Ivy’s (Julianne Nicholson) issue is the incestuous affair she’s carrying on with her first cousin, Charlie, Jr. (Benedict Cumberbatch).

Then there’s Violet’s sister/Charlie’s mom, Mattie Fae (Margo Martindale), a shrew who openly abuses both her son and hubby, Charlie, Sr. (Chris Cooper). She’s has a humdinger of a skeleton hidden in her closet just waiting to trump everybody else’s shocking developments.

A movie featuring so many sensational storylines certainly lends itself to melodrama, which is what August: Osage County proceeds to serve up in spades. Thus, the film frequently feels more like an adaptation of a dime-store romance novel than of an award-winning Broadway production.

An overplotted, feel-bad flick saved by a host of compelling performances, most notably those of Meryl Streep and Margo Martindale.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for profanity, sexual references and drug use

Running time: 119 minutes

Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment / The Weinstein Company

DVD Extras: Deleted scenes; commentary with the director and cinematographer; The Making of August: Osage County; and On Writing with Tracy Letts featurette.

 

To see a trailer for August: Osage County, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KafreVcaTI

 

To order a copy of August: Osage County on DVD, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00H7LJ2UO/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Entertainment

For movies opening August 18, 2017

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening August 18, 2017 BIG BUDGET FILMS The Hitman's Bodyguard (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Unlikely-buddies comedy about an ace bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) who grudgingly helps a notorious assassin (Samuel … [Read More its Good for You...]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period … [Read More its Good For You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

  Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to refinance … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Nazis Coming to Your Town? Who You Gonna Call? The Klanbuster!

  Daryle Lamont Jenkins The “Charlottesville” Interview with Kam Williams Nazis Coming to Your Town? Who You Gonna Call? The Klanbuster! Since 1988, activist/journalist Daryle Lamont Jenkins, aka "The Klanbuster," has dedicated his life to monitoring the movements of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. In 2000, he … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

How Bassmaster Pro Edwin Evers Adjusts the Auto Settings on His Sonar

  How Bassmaster Pro Edwin Evers Adjusts the Auto Settings on His Sonar  by Edwin Evers When it comes to electronics, a question I get asked a lot is, “How do you customize your fish finder settings at the beginning of a day on the water?” The short answer is, “I don’t.”   You might think that a guy who makes his living with a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

College Football Arriving Soon!

  College Football Arriving Soon! by Amy Lignor   Ask any college football fan and they will tell you that it seems like an eternity waiting for the season to begin. But, have no fear, the kick-off to the college season is almost here, with Colorado State and Oregon State hitting the field on Saturday, August 26th at 2:30 p.m. ET. On … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation

  Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation by Amy Lignor   Many people love taking a cruise. But it is the river cruise on that glorious steamboat that not only offers all the benefits a big ocean liner offers, but also creates a more personalized, intimate vacation experience. It is a unique recipe: being able to witness … [Read More its Good for You...]