Fences — 3.5 Gavels 95% Rotten Tomatoes

To appreciate art is not necessarily the same as enjoying art.  That accurately describes watching Fences.  Denzel Washington plays a fifty-something garbage collector, justifiably embittered by the discrimination of his time, lashing out repeatedly at his wife and children.  He appears to have no idea of the toll it takes on his family; he is NOT a likeable character.

To be fair, perhaps this flick should not be judged as a movie.  It is shot more like the stage play it was with both Denzel and Viola Davis winning Tony awards. If it is complimentary to singers to say that they could sing the Manhattan phone book, then it is fair to say that Denzel and Viola could act an encyclopedia.  (If you don’t know what an encyclopedia is, have a long chat with your grandparents.  Your parents probably have never seen them.)

Clearly this movie was never meant to be a blockbuster.  It has a reported budget of $24 million and has earned $32 million so far (plus my $8.00).  The former is misleading because Denzel alone will fetch $20 million per movie.  The latter speaks to Denzel’s drawing power but it is difficult to imagine hordes of moviegoers enduring this movie even if one or both win Oscars.  But as George Clooney is fond of pointing out, one makes blockbusters so he can afford to make art films.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so I hope I haven’t ruined it by reviewing two films that most of you will likely never see.  I hope to make it up to you with a more mainstream
movie review on Friday.  SPOILER ALERT —  Hidden Figures is out this week and the reviews, previews, and true story make it one of the most anticipated movies of the season.  High expectations are sometimes squashed but hopefully this one will rise to the occasion.  Until then!

On a personal note, my co-workers gave me a FitBit and I love it.  However, with these new reclining seats and relaxed atmosphere, my FitBit keeps recording that I am sleeping during the movies.  While an occasional brief nap might be warranted during some flicks, I am appalled that it reports that I am asleep during the entire movie.  Since some might be concerned that such might affect my rating, a note about this defect to the Federal Trade Commission may be warranted!

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