Poem of the Week

By Billy Collins, one of my favorite poems.

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Gosnell

Gosnell, the movie about the raid and trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell whom the police learned about while tracking down illegal drug prescription sales. When raiding Gosnell’s clinic they discover a filthy facility where illegal activity is taking place. Gosnell, who comes across as creepy at best, was discovered to be performing illegal late term abortions, killing babies who survived abortions and of manslaughter in the case of one woman.

The film could be a lot more graphic. It protects viewers from the gore, but it is a violent topic and Gosnell seemed to relish and horde the remains of his work.

Much of the film follows the lead police officer and attorney who prosecute Gosnell. An important subplot involves a young, hip blogger who’s the only journalist with an interest in the story. She become key to the prosecution. It was particularly interesting to see how this young woman was initially given the brush off, but once the lawyer and officer listen, they realize that she has gotten crucial evidence.

The film was initially conceived as a TV movie and has that look. Still the acting was capable. At times the dialog was rather artificial in the way that Hollywood screenwriting can be. Nonetheless, I appreciated this film about a news story I knew little about.

The Kid Brother

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I’ve added a new film to my collection of absolute favorites. It’s The Kid Brother (1927) by Harold Lloyd, which Criterion collection has just released on a 2-DVD set with plenty of extras like expert commentary and interviews of Lloyd and Lloyd’s granddaughter.

Poor Harold Hickory. His big brothers, and they are big, outshine him at home. His father the sheriff views Harold as too young and weak to participate in town meetings or fight for good when the community needs strong men. Harold reveres his father and these slights hit him hard. No one sees how ingenious, loyal and hard working young Harold is.

When a group of charlatans arrive in town, the same day as Harold’s dad is entrusted with the town’s money to pay for a new dam (so quite a sum), Harold gets duped into letting them put on a medicine show. Dad never would sign off on such a deal, but the Kid Brother was fooled. Harold soon realizes his error and what a disaster it will be.

Catastrophes come one after another and the gags are inspired. I laughed out loud and was amazed at the film’s charm. In one minute, you get more humor than in 5 minutes in any other comedy.

Not only is the film placed with comedy, there’s also romance. Jobyna Ralson, who starred in The Freshman, appears as an orphan girl, who’s linked to the medicine show conmen and she soon captures the hearts of Harold and his brothers. Their meeting and relationship is sure to make you smile.

The Kid Brother qualifies as a must-see film for all ages. I enjoyed watching with the commentary on to get all the background on Lloyd and the making of this four star classic. This is an amazing mood-lifter.