Parenthood - Why Aren’t More People Watching (VOD Hidden Gem)October 14, 2011

Parenthood - Why Aren’t More People Watching (VOD Hidden Gem)


Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.



By T. Tara Turk


I have a thing for ensemble movies about life. THe BIG CHILL. THE BEST MAN (eagerly awaiting THE BEST MAN 2just announced!).THE BREAKFAST CLUB (I know all of the lines - ask my mom). Some of you youngins have no idea what movies I’m talking about but you must know "Parenthood" if only for the simple fact that it has been made into an entertaining television now on NBC.



I admit I’m kind of late in the game because, well, I was vehemently against remaking something that was so great before (I mean who couldn’t love a movie with a toddler named Kool, a half head shaved couple played by Keanu Reeves and the great Martha Plimpton, an overachieving mom who stashes candy in her closet and announces her divorce to her crazy husband via cue cards, and...okay the list could go on and I’d be telling you the movie and you’d be mad at me).

So I waited but then I realized Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the executive producers and they had a little something to do with the movie. At the same time I realized that, there was that opening of time when all the new shows had been viewed and I was wishing some would be cancelled (goodbye, "Playboy Club," we hardly knew ye) and some would hurry up and make more pronto (Zooey Deschanel, what ARE you doing?). So "Parenthood" called out to me.



At first glance, it could be considered a Gilmore Girls continuation with Lauren Graham (Sarah Braverman) as mom having trouble letting her teenage daughter (Mae Whitman who rocked in WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN) go. But then there are the siblings - Peter Krause as Adam Braverman (the Steve Martin character), Erika Christensen as Julia Braverman Graham (not nearly neurotic as shoving stored candy down her throat but her baby issues make up for it) and Dax Shepard as Crosby Braverman. With them come a slew of other family members including Craig T. Nelson as the patriarch of the clan and Bonnie Bedelia is the matriarch.

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BESIDE STILL WATERS - On DemandNovember 20, 2014



On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: BESIDE STILL WATERS (Tribeca Film).

A group of childhood friends reunite after one member of the circle experiences the sudden death of his parents in a car accident in the indie film BESIDE STILL WATERS. It’s Daniel (Ryan Eggold, THE BLACKLIST) who’s lost his folks and the gang meets at his family lake house one last time before all is packed up and the house is sold. This is a location filled with nostalgia for everyone, and now it’s simmering with the intense need for mourning, and plenty of guilt as none of Daniel’s friends made it to the funeral.



THE BIG CHILL will certainly come to mind as you watch this film: old friends together again in a remote location, recent death in the air, past relationships rekindled. The kinds of conflicts you’d expect from such a scenario are on display early. Daniel’s ex-girlfriend Olivia (Britt Lower) arrives with a new fiance in tow, played by Reid Scott (VEEP). Martin and Abby are the married couple who have seen their passions cool, although Martin hopes this weekend can turn up the heat. Some of the pack have become successful, like reality TV star James (Brett Dalton, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.). Other are struggling, like Tom (Beck Bennett, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE) who was fired by his Dad just before the trip.

Overall the film succeeds in stirring up wistful longing for days gone by, like any sentimental story of this kind should. It does fall into some stereotypical traps, though. For example, a musical montage of the hilarious, drunken fun everyone is having during their first night in the house. One segment built around a drinking game named Whiskey Slaps is the comedic highlight of the film. If you can’t guess what a Whiskey Slap is, you’ll pick it up quickly once you see the concept in action.

Despite some of its emotional missteps, the film does hit a few notes exactly right. During a one conversation a character offers the cliche, “All’s fair in love and war” to which Tom questions, “What do we know about love and war?” A poignant commentary on this privledged pack. Director Chris Lowell also created a device wherein we see Danilel’s stream of consciousness memories in a quick series of black and white images. It’s the best choice from a craft/chatacter perspective in the film, and it continues to add dimension to Daniel through the picture.



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