Wednesday, May 18, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 11
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PLACE PART II
ANOTHER ROUND
BINGEABLE: 100 FOOT WAVE (2021)
BINGEABLE: ABBOTT ELEMENTARY (2021-present)
BINGEABLE: ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL (2022)
BINGEABLE: BARRY (2018-present)
BINGEABLE: CASTLEVANIA (2017-2021)
BINGEABLE: CHEER (2020-present)
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG (2016-2019)
BINGEABLE: INVENTING ANNA (2022)
BINGEABLE: KUNG FU (2021)
BINGEABLE: LIFE & BETH (2022)
BINGEABLE: MAID (2021)
BINGEABLE: MIDNIGHT MASS (2021)
BINGEABLE: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING (2021)
BINGEABLE: SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE (2022-)
BINGEABLE: SQUID GAME (2021)
BINGEABLE: STATION ELEVEN (2021)
BINGEABLE: SWEET TOOTH
BINGEABLE: TELL ME YOUR SECRETS (2021)
BINGEABLE: THE GREAT (2020-present)
BINGEABLE: THE THING ABOUT PAM (2022)
BINGEABLE: THE WOMAN IN THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE GIRL IN THE WINDOW (2022)
BINGEABLE: TOKYO VICE (2022)
BINGEABLE: UNDERCURRENT: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF KIM WALL (2022)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COWBOY BEBOP (1998)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX (1999)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE SHOOTING (1966)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BOSS LEVEL
C’MON C’MON
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE
GUILTY PLEASURES: GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
GUILTY PLEASURES: JOLT
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM (1996)
I CARE A LOT
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LICORICE PIZZA
NEW FLICKS: ANTLERS
NEW FLICKS: ARMY OF THIEVES
NEW FLICKS: CRUELLA
NEW FLICKS: DON’T LOOK UP
NEW FLICKS: ENCOUNTER
NEW FLICKS: FINCH
NEW FLICKS: FRESH
NEW FLICKS: I WANT YOU BACK
NEW FLICKS: KATE
NEW FLICKS: KIMI
NEW FLICKS: RED NOTICE
NEW FLICKS: RIDERS OF JUSTICE
NEW FLICKS: SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
NEW FLICKS: THE FOREVER PRISONER (2021)
NEW FLICKS: THE NORTHMAN
NEW FLICKS: VIVARIUM
NINE DAYS
NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021)
PIG
SOUL
SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME
THE ADAM PROJECT
THE BATMAN
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (2019)
THE HARDER THEY FALL
THE LOST CITY
THE LOST DAUGHTER
THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS
THE NEW MUTANTS
THE PAPER TIGERS
THE POWER OF THE DOG
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN
THE SUNLIT NIGHT
THE TENDER BAR
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES (2021)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: MARE OF EASTTOWN
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: ONE MISSISSIPPI
TV REVIEW: PAINTING WITH JOHN (2021)
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO (2017)
TV REVIEW: TED LASSO (2020-present)
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WARRIOR
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
UNDERRATED: THE KINGDOM (2007)
YOU WON’T BE ALONE

‘The Tender Bar’ delivers a poignant adaptation of J.R. Moeringer’s stirring 2005 coming-of-age memoir

THE TENDER BAR

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF BIG INDIE PICTURES AND SMOKEHOUSE PICTURES

THE TENDER BAR


Where is it playing?: Palm Theatre in SLO, Amazon Prime

What's it rated?: R

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

George Clooney directs this adaptation of J. R. Moehringer’s 2005 memoir—a coming-of-age story about a young boy (played by Daniel Ranieri) growing up in Long Beach who seeks out father figures among the regulars at his Uncle Charlie’s (Ben Affleck) bar. As a young man (Tye Sheridan), he struggles to find his place in the world. (106 min.)

Glen: I loved the book upon which this film is based, and though much of the memoir’s richness and depth have been lost in this film adaptation, Clooney and screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) manage to retain and express its most important themes: growing up fatherless, the fierce love of a single mother, learning what it means to be a man from dubious “authorities” on the subject, surviving a first love and the insidiousness of societal class systems, finding a life’s purpose, and becoming an authentically good man. The story is essentially split between child J.R. spending time with Uncle Charlie, his bar’s regulars, and his Grandpa (Christopher Lloyd), who he and his mom (Lily Rabe) go to live with after she can no longer support them; and college-age J.R., as he navigates the early stages of adulthood and battles personal demons while striving to become a writer. We meet J.R.’s absent and deadbeat father, dubbed The Voice (Max Martini), a New York radio disc jockey sliding into alcoholism and professional obscurity. What’s missing in the film is the development of the bar’s patrons—Chief (Max Casella), Bobo (Michael Braun), and Joey D. (Matthew Delamater)—who are more fully fleshed out in the book. What Monahan wisely left out of the screenplay was the memoir’s ending connected to 9/11, which would have been a distraction.

Anna: So much of the memoir was J.R. developing as a person built from the characters around him, and while the film holds true to his closeness with his Uncle Charlie, it doesn’t quite have the time or mechanism to develop the bar regulars. We do get a glimpse when, using his grandfather’s cigarette change, J.R. “backs up” Bobo at the bar—aka buys his next round. He’s a sweet and thoughtful kid, well portrayed by the impossibly adorable Ranieri who doesn’t mistake J.R.’s tender, sweet nature for weakness. He’s a voracious reader who wants to be a writer despite his mother’s determination for him to go into law. Her discontent with being back at home isn’t shared by her young son, who loves having so many people around. He never has to be lonely again. The book made me cry plenty and so did the film—I know inevitably I will read critics complain about the treacle of it all and about Clooney wielding emotion as a weapon against his audience, but personally I’m here for it! Sometimes we all need a feel-good win, and the fact that it’s based on a real person grounds it in reality. If you’ve got Amazon Prime or a theater screening this, it’s certainly worth escaping into.

Glen: This is Ranieri’s first acting role, and he’s terrific. In fact, I liked the first half of the film focused on child J.R. more than the second half, though Sheridan also turns in a good performance. I was totally blown away by Affleck, however. His Uncle Charlie is such a likable character while also being vaguely tragic. An autodidact and voracious reader, Charlie wastes his potential slinging drinks, bowling with his lowbrow buddies, and drifting through life. Affleck digs deep into the role and plays Charlie with uncommon subtly. It would be easy for J.R. to follow in Charlie’s footsteps, but Charlie doesn’t want that for his nephew and encourages J.R. to aim high, which is why he takes a trainee job at The New York Times, which J.R. also hopes will impress his ex-girlfriend, Sidney (Briana Middleton)—another important lesson J.R. must learn about the futility of doing things to impress others. Moehringer won a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 2000, wrote the novel Sutton in 2012 about bank robber Willie Sutton, ghostwrote Phil Knight’s 2016 memoir Shoe Dog, and co-wrote Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir due later this year, but The Tender Bar is his magnum opus. Watch the film, read the book—they’re both worth your time. 

Anna: Affleck hasn’t been getting the greatest press as of late, but I couldn’t help but like him here. His Charlie is so loving and yet subtly sad. He takes it upon himself to fill J.R. in on all the things a young man usually learns from his father, what he called “man science,” about bar etiquette, women, books, and ambition. While his role in The Way Back was powerful, this felt raw and personal and like a peek behind the Affleck curtain. He gets to get lost a little bit here in Charlie, and it’s a great reminder that Affleck is indeed a gifted actor. Like you said, book or movie, you can’t go wrong—this coming-of-age tale is lovely every way it comes to us. With the continued pandemic and variants popping up left and right, who needs an excuse to curl up and watch a new flick? Go ahead and turn the lights down, grab a couple of tissues and a snack, and settle in for this feel-good treat.

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










Weekly Poll
What type of vegetable would you grow in a free community garden?

Brussel Sprouts, they are the best.
Broccoli because it can go with any meal.
Tomatoes, although I think those are technically a fruit.
French fries!

| Poll Results






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