Once a month on a Friday on Inspirational Breakfast the Rev Simon Carver takes a look at the latest films hitting the cinemas. Find out what's worth a bucket of popcorn and a big screen.
Gravity Rating 8/10 12A 91 mins
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as Dr Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, a pair of astronauts in what is effectively a two hander with a low earth orbit as its background. Kowalski, an experienced space traveller, and Stone, a scientist on her first trip on the space shuttle, are repairing the Hubble telescope when they are hit by storm of space debris. From that point these two are lost in space and trying to find their way home. The two leads are terrific and Gravity is beautiful to look at. It is also extremely tense at times. Reference has been made to the film’s spirituality. The emptiness of space with the blue earth above – or is it below? – are certainly awe-inspiring and there are also visual references to religious figures. However, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this isn’t. But it is a jolly good, beautifully filmed and acted, edge of the seat story.
Philomena Rating 8½/10 12A 98 mins
Philomena is teenage girl in 1950s Ireland who finds herself unmarried and pregnant. This led to her being taken in by the nuns of Roscrea Convent, who fed and clothed her on condition she gave up all rights to her baby son and allowed him to be adopted. Philomena eventually moved to the UK and settled in the fair city of St Albans where she married and had a family. However, she never forgot her son and fifty years after he was born, she enlisted journalist Martin Sixsmith’s help to track down her son. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan play the elderly woman and her journalist helper and these two make what could have been a rather ordinary and sentimental story into something much better. It does make you wonder which words of Jesus the nuns at Roscrea were reading when they decided making young girls give birth in the most painful circumstances was OK.
The Butler Rating 8/10 12A 132 mins
In the 1920s a young lad sees his father shot by the man who raped his mother, but because he, his mother and his father are black and working on the farm of the white rapist and this is the Deep South, nothing is done. Before he dies, the father tells his son: “It’s the white man’s world. We’re just living in it.” Wind forward 80 years and a black man is elected president. The Butler tells the story of those eighty years through the eyes of a butler who worked for all the US presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan. Following two films with basically two main cast members in each, The Butler has a ‘blink and you miss them’ cast list including Mariah Carey, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, Alan Rickman…and with Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey as the butler Cecil Gaines and his wife.
Blue Jasmine Rating 8/10 12A 98 mins
Cate Blanchett stars as Jasmine Francis, the wife of Hal Francis, the perpetrator of a ‘Ponzi-style’ investment scam, in Woody Allen’s latest film. Jasmine finds herself broke and forced to relocate from her posh apartment in New York to her sister’s homely terraced house in San Francisco. The story is told with flashbacks to Jasmine’s former life and to the way in which her life unravelled. Blanchett’s performance is a tour-de-force in this tragic comedy, which is widely considered to be Woody Allen’s best film for years. While not a laugh-fest like Annie Hall and Allen’s early films, Blue Jasmine is a wonderfully observed look at the things that matter in life.
Le Week-End Rating 7½/10 15 93 mins
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play Nick and Meg Burrows who are in Paris for the weekend to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. They have booked into the hotel in which they spent their honeymoon, but things have changed in 30 years…and not just at the hotel. A chance meeting with a former colleague of Nick’s (Jeff Goldblum) leads to an invitation to a party where many of the regrets and resentments of the past come to the surface. Le Week-End is a bitter-sweet rom-com, which offers a painfully realistic insight into what life between a man and a woman can become after 30 years together. Broadbent and Duncan are in top form as we share the laughter and tears of their bickering and making up.
Sunshine on Leith Rating 8½/10 PG 100 mins
Charlie and Craig Read – otherwise known as The Proclaimers – provide the music in Edinburgh’s answer to Mama Mia. While the east coast of Scotland doesn’t offer the sunny Greek scenery of the Abba musical, but Sunshine on Leith is just as warm-hearted. As in many musicals, the story is fairly slight – it concerns two squaddies who return home to Leith from their tour of duty in Afghanistan and try to pick up life where they left off. The excellent cast includes Jane Horrocks, no stranger to musicals, while Peter Mullan, her screen husband, is from the Russell Crowe school of singing. However, none of this matters and Sunshine on Leith will send you away humming the Read brothers’ great tunes.
About Time Rating 7½/10 12A 123 mins
Imagine, if you will, Groundhog Day mixed with Love Actually with a sprinkling of Notting Hill and you get an idea of what to expect from Richard Curtis’s latest film, About Time. It has all the usual Curtis charm together with some of his idiosyncrasies: eccentric characters, beautiful middle class homes and lives and posh people swearing. It even has an actor in the main part who sounds just like Hugh Grant. Like Love Actually a strong message is preached at the end, but there was something missing. As one might expect from the man who gave us the last episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, there were a number of moving moments. However, there weren’t enough and it wasn’t either funny or interesting enough to stop this viewer from remembering just how good Groundhog Day is. On a positive note, About Time definitely throws up some interesting ideas about how we live and would make a good church small group evening out.
Justin and the Knights of Valour Rating 5/10 PG 96 mins
For some grownups, going to the dentist would be preferable to taking children or grandchildren to an animated film, but nowadays children’s films usually have something in them for adults as well. But for every Toy Story there is a Justin and the Knights of Valour. The initial premise – that Justin is living in a land where Health and Safety rules have wrapped everyone in red tape – is interesting, but surely over the heads of children. While the rest of the film might keep the children amused, there is little here for adults to stop them dreaming of the dentist’s drill.
White House Down Rating 7/10 12A 131 mins
Bruce Willis was looking a bit old for his vest in the last Die Hard film and if anyone is looking for a replacement, then Channing Tatum is ready and waiting. White House Down is the second film this year in which terrorists take over the President’s home and office. WHD has elements of both the Die Hard series – hence the reference to Mr Tatum’s ability to wear a vest – as well as Harrison Ford’s Air Force One. Jamie Foxx plays the charming US President and there is good chemistry between him and Tatum’s wannabe secret service agent. An enjoyable action film.
Grown Ups 2 Rating 3/10 12A 101 mins
Grown Ups told the story of a bunch of 40-something buddies getting together with their wives and kids for a weekend of fun and mayhem. In Grown Ups 2 the same characters – played by the same 40-something comedians – experience just the one day that leads up to a summer house party. It is truly awful with few redeeming features. The first couple of minutes sets the pattern for what’s to follow as a deer makes its way into Lenny and Roxanne’s (Adam Sandler and Selma Hayek) bedroom while they’re asleep. Frightened by Roxanne’s scream it stands on its hind legs and urinates on them. The plot is made up of set pieces and the script is full of jokes, but it’s hard to know who the film is aimed at. The flatulence jokes – of which there are many – would appeal to pre-teen children, but then the scenes in which jokes are made about leering at women’s breasts and bottoms would be quite inappropriate for this age group. Many of the one-liners will go over the heads of British audiences, but there are just one or two that might raise a smile. This is nowhere near enough to redeem a film which a number of the eminent names in the cast will surely want to omit from their CV.
What Maisie Knew Rating 8/10 15 99 mins
Based on a Henry James story of the same name, What Maisie Knew tells the story of Beale and Susanna’s separation - and subsequent custody battle and second marriages - through the eyes of Maisie, their only daughter. It is a heart-rending look at the effect that selfish warring parents have on their children and all the more remarkable for the source text having been written more than 100 years ago. Joint directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel use subtly lowered camera angles and keep engaging young actor Onata Aprile (Maisie) at the centre of their focus to enable us to see things from Maisie’s perspective. This isn’t Kramer vs. Kramer for the 21st century - the Kramers were far more sympathetic characters than these parents, played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan - but, sadly, it may reflect 21st century children’s experience of fragmented family life.
You're Next Rating 7½/10 18 95 mins
Obviously, slasher movies are not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who like them, You’re Next is a good one. It has all the usual ingredients, plus a heroine (Sharni Vinson) who was once in Aussie soap opera Home and Away. It also has just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek without having the knowing irony of the Scream series. There is also a satisfying meting out of justice, but an unsurprising lack of mercy! Potential viewers will need to decide whether watching fictional screen violence is unhealthy or not. It could be argued that You’re Next is simply "Tom and Jerry with fake blood", which therefore treats violence as seriously as it deserves.
Monsters University Rating 8/10 U 110 mins
It’s 12 years since Monsters Inc was released by Pixar, but Monsters University isn’t a look at how school kids have grown up, rather it's an ‘origins story’ or prequel in which we learn how the main characters in the first film got to be the people – or rather monsters – they became. We find that Mike - the small Cyclops-like monster - was a bookish nerd, while Sully was a naturally scary slacker. Many of the usual Pixar themes are here such as teamwork and friendship, and the animation is top class. There are some good jokes for the adults – although some of these are based around US university stereotypes and so may go over the heads of UK adults as well as their children. If we’re are looking for biblical imagery, one is literally staring us in the face: the student who is just an eye who works together with the dopey strong one to complete the task. St Paul should sue! MU is accompanied by The Blue Umbrella, a short that will charm the adults in the audience.
Now You See Me Rating 7½/10 12A 115 mins
A team of street magicians are formed into a troupe called The Four Horseman and perform a series of daring tricks which rob the rich to give money to the poor. They are hip and stylish and if this were real, they would be the hottest property on the planet. However, it’s just a film and so the tricks lose some of their, ahem, 'magic'. We know that little we see on screen is real and so there it’s hard to be too impressed by the magicians’ shows. It’s not just smoke and mirrors, its CGI too. The leads are all charismatic and the dialogue is sufficiently witty to make this an entertaining romp. NYSM could be said to raise questions about the ethics of an end justifying a means, but that’s probably taking this caper film too seriously. As with street magic, it’s best not to look too closely. As one character in the film says, “The closer you think you are, the less you'll actually see.”
Pacific Rim Rating 7½/10 12A 131 mins
Guillermo del Toro is a fan of Japanese monster and robot films and he brings these two ideas together in Pacific Rim. Skyscraper-sized monsters come out of a fissure in the ocean bed at increasingly frequent intervals and wreak havoc on the eastern and western shores of the Pacific. Walls won’t stop them, but robots of a similar size to the monsters seem to have some effect. These robots are each piloted by two people who are neurologically linked. For best results, they are usually related. The exception that proves this rule is when a rough tough American pilot is paired with a young shy and retiring Japanese woman. However, the way this future is lovingly created is impressive. While the story-line is futuristic, the plot and dialogue could have come from any number of films from the past, and Independence Day and Top Gun come to mind. It’s all good fun, although seeing one computer generated monster battle another computer generated robot does get a little tedious. It’s worth staying to the end of the credits to see one of the best, if not the only joke in the film.
Epic Rating 7½/10 U 102 mins
Imagine what Avatar might have been like if it had been animated throughout and aimed at children. Well, that gives you an idea of what you’ll get if you go to see Epic. It’s the story of what goes on in the forest down below the level that we humans can see. We find that there is a battle for the very life of the forest that is being fought between the Leafmen and the Boggans, the purveyors of death and decay. MK, a human teenager is shrunk down to the size of these creatures and joins in the struggle between good and evil. There are the usual host of well known voices hiding behind the animated characters – Colin Farrell, Beyonce, Pitbull, Amanda Seyfried and Chris O’Dowd. The script has enough wit to mean that this children’s film isn’t a bore for adults, although under 5s might find it a little wordy. The film has some lines that are worth remembering such as, “There are many leaves, but one tree: we're all connected.” And “Who gives up everything for a world that's not theirs?”.
Fast and the Furious 6 Rating 8/10 12A 130 mins
As you might guess from the title, there had already been five Fast and Furious films before this one and this reviewer had safely managed to avoid seeing any of them. While this may not have been a mistake, the sixth in the series was a an enjoyable romp of fast cars, teamwork and - yes - good conquering evil. There was a strong suggestion at the end that this film wouldn’t be the last in the series. 8/10 may seem a high mark to give the sixth film in a franchise series such as this, but there was a surprising – and possibly unbelievable – ending that raised F&F6 up a notch from what one might expect.
Man of Steel Rating 8/10 12A 143 mins
The Superman story dates back to the 1930s when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish Americans, told the story of a hero who was saved from death by his parents who sent him in a ‘basket’ to a place of safety where he would be found and raised by adoptive parents. If this sounds like the story of Moses, you’d be right, but the story of an other-worldly redeemer has now been appropriated by Christian people who see in Superman something of the story of Christ. Unlike some versions, the ‘Saviour’ motif is not as strong here. If anything, it is Superman’s human allies who sacrifice themselves for the sake of humanity. Superman’s adoptive father and his biological father both have more involvement in the story than is often the case and we get to see something of the tension he feels living amongst an alien people. The CGI fighting in the last third does go on a bit, but Man of Steel sets us up well for a further adventure in this latest ‘reboot’ of the story.
All Stars Rating 7½/10 U 106 mins
There’s nothing really wrong with Ben Gregor’s first film as a director, it’s just that there isn’t very much that is likely to set anyone’s pulse racing as it has the feel of a long version of a pre-teatime show on CBBC. Having said that, there are worse things that one could say about a film that is aimed at children and young teenagers. The story is fairly familiar in that a youth club is threatened with closure and a bunch of kids put on a talent show to try to save it. It wouldn’t be fair to reveal what happens in the end, but you might be able to guess. There’s a charming performance by Ashley Jensen as the youth club leader and the children – including Akai Osei-Mansfield from Britain’s Got Talent – are good dancers and this film makes a nice outing for the family.
Iron Man 3 Rating 7½/10 12A 130 mins
The first two Iron Man films introduced us to Tony Stark and his alter ego and this third film develops the character and his relationship with “Pepper” Potts, his former PA, with whom Stark is now a couple. Tony Stark’s weapons and defence inventions have also been taken to a new level and the end battle in which various Iron Man suits battle against robots takes us more into the realm of Transformers than seemed entirely necessary. However, Iron Man remains one of the most interesting superheroes, largely because he isn’t super at all. This means that we get to explore some ideas about humanity’s brokenness and at the same time enjoy seeing what Robert Downey Jr does best – charm the birds from the trees.
The Great Gatsby Rating 7½/10 12A 143 mins
Anyone familiar with Baz Luhrmann’s earlier work – Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge – will be familiar with his flamboyant and idiosyncratic approach to period texts. In The Great Gatsby, famously written and set in the 1920s Jazz Age, Luhrmann has chosen to give a key musical role to Jay-Z, a master of hip hop. This together with the director’s use of 3D makes for a rather surreal film. There’s also one major problem with Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Jay Gatsby which is that he’s not Robert Redford, the star of the 1974 version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story. Gatsby is one of the great 20th century novels and the big themes of judgement and hope come through just as strongly as ever.
Love is All You Need Rating 8/10 15 116 mins
The trailers for Love is All You Need showing a smiling Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm in a paradisiacal setting are misguiding. The Danish title – The Bald Hairdresser – more accurately prepares the viewer for the tone of this unusual love story. Ida and Philip are the mother of the bride and father of the bridegroom for the wedding of their children that is going to take place on Italy’s idyllic Amalfi peninsula. Ida is in an unhappy marriage and has just finished a cycle of chemotherapy – hence the Danish title. Philip is just plain unhappy. He is a widower and has a successful business in Denmark as well as the estate in Italy. What we get is a very international story – English, Italian and Danish are all spoken – set in beautiful surroundings. It could be likened to Mamma Mia! …but with a heavy dose of reality thrown in, because in real life people generally don’t burst into song in the ladies' loos.
Oblivion Rating 7/10 12A 125 mins
Oblivion, shall I compare thee to Mad Max, Planet of the Apes or Moon? Tom Cruise stars as Jack Parker, a repair man, left on earth with Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), his companion/assistant, to maintain the flying robots that protect the planet 60 years after an alien invasion was successfully repelled. ‘Successfully’ is debatable, as all humans, with the expectation of Jack and Victoria had been sent to live on Titan, one of the moons of Saturn, as the earth is no longer viable for human life. Tom Cruise is in action hero mould – running, riding a motorbike, running, flying a futuristic helicopter and running again. The post-apocalyptic landscape has been beautifully created with more than a nod towards Planet of the Apes, with its partially buried NY landmarks. There are plenty of twists and turns to be enjoyed and the story offers some suggestions regarding the nature of the human soul. However, it has all been done before, albeit in not in the same film.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green Rating 7½/10 U 125 mins
This might have been called An Odd Film About the Life of Timothy Green. Cindy and Jim Green live in Stanleyville, North Carolina, where Jim works at the town’s historic pencil factory and Cindy is the curator of the town’s historic pencil museum. Jim and Cindy are unable to have children and one evening, having been told that they have reached the end of the road for any medical help, they reflect on what might have been. They place in a box pieces of paper on which they had written their hopes for their child and they bury it in the garden. During the night a little boy appears in their home and calls them Mom and Dad. The film follows what happens as Timothy becomes part of their family in this small US town. Their ‘odd’ story – and it gets more bizarre – is told by Cindy and Jim as they are interviewed some months later by an adoption agency – not the sort of thing that would make them ideal adoptive parents, one might think. This is a strange, whimsical story and you may shed the odd tear. While it deals with the issue of childlessness, it rather glosses over the pain. The film has been certificated as U and is a Disney production. However, it shouldn’t be considered a young children’s film – it is just over two hours long and when this reviewer saw it, a number of parents with small children left before the end. At least they didn’t see a grown man cry.
Oz – The Great and Powerful Rating 7½/10 PG 130 mins
If you have ever wondered how the Great Oz came to be behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi’s film gives the answer. Just as in Judy Garland’s 1939 version of Frank Baum’s novel, the action begins in black and white in Kansas, before moving, via a tornado to the colourful Land of Oz. However, in 2013 it is not young Dorothy who is transported. Instead it is Oz – The Great and Powerful, a carnival conjuror of dubious integrity (James Franco), who makes the journey to where the witches, munchkins and flying monkeys live. Dorothy’s tale was one of encouraging people with apparently limited gifts to ‘grow’. While this prequel includes a similar message – people working together to overcome an apparently stronger foe – the end is achieved by trickery and so the moral message is weaker. There are also issues over who the film is for. Children will enjoy some aspects, but it lacks the magic of the earlier, more musical, version. There are some interesting conversations to be had around the subject of faith as presented in the film.
Side Effects Rating 8/10 15 106 mins
Emily’s husband (Channing Tatum) has been released from prison after serving a sentence for insider trading. As they try to re-establish their life together, Emily (Rooney Mara) shows signs of suffering from depression and is treated by Dr Banks (Jude Law). Steven Soderbergh’s final film – his words – has quite a few gasp-out-loud moments and a plot with several twists and turns. At times it can seem like an extended episode of Law and Order, but by and large it is a clever and interesting thriller.
The Guilt Trip Rating 7½/10 12A 95 mins
Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan star in a road trip comedy as widowed mother and son Joyce and Andy Brewster. Seth Rogan is one of Judd Apatow’s ‘repertory company’, but The Guilt Trip is not a bloke-ish comedy like Knocked Up and - in Anne Fletcher’s hands - Rogan and Streisand make a likeable bickering pair. Perhaps it is because of Miss Streisand’s presence, but The Guilt Trip has the feel of an old-fashioned Jewish comedy. A number of critics have been less than enthusiastic about The Guilt Trip, but it is a gentle comedy with a good number of laughs and it has its heart in the right place.
Flight Rating 8½/10 15 139 mins
“Whip” Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an experienced airline pilot who becomes a hero when he lands his stricken plane with the loss of just two passengers and two crew members. However, before the flight Whip had consumed liberal quantities of cocaine and alcohol and when this comes to light after the crash, his life begins to unravel. Don Cheadle puts in a restrained performance as Whip’s lawyer and British actress Kelly Reilly plays Whip’s girlfriend. John Goodman threatens to steal the show in a small supporting role as Whip’s friend and supplier, but this is Washington’s film and his performance has received a deserved Oscar nomination. There are a number of points in the film when the idea of God’s plan is addressed in an interesting fashion. Fairly obviously, Flight also tackles dealing with addiction. Some viewers might have misgivings about what could be seen to be the message that drug-taking has positive effects.
Hitchcock Rating 7½/10
12A 98 mins
When Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho it was quite a departure for a director who had built his reputation on making suspense thrillers rather than horror films. Hitchcock tells the story of how the director’s most famous film came to be made, but more importantly it is the story of the unconventional love between Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins), and his film editor wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). Anthony Hopkins never quite ceases to be Anthony Hopkins, but ‘his’ Hitchcock comes over as a rather likeable oddball. He and Mirren share some chemistry, although this is a rather a sanitised version of the life and loves of a man with a strange attitude towards women.
Warm Bodies Rating 8/10
12A 98 mins
The RomZomCom was previously a genre with just one member – Shaun of the Dead – but SOFTD need feel lonely no longer as there’s a new kid on the block. Where Warm Bodies differs from most Zombie movies is that we get to hear the thoughts of one of the risen dead. In the interests of avoiding spoilers, viewers will need to see the film for themselves to learn about another interesting development in the genre, although there is a clue in the title. This is a love story between R (Nicholas Hoult) – a zombie – and Julia (Teresa Palmer) – a Colonel’s daughter. It has overtones of Romeo and Juliet in its story of love across a divide – the living and the dead. Zombie fans – and there are many – will enjoy this new spin on the genre, but Warm Bodies also has something to say about human identity and its loss through degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Above all it is an unusual love story – ideal for Valentine’s Day!
Gangster Squad Rating 7/10 15 112 mins
Los Angeles 1949 and Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is attempting to become the city’s crime lord. The Chief of Police is fighting a losing battle to maintain law and order and so appoints a tough WWII veteran (Josh Brolin) and the most honest cop on the force to form a task force that will fight fire with fire. This is a classic scenario in which differing people are blended into an accomplished unit – think The Magnificent Seven or The A Team. However, its well done with plenty of period detail. The violence is not for the faint-hearted and the language is consistent with the film’s 15 certificate. Gangster Squad doesn’t ask too many questions of its audience although there is a passing nod to whether or not the end always justifies the means.
Les Miserables Rating 8½/10
12A 158 mins
In 1980 Victor Hugo’s sprawling story set in 19th century France spluttered into life as a musical when produced in a sports hall in Paris. It was another five years before Cameron Mackintosh brought Les Mis to the West End where it’s been ever since. And now, one of the most successful musicals of all time is an Oscar-nominated film. It is a brave production in that the principals are not known for their singing and with Russell Crowe, that will continue to be the case. However, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Jackman all acquit themselves well. In most films, dialogue and music is post-recorded, but director Tom Hopper had his cast sing live on set which helps to remind the audience of the musical’s stage origins. This was also particularly effective when Hathaway sang Fantine’s I Dreamed a Dream. Sacha Baron Cohen’s and Helena Bonham Carter’s comic turn as Cosette’s foster parents, while amusing, seems more at home in a pantomime. However, this is nit-picking in the context of a film that tells a powerful tale of redemption, forgiveness and grace.
Quartet Rating 7½/10
12A 98 mins
Dustin Hoffman, in is first directorial role at the age of 75 has brought together three of our best acting pensioners and comedian Billy Connolly in this story of elderly artistes in a retirement home for professional musicians. Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay play the other three members of the Quartet who once sang Bella figlia dell'amore from Rigoletto. The plot is slight and never less than predictable, but Hoffman gives us the opportunity to see these more mature actors strut their stuff and show us that love is not just for the young.
The Sessions Rating 9/10
15 95 mins
Mark O’Brien was an American poet who died just short of his 50th birthday. O’Brien was paralysed after contracting polio in childhood and needed to spend much of each on an iron lung in order to breathe. The Sessions is based on O’Brien’s own essay about his experience with a sex surrogate to deal with his sexual frustration. A committed Roman Catholic, O’Brien received counsel from his priest, played in the film by William H Macy who gave O’Brien (John Hawkes) his blessing for the sessions he spent with the surrogate (Helen Hunt). This film’s subject matter makes it controversial, but it is a thought-provoking insight into sexuality and disability. It is also very funny and heart-warming.