Movies: Stronger, Battle of the Sexes, Manolo: The Boy who Made Shoes for Lizards


This is the story of Jeff Bauman who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013.  His long recovery, emotionally and physically, came with the support of his family and long time girlfriend.

While inspirational, the film looks behind the curtains just enough to expose the family struggling with serious dysfunction and alcohol abuse.  Nonetheless, this film triumphs in showing how ordinary people can successfully overcome extraordinary circumstances.

Another stellar performance by Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Jeff’s character with Tatiana Maslany delivering a great performance as the girlfriend.  Miranda Richardson is superb as the mother. There will likely be plenty of Oscar chatter as the award season nears.

The genre is listed as a Drama/Biography.  It is rated R for language throughout, some graphic injury images, and brief sexuality and nudity.  We encourage parents to carefully consider younger children viewers.  The run time is 1 hour, 59 minutes.

Note:  Last week the real Jeff Bauman appeared on the Ellen Show.  We were impressed by the real person who appeared humble and at peace with himself.


Battle of the Sexes

It is hard to believe this event actually took place in 1973.  Then one of women’s top ranked Tennis Champions, Billie Jean King, 29, accepts a challenge by self promoter tennis player Bobby Riggs, 55, to a tennis match and a $100,000 prize. At the time, men’s tennis paid eight times what professional women’s tennis players were paid.

That said, this movie is a docudrama that has been fictionalized for marketing purposes but it generally captures the social and political climate of the time.  It also takes a deeper dive into the private lives of both lead characters.

Emma Stone is excellent as Billy Jean King.  Steve Carell transforms himself into Bobby Riggs.  The rest of the cast is filled with serious talent:  Elisabeth Shue is Mrs. Riggs, Andrea Riseborough plays the hair dresser and more…  Sarah Silverman plays the Women’s Tennis promoter, Alan Cummings is a hoot in a bit part as the clothing designer.  Austin Stowell is perfect as Billie Jean’s husband.  There are at least another dozen actors in other roles.

The film is rated PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity.  The genre is noted as a Comedy/Drama/ Sports & Fitness.  The run time is a full 2 hour and 1 minute.  Early chatter for Acting, maybe Screenplay and Best Picture Oscar nominations.


Manolo: The Boy who Made Shoes for Lizards

This film is a documentary about the life of the famed shoe designer Manola Blahnik.  He is considered a 20th and 21st century fashion icon by his followers.  Born of Spanish parents and raised in the Canary Islands.  He calls himself a cobbler.  He seems most content when he is designing and hand crafting his footwear,  most are more works of art than mere shoes.

The film chronicles his life and career, parties and escapades spanning decades.  The rare clips of early celebrity gatherings alone are worth the price of admission.  Still based in London, he now has stores in Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Berkeley, Denver, Dallas, and Fort Lauderdale.

Ultimately, this film is a chronicle of one designers passion for his creations.  It is charming, interesting, fascinating, often funny and occasionally down right goofy.  We found it enjoyable and feel it well worth the watch.

The film is not rated.  The genre is noted as a Drama/Biography and runs 1 hour 30 minutes.


4 thoughts on “Movies: Stronger, Battle of the Sexes, Manolo: The Boy who Made Shoes for Lizards”

    1. Thanks! It is always nice when a movie ends up being more enjoyable than expectations. Say HI to all for us. Miss you! Love, J&J

  1. I have a movie comment/question. Went to see American Assassin today, an 11:10am matinee. I liked it but my comment/question is the trailers started at 11:10 but the actual movie didn’t start until 11:34. Is this normal because I don’t ever remember it being that much time for trailers?

    1. Good morning Stu. Great question, we will take a stab at an answer. Bottom line, welcome to the new norm. Competition among the movie studios has been fierce. Especially with the advent of streaming services, Amazon Studios and so on. Independent and foreign films struggle to get their films to audiences every year. Since the film studios pay to have their previews played in theaters, and theater companies struggle with ever shrinking profit margins, add audience traffic fluctuation (i.e. weekends draw larger audiences than midday/midweek). The good news is you can go to a film late and not miss a thing! J&J

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