Sean Beaudoin

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Movie Review

Sunshine Cleaning dir. Christine Jeffs — 2.0

This is a thoroughly insipid movie masquerading as a clever indie slice of life, and as such, is really a worse and more dishonest film than Transfomers II: Rise of The Penile Bots. Wanting despertately to be funny heartwarming, and just a bit edgy, it is none of these things, instead being a tired re-hash of unearned emotion and pointless dialog searching desperately, like a drunk piano player, for the offbeat notes between the keys. No indie cliche goes un-flogged in this wholly unoriginal film including:

1. Quirky sisters that love each other but just don't get along.
2. Former head cheeleader reduced to being a working-class shlub.
3. Mom suicide.
4. Sister/single mom (Amy Adams) with a heart-of-gold has precocious and misunderstood, but totally adorable son (soon to be junky former child actor) who gets all the best lines.
5. Black sheep sister and WAY too beautiful an actress for the role (Emily Blunt) just can't do anything right, except charm the adorable son with her wickedly ironic ways.
6. Alan Arkin as the gruff-loser grandfather who believes in the precocious son (Wait, didn't he play the EXACT same role, down to every single facial expression in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE? Yeah, he did. Didn't the film-makers notice and at least think they should take the word SUNSHINE out of their own title? Apparently not.)
7. Steve Zahn in his usual supporting role as a bumbling good guy.
8. Non-comic talking to dead mom via non-working cb radio in oh-so-heartbreaking humanizing moment.
9. Former head cheerleader's old high school friends show up as the snooty suburban bitches they are and make Amy Adams feel bad.
10. Emily Blunt says, for no reason at all toward the end of the film, "I think I'll take a roadtrip," thus allowing her character's resolution to be a quick montage of an old car punching it up the highway to the cranking strains of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky."
11. Repeated flashbacks to the girls frolicking together under a sprinkler in an idyllic front yard.
12. Worst and most ludicrous of all, the obligatory scene were the mean, mean, mean teacher and principal at the school INSIST the misunderstood but really just quirkily brilliant child must take mean, mean behavioral drugs or go to a class for "special children" (not in a million lawsuit years), then cut to Alan Arkin saying to the kid "They want to put you in the retard class?"...big laugh....

This steaming turd of a Juno-theft movie has a lot to answer for.
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