It’s comforting that not everything is different this year at TIFF. The lineup may be smaller and the screenings may be online, but the programmers have preserved at least one essential hallmark of the festival experience: well-intentioned but drippy social-issue dramas based on true stories and starring earnest movie stars. The earnest star this year is Mark Wahlberg, and he’s been cast as the title character of Good Joe Bell (Grade: C), about a father who embarks on a cross-country walking tour, from small-town Oregon to New York City, to speak out against bullying like the kind his gay teenage son endured in school. Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters And Men), the film has its heart in the right place, but its head is foggy and possibly concussed; it seems uncertain how to reshape its ripped-from-the-headlines story into satisfying drama—though that story may be broadly sad and inspiring enough to put it in contention for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award anyway, given the dearth of crowd-pleasing competition this TIFF.
We meet Wahlberg’s scruffy good-old-boy dad Joe on the open road, pushing a cart of clothes and belongings down the highway. By his side is his son, Jadin (a very good Reid Miller), who tags along to high-school assemblies where his father clumsily (and quite briefly) extols the importance of accepting everyone for who they are. Even when not on stage, Joe’s got one hand in his wallet, ready to pass strangers at the local diner a card advertising his anti-hate message. The screenplay, by Brokeback Mountain Oscar winners Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana, intercuts this pilgrimage with flashbacks to months earlier, when Jadin came out to his father. Those who know the full story of what the Bell family went through will either be very confused by the film’s early scenes or suspect what it’s bending over backwards to conceal from the audience. I won’t spoil the twist for those who don’t know, but I will gently suggest that there even being a twist to this story isn’t the most tasteful choice.
For Wahlberg, the role almost looks like community service. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but he’s a Hollywood heavyweight with some hate crime in his past; seeing him play a character who’s walking the country to preach tolerance does create the temptation to read Good Joe Bell as a vague act of atonement-through-performance. Mostly, though, he’s not quite up to what the part requires of him—the mix of conviction and guilt that drives Joe’s quest. He seems right for the role only when the film is flirting, early on, with becoming a buddy comedy about a father trying to connect with his son; Wahlberg’s comedic chops take a little of the cornball cringe out of a scene of the gruff Joe surprising Jadin by joining him on the chorus of “Born This Way.”
Most of the problems with Good Joe Bell really stem from how it’s chosen to tell this tragic story. Though Joe is supposedly crossing America to educate and have empathetic discussions, the film devises curiously few encounters for him. (This could partially be a product of the fact that it’s hiding certain information from us for a bit—again, a dumb approach.) More detrimentally, the script seems reluctant to address Joe’s own homophobia; his march for redemption is supposedly inspired by the feeling that he wasn’t supportive enough, but the flashbacks mainly just emphasize Wahlberg’s signature, perpetual irritation at everything, barely communicating at all how he feels about his son being gay. Maybe that’s true to the real Joe or to many parents like him: Not every father who fails their kid during the difficult coming-out period of their life is a disapproving tyrant. But Good Joe Bell is a redemption story that barely attempts to understand why its protagonist needs redemption. It’s a paper-napkin sketch of a drama, the soul searching never shaded in.
When it comes to star showcases, I much prefer French playwright Florian Zeller’s first feature, The Father (Grade: B), which got a quiet reception at Sundance back in the blessed before times of January. Zeller, who’s adapted his own play, is tackling a subject that’s been covered almost ad nauseam by the movies: the difficult question of what to do when a loved one begins to lose their mental faculties. (We even got a horror-film take on the subject this year.) The hook of The Father is that it explores this all-too-common nightmare from the entirely subjective perspective of the person with dementia—in this case, Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an elderly man resisting the assistance being foisted upon him by his grown, concerned daughter (Olivia Colman). Anthony insists he doesn’t need a caregiver, but it’s not just his memory that’s getting hazy; basic details about his life—where he lives, who his daughter is married to, what his daughter even looks like—have begun to blur.
Unlike a couple other theatrical adaptations playing TIFF this year, The Father makes little attempt to disguise its stage origins; the fact that the action is confined entirely to one flat is very much essential to the story’s design. (There are no tacked on scenes of the characters running off to the store to “open up” the material.) Zeller uses the intrinsically cinematic tools of editing and composition to enhance the disorientation, but the film’s central strategy to that end is straight from the play: Different actors keep entering, insisting they’re characters we’ve already met, while information delivered in dialogue is constantly contradicted. It’s a smart conceptual ploy that works to put us right into Anthony’s confused headspace, the film creating a frighteningly unreliable sense of reality. And The Father benefits immensely from Hopkins’ performance, which is among his most heartbreakingly vulnerable, in part because it briefly conjures the ghost of the actor at his most erudite and intelligent and dominant, than strips that away with the cruel indifference of dementia itself. Now that’s how you properly exploit a movie star persona.
Britain’s Got Talent’s Honey and Sammy running Race for Life
A mother and daughter singing duo whose battle with cancer moved Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden to tears are to run the Race for Life.
After a difficult year when Sammy Harrison, 43, beat breast cancer, Honey, 15, signed them up to the ITV contest in secret — and told the judges of their fight against the disease.
The pair received a golden buzzer from Holden sending them to the semi-finals. They are in the public vote to make the final after appearing in the second semi-final earlier ths month.
The pair from Chigwell, in Essex are using their newfound fame to help support Cancer Research UK.
The Covid pandemic resulted in the cancellation of all 400 of the Race for Life events.
But the charity is encouraging people to still register and take part in a socially distanced 5K run in their local area on September 26 to raise funds for life-saving research.
Ms Harrison, 43, who was diagnosed in January 2018 with a four and a half centimetre tumour in her breast has taken part in the events before but hopes the new found fame can help raise more money.
“When you’ve been given life-saving surgery, you don’t expect this downward spiralling surge,” said Ms Harrison, who had a complete removal of her right breast and lymph nodes,“I just wasn’t prepared for the emotional trauma that went with it.”
She added before they went on stage they were asked by the BGT crew what they would do if they won, and her daughter said “I would definitely donate some money to Cancer Research UK.”
“It was important to us then it and it’s even more important to us now, with so many people struggling with cancer and Covid,” said Ms Harrison.
The event will start off with a live from the Race for Life Facebook from 9:30am followed by an energiser from a fitness expert and messages from cancer patients and survivors.
Gwen Stefani & Blake Shelton Are Still A Couple
Stefani and Shelton have been rumored to be almost at the edge of a breakup. National Enquirer, an outlet, posted several comments from an anonymous source, which seems to be hinting at a split happening soon.
This outlet has also released previous information about this couple, which turned out to be false, making them unreliable. Asides this, Gwen recently revealed that quarantining with Shelton and her kids was ‘magical.”
Without a doubt, it’s evident that the lovers are happy and staying together.
90 Day Fiance Stars: What Do They REALLY Do For a Living?
It’s no secret that 90 Day Fiance stars do not make much money — from the show, anyway.
Beginning stars may make as little as $500 per episode.
Even veterans of the series generally don’t make much more than $1,500 per episode despite the intense popularity of the series.
Some of the stars are able to leverage their fame, becoming influencers and marketing themselves for more than TLC ever dreamed of paying them.
Many just end up keeping their day jobs.
And a few have used their fame to launch their own brands and businesses.
Take a look below and see what the stars, past and present, do for a living. The ones that we know about, anyway.
Rumor has it that Anfisa was doing cam work back in Russia when she and Jorge first met. Since coming to the US, she has rebranded as a businesswoman, taking a series of business classes. At this rate, the gold diggers will be coming for HER, soon.
Before his unjust incarceration, Jorge was working in the legal marijuana business in California. He has expressed his hope that, now that he is free, he can get back into that line of work without too many obstacles. He has also expressed an openness to further appearances on reality television.
Larissa has only made limited use of her potential for Instagram ads — explaining that her body image issues made her feel sadly unworthy of showcasing some products. All of that changed after she underwent five cosmetic procedures in 2020. Larissa became one of CamSoda’s top 5 earners of all time with a one-hour, fairly PG-13 show and is also posting alluring but non-nude content on OnlyFans. Her real moneymaker is Cameo, where her videos for fans have allowed her to rake in tens of thousands of dollars.
Aside from the occassional Instagram ad, Nicole has made most of her living from being a Starbucks barista. In 2020, after her return from spending an unplanned five months in Morocco, she revealed that though she has a lot of love for her Starbucks family, she believes that it is time to move on.
Molly already had a successful lingerie business before she ever appeared on 90 Day Fiance. Since rising to fame, she has plugged her business and also advertised dubious weight loss teas.
After his less-than-amicable breakup with Danielle, Mohamed moved to Texas. More recently, he took up work as a truck driver, working long days and weeks on the road. While he does not plan on doing this particular job forever, he hopes that the job will give him a solid financial foundation.
Before her most recenet breakup with Jay, announced on September 19 of 2020, Ashley launched a beauty brand and announced a lingerie company. Ashley also has a hotel, as after their breakup in the spring of 2019, she shared that Jay was living there.
Prior to his breakup with Ashley, Jay opened his own tattoo business, fulfilling a longtime dream. He has worked as a tattoo artist in the past.
Stephanie was already relatively well known as a YouTube vlogger before she appeared on her ill-fated 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days season. She has worked as a stripper in the past and is considered one of the best subscription offers available from 90 Day Fiance stars on OnlyFans.
Danielle ran into some financial trouble in late 2018. When her GoFundMe successfully led to fans crowdfunding her the $5,000 that she needed, she spawned a wave of GoFundMe campaigns from fellow 90 Day Fiance stars. However, these days she seems to be doing much better. Though her plans for her very own reality career fell through, she has been doing Cameos for fans. Cameos can rake in a tremendous amount of money, and Danielle is one of the stars who really put 90 Day Fiance on the map.
Paola works as a fitness model, personal trainer, and nutrition coach. Though her modeling work once drove a wedge in her marriage over her husband’s insecurities, that appears to be in the past.
Russ works as an engineer, a field that he temporarily put on hold so that Paola would not have to live in isolation in Oklahoma. The two have found a way to make things work.
This 90 Day Fiance star did not earn a glowing reputation on the show, striking fans as a little mean and a lot intense. There were also very real questions about how young she REALLY was when she and her now-husband first began their relationship. Those questions did not really follow her to American Idol Season 17. She was eliminated, but not before making it to the show’s top 14. She now lives in L.A. with her husband and is pursuing a music career.
Now living in Ohio with her husband and their new baby, she and her sister run a lash and brow business together. Yes, her sister has since moved to the US to join her.
Deavan is no stranger to the modeling business, but is now using her fame to attract a broader OnlyFans following. She doesn’t want to mislead anyone, though, as she is doing lingerie pics and boudoir shoots, not nudity or explicit content.
Tiffany takes advantage — in a good way — of her sizable Instagram following to promote products to her fans.
Angela works as a hospice nurse at a non-profit. Some people may feel shocked that she has such a nurturing job despite her demeanor on the show, but some people are very different at work. She also makes money with product endorsements on Instagram.
Michael is a bit more of an enigma in this department. He has previously worked as a bus administrator in Nigeria, but it is not clear what he does now. And fans have real concerns that he will not be able to find employment if he is ever able to move to Georgia, thus robbing him of further agency and making him even more dependent upon his controlling wife.
Asuelu has worked as a dance instructor in Utah, though Kalani has characterized his pay as not particularly high. Realistically, Asuelu’s employment options may be limited by his background.
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