I had heard that this movie is about a boy who has Adolf Hitler as an imaginary friend. I didn’t know what to expect from a premise as potentially offensive as that. The combination of serious, life-threatening subject matter and light-hearted ridiculousness that comes from the imagination of the main character (a 10 year old boy) and from the stupidity of the beliefs of the Nazis works remarkably well. I was particularly struck by the sacrifice of the mother to let her son learn the hatred of the Nazis as a way to protect him from those same Nazis. The movie was enjoyable (I actually loved it) but the questions it raises about humanity are profound and have stuck with me.
At Red River with Ann, Pat, and Al
I had mixed expectations for this movie. The previews looked pretty good but the reviews were mostly bad. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus but am not a huge Will Farrell fan. I don’t usually like American remakes of successful foreign films. But we took a chance and I actually really liked it. Based on a 2014 Swedish film called Force Majeure, Downhill tells the story of a family on vacation in the Austrian Alps who encounter a near disaster during which the father (Farrell) behaves badly but can’t admit it. Louis-Dreyfus is wonderful as Billie and Farrell is surprising as Pete. Despite the mostly negative reviews, I think both actors and the script do a good job of exploring the relationship between adults in a long-term relationship.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.