Thursday, May 03, 2012

"Weakness": another suburban family dramedy, and "another" teacher gets in trouble

Weakness” was a pejorative as I grew up; people looked for visible signs of it. It’s also the title of a recent dramedy by Michael Melamedoff, and here’s another recent film that explores how teachers can get into trouble.

Josh (Bobby Cannavale) is a high school English teacher in an older Long Island town.  His gravely ill mother reminds him to take care of his autistic younger brother Pete  (Keith Nobbs)after she’s gone.  And she does pass away.  Josh tries to keep him in a group home and Pete gets tossed out.  Josh winds up carrying for him physically (the film shows this).  Family responsibility is not the result of one’s own intercourse, but of other people’s (including parents). 

Josh is actually married to Elizabeth (June Diane Raphael) who, like Betty White’s famous 50s character, is not ashamed.  She makes ceramic phalluses for flea markets.  Liz also believes in open marriage, and decides Josh should fix up the 19th Century “this old house” they inherited (along with Pete).  Josh falls off the roof (he, as my own mother once said, “is a climber” and not afraid of ladders) and breaks his leg, although he seems to heal quickly enough from it, enough to go to baseball batting cages.  We learn he wanted to become a baseball player but didn’t exactly have Bryce Harper’s genes. 

During his recuperation, Elizabeth has a fling with the handyman they hire (Daniel Sunjata), and Josh faces more romantic distractions from his world as a teacher, even in the summer.  Finally, he gets involved with a just graduated (the previous June) senior (Danielle Panabaker) who had been a star in his English class (with King Lear, I guess). 

It gets around, and the school district suspends him with pay.  It’s not clear why this would be a problem since the girl is no longer a student and is presumably over 18.  From that point, all’s well that end’s well (and read that in English).

The film is shot in 2.35:1, which may not have been necessary.

The official Facebook is here.

The production company was Apropos, distributor was Osiris.  It’s available for Instant Play on Netflix but not yet on DVD there.  It was shown at the Austin Film Festival (2011?  SXSW?)

The film, in my own mind, would make a companion piece to “Margaret”. 

Picture: belated St. Patrick's Parade, Ft. Hamilton section of Brooklyn NY (mine)

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