The Tender Bar

The Tender Bar ★★

I keep hoping George Clooney will break out of his directorial slump. I loved his first two features Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck. It seems I will have to keep hoping.  The Tender Bar is a bland coming of age story based on the memoir of the same name by J.R. Moeringer. J.R., played here by Tye Sheridan has an absent father who he knows only by his voice on a radio show he hosts. J.R. instead find father figure in uncle Charlie played by Ben Affleck.  The film follows J.R. journey through Yale law school where he falls in love, pursues a writing career and eventually confronts his father, none of which is very interesting or satisfying in any way. I can’t figure out what attracted Clooney to this project.  I also can’t figure out why he repeatedly used a particular handheld zoom shot, where the focal distance shifts from the foreground to a character in the background and then swiftly zooms in. These shots are so different from the way the rest of the film is captured, that they stand out….but for no apparent reason. Just a weird thing I noticed while watching this. Oh well, maybe next time, George.
Note: Several years ago, my dad would not stop recommending The Boys in the Boat novel to literally every person he came in contact with. My dad loves recommending the most boring books and films known to mankind.  It’s so bad that we have now resorted to simply saying “yes” whenever he asks if we’ve seen a certain movie or read certain book. This preempts him from forcing the work upon us at family get togethers. I just saw that George Clooney’s next film is an adaptation of The Boys in the Boat. Oh well, maybe next next time George. 

2021 Ranked

Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 2
1. Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting
2. Minnie Driver
and Kevin Bacon in Sleepers

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