8.5/10 In another blatant example of how the “critics” of Rotten Tomatoes generally get things wrong, “Cherry” is a fantastic film that critics did not like and missed the point altogether in many cases. “Cherry” follows the true story of a PTSD riddled Army medic who returns home from war, becomes a drug addict and robs banks to pay for his insatiable fix. The fact that this is a true story from not long ago is interesting enough on its own. Pair that will Tom Holland as the lead in what so far has been the best acting of his career. If there was any doubt that he was only here for Marvel blockbusters and other big budget movies like “Chaos Walking” and “Uncharted”, this solidifies him as a great actor all around. Ciara Bravo (I still can’t get over her name) is also great as the cast fired on all cylinders. The film is broken down into several parts. The beginning is essentially boot camp and his deployment. The second part is the return home, mental breakdown and drug addiction. The final part is him robbing banks and what happens in the end. Despite the film running almost two and a half hours, I was entertained the entire time and the film never felt long. Following up the second highest grossing film of all time (“Avengers: Endgame”), the Russo Brothers wisely took a break from big budget superhero films to create something more intimate and personal. The film is extremely relevant and timely as it deals with opioid and drug addiction, especially with veterans and in a bad economy. Despite the film not mentioning it, when our protagonist returns home, he comes back right as the Great Recession was kicking off. Today’s economic woes, never ending wars and the opioid crisis creates the perfect storm of stories like this one to multiply. The script was fantastic and people complaining that not enough happened in the first hour fail to realize that they were establishing our lead character and who he was so we could see the stark contrast with what he would become. Because there is a lot of darker, more depressing elements, the film wisely inserts some humor into the boot camp section of the film (“Hacksaw Ridge” did the same thing) and seeing as I am a Marine who went through Marine Corps boot camp, I was laughing my head off at how relatable the things he went through were. The military aspects were extremely accurate and some of the best parts of the film. The score from Henry Jackman is the best of 2021 so far and the soundtrack is equally fitting. As for my minor complaints, the Russo Brothers do change up their directing styles depending upon which part of the film we are in. For example, the beginning has a Martin Scorsese/breaking the fourth wall mid-scene style that works well but once we move onto the next part of the film, that style is abandoned and swapped out with a different style. The vast style changes worked in a film like “Steve Jobs” when different cameras were used during different time periods but here the stylistic changes seem unnecessary and as more of a gimmick, lacking consistency. The drug addiction elements of the film have also been similarly done by other films throughout the years. The lack of our protagonist’s parents also provided questions. They helped pay for his house but never appear in the film. You’d think if they were close enough to help pay for his house that they would be in his life enough to notice he was an addict. That being said, the phenomenal script with emotionally powerful moments (I was brought to tears in this film), career best acting from Holland, best score of the year so far and great editing/pacing make the underrated “Cherry” one of the best films of 2021 so far as we have just passed the halfway point in the year. This “Cherry” deserves to get popped…into your DVD/Blu-ray player, immediately.

#CherryPickThisFilmOut / #Midbummer / #BigCrimeRush / #AmericanStriper / #FromTanksToBanks / #OxyMoron

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