4/10 Director George Clooney and writer William Monahan have quite a bit in common. While Clooney is a successful and talented actor, as a director he started strong in the beginning of his directing career (“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, “Good Night, and Good Luck.”) only to see a complete downward spiral of forgettable movies (“The Monuments Men”, “Suburbicon”, “The Midnight Sky”). Likewise, Monahan won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” but with every script since, hasn’t had anything stick or remain impactful/memorable with movies like “London Boulevard”, “The Gambler” and “Mojave”. Their downward trend continues with the disposable “The Tender Bar”, a movie that is well acted with good intentions but that I could also feel slipping away from my memory the second that the ending credits began to roll. The acting from Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Briana Middleton, etc. and the rest of the cast are all perfect, which is to be expected since Clooney is an actor’s director, having worked so many years as an actor himself. The production and costume design expertly recreate the early 1970s Long Island setting, transporting you back in time. The score is fine and the pacing was alright. The emotional beats rang true and felt realistic, since they are based off of J.R. Moehringer’s memoir. However, Clooney’s direction is rather vanilla, the flashbacks/flash forwards to modern time felt inconsistent and uneven, the soundtrack feels like Clooney just threw on a Greatest Hits record from the late 60s/early 70s as opposed to carefully selecting a specific song for the scene at hand and the movie just feels completely disposable. It entertained me but left no impact, didn’t make me think or dwell upon anything meaningful or stir anything inside of me. With so many coming of age films out there, this one feels nonexistent compared to some of the classics. Could it be because most stories about writers all have an air of pretentiousness to them or the unrelatable east coast setting from before I was born? I doubt it since there are gladiator period pieces that are more relatable to me. For all its good intentions, the story just wasn’t interesting enough to tell. Not impactful or gut wrenching enough to warrant adaptation. While both Monahan and Clooney have talent, until they find the right story to tell, I fear this downward career trend of forgettable movies will continue.

#LoveMeTenderBar / #ReadyBaseballPlayerOne / #GoodWillBunting / #Bargo / #ShesJustNotThatIntoYou / #BeerUpCharlie

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