Greetings From Movie Review, N.J.: ‘Blinded by the Light’ Review

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CREDIT: Nick Wall/Warner Bros.

In my review of Yesterday, I took the disappearing-Beatles film to task for failing to answer all the questions it raised. (Yesterday, I don’t mean to bag on you too hard; you’re enjoyable even though you’re so silly.) Now another movie about the power of one classic musical act has come along, and it benefits from a much tighter focus. Instead of imagining what the entire world would be like without Bruce Springsteen, it captures the profound effect the Boss has on one British-Pakistani teenage boy in 1987 small-town England. But that tight focus doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of questions to be answered.

Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) is immediately enraptured the first time he encounters the poet laureate of Asbury Park, and despite their (superficial) cultural differences, he sees a model of inspiration to break out of his hometown and make it as a successful writer. But his new favorite music doesn’t change the fact that he’s growing up in a traditional immigrant family beset by financial struggles and prejudice from their neighbors and the National Front party. Javed thinks that Springsteen’s message is pretty simple, and in some ways, it fundamentally is. But the challenge for him is to look outward with that message when he is tempted to remain inward. Luckily, Blinded by the Light is up to the challenge of answering the questions of how one artist with such a personal touch can inspire someone to be a good son, friend, sibling, boyfriend, neighbor, and overall human. The journey it presents is unfailingly earnest and bursting with ebullience

Blinded by the Light is Recommended if You Like: Bend It Like Beckham, Sing Street, Standing up to neo-Nazis

I give Blinded by the Light 90 Death Traps out of 100 Runners in the Night.

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 8/16/19

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CREDIT: HBO

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Blinded by the Light (Theatrically Nationwide)
47 Meters Down: Uncaged (Theatrically Nationwide) – Morbid curiosity.
Good Boys (Theatrically Nationwide)
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Theatrically Nationwide) – Cinematic uniqueness.

TV
The Righteous Gemstones Series Premiere (August 18 on HBO) – Danny McBride and Jody Hill’s latest collab!
Baskets Series Finale (August 22 on FX)

Music
-Sleater-Kinney, The Center Won’t Hold