The Stray Review

I always like supporting local films of quality when I get the chance and the recent film The Stray is such a film. It’s a little hard to talk about without spoilers but it follows the longstanding cinematic tradition of heartfelt stories about a boy and his dog except in this case it is an entire family and their dog.

The premise is a couple with 3 kids are struggling while the husband is working long hours in corporate Hollywood. His dream is to write screenplays but pursuing that dream is risky and the corporate approach seems safer. One ay busy with work he makes a promise to his son that they can have a dog if it is a stray that wanders onto their yard. Well, it just so happens that a dog does that very thing and this dog becomes ‘Pluto the Wonder Dog!’.

The family ends up moving to Colorado to start trying to save their marriage and family. You’ll have to watch the rest to see what happens.

There is no doubt The Stray has its heart in the right place and that gets it far. It’s funny because I’m not that fan of dogs in my real life but on the movies I love them. Everything from Old Yeller, to Sounder, to Where the Red Fern Grows are all emotional films led by dogs! This is also emotional and it is faith-based without being too heavy handed (there are no clergy ever seen mostly just a few prayers).

The emotion can be a bit of a double edged sword because The Stray is definitely a tearjerker. As I was leaving the theater a woman said ‘well, that was too sad for my taste’. I don’t mind sad movies but it definitely made me tear up. I guess go into it with the right expectations and attitude and you will probably enjoy it. It definitely might be too upsetting for very small children but could also lead to needed discussion about life, death and making time matter with those we love.

I really loved Sarah Lancaster and Michael Cassidy in the leads. They had chemistry and Sarah is a Hallmark pro so of course she is good! 😉 The kids are also pretty well cast and aren’t very grating.

It’s a short movie which helps to deal with the emotion. You aren’t dwelling on it too long.

Anyway, The Stray is a sold tearjerker for the entire family that I think is worth a watch.

Overall Grade- B-

We Love You, Sally Carmichael! Review

Today I had a fun experience! I got to attend a movie premiere- red carpet and all. It was just a little local film but it was still a fun experience to see the cast and have them introduce the film called We Love You Sally Carmichael! Fortunately it also turned out to be a fun little romcom to boot. This is a small local film but it is not a faith-based film, so anyone who likes romcoms will enjoy it.

The is directed by Christopher Gorham who also stars as Simon Hayes. He is an author with social anxiety who has written a huge best selling romantic teen novel series similar to Twilight (the digs at Stephanie Meyer and Twilight were very obvious but tastefully done). Because of his anxiety, Simon chooses to write under a pseudonym Sally Carmichael. He is also embarrassed by the lightness of the novels and their popularity.

Things get messy for Simon when he writes a scathing rebuke of the series in a local newspaper as a favor for a woman named Tess (Bitsie Tulloch). To make matters worse, a big name star named Perry (Sebastian Roche) comes into town who the studio wants to star in the movie adaptation of the series.

We Love You, Sally Carmichael doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it consistently made me laugh especially Roche as the very weird movie star. Tulloch and Gorham have winning chemistry and it all works out to be a charming film.

The liar reveal plot is a bit of a groaner but the cast and laughs more than make up for it. I really enjoyed it and it is so rare that I like a comedy these days. This is one you can take the entire family and they will all have a good time. Imagine that! It’s as squeaky clean as they come!

Overall Grade- B+