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Movie Review – The Fabelmans

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Self-indulgent, sentimental, and boring. I guess a lot of Christmas films are like that, and now we have one for Hanukkah. (I’m Jewish; please don’t send me hate mail.)

The Fabelmans was presented to me as a story about Steven Spielberg, which piqued my interest. Unfortunately, this story was more about trains than adventure or whimsy. I didn’t see anything becoming a foundation for some of the world’s greatest sci-fi, fantasy, or uplifting disaster tales. (Yes, that’s a thing.) Sammy didn’t collect dinosaurs or spaceships. There were no big “USS Indianapolis” type speeches, or mind-bending thoughts about time travel. Not that anything had to hit the viewer over the head, but there was…nothing. So, I had to wonder if this WAS a movie about a young Spielberg avatar.


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This whole situation is probably my fault. I was asked to see this movie for Peetimes, and it that was about Spielberg, and I had zero time to look at a single trailer or anything to prep for it.

I don’t do dramas. Dramas are weird movies because they seem to exist to make you cry. I have to ask..why…?

I get excited during adventures, thoughtful amid good sci-fi, and enchanted watching fantasies. I laugh at comedies. Those are the intent of those genres. I don’t mind some tears in the service of a good story in a genre I understand.

But I don’t get ‘drama’ as a genre. Dramatic movies want you to feel something, and that is PAIN. The Fablemans is like two and a quarter hours of being dragged along someone else’s family issues, and trust me, I have my own. I couldn’t just give up and leave the theater because this was a work assignment.

The last drama I saw (Banshees of Inisherin) was at least pretty great, even though I was traumatized by it: a thoughtful story with fantastic scenery and acting, although mislabeled (not a comedy!)…so I gave it a high score of A-.

The Fabelmans was just a long slow slog through people’s personal family horror. I can’t see giving this a grade above a D+, although it seems pro reviewers and the regular folk loved it. Only go by my rating if you, like me, can’t commit to over two hours dredging through someone else’s family trauma.

I will say the last five minutes were outstanding — where Sammy gets the advice of noting his movies’ horizons. Now I want to watch movies with this horizon business in mind because it was a glowing insight. Still not worth spending $35… But please, read the other reviews out there and make your own call.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: The first 2 Peetimes are good, and the 3rd is for Emergencies. The 3rd also serves as an Alert Peetime for some people, with some Jew Bashing. There was a ton of dialog here so it was hard to get decent Peetimes, but I think these will do fine. 🙂

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Fabelmans.

Rated: (PG-13) Some Strong Language | Drug Use | Brief Violence | Thematic Elements
Genres: Drama
Starring: Michelle Williams, Gabriel LaBelle, Paul Dano
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner
Language: English
Country: N/A

Plot
Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

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  • Chuck Bell

    In the review you said there was nothing during/after the credits but the pee times says there is. It really shouldn’t because doing a shoutout to Anthony shouldn’t count.

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