The success and staying power of cinematic juggernauts Star Wars and Jumanji this past holiday season surprised no one yet clearly monkey-wrenched the studios' smooth Christmas Day release plans for Just Mercy, it being altogether difficult to find now (and just one calendar day after its actual January 10th release). Our market, for example, is enormous (second only to NYC and L.A.), but one will be hard-pressed to see Just Mercy playing anywhere noteworthy. Nonetheless, we persevered and overcame :-)
The film is exactly as you might imagine: alternatingly encouraging and discouraging, always important, and generally heavy-handed in writing, acting, directing, and tone. Most everyone performed admirably, the outlier (surprisingly and disappointingly) being California native, Brie Larson. She felt completely stiff, ill-at-ease, awkward, and out of place, and despite being tremendous in Room and as summer's Marvelous superhero, she's about as convincingly southern as Florence Pugh is Russian (in May's upcoming, clunky Black Widow).
If I were George Strait, though, I would eagerly and obnoxiously tip my beefy Stetson to Tim Blake Nelson for his AMAZING portrayal of fair-weather frenemy, Ralph Myers. Good as most everyone else is in Just Mercy, Tim's performance stands HEAD AND SHOULDERS above the rest. God he was delicious, and despite the smallish role, I'd love to see him nominated Monday in the Best Supporting Actor category for February 9th's Academy Awards.
Back on Earth, and the here and now, thank goodness for the Bryan Stevensons and Walter McMillians, as they continue swinging long after the world counts them out.
Several times over the years I've heard a quote sometimes attributed to Vince Lombardi (accurate or not): "It's not how many times you get tackled, it's how many times you rise to your feet."
Stevenson's approach to overturning wrongful Death Row convictions is less like a freight train and more like a dripping faucet: slow, steady, and unrelenting. Wrench or no wrench, he's coming—eventually becoming the tide that raises all boats—and any roachy deceivers and bigots best take to high ground fast, 'cause Justice may be blind, but she wields one enormous, kick-ass sword.