Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Miss Meadows (2014)

Streaming Services: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu Free, Tubi
Movie Name/Year: Miss Meadows (2014)
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Length:  88 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Vie Vision Pictures, Atlantic Film, Eagle Films, Entertainment One, Home Box Office, Lighthouse Home Entertainment, Programs 4 Media, River, Three Lines Pictures
Director: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Writer: Karen Leigh Hopkins
Actors: Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey, Jean Smart, Mary Kay Place, Ava Kolker, Stephen Bishop, Kate Linder, James Landry H├ębert, James Keane, Graham Beckel, Gregory Allen Smith, Anna Moravcik, Tyler Corbet, Milly Hopkins, Harry Zinn, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Charlotte Labadie, Aubree Stone, Amy Kravockuck

Blurb from IMDb: A story centered on a proper elementary school teacher who moonlights as a vigilante.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have to say, Miss Meadows was certainly unexpected. I don’t remember this movie from back in 2014, though it had some stiff competition at the box office at that time. (Can we say Baymax?) If anyone is looking for something new and interesting to watch, this movie would not only provide quite the intriguing change of pace but also offer something unique to the vigilante genre as well.

Another good word to describe Miss Meadows is quirky – it applies well to both the character and the film, itself. I can’t say that I’ve seen its like before, and that’s quite the feat in this age of Hollywood recycling every good idea that’s come before into reboots, remakes, and re-hashes oh my.

The concept of this movie is deceptively full of whimsy. At its core, however, is something darker and more substantial.

Of course, some might not like the formality of the dialogue. It did make some scenes feel a little stiff at times, but I have to feel that the inherent awkwardness of it was intentional. It was perfectly in tune with the somewhat anachronistic protagonist.

Another thing I adore about this movie is the purposeful, yet seemingly random incorporation of dance into the story. It really doesn’t surprise me, as this film was used as a vehicle to help expose the children cast members to the arts – which was noted in a line within the credits. Katie Holmes (Jack and Jill, The Giver, Logan Lucky) has long been a supporter of such projects for quite a while. She was one of the 4 founding members of the Dizzy Feet Foundation in 2009, after all. That organization is all about supporting and promoting dance education. I digress.

As for Holmes’ role in the movie, I honestly couldn’t picture anyone else in the part. Her portrayal of this character felt so emotionally honest. I could feel how internally broken the character was, and how it fueled her life choices, as everything played across Holmes’ body language. 

I am a bit disappointed in the way the trailer for this movie was packaged. It seems to try and spin the film as something of a thriller when it’s less fast-paced and is sparse on the edge-of-the-seat moments. I worry that those watching the trailer may be disappointed when watching the actual movie because of that. On the bright side, it did mention the one descriptive phrase that nails the heart of this odd, yet enjoyable, vigilante tale – “Pulp Fiction Mary Poppins.”

Of course, while Holmes dominates the screen here, she certainly wasn’t the only notable cast member. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Miss Meadows and the sheriff. James Badge Dale (The Grey, Donnybrook, The Kitchen) really captured well his character’s moral quandary.

I always get a bit giddy with nostalgic feels when I see Jean Smart (Life Itself, A Simple Favor, Watchmen) involved with a project. Designing Women (1986-1993) remains one of my favorite shows from yester-year, and every time I see Smart on the screen, I get all sorts of fuzzy nostalgic feelings. It does help that she’s immensely talented.

If you prepare yourself for the fact that this isn’t your typical tale, and oddness is the name of the game for Miss Meadows, this movie can be quite touching and compelling. There’s some really profound stuff going on under the surface here. I will probably recommend this movie to many if only to open a discussion about it afterward.

Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 25%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 34%
Metascore –  43/100
Metacritic User Score – 6.5/10
IMDB Score – 5.7/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3/5

Movie Trailer:

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