These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
Who doesn’t love Will Smith? Dude’s a jack of all trades and many of us grew up on his movies. He’s a 90’s icon and, oh let’s cut the bullshit, he’s an icon no matter what day and age we’re in. We don’t (kinda) care that you are into Scientology, Mr. Smith, we still love you. To boot, he’s often considered a really good guy. But enough about what we already love about him. This is about his latest doctor-sports movie. Although I was planning to see this movie anyway, did anyone else get the feeling that this was Oscar-bait too? I mean, Smith’s got an accent that he seems to be flaunting rather well and the trailer made it out to be pretty damn atmospheric. I guess it didn’t matter, I was sold on this movie and had pretty high expectations. Did it measure up?
Starring: Will Smith (COLLATERAL BEAUTY , I AM LEGEND , MEN IN BLACK , and upcoming films BRIGHT  and ALADDIN ), Alec Baldwin (THE BOSS BABY , SUBURBAN GIRL , THE JUROR , and upcoming film M:I 6 – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE  and TV movie A FEW GOOD MEN ), Albert Brooks (THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS , THE SIMPSONS MOVIE , and TAXI DRIVER ), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST , BELLE , LARRY CROWNE , and upcoming films A WRINKLE IN TIME  and an untitled Cloverfield movie ), and David Morse (HORNS , DISTURBIA , CONTACT , and the upcoming THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS ).
Support: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (SUICIDE SQUAD , CONGO , and TV show LOST [2004 – 2010]), Richard T. Jones (A QUESTION OF FAITH , WHY DID I GET MARRIED? , and KISS THE GIRLS ), Paul Reiser (I DO… UNTIL I DON’T , FUNNY PEOPLE , and ALIENS ), Luke Wilson (BRAD’S STATUS , 3:10 TO YUMA , SCREAM 2 , and upcoming films MEASURE OF A MAN  and BERLIN, I LOVE YOU ), and Stephen Moyer (PRIEST , 88 MINUTES , and TV show THE GIFTED [2017 – ongoing]).
Director: Peter Landesman (MARK FELT  and the upcoming THE LAST BATTLE ). Writer: Peter Landesman (MARK FELT, KILL THE MESSENGER , and the upcoming THE LAST BATTLE). Composer: James Newton Howard (ROMAN J. ISRAEL. ESQ , THE GREAT DEBATERS , MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING , and upcoming films RED SPARROW  and FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD ). Cinematographer: Salvatore Totino (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING , PEOPLE LIKE US , and THE DA VINCI CODE ).
This is my honest opinion of: CONCUSSION
Based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, Bennet (Will Smith) is a Nigerian doctor, eager to be an American citizen, and happens to be a talented pathologist, even though his methods are considered odd. Unbenownst to the good doctor, a series of horrible events are about to unfold. Famed football star Mike Webster (David Morse) has suffered through hard times, becoming a paranoid psychotic and eventually commits suicide, despite the valiant attempts of his doctor, Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin). When Webster’s body is brought to Bennet for examination, he soon discovers that football might have been the reason why the star became crazy, not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of the game itself causing severe brain trauma over the course of the man’s entire football career. While his findings are ignored or ridiculed, Julian believes that Bennet is right and as the NFL tries its hardest to discredit Bennet, more football players begin to suffer the same tragedies and the truth becomes harder to hide.
Fun fact: I actually kind of saw this movie twice. The first time I saw it was after I saw JOY (2015), but I was way too hammered and fell asleep a couple times, missing a healthy chunk of the movie. Deciding that sobriety was king, I saw this movie again… still kind of fell asleep (fatigue this time from working six days a week), but caught up on everything I missed.
You know what, this story had some serious potential, but then Peter Landesman (director and writer of the movie) got his hands on it and proved that maybe he should have stuck with just directing because the writing is… all over the damn place.
What do I mean by that? Well, Bennet’s opening scene. He’s in a court room doing… I don’t know what, but someone asks him what Bennet can add to their case. I shit you not, he goes on and on and @#$%ing on about where he went to school and all the different degrees he has. The dude literally spoke exposition. It was painful.
For those of you who remember the trailer, where at the end he is giving an off-screen character the business, saying, “tell the truth. Tell the truth.” Yeah, he says that four times in that entire scene. It’s kind of awkward.
There’s a random sub-plot of how Bennet wants to have a family with Prema, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the plot didn’t come out of nowhere. I understand that Prema must have been a huge factor in Bennet’s attempts to expose CTE to the NFL, but there’s no build-up to their desires for this family they want. Prema got pregnant, has a miscarriage… and then two scenes later, it’s three years later in the story and they have one child and a second on the way. If you want to tell the story of a husband and wife struggling to have a family after a miscarriage, then leave out the story of how the man is a doctor and wants to enlighten the nation about a horrible condition the players face. Or put a lot more emphasis on the desired-family instead of just hammering it in JUST to show what else Bennet had to go through. It was an unnecessary plot-point.
UPDATE: Granted, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen this movie, but I think it’s wrong of me to say Bennet’s personal life isn’t necessary, the loss that that he experienced. This is Bennet’s story and both his professional and personal life need to have equal exposure. Having said that, based on what I’m reading, my issues come from how poorly written his relationship with Prema is. It sounds like their relationship wasn’t built up properly. Furthermore, it also seems like the miscarriage wasn’t very impactful or necessary to the overall story presented here. Maybe a few more scenes of him and Prema struggling with the decision to try again, as I’m sure after one miscarriage, there’d be a ton of fear for a couple to try and make another baby.
Don’t even get me started on how pro-‘Murica this movie is. It’s giving such a patriotic handjob that even Michael Bay is looking away in embarrassment. I can’t count how many times Bennet mentions how great America is and how great the opportunities are despite the fact that the movie seems to portray Americans as ignorant and uncaring about Bennet’s research into the problems the players of the NFL are facing. The movie does a better job telling how America sucks rather than why it’s so great and how that has anything to do with the plot. We get it dude, you want to be an American citizen, bully for you, please keep your shit focused on what’s really important.
I know we Americans suffered a big tragedy when it came to the San Bernardino shooting and, similar to what happened in France, we need to feel united. We need reasons to keep our heads up and show our enemies that we are still standing in the face of their threats and maybe a movie like this could be great propoganda to ourselves by nearly comparing this country to Heaven, but… @#$%, there was less obnoxious ways of pulling that off. If this is the movie that gave you hope that America will survive in the face of death and destruction, then don’t let anyone take that away from you, but I think if we need to pep talk ourselves, we can do better than this.
Let me say something good about the movie. Yes, Smith delivers a damn fine performance. Unlike Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano, whom I thought was trying to play the role, I believe that Smith is Bennet. I felt like he put in some great effort into bringing this man’s life to the big screen and it pays off. Baldwin does a fairly decent job. Mbatha-Raw’s character was dull, but I believe she can act. Prema just wasn’t very interesting to me.
The acting is fine, the story is interesting, but it goes about it in such a self-absorbed way that I just can’t find myself liking the movie as a whole. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but it’s pretty hard to see myself watching this a third time.
My honest rating for CONCUSSION: a weak 3/5