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Jessie Nelson
Alan Arkin, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Marisa Tomei, Ed Helms, Anthony Mackie, Amanda Seyfried
Writing Credits:
Steven Rogers

New Jersey police lieutenant, Laurel Hester, and her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree, both battle to secure Hester's pension benefits when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Rated PG--13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 2/9/2016

• “Making The Coopers” Featurette
• “Rags the Dog” Featurette
• “Fun on Set” Featurette
• Music Video
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Love the Coopers (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 14, 2016)

A strong ensemble cast unites for 2015’s Love the Coopers. Set on Christmas Eve, four generations of the Cooper family reunite to celebrate the holiday at the home of Sam (John Goodman) and Charlotte (Diane Keaton). This leads to a series of conflicts among the characters and revelations as well.

With a movie like Coopers, I find myself with two synopsis possibilities. Because the film doesn’t have a true “plot”, I can either offer a quick, simple overview or I can list each and every one of the multitude of characters/situations/relationships.

I went with the first approach because a) it seems easier, and b) a more detailed discussion seems pointless. Coopers runs through so many characters and circumstances in such a superficial manner that there’s no reason to discuss any of them.

When director Jessie Nelson last found herself behind the camera, she helmed 2001’s I Am Sam. Probably the worst film Sean Penn ever made – and I include Shanghai Surprise in that mix - Sam was an embarrassment for all involved.

Does Coopers sink to that execrable level? No, but it comes close, and it automatically finds itself on the list of each actors’ worst films. Trite, moronic and smug, the movie flops.

Nothing about Coopers succeeds, and you’ll find many a cliché on display. “Wacky” senile old lady? Check. Toddler who offers inappropriate comments like “you are such a dick”? Check. Self-absorbed whining of exceedingly privileged people? Checkity-check-check-check!

Good God, do the characters in Coopers love to hear themselves talk, and always about their “struggles”. These people have super-cushy lives, so it becomes awfully tough to care about their self-inflicted issues. They simply come across as smug and unlikable.

Coopers doesn’t offer a plot as much as it brings us a series of character conflicts and wacky vignettes, all of which come saddled with far too much narration. Granted, the use of Steve Martin for the voiceover makes those elements marginally more tolerable, but these moments do too much of the work. The narration seems like a cheap crutch for filmmakers too untalented to convey information in a more efficient manner.

It doesn’t help that Coopers features far too many characters for a 107-minute movie. I suspect this occurs because the filmmakers understand how thin all the roles/situations are, so they hope to overwhelm us with quantity instead of quality.

This doesn’t work. The entire enterprise feels contrived and artificial, largely due to the phony movie dialogue they all utter. We don’t find a believable moment in the entire flick.

The movie shows no faith in itself. Whenever it actually flirts with a moment of reality, it immediately squanders the emotion with a silly gag or joke. If the filmmakers don’t care about the characters, why should we?

And when the film reveals the identity of the narrator, I wanted to throw a brick at my TV. An endless reel of schmaltz, empty platitudes and mawkish life lessons, Coopers becomes cloying, phony and smug. It flushes a talented cast down the toilet and becomes arguably the worst movie of 2015 – and probably 2014 and 2013, for that matter.

Footnote: some character singalongs show up during the end credits. These make me want to shoot myself in the head – kind of like the rest of the movie.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Love the Coopers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a mostly positive transfer.

Overall sharpness seemed good. A bit of softness occasionally manifested itself, but not with much regularity, so the end result mostly appeared well-defined. No shimmering or jaggies appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also remained absent.

One expects a bright palette from a movie set at Christmas, but that didn’t come for Coopers. Instead, it brought us an intensely teal orientation. Matters warm up a little as they go, but the results seem odd for this kind of movie. Still, the Blu-ray renders them appropriately. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed decent; low-light shots could be a bit thick, but they were usually fine. All this added up to a “B” presentation.

I didn’t anticipate sonic fireworks from a family comedy-drama like Coopers, and the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 gave me what I figured it would. The audio focused on the front channels and stayed with general ambience. If any exciting material emerged, I didn’t notice it, as the mix gave us mild environmental information and nothing else.

At least audio quality was fine. Speech became the most important factor, and the lines were concise and easily intelligible. Music seemed warm and rich, while effects appeared accurate and tight. This became a perfectly acceptable soundtrack.

In terms of extras, we find three featurettes. We get Making The Coopers (12:12), Rags the Dog (1:16) and Fun on Set (0:54). Across these, we hear from director Jessie Nelson, writer Steven Rogers, producer Janice Williams, editor Nancy Richardson, food stylist Melissa McSorley, and actors Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Maxwell Simkins, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Amanda Seyfried, Anthony Mackie, Alex Borstein, Timothee Chalomet, Molly Gordon, Jake Lacy, June Squibb, and Blake Baumgartner. The programs tell us about story/characters, cast and performances, Nelson’s approach to the material, the movie’s canine star, and working with kids. Very little content appears in these fluffy promo pieces.

Next we see a Music Video for “The Light of Christmas Day” from Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. It plays the song over a montage of clips from the movie. It also features a lot of film dialogue, which creates an annoying distraction. Why not focus on the music in this music video?

The disc opens with ads for Miss You Already, The Choice, Don Verdean, The Big Wedding, Last Vegas and The DUFF. No trailer for Coopers appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Coopers. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Is Love the Coopers the worst Christmas family drama I’ve ever seen? Maybe not, but it’s on a short list of the crummiest holiday offerings ever made. The Blu-ray offers reasonably good picture and audio but lacks bonus materials. Nothing about this disaster succeeds.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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