Brad's Status
Year:
2017
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Comedy, Music
IMDB rating:
6.7
Director:
Mike White
Luke Wilson as Jason Hatfield
Luisa Lee as Maya
Adam Capriolo as Chris Kanew
Jon Bernad as Admissions Receptionist
Shazi Raja as Ananya
Karl Graboshas as Admission Officer
Austin Abrams as Troy Sloan
Jemaine Clement as Billy Wearslter
Felicia Shulman as Cherie Parkinson
Michael Sheen as Craig Fisher
Jane Wheeler as Harvard Mother
Jenna Fischer as Melanie Sloan
Ben Stiller as Brad Sloan
Storyline: A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life's choices.

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Reviews
so real. flawless performance
So real. Flawless performance. One of the best movie this year so far. It's not a movie for everyone. I understand why some people could fall asleep while watching it. Its depth could be understood only if one have had several years fighting and climbing in the society and have a family and children to cherish and thankful for. I felt the echos in my soul and could foresee what I would look like in Brad's age. Everyone is relatively poor; the circle can be one percent, or one millionth or one billionth. And vice verse everyone is relatively happier and richer compared to the rest. And the "real pains" come from those meaningless comparisons and competitions that we impose on ourselves. Everyone have a choice of how to live their lives and how to plan and realize their futures. It's just a bunch of unique decisions that we have made and are making for ourselves. When you are jealous about someone's success in career or something, you don't know how much they sacrifice on their life balance or health or something else that you weigh way more over the former. There's no better or worse life. There is always shadow behind sunshine. It's just a matter whether you like it or not, grateful or regretful. And if you like your life and are grateful, you already win the competition if you really want such a comparison.

"Everyone is thinking about themselves. Nobody cares about you. The only person cares about you is me. So you should only care about my opinion."

I love the ending. There's no silver bullet to avoid so called midlife crisis. Can Brad have a sound sleep that night? Not sure. What I am certain is that we have to make every seconds in life count and always gives thanks to God, life and everyone in our life, to live a life which we will never regret.
2017-09-25
Brad's status, depressed.
Mike White the writer and the director gets a little credit and all the blame for this one. The lead character is so shallow and difficult to be around. If that isn't bad enough he is constantly revealing his thoughts and feelings in voice over dialogue. It's a perfect movie for a blind audience. Little is shown, every aspect of an inferiority complex is verbally expressed.

There's a sophisticated score that sounds classical. The music is loud and often distracting. The movie is slow with multiple scenes of the bottom of a curtain moving slowly in a draft. There's a restaurant scene near the end that is way to long and tedious.

If you want to see a movie that evokes the emotion you want to shake or slap the protagonist this is for you. It doesn't take long to realize you are wasting your time watching someone that would benefit from a therapy session.

The movie is annoying to sit through. There is no need to see it in a theater as it will play just as bad on a home platform.
2017-09-25
Wonderful quirky film; almost a monologue with interludes
Brad (Ben Stiller) has lately been fretting about his "status" in the world of middle-agers. As he and his son Troy (Austin Abrams), a gifted musician and composer, are about to embark from Sacramento to a Boston tour of colleges, Bradley is in a funk. This is because he has been pondering the so-called more successful lives of his college pals. Jason (Luke Wilson) is a jet-setting, rich hedge-fund manager while Billy (Jemaine Clement) made a tech fortune and retired, at 40, on Maui. Worst of all, Craig (Michael Sheen) is a best-selling pundit on political issues and teaches at Harvard. What has he, Brad, done? For wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer) and himself, its strictly the mundane bourgeousie. Brad manages a non-profit that finds funds for other non-profits while Mel works for the California government. So, while Troy and his dad go to Harvard and Tufts for interviews, Brad upsets the apple cart by embarrassing Troy in front of friends and administrators. This is doubly so when Brad actually needs Craig's help to gain a 2nd interview with a dean! But, in truth, is Brad's status beyond lame? This wonderful, quirky film is almost a monologue as the viewer gets a running commentary by Brad of each and every situation. Yes, there are interludes of actual conversations and happenings and Abrams, Wilson, Clement, Sheen, Fischer and all of the rest do good work. But, its up to Stiller to carry the film with his wry, self- deprecating analysis of life and he does so beautifully. We bow to you, Ben! Scenery, costumes, illuminating script and deft direction all bring the film satisfying results. Most importantly, the movie truly gets it "right" on what makes a life well-lived. Go, go to Brad, film lovers! Hollywood rarely bestows gems like this anymore.
2017-10-06
A story with no distance travelled and no character growth
Ben Stiller hasn't performed a good character in a long time.

When the most memorable scene in a film is about an attempt to upgrade an airline ticket at the airport its weak.

It's a sketch stretched to the length of a film.

It revolves around a sad sack kind of a character who is essentially drags his feet from place to place since graduation.

In comparison with the truly great films I saw during 2017 Tiff Brads Status is remarkably weak, not bad enough to walk out unless you are hungry, but weak enough to say to others that this is "going through the motions" film making.

No tension, no drama, no characters to empathize with - no nothing.
2017-09-20
My status after watching the movie: Hopeful!
Oh, man. It's been a while since I saw a movie getting complicated feelings and relations so right. Some of the things that are brought up here are extremely true and honest. To tell you the truth, it moved quite a bit. The simplicity of it is almost genius. We follow Brad as he helps his son find a college. He questions what he will leave behind and what his connection with his old friends has truly become over the years. The film takes a very down to earth approach, with us reaching into the mindset of the main character. I enjoy Ben Stiller in comedies, but he is excellent in drama roles like these. It's a sympathetic character with good intentions, but he also has his problems. Mainly his fear of being forgotten because he didn't dare to take risks. Stiller plays it all so authentically real. Mike White's writing is on point. It's a shame that he doesn't direct more often because he has some potential. The cinematography by Xavier Grobet beautifully captures the mood of the early autumn with a wonderful use of colors.

I love it when I see a film with some hopefulness. But what hit me the most was the question of your life choices. Everyone has surely had a moment when you feel like you didn't make it, but other people who are close to you did. The thought of you growing envious of someone who is close to you can be horrifying. How do you deal with that and how honest can we really get with our friends? The fact that this movie presented this subject in such a real way was very heartfelt to me. It's not a perfect film, but I found a great connection with the story. I commend it for not being an Oscar bait, but just a small crisp diamond that I will look forward to revisit again. Highly recommended!
2017-10-28
Well, it's not horrible.
I've read almost every user review for this film. Everyone-- from people who loved it to people who hated it-- posted at least one legitimate thing that I also noticed.

First, yes, Stiller is possibly at his best in terms of acting in this film. To me, he tops even his great performance in "The Royal Tenenbaums." There were so many moments when his character seemed to want to blurt something out, yet he was restrained by forces that even he couldn't quite define. Stiller's facial expressions were so emotive.

It's a REAL film. If there were no cameras rolling as most of its scenes played out I would feel as if I was watching a real slice of life, which is a credit to its acting, directing and screen writing.

But it's difficult to want to follow Stiller's Brad character for an extended amount of time. Although he says many things that are relatable to older people, he also says things that are childish and far too self-absorbed. A marginal amount of self pitying is fine, but when people who are in their late teens and early twenties are telling you to snap out of it, you lose respect.

Although the film has a gritty, real feel, there are moments when the dialogue feels shoehorned and cringe-worthy. When a beautiful young music student lectures Brad about his "white privilege" and how his condition relates to the evils of colonialism it's not just a millennial social justice warrior cliché-- it seems like the screenwriter is flaunting his minor in political science. It's out of place and counter-intuitive because it seems whiney in itself.

The film doesn't stick the landing well. In the end, Brad attempts to comfort himself with the words of the music student-- that he should just feel happy that he is alive. Vomit.

If the director and screenwriter had gone with a less self-pitying and more relatable theme then I'm certain that people would have identified more with Brad. Instead of a quest for riches, they should have focused on something that he says early in the film: he wants *financial security* so he can feel comfortable in his advancing years. I'm sure that even the music student wouldn't call first world white male privilege on that one.
2017-10-03
That little voice in the back of your head
Have you noticed that little voice in the back of your head that keeps chattering all the time? You know, the one that just asked, "What voice?" Only a short time ago, my own voice was telling me about all the people in my life that I had let down and how I had failed to live up to my own expectations. When I was able to quiet that voice, however, I could look and see how the love with which I was surrounded was more meaningful than any perceived failures. In Mike White's ("Enlightened" TV series) comedy/drama Brad's Status, 47-year-old Brad Sloan, played to perfection by Ben Stiller ("While We're Young"), is in the midst of a mid-life crisis, constantly listening to his inner monologue telling him he is a failure because he has fallen short of the material success of his old friends from college.

Brad is not a classic whiner or complainer but a decent and thoughtful person who is more than willing to look at his life and see what has not worked, though his telling us that "the world hated me, and the feeling was mutual" comes close to self pity. Novelist Yann Martel said, "Gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud," but the cloud does not pass over Brad. Even his wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer, "The Mysteries of Laura" TV series) becomes frustrated with his neurotic insecurity when he questions her about his possible inheritance when her parents die. On the surface Brad has everything going for him - a comfortable life in Sacramento with a loving wife, a brilliant and talented musician in his son Troy (Austin Abrams, "Paper Towns"), and a satisfying job managing a non-profit company which provides services to others.

To Brad, however, the thought that his accomplishments in life do not measure up to his exaggerated picture of his college friends success haunts him as he and Troy take off to New England to visit elite colleges in the Northeast where his son has a good chance of being accepted. Cluttering Brad's thoughts and dreams are friends like Billy Wearsiter (Jemaine Clement, "The Lego Batman Movie") who retired at age forty after selling his hi-tech company and moved to Hawaii where he is living a life of leisure with women around day and night. He also thinks about film director Nick Pascale (Mike White, "The D Train") whose luxury home received a spread in Architecture Digest magazine.

There is also hedge fund manager Jason Hatifeld (Luke Wilson, "The Girl who Invented Kissing") who married into wealth and who Brad believes owns a private jet, and of course Craig Wilson (Michael Sheen, "Passengers"), a Harvard lecturer, best-selling author and TV personality for whom Brad saves his most venomous feelings. Although Brad's emotional distress is the centerpiece of the film, the film also scores in its depiction of the tense but touching father/son relationship, handled with naturalness and sensitivity. In contrast to Brad's hyper self-critical persona, Troy is easy going and unusually self confident for a teenager, though, like many teens, he expresses his feelings in monosyllables.

When Brad becomes upset with Troy when he forgets the day of his admissions interview at Harvard, the boy seems to take it all in stride. Of course, he is very grateful when dad pulls strings with his "friend" Craig who secures an appointment for Troy with both a prominent music professor at the school, and the Dean of Admissions. With Brad continuing to beat himself up for real or perceived failures, however, Troy asks his dad if he is having a nervous breakdown which seems like a reasonable assumption given Brad's mental contortions which even extend to imagining being jealous of Troy's future fame.

Brad's Status is an honest film that captures White's incisive deadpan humor and his ability to create characters who talk and act like real human beings, not cardboard caricatures. One of the high points of the film is Brad's meeting with Troy's musician friend Ananya (Shazi Raja) during a sleepless night. Without pulling punches, she confronts him about his attitude of white male privilege, asking him directly, "Do you actually know anybody who is poor?" It is a question that never receives an answer. With her admonitions ringing in his ears, he is moved to tears during Ananya's concert performance of Dvorak's "Humoresque." Brad's epiphany at the concert may reflect the dawning realization that being alive itself is cause for celebration and that who you are as a person is more important than what you have or what you do. Ultimately, White will leave it up to Brad to discover that, in the phrase of author Charles Eisenstein, "Abundance is all around us…The sky starts where the ground ends; we need only look with different eyes to realize we are already there."
2017-10-04
Mind's Status
Brad is the type of guy who doesn't belong in any kind of social circle really. For some he is too low for their class, for others he is too high. While his problems are laughable compared to problems that are solved by the funds he raises, that doesn't make his problem mom existent. People generally tries to classify this type of films as futile attempts by privileged people. But human mind is always in a fight with itself to achieve more in life and whatever the world around is going about ultimately it's your mind that decides if you have failed yourself or not. Even though the film deals with familiar themes the script is powerful enough to keep you uncomfortable throughout the film. Ben Stiller again proves his best characters are dramatic roles with a light touch of comedy.
2017-11-07
a whimsical interior monologue about mid-life inadequacy
If your cup is always full don't waste your time with this film. For the rest of us, it is a guilt-inducing reminder that our cup may be fuller than we think. Although it is light on big laughs and it does not have a big narrative, Brad's Status (2017) delivers a film-length interior monologue that probes our obsession with aspirational lifestyles.

Brad Stone (Ben Shiller) is not ageing well. When he starts comparing his half century of life with a few of his classmates he feels like a failure. Despite owning a small non-profit agency that helps people, having an attractive and loving wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer), and a remarkably well- adjusted teenage son Troy (Austin Abrams), Brad has a gnawing sense of inadequacy. He sees his old high school friends living fantasy lives, like retiring to a tropical island, wallowing in celebrity, and flying around in private jets. Troy's visit to the east coast to pick a college is a chance for father-son bonding but all it does is remind Brad that he is a loser. He cannot score an airline seat upgrade to impress his son, he can't seem to even win the respect of hotel check-in staff; in fact, nobody really notices Brad. But through Troy's mature young eyes, Brad is a great dad.

This is not a film for everyone. The action and tension curves are close to flat, while Brad's introspective narration is a mid-life crisis tale that sounds like middle-class aspiration syndrome. It's possible to see Brad as an avatar for the ills of modern society. The dialogue is self-indulgently immersed in the politics of envy and the quest to self-legitimise through material possessions and public success. He is a victim of conservative individualism where self-interest has a higher moral value than public interest. His self-doubt will resonate for many and Ben Shiller is cast perfectly for the role. He plays Brad with a kind of Woody Allen-style angst-tinged whimsy which may tire some while amuse many. His son is his emotional foil, and young Austin Abrams plays the part with deadpan wisdom beyond his years and amusement that his weird father should struggle so much over so little.

The message of this film lies buried under its comic treatment of a bland story. The blessings in Brad's life are obvious to us but not to him, as are the several reasons to doubt the people he admires. Brad's Status is a warm-hearted tonic for anyone afflicted with anxiety over what life has not provided. When taken in the right dose, it is both uplifting and entertaining.
2017-11-22
Welcome to fall, but
Brad's Status definitely makes an effort to say something meaningful. I always like that in storytelling. At times during Brad's Status I began to think about my own choices in life (at 60+), missed opportunities, and the long and winding road from college to … It was a LOL moment when Ben Stiller was described in a bar conversation about being in his 50s and he assertively comes back with "Actually, I'm 47." I wanted to like this movie but it didn't have the courage of its convictions. Real life for almost everyone is chock full of meaningful situations and dilemmas. Why oh why did the screenwriters of this fable resort to the extremes of top 1% wealth and for God's sake Harvard University. There are thousands of high quality colleges and universities across the country that could have been the object of this young man's and his father's fantasy. Why Harvard? Maybe because that name is a shortcut for wealth, privilege, and ultimate validation in the eyes of others. The poverty of that assertion is a separate question, but in this movie there's also the existential question of pegging one's self worth compared to the perceived success of others (in this case, friends from college after thirty years). That's fine, but why not make the class difference more real world? Like maybe between a 50-something with zero in 401(k) retirement savings and someone else in his suburban neighborhood with $100,000 in the bank? Why portray the difference between upper middle class and three old friends in the top 1%? That extremism ruined the movie for me and oh yeah, the ending that meant nothing. All of this Major Motion Picture resources for nothing? Ben Stiller racks his heart and soul and comes up with nothing? Thankfully there are no car crashes, CGI, or gun violence in Brad's Status. Unfortunately, the screenwriter doesn't have anything to say in this technically well made movie.
2017-09-22
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