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Hammerle on: “Instructions Not Included,” “Inequality for All”

Robert Hammerle
October 9, 2013
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bob hammerle movie reviews“Instructions Not Included”

For those of you who are reluctant to see foreign language films with English subtitles, I can only encourage you to go see the fantastic Mexican film “Instructions Not Included.” It will remind you that personal flaws are a necessary by-product of the human condition.

Here, director Eugenio Derbez also plays Valentin, an unemployed Acapulco playboy dedicated to nothing other than getting laid. A fun-loving guy with few goals in life, he is the spitting Mexican image of Warren Beatty’s reputation 40 years ago.

However, his life turns upside down when Julie, a former lover played with a smarmy warmness by Jessica Lindsey, leaves a small child (Maggie) in his apartment. After telling Valentin that he is the father, she gets in a taxi and leaves in tears.hammerlerating1 Failing to hunt her down, Valentin takes Maggie on an illegal trip to Los Angeles in the attempt to find Julie. Dancing on the edge of desperation, he is able to find unexpected work as a Hollywood stuntman following a sensational scene that involves him saving his tiny daughter from drowning by leaping from a very high hotel balcony.

The film quickly spans Maggie’s first seven years, and father and daughter grow extremely close. She follows him to movie sites, acting as his translator as he literally puts his life in danger, and they find immense reward in each other.

There are numerous genuinely funny scenes in this movie, not the least of which is daddy’s beautiful next door neighbor who he frequently visits to assist with her “indoor plumbing.” He also turns his condo into a large child’s playroom, and you grow nearly as close to him as his daughter.

But just when you think that “Instructions Not Included” is an enjoyable family comedy, tragedy strikes. While I can’t go into it without ruining the film, you draw the conclusion that Valentin is told that he is dying because of an untreatable illness. In the process, Julie and her gay partner appear from New York to play a role in her abandoned daughter’s life.

Everyone in the legal profession realizes what happens next as Julie resorts to the courts in New York to gain custody of her daughter. Given that she is now a lawyer with a major New York firm, Valentin risks losing his beloved child rather than tell the truth about his medical condition.
While you dance on the edge of hating Ms. Lindsey, you really can’t fault her rebirth. On the other hand, as she tangles with Valentin in court, you are left with a smug distaste for preening divorce lawyers given the image portrayed by her elderly counsel.

What happens in the end brings a stunning twist to the entire film. While Valentin is reminded of his foolish father who tried to expose him to absurd moments of potential harm in the attempts to get him to overcome fear, he learns from his enchanting daughter that no life comes with instructions included.

“Inequality for All”

Robert Reich’s documentary “Inequality for All” provides a scathing analysis of what is wrong in our country today. Four hundred individuals i

n the U.S. have a combined income that exceeds half of our population. While the rich are taxed at the incredibly low rate of 35 percent, the average wage of the middle class has decreased since the 1970s.

How and why did we let this happen? When compared with other countries, the United States is 64th in income inequality. We are ranked behind Uruguay, and Mr. Reich poses the obvious question, “How much of this can we tolerate?”

In studying history, the top inequality rates in our country occurred in 1928 and 2007. With the colossally disappointing decision by our Supreme Court in Citizens United, the wealthy in this country have found a way to highjack the political system through their many well-paid lobbyists. Using the phony mantras that government involvement in our economy is bad while the rich are job creators, they exploit and manipulate grass-roots movements like the Tea Party.

hammerlerating2

Fundamentally, government sets rules for the free market system that allows capitalism to succeed. However, the fact is that 42 percent of kids in poverty won’t get out, while Mitt Romney’s annual tax rate was 13 percent. It is a betrayal of our national heritage to cut access to food stamps and health care.

While this same group of well-heeled oligarchs commandeer state legislatures and pass “right to work” legislation, unions gradually recede into the background. The anti-union crusade began when President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, and we’ve reached a national stage where no one really cares about the workers of this country.

Remember, the tax rates on the wealthy neared 90 percent under Republican President Eisenhower. No one suffered, and the economy boomed. Today, middle class families inevitably have both parents working longer hours, not to mention increasing their debt obligations. This all burst with the 2008 recession, and we haven’t learned a thing if you listen to Republican Congressmen in Washington.

Consumer spending represents 70 percent of the economy. The rich don’t spend, they save their money. Congressional Republicans would have us believe that halting taxes on the wealthy who make medical equipment while both cutting food stamps and denying millions of Americans access to the Affordable Care Act will benefit our country. That is a monstrous lie.

If you want to see the absurdity of their position, why are they opposed to the Affordable Care Act while simultaneously having their own health insurance premiums paid by taxpayers? Guys like Senator Cruz and Speaker Boehner want their medical care while denying same to the middle class, and that’s what stands out repeatedly in Mr. Reich’s remarkable documentary.

Having served as secretary of labor under President Clinton, Mr. Reich wants us to emulate one country, namely ourselves after World War II. Let’s stop using slogans like “class warfare” and start embracing positive social change.

The middle class is struggling, and it is time Congress comes out from their self-imposed cocoon.•

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Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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