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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. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  2. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  3. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

  4. Dear Fan, let me help you correct the title to your post. "ACLU is [Left] most of the time" will render it accurate. Just google it if you doubt that I am, err, "right" about this: "By the mid-1930s, Roger Nash Baldwin had carved out a well-established reputation as America’s foremost civil libertarian. He was, at the same time, one of the nation’s leading figures in left-of-center circles. Founder and long time director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Baldwin was a firm Popular Fronter who believed that forces on the left side of the political spectrum should unite to ward off the threat posed by right-wing aggressors and to advance progressive causes. Baldwin’s expansive civil liberties perspective, coupled with his determined belief in the need for sweeping socioeconomic change, sometimes resulted in contradictory and controversial pronouncements. That made him something of a lightning rod for those who painted the ACLU with a red brush." http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/biographies/roger-baldwin-2/ "[George Soros underwrites the ACLU' which It supports open borders, has rushed to the defense of suspected terrorists and their abettors, and appointed former New Left terrorist Bernardine Dohrn to its Advisory Board." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1237 "The creation of non-profit law firms ushered in an era of progressive public interest firms modeled after already established like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") and the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") to advance progressive causes from the environmental protection to consumer advocacy." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_lawyering

  5. Mr. Foltz: Your comment that the ACLU is "one of the most wicked and evil organizations in existence today" clearly shows you have no real understanding of what the ACLU does for Americans. The fact that the state is paying out so much in legal fees to the ACLU is clear evidence the ACLU is doing something right, defending all of us from laws that are unconstitutional. The ACLU is the single largest advocacy group for the US Constitution. Every single citizen of the United States owes some level of debt to the ACLU for defending our rights.

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