Duvall, Downey Jr. make love-hate relationship easy to judge

This week I got to the RPX Theater early enough to shoot a worthy photo with the lights on before the previews started.

This week I got to the Regal RPX Theater early enough to shoot a worthy photo with the lights on before the previews started.

Some father-son relationships can never be mended.

As the elder and the younger bicker and fight and squander every moment life affords them to look at themselves and each other through a different prism and, well, get over it, everybody around them tires of it all, throws up their arms, and wishes they’d just go away.

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

Never once as Hank Palmer and his father lock up in “The Judge” does that happen, not in the plot written and directed to wring every ounce of drama out of the movie’s 141 minutes, and not in the theater as the not nearly big enough crowd watched the wonderful acting jobs by Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall.

The younger Palmer is an attorney who fled his small Indiana hometown to practice one state and a whole world over in Chicago. The elder Palmer has been the town’s judge for so long that everybody, including his three sons, call him The Judge.

Son and father hate each other, but need each other, as it turns out, but can they every accept that and each other?

To read my review of “The Judge” for the informative and attractive Syracuse New Times web site, click the link below.


Have you ever had a strong feud with a family member, and how long did it last? Can you remember what the skirmish started over? If you made up, how did the reconciliation come about, was it a relief, and did it last?

40 thoughts on “Duvall, Downey Jr. make love-hate relationship easy to judge

  1. I’m so looking forward to seeing this movie, as the Robert’s are 2 of my very favs, particularly the younger one πŸ™‚ I have, in my many years on this Earth, had a few family feuds – several over the decades with my dad (who is a major hard ass), and a few with my mother-in-law (who has a master’s in manipulation LOL). The worst was over a decade ago – my sister & I got into it & didn’t speak for about 10 months. THAT one was tough, because we are really close. Often I have been the 1st to make nice-nice, but sometimes I’m not . . . just depends I guess on who felt they were wronged the most . . .
    Off to read your “official” review πŸ™‚


  2. I really want to see, “The Judge!” Thanks for the review, Mark! Not many feuds with my home family but have given up friends who are sometimes more than I could take or way off my political range of acceptability. Smiles!


  3. I saw this movie on Friday. Downey and Duvall were wonderful – as was D’Onofrio. Out of 4 stars, I would give this one 3. It was much too long in my opinion. Better editing (IMO) would have made the movie tighter, less tedious at times. I think a good 20 minutes could have been shaved from the film. My other pet peeve: I really don’t need to watch the bodily excretions of others – urination, diarrhea, spitting and projectile vomiting (several times). Don’t need to see it, don’t want to see it. Gosh, how did Spencer Tracey, Laurence Olivier, George C. Scott ever manage to make great films without grossing out their audience? Blech…

    Having said that, I absolutely love Robert Downey, Jr. He always delivers a great performance.


  4. Last year I had a long-winded feud with my mother-in-law (You may remember reading my article Monster-in-law?) We hated each other 6 months. She is as stubborn as old boots, so in the end, I made peace with her. We get along fine now, but boy was it awkward to begin with. :-/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Is this out already? I just saw the preview a couple of weekends ago and it looked really good (except for the urinal scene…I guess I don’t get why they have to insert ridiculous comedy into a dramatic situation). πŸ™‚

    Yes, I bet you were hoping I really didn’t answer about the family feud… πŸ˜‰ My birth mom hasn’t spoken to me since my birthday last year, my birth dad hasn’t spoken to me since 2004, one of my sisters hasn’t spoken to me since 2007, and two of my brothers haven’t spoken to me since 2010. And I don’t care. They are toxic and I’m much happier without the feeling of dread I got whenever I heard from any of them. Though honestly, it did take me until early this year to research toxic relationships and forgive myself for not trying harder to be whatever they wanted, as well as to understand just how contagious their negativity is and was affecting me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. sounds intense. Grisham on steroids? My family feud is with my brother, which makes me sad. No one event–just can’t connect with him and his beliefs. Very black and white/conservative. Funny, but he makes me–who would be considered somewhat conservative in many circles–look like a party girl. Hate being judged, so tend to keep my distance.

    So thank you Therapist Mark and go ahead and send the bill after I submit my insurance πŸ˜‰


    • Good call on one of our favorite novelists, court-room wise, Liz. Have your ever tried Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani’s series, by the way? Another good line.

      And on the other front, we all have a little dys waiting to function in our families, Liz. Me, too. You, a party girl? You bake too much, even if it does involve the word bourbonalicious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • so your comment begs for further introspection. It’s all relative, but I’m definitely the wild one in my immediate family. With a mom who worked as an English teacher/librarian (!), a dad who was a social worker, and a brother who is an actuarial analyst, I am the one who tends not to follow the rules so much. But again, relative. I still follow rules. The ones that make sense anyway, haha.

        I will look up Martini’s books. Always appreciate suggestions.

        Another library comment: “library rat” is a great phrase πŸ™‚ Larry and I like to visit libraries when on vacation. Recently spent some time at the library in Bardstown, Kentucky! The craziest one was in San Fran’s Chinatown. That was a kick–very small and dark and of course we couldn’t read a thing. But a fun way to experience local flavor.


      • Wild Child/Conformist is always on a compartive scale. It’s like every family has its own slide rule, Liz. I had to use that as my tool of analogy, with your bro being actuary and all. My sister-in-law who lives in Arkansas was studying very hard, in the final stages, to become an actuary, a few years ago when she came to Syracuse to visit my dear wife Karen and I. She knew she needed a break from school and her hubby and three kids (all older than 16 but still) so Karen’s baby sis up and came here by herself for a long weekend. I was so proud of her for many reasons. She’s still the only one of my wife’s four siblings I’ve met! The other three live in California, Washington state and Alaska. So Lynne swore she was the wild one. And Karen, who is next to youngest, said no, she was the wild one. I loved it. In my family, I the oldest of three, say I’m the wild one, and my baby sister contends she’s the wild one. But I think we’re all pretty tame on the big slide rule. Like you and Larry.

        I love your scheme of visiting libraries around the country. With our society like it is, they are among the final sancutaries for people of all cultural and financial stations to mix and mingle. As long as those who perceive themselves as the uppers keep an open mind, that is. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    • I liked Vera’s old flame, Kay. She turns a lot of these roles on its ear by giving it the unexpected. In ‘Up in the Air,’ she out Cooney-ed George’s character for cavalier treatment of the other partner in unattached fly-by relationships. I thought the chemistry in this one was appropriate because Hank Palmer perhaps wasn’t totally over his philandering wife. Anyway, thanks for always interesting take.


  7. This movie is on my B list. Two top actors playing the characters they usually play. It looks kind of hammy although I could be sadly mistaken.

    I do everything I can to avoid conflict. That’s been to my determent. I’ve been walked on because I loath fighting. I just roll over. I’m a work in progress.


    • I thought they played the hell out of these roles, Mark. The Judge himself was way more likeable at the core than the military man in Great Santini, for instance …

      But that is just my take.

      I’m not much for this type of conflict, either, but it has found me at one time or another. We are all a work in progress, my friend, don’t let anybody kid you otherwise.


  8. It’s hard to believe Duvall is actually 83 and that he was in To Kill A Mockingbird 52 years ago. How Downey looks like that after ALL THAT HE HAS DONE TO HIS BODY is nothing short of a miracle.


    • Hollywood money got him his body and soul back I do believe, Kerbey. That is Downey Jr. I’m talking about, of coure. Duvall is a wonder at 83, yes, hard to believe ‘Mockingbird’ is only a few years younger than me. πŸ™‚


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