Armageddon Time

Director: James Gray
Year Released: 2022
Rating: 1.5

Sixth grader Paul Graff (Banks Repeta) lives with his parents Esther (Anne Hathaway) and Irving (Jeremy Strong) and older brother Ted (Ryan Sell) in Queens - and looks up to his grandfather Aaron (Anthony Hopkins) - but is so obnoxious he can't stop getting into trouble: he mocks his teacher, skips out on a school trip to the Guggenheim, smokes weed in the bathroom with African-American classmate Johnny (Jaylin Webb) and then gets sent to Forest Manor Prep where he continues to cause problems.  Gray based this on his own life growing up in the 1980's, but the constant pleas for sympathy get tiresome and every move is telegraphed: Grandpa's days are clearly numbered and Johnny is the perfect scapegoat when an attempt to steal and pawn a computer goes wrong (it would have been nice to know what was going on in his family that he had to hide in Paul's clubhouse).  The inclusion of both Fred Trump (John Diehl) and his daughter Maryanne (Jessica Chastain) - to go along with mentions of the Rise of Reagan - could have also used a little exploration: is Gray suggesting that it's only "okay" to be Jewish among the Anglo-Saxons as long as you don't talk about it?