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This is either the perfect time, or the perfectly wrong time, for you to watch this wonderfully innovative, groundbreaking, "death-by-a-thousand-cuts" movie, lambasting the media's involvement in our political elections - I'd seen it twice, most recently about a year ago, and decided I wanted to watch it again this evening. Robert Redford does a wonderful job in this film, and so does Don Porter, masterfully portraying the hilariously named Crocker Jarmon, the opposing candidate (who sounds just like Walter Cronkite - the kind of voice that can put the public at ease while he's spewing complete B.S. - I think the name "Crocker" is also a quibble on both "Cronkite" and "crock.") - both men make this seem like a hyper-realistic Senatorial race, and Peter Boyle with his media-strategy team don't lag far behind. This film is excellently written, and Jeremy Larner deservedly won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. If you're up for it, "The Candidate" is a good, lighthearted exploratory criticism of our media-driven election system - I didn't enjoy it this evening as much as I previously remembered, but it's a solid film, and worth watching. The film is now 44-years old, and is only slightly dated (dated mostly because it features two *men* running for the Senate in California); its themes carry forward very nicely to this day-and-age, and the scene with Redford unable to contain his laughter is a classic comedic moment. There's also a medium-small cameo (not subtle) by Natalie Wood.
There are currently two versions of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" available on Amazon - the original 1939 version, and the 2014 release from the Library of Congress Motion Picture Conservation Center, with damaged parts repaired. The former is $3.99 to rent; the latter is $2.99 - I decided to save a buck and leave the original version for film historians (which I would love to be, but there are only so many things you can do in a single life). The big names in this film are Jimmy Stewart (newly appointed Mississippi Senator, Jefferson Smith), Jean Arthur (Clarissa Saunders), and Claude Rains (the other Mississippi Senator, Joe Paine). I have never seen this movie before, and am about to start watching it now. If you look at the bottom of the second page of opening credits, there's someone named Baby Dumpling (it turns out he's one of Governor "Happy" Hopper's *eight* children). When Governor Hopper flipped the coin after consulting with his children, I pretty much knew what was going to happen, but it was still a fun moment to watch. There's a goof when Hopper tries to convince the Good Old Boys Club about the virtues of Jeff Smith (a boy scout leader) - he says, "He can recite Washington and Lincoln by heart" (something his children told him), but then a moment later, Senator Payne says "recites Lincoln and Jefferson ...." - it's unimportant, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the script, because no mention was previously made of Jefferson. When Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) first appears at the "star-spangled banquet" in front of the Mississippi citizens, while listening to his speech, I thought of two people: Brooks Robinson (see Roy Firestone's video - *now* I understand what he meant when he said "a young Jimmy Stewart"), and to a lesser degree, a certain unnamed politician from today's era who seems to be extremely anti-corruption, although the cynicism of today's politician is understandably already in place. It was very interesting to see Union Station circa 1939, equally interesting to see Smith's initial tour of Washington, DC's monuments. It was also touching to see an elderly gentleman of color remove his hat at the Lincoln Memorial; I wish they had chosen someone with darker skin, however - I guess sometimes, you have to take what you can get. At least the porters at Union Station were dark-skinned, sigh. I wonder if the first restaurant/bar scene is in the Old Ebbitt Grill (or, could it have been Mr. Smith's?) Is there a painting of a horse race in Old Ebbitt Grill? Mr. Smith's "revenge scene" against the press was hilarious* - it was perfect! As was the line, "The dopes are going to inherit the Earth." Hoo, boy, the restaurant scene with Clarissa Saunders and Diz Moore got to be drawn out, tedious, and boring - this scene was the very first part of the movie I really didn't like. However, I suppose it was necessary as a build-up for the following scene in Smith's office. It's cute in some of the scenes with Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur, the score begins playing "I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair" - the Lincoln Memorial scene after The Betrayal is one example. The ending of this movie is incredible, and it's more timely now than it was in 1939. Is it corny? Parts of it are, but so what - every single person in this country of voting age (and even a couple of years younger than voting age) should see this film. I loved it. And I *love* that there are several, perhaps a couple dozen, movies of this caliber that I've never before seen - I have a lot to look forward to. The actors and actresses were just about perfectly selected, and Jimmy Stewart fully deserved his Best Actor Academy Award nomination - he was wonderful.
If you haven't see this film, go now. There has never been a better food-themed movie in history. I've see all of them -- Eat, Drink, Man, Woman; Clemenza's spaghetti sauce in Godfather II; Ratatouille; Chocolat; Tampopo; and earlier this year, Jon Favreau's Chef. Go see this movie. Trust me.
From the thread on Amadeus a reference to actress Meg Tilly reminded me of the Big Chill, first the film and additionally the soundtrack. Both are favorites of mine. They ring so close to experience and heart. I lived some of that film w/ my friends; attended college during the same time period referenced in the film, engaged in some of the acts that those characters referenced, had reunions of that ilk with old college friends, even had reunions of that ilk around funerals as was the case in the film. The movie won awards when it came out. It was also an early film for an amazing array of actors that gained significant fame in theater and film over long careers, Meg Tilly being one of them. In fact there have been cries for an adjusted Director's Cut that would have included Kevin Costner in the scenes he filmed. (all of his scenes were cut from the original film and a new version has never been released). The Soundtrack is an astonishing uplifting variety of songs from the 1960's from a host of artists, with a heavy emphasis on Motown. From one who grew up on that music it is a very upbeat emotionally powerful reflection of the best of that decade. I know my reactions to the film and the soundtrack are biased through my experiences. So my question for the rest of you; Is it a period piece or does it transcend the time and place of the film and serve to move you? And for those of you from that time period, how do you feel about the film and/or the soundtrack? Damn. I listen to that soundtrack all the time.