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Found 16 results

  1. I rewatched "Groundhog Day" a few months ago, and enjoyed it again - I can easily see how this would go on someone's "personal favorite movies" list. There have been some attempts made to address your question: Jan 31, 2018 - "How Many Times Does Bill Murray Reilve Groundhogs Day?" by Dave Wheeler on bigfrog104.com There's another article on whatculture.com It seems to be 10 years at a minimum, with some people guessing more like 30 years - I think it's probably somewhere in between those durations (Murray wasn't a great pianist, but he was good enough to fake it in a nightclub, and that alone would take 5-10 years of multi-hour-per-day practice).
  2. "Sabrina" is often considered one of "My Two Favorite Audrey Hepburn Films" by devout Hepburn lovers (of which I am one - the other film being "Roman Holiday," debuting one-year earlier) - 1953-1954 could be considered a mini Golden Age of Audrey Hepburn. Sabrina (Hepburn) is the young daughter of a chauffeur (played by the eminently recognizable John Williams), who works for a mega-wealthy family living on the North Snore of Long Island (think: "The Great Gatsby"). The two sons in the family are played by Humphrey Bogart (the same year as his Oscar nomination for "The Caine Mutiny") and a very blonde William Holden (one year after his Oscar victory for "Stalag 17") - Hollywood must have spared no expense in getting these three leading actors. Early on, there's an amusing scene about a Parisian cooking school. Without issuing any spoilers for people who are going to watch this classic Romantic Comedy, all I'll say is that "Sabrina," in some small way, can be thought of as a sequel to "Casablanca."
  3. I didn't realize they just began serving breakfast at Tiffany's when I decided two days ago to watch this film for the first time. The timely, food-related connection eluded me. I watched the film because it was free with Amazon Prime AND as a self-professed Audrey Hepburn fanatic, I felt guilty that I hadn't seen it. As I began watching the film, parts seemed familiar (oddly enough, the scenes involving Holly Golightly's unnamed cat), so I think when I was younger it may have been shown on television and I half-watched some of it. This time, I gave "Breakfast at Tiffany's" my undivided attention, and I found it charming and fun. Hepburn is outstanding as party-girl Holly Golightly, and George Peppard is delightful as the struggling writer/gigolo. The movie is silly, stylish and sentimental. There is real chemistry between the stars, and a sweet love story unfolds amid the frenzy and fashion of life in the fast lane in the early '60s.
  4. Since I was a young girl, "Roman Holiday" has been one of my favorite films. It won three Academy Awards: best actress, costume design and screenwriting. I watched it again, and I still love it. It isn't the most complicated story. There aren't any special effects. But the chemistry between Peck and Hepburn is compelling, and the shots of Rome are delightful. The thing that makes this film a classic--the standard by which romantic comedies are judged, and often found lacking--is Audrey Hepburn.
  5. Wow, I'm almost certain I've seen the ending of "Silver Linings Playbook" before, but I'm also certain that I've never seen the entire film. Despite its spicy language, this is a somewhat classic, old-fashioned, rom-com - chock full of star power, and Jennifer Lawrence's vehicle for her first Best Actress Oscar. It's important to me that I see films "like this," but not for the reasons you may think: Although I'd heard the name "Jennifer Lawrence" a zillion times before, I didn't have the faintest idea who she was (I wouldn't have even been sure if she was a singer or an actress), and watching movies like this are the only way I can keep up with popular culture. The casting of this film was very star-heavy and strong, and there really wasn't a weakness in the entire ensemble that I can think of. That said, despite its "mental illness" twist, "Silver Linings Playbook" is a formulaic rom-com, and absent the language and some of the subject matter, could have been made with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell (although you'd need to substitute "rapid-fire dialogue" for "subtle facial expressions"). I found the film charming, if perhaps twenty minutes too long, and everyone gets to walk out of the theater happy and carefree. Given that this is an almost stereotypical rom-com, what more could you ask for? (Other than, of course, eight Academy Award nominations including the Big Five.) Peter Travers said this film was "crazy good"; I contend that while it's well-made, slick entertainment, it's "crazy for-the-masses."
  6. A few years ago, I began a project where I was going through all the 1967 Academy Award nominees, because I feel 1967 was a watershed year in film. I had stopped the project, and the reason is "Barefoot in the Park," an adaption of Neil Simon's 1963 Broadway Play. I've now seen thirteen films that were nominated for various Academy Awards in 1967, and the only one I've seen that's *worse* than this is Dr. Dolittle, which is probably the single worst film ever nominated for Best Picture. At least "Barefoot" only had Mildred Natwick as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress (she didn't win, and she didn't deserve to win - I like Mildred Natwick, but she had nothing to work with here). I suppose I should say that I have a strong dislike for Jane Fonda (as well as her despicably self-centered, immature character in this) and Neil Simon (who is the single most overrated playwright in history that I can think of). It isn't hard to guess how this movie might have been marketed: "A joyously flamboyant romp through a spirited, nascent marriage," but it was none of the above (except for nascent) - it just plain sucked. The movie is dated, trite, not funny, not charming, stupid, contrived, and only saved (actually, *not* saved) by some decent acting (which is its one, sole virtue) - namely Natwick, Redford, and Boyer. If for any reason you decide to do a 1967 retrospective, do yourself a favor, and save "Barefoot in the Park" and "Dr. Dolittle" for *last* in the off chance that you should get run over by a train before you finish. "Thoroughly Modern Millie" is much better than this, and that's saying something because that film was pretty awful as well.
  7. I actually just watched Forrest Gump again because leleboo said she hated it - I can see why she hated it, but in a very Hollywood way, there's certainly a charm to it, although it is maximally contrived. One thing's for sure: It made a lot of money.
  8. None of these are extreme spoilers, and I don't think reading this will ruin the film for you, but just to be safe, I'll mark the entire post: *** SPOILER ALERT *** Guess who "Sex and the Single Girl" stars? , Yeah, well, I betcha didn't guess this! Or maybe you did. And why not give musical credit to where it's due? Oh my goodness! The opening music (when the credits end and the film starts) sounds like it's straight from the 1970s' TV series, "The Odd Couple." Well, this film had it beat by a good eight years. And I mean, it sounds *so* much like "The Odd Couple" that, if you watch the film, you'll chime in and agree with me. Ha! I just looked up Neal Hefti, who wrote the music for both, and I didn't know this until I after I heard the similarity - nailed it! Hefti absolutely plagiarized from himself (as many composers do). Hmm, that opening business meeting implies what needs to be done with donrockwell.com. Well - maybe my heirs can take us to those depths; I'm content to live poorly and with respect - now, if I can figure out a way to modify my estate so I can prevent this from happening - I want my descendants to suffer as much as I have. Ah yes, Managing Editor of STOP magazine, Bob Weston (Tony Curtis) is going straight for the jugular of Dr. Helen Brown (Natalie Wood). Dr. Helen Brown is livid at being mocked by Bob Weston as being a 23-year-old ... (what will it be? strumpet? trollop? harlot? The S-Bomb?) This is the moment she cuts off the man reading the article in front of her peers: What is the dreaded epithet? A 23-year-old ... Virgin! Hey, this movie is 55-years-old, man! Not bad! Natalie Wood is pissed at being called the dreaded V-word! God, if I had only known, thirty years ago, that *this* might have worked, I could have saved thousands of dollars in dinner checks, movie tickets, bar tabs, etc. You know, Tony Curtis was an extremely handsome man, right? I wonder where he's going with this angle. "I'll bet this kid has been giving flying lessons," he says about Dr. Brown, "and she's never been off the ground." And, as a parallel story, Frank and Sylvia Broderick (Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall) are enduring a strained (to say the least), ten-year marriage, even though at their lavish anniversary party, you get to see them dance to Count Basie and his orchestra (I thoroughly object to the name "Basie" not even being found in the Wikipedia article about the movie), even though they're fully credited in the film. Ugh, I'm not even halfway through this movie and it's getting really stupid (I'm referring to the scene at the pier, where everybody falls into the drink) - it's turning into a "screwball comedy" which is the last thing I want to see. Hopefully, they just decided to have a few campy moments, and it will reset itself, but after these past five minutes, I don't know what to think, but I am not in the mood for this type of corny slapstick - I don't mind cornball comedy, but I'm in the mood for some character interaction, which is mostly what we've had up until this point. So far, I'm left asking myself why they got Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall to waste their talents on this film, but maybe they'll do something worthwhile in the second half. Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood are about as expected, which means "moderately acceptable, but nothing profound" (although Wood has never looked more beautiful). Well, this movie is 3/4 over, and we appear to be done with that brief, unfortunate foray into slapstick, and are back to character interaction (and lots of mistaken identity - we're at the "three Mrs. Brodericks" part) - I know exactly how this movie will end, and I, well, let me watch the last half hour before saying any more. I hope they paid Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall well for playing in this film. Ah! Lauren Bacall's "Yeah, he's about to pass away" line, which she just now said, was priceless! This film was a nice look at Tony Curtis (aka Bernie Schwartz) and Natalie Wood in their primes, with lots of dialogue and mid-range close-ups (not face shots, but waist-up shots, so you got a really good feel for them). Likewise Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Count Basie, Mel Ferrer, and a few others such as Fran Jeffries, all beautifully filmed in Technicolor. It's of the "Divorce American Style" genre of comedy, and if you like one, you'll probably like the other. Definitely a product of its time (perhaps five years ahead), it remains a dated time-capsule of the sexual revolution, and could be considered "charming" or "cloying" depending on your viewpoint or mood - it was a little bit of both for me. I'm glad I saw it, but I can recommend it only to people trying familiarize themselves with the actors or the period; not to people seeking a great movie to watch, or to have a rollicking good time. There are certainly moments of wit and cuteness, but this comes across as a movie trying to capitalize on a "movement" by getting out in front of everyone else (which, ironically, is one of the major themes of the film). "Sex and the Single Girl" is worth a watch if you're trying to learn about specific things, but in almost every category, no matter what your category is, you can find a better movie to watch. That said, if you want to see Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis at their max-hottest, this is the movie for you. *** SPOILER ALERT FOR REAL *** Also, the "anti-car-chase" scene near the end is just terrific, and genuinely funny - it's the highlight of the movie. Incidentally, the final year the U.S. minted silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars was 1964, so all of these were silver when this was filmed. It was fun seeing the toll-booth operator get a 1940 quarter (worth about $3.50 in today's money). Interestingly, inflation alone would have made twenty-five cents in 1964 worth nearly $2.00 in 2017 dollars, regardless of its silver content or numismatic value. The cars all left a quarter without even slowing down, and it's *very* funny that the fourth car left a Silver Certificate $1 bill while taking back three quarters in the man's hand as change - all without slowing down one iota (they must have been going 70+ mph). Farcical, of course, but still very funny. and nobody in 1964 could have possibly understood why this was so funny, because it happened in a blink-of-an-eye, and to understand it, you have to stop, rewind, re-watch, stop, rewind, re-watch, etc. And Bob Weston's (Tony Curtis') 1935 Bentley 3½ Litre Oxborrow & Fuller Continental Open Tourer (license plate: PSU 698, which I don't think is coincidental) was one *sweet* piece of scrap metal (Trivia: Rolls Royce acquired Bentley in 1931): And while the traffic officer on the motorcycle is passed by all these flying cars, he decides instead to pull over an uncredited Burt Mustin who's smugly driving about 20 mph, and says, "Where's the fire?" This has *really* gotten silly at the end, and this scene has gone over the top - if it was a farce before, this anti-chase scene makes it The Comedy of Errors, and the movie is better for it, because it's really well-done. I really can't believe I'm saying this, but the last twenty minutes has turned "Sex and the Single Girl" from a mildly amusing period comedy into a hilarious farce - you'll have to gut out the first 1'30", but the last part of the movie is worth it, or at least it was to me. This turnaround was incredible, but I have to issue a disclaimer and say that my taste in humor runs towards the puerile (slapstick, dirty jokes, etc.) But to me, this film went from a "decent little comedy" into twenty minutes of something special, containing parts akin to "the crowded cabin scene" in "A Night at the Opera" which may be the single funniest moment I've ever seen in a movie. You've got to make time to watch the anti-chase scene at least twice, and unfortunately, unless you watch the first 1'30", it just won't be as good.
  9. "Harold and Maude" is not at all what I expected it to be. The film's opening sequence is shocking--dark, twisted and surprisingly funny--and it sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Young Harold, brilliantly portrayed by Bud Cort, is an 18-year-old man obsessed with death, desperate for the affection of his self-absorbed mother. Vivian Pickles is wonderful as Harold's detached mom, and the scenes involving the two of them are laugh-out-loud funny. Harold's mother repeatedly tries to set him up on dates, with hilarious, disastrous results. While attending a stranger's funeral, Harold strikes up an unlikely friendship (and later, an even more unlikely romance) with Maude (portrayed by Ruth Gordon), a quirky, 79-year-old woman, who teaches Harold how to live life fully. The scenes portraying their blossoming relationship are well done, believable and touching. A good amount of madcap humor is thrown in, as well. "Harold and Maude" was written and produced by Colin Higgins and features the music of Cat Stevens. It was critically and commercially unsuccessful when it was released, but later developed a cult following, and in 1983 began making a profit. "Harold and Maude" is ranked number 45 on the American Film Institute's List of the 100 Funniest Movies of All Time. I think this film was ahead of it's time when it was made. "Harold and Maude" is extremely amusing, but the funniest scenes are also the darkest. Perhaps film-goers and critics of the early '70s were not prepared to see campy humor arise from bleak sources, like attempted suicide. The humor is "Harold and Maude" is dark, rich and delightful. This film made me laugh, and it made me cry. It made me think, and it touched me deeply.
  10. The opening of "Divorce American Style" is *very* witty - I had no idea what that man was doing conducting on the hilltop; then, it dawned on me: This is one of the most amusing first-four minutes of a movie I've seen in quite awhile (not surprisingly, it was produced by Norman Lear), and even if you don't watch the entire movie, it's worth just watching the first four minutes (assuming you can find a free copy - I paid $3.99 on Amazon Prime (has anyone else noticed that these movie services all performed a simultaneous bait-and-switch, offering "free" movies with a membership fee, then deciding to charge the membership fee *and* $2.99-3.99 per movie?)) Anyway, if someone knows of a better option, I'd be interested in knowing - I've been watching quite a few movies on my Walking Dead Diet, and they're becoming sneaky-expensive. In resuming my quest to watch all the Academy Award nominees from 1967, this is - I believe - the thirteenth nominee I've seen from that year. It stars Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds as Richard and Barbara Harmon (just remember "There's no harm in saying that barb was rich!"), a stereotypical couple who - after seventeen years of marriage - seems to have it all, but of course they don't. (I'm assuming this is the case - as with all my other recent write-ups, I'm writing this one as I go, and only reading the plot synopses up until the point that I've watched.) Speaking of Debbie Reynolds, I woke up last Friday morning only to find this on my cell phone - a top-o'-the-morning birthday present. It's kind of hard not to have a good birthday when it starts out like this: And as of this writing, I'm happy to say that Dick Van Dyke (brother of Jerry Van Dyke), Debbie Reynolds (mother of Carrie Fisher, wife of Eddie Fisher (who left Debbie to marry her "best friend," Elizabeth Taylor (something tells me Debbie did that very same dance on Eddie's grave (although Debbie later took an incredibly gracious first step in reconciling her friendship with Taylor)))), and Norman Lear (producer of "All in the Family") are all very much still with us, 49 years after Divorce American Style was released. The title is a riff on and homage to the 1961 Italian film, "Divorce Italian Style" starring Marcello Mastroianni which I thought might have been a parody of mafia killings, but isn't (wouldn't it be funny if it was?) I remember on one episode of "All in the Family," Archie Bunker is doing a crossword puzzle out loud, and says to himself, "A four-letter Italian word meaning 'Goodbye.'" After thinking about it for a second, he says, "Bang. B-A-N-G." A second, very funny scene happened when Richard and Barbara were having a shouting match just before a dinner party - the doorbell rang, and they opened the door, full of smiles - the acting was executed to a tee, and who was one of the dinner guests? "Old Leadbottom" himself: Captain Binghamton! One second: The next second: When I was a child (and I was a latchkey child, so I watched a *lot* of TV), my two favorite shows were, in order, 1) "The Dick Van Dyke Show" 2) "I Love Lucy" (I know that I Love Lucy has become more popular, but I always liked The Dick Van Dyke Show more, for whatever reason). Anyway, it's almost disturbing seeing Dick Van Dyke fighting with his wife, because he was *such* a nice man in his series - no, I take that back: It *is* disturbing to see Dick Van Dyke fighting with his wife. I also just found out, for the first time in my life, that there was no overlap between when these two shows ran: I Love Lucy (1951-1960), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966). Wow, I Love Lucy was *really* ahead of its time: To think that television - and I mean the entire concept of TV sets - just went into mass production only *three years* before that series started ... I Love Lucy is historically important, no doubt about it. Quick! Think of another show from the 1950s that's more popular - I suspect you can't, and I can't either. People make fun of "Leave It To Beaver" as being Artificial America, but the ones who do forget that I Love Lucy came long before that. How did I get so far off-topic? Ha! Ha! Ha! When the argument was going through the vents, and the camera cut to the children, I was prepared for some little kid to be sobbing listening to mommy and daddy screaming at each other; instead, we get the highly amused teenager with a scorecard! Yes, it really *is* Champagne, Mumm (from Reims): If Fern looks familiar (you'll meet her about 35 minutes into the picture), it's because you used to watch "I Dream of Jeannie" (and what guy between the ages of 50 and 70 didn't?) - she's none other than Amanda Bellows (Emmaline Henry). It's pretty funny: The primary antagonist in I Dream of Jeannie was Dr. "Bellows," and the divorce attorney in Divorce American Style is Mr. "Grieff." The scene at the bank was a wonderful comedic moment - a miniature story in itself: Both the music and the freeze-frame, accusatory pointing were perfect. And *oh my goodness*! That teenager who was so entertained by writing down that argument scorecard? It's Otter from "Animal House!" Tim Matheson! He was twenty years old, and looks like he's about fifteen. This was his first-ever film ... and who knew that he was also the voice of Jonny Quest?! Remember that cartoon with Hadji and Bandit the dog? This is a seriously star-studded film: Lee Grant (Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in "Shampoo") plays Dede, a prostitute; and although they haven't made appearances yet, Jason Robards (eight Tony Award nominations - more than any other male actor) plays Nelson Downs, and Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham on "Happy Days") plays Farley. There are other, more esoteric performers that I recognize, but most people probably wouldn't; still - there's a surprising amount of famous people in this movie: Does anyone remember "When Things Were Rotten?" You'll laugh at the "uranium mine" line. A new divorce litigation partnership: Scrotusky, Cockburn, Uberdung, and Muffton (SCUM). Their motto: "Why do we charge twenty grand for a divorce? Because you'll pay it." Double cheeseburger, french fries, and a Coke: 67 cents! And product placements for both Coca-Cola and McDonald's: And then the people driving up after him also mention Coke, and the guy says to the girl, "... and you want your hamburger rare, right?" Really? Did McDonald's cook to-order in the 1967? Boy, I'm now about twenty minutes from the end, and this movie has lost a *lot* of its luster - ever since the part (at the bowling alley) where Jason Robards entered the picture, it has turned from being genuinely funny, to mostly just plain dumb - it started out with such enormous promise, but it's like the writer ran out of gags halfway through the movie, and in order to make it 1:40 in length, had to think of *something* to fill in the time - the plot has gotten really stupid, slow, and drawn out, and I haven't even cracked a smile in the last thirty minutes. Essentially, as soon as Richard and Barbara split up and started dating other people, the film has no longer been funny. And unfortunately, that lack of comedic value extended all the way until the end of the movie. The first half: funny! The second half: not funny.
  11. Ah, the glorious 60s, where "The Brady Bunch" meets "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," all with a stupid title to boot. ''With Six You Get Eggroll" is certainly in the rom-com mold, but also contains enough screwball laughs where it's actually quite entertaining if you don't set your sights too high - it's a slice of life from a time of supposed innocence, mixed in with the beginning of our country's rebellious period. It's funny, when I grew up watching Brian Keith (who has the co-lead as Jake) playing "Uncle Beeel" on "Family "Affliction," I never thought of him as a handsome man because the show was so abysmally bad, and his role was that of a struggling widower; now that I'm older, I can see how Abby (Doris Day) could find him attractive. Alice Ghostley (Esmerelda on "Bewtiched") was a very good choice for Abby's extroverted (but not annoyingly over-the-top) maid, Molly - she plays her character with just the right amount of verve without becoming bothersome. It sounds odd, but some of the shots in this film are actually quite pleasing, for example this supermarket scene, with Abby and Jake marching down separate, parallel aisles with their carts, the viewer being fully aware of an impending bump-in: Shortly after this scene, the two go for coffee at the red-and-white striped "Ye Olde Drive Inn." How can you not love that name? And Holy Hell! I thought I recognized who the drive-inn attendant was, and I was right! Herbie, the drive-in order-taker was George Carlin in his first-ever movie! I didn't pick it up at first, but his facial expressions and voice gave him away. I *love* stumbling across things such as this! Brian Keith even had the best laugh-line of the scene! George Carlin is a mere baby of 31-years-old here: And how can you not at least smile at goofy shots like this, with Abby at her wit's end? So I've established Brian Keith as "handsome," George Carlin as "babyfaced," but what is Doris Day? Pretty? Maybe, but she's prettier than that - she has a special quality to her that makes her - not beautiful, not sexy, not cute, definitely in the "pretty" range of the spectrum, but she carries herself so well that she has something extra. Pretty plus, maybe? One thing I found a little shocking is a scene which approaches - and may cross into - frontal nudity when two boys are in the bathtub - they aren't quite pubescent, but they're probably pushing 12, and though innocent, it comes off as fairly risqué for 1968 (it happens shortly after the above picture, when the boys spill some sort of yellow dye in the tub). Jamie Farr (pre-M*A*S*H*) has a silly, intentionally overacted role as a good-natured druggy-hippy flower child who's in a similarly good-natured motorcycle gang (don't forget, 1968 is the same year as the much-more menacing "Born Losers," so motorcycle dramas were just coming into vogue), right at the same time as the Widowed Sit-Com (The Brady Bunch debuted in 1969) - this film foreshadows both. Here's a rather remarkable picture of Farr alongside William Christopher (Father Mulcahy in M*A*S*H*), both standing in front of Ye Olde Drive Inn - "MASH" the movie didn't come out until 1970, but M*A*S*H* the series didn't begin until 1972, so this still-shot is especially interesting: And, of course, this scene results in Doris Day crashing into a chicken truck, with everyone being hauled down to the precinct before the Sergeant (it's still raining chicken feathers at the station), with Farr peaceably addressing the Sergeant as "Your Royal Fuzz," and the Sergeant, by sheer coincidence, happening to be Allan Melvin: Abby's oldest son, Flip (John Findlater) sure looks a lot like Don Grady (Robbie, the oldest boy on "My Three Sons."), and Jake's daughter was played by Barbara Hershey in her cinematic debut. If you enjoyed The Brady Bunch - throw in a few million Hollywood dollars to expand production quality, and add a hint (just a hint - just the vaguest of G-rated hints) of Elizabeth Taylor in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966), and you'll have "With Six You Get Eggroll" - a screwball comedy, with full comedic resolution in the final five minutes, that I'm embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed, but I did. This is exactly what I was in the mood for, and when you hear people today talking about "the way things used to be," what they really mean is "the way Hollywood made things *look* like they used to be," and this film is almost exactly what they're referring to - it's a fantasy every bit as unrealistic as the "fond memories" people have of America "back in the good old days" - it's also good, clean escapism, with nary a black person in sight to threaten the viewer. You do know there's going to be a second chicken-truck accident within five minutes, right? With chicken feathers flying everywhere? I wonder how tightly chicken's feathers are attached to their bodies, because if there's a crash, it's as if every feather on every chicken was being held on by a loose piece of tape. The poor driver of the chicken truck (which was remarkably undamaged from the first accident) was Vic Tayback whom you may recognize from "Alice": With Six You Get Eggroll is Doris Day's final film before beginning "The Doris Day Show" on television.
  12. I'll admit it, Joe: "Roadhouse" (1989) is a guilty pleasure of mine. This was right around Patrick Swayze's prime, and as much derision as "Ghost gets from serious moviegoers, it was released just a year after "Roadhouse," and with a beautiful Demi Moore (I had forgotten how pretty she was), a surprisingly important role by Whoopi Goldberg, and Tony Goldwyn's perfect rendition of a slime-maggot, this annoyingly cloying rom-com had four strong parts. Even the murderer, Willie Lopez (Rick Aviles) was very well-played - this was a solid ensemble: I can see people being wildly irritated by the film, but does anyone have problems with its cast? Yes, I saw "Ghost" last night. I had just seen "Django Unchained" for some "mindless escapism" from a stressful week, and it was about as relaxing as visiting the U.S. Holocaust Museum - I needed escapism from my escapism. I didn't honestly think I'd watch more than ten minutes of the film, but I just kept watching, and before I knew it, I was well into it - I'd seen it once before in full, in the theater when it came out, so it had been over twenty-five years. With "Dirty Dancing" in 1987, "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993), "Pretty Woman" (1990), "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), "Groundhog Day" (1993), and numerous others, "Ghost" was dead-center in the tenderloin years of the saccharine rom-com (please forgive me for using that term, which is nearly as cloying as the movies are). The late 1980's and early 1990's had some major investment in these films, and they were immensely popular - for no good reason, I will add; meh, they're mindless entertainment, and sometimes you just need that, you know? There's very little point in rehashing the plot, or commenting on much of anything. I had completely forgotten what a major role Whoopi Goldberg played (and didn't realize she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress). The demons are legitimately scary if you aren't ready for them - I had forgotten how disturbing they were. And I thought the acting was really good, pretty much all the way around - Patrick Swayze's look of sympathy when Carl died was incredibly convincing, for example, and he sustained it, completely setting aside what a first-class *jerk* the guy was, and knowing full well that he had an eternity of suffering ahead of him. You know what? Laugh at me if you will, but I think this movie is sweet. I don't love it, but I like it. That probably ratchets me down a few notches as a "film critic," but I'm not a film critic, so that's okay. Now, as to it's insane popularity, well, I guess I can see how it can appeal to the masses - in fact, sure I can. But for anyone to think this is more than "sweet," "well-acted," and "touching" would be a little bit much for me - those adjectives are about as much as I can muster, and if someone were to dismiss it entirely - in much the same way that theater critics dismissed "Cats," I could perfectly well understand. I might even say, "Ditto." I feel no need to watch this again anytime soon, but I have no regrets seeing it a second time. Thumbs up. Three stars. A solid "B"." A perfect date movie with a feel-good ending. It was my "mindless escapism," and it served its purpose - mock me if you wish, I will understand. And I think the "Get Off My Train!" scene with Vincent Schiavelli was excellent. *** SPOILER *** Why do I feel like I just wrote a positive review of Graffiato?
  13. I always had a crush on Clara Bow (until I saw her first "talkie"), the "It" Girl, who starred in a film pretty much named after her: "It", a silent film from 1927 (note that Bow also starred in the very 1st Academy Award Winner for Best Picture: "Wings" (also from 1927) - which I've seen twice now, and highly recommend despite its length) - the action scenes in the air are really quite something, and not just for students of film. One funny thing I noticed this evening was in a clip from "It": and I wonder if it's possible that this is the first time anyone ever cursed on the big screen. I'm not sure, but I think maybe. In the very good article, "Scandals of Hollywood: Clara Bow, "˜It' Girl" by Anne Helen Peterson on thehairpin.com, there's a clip about 25% of the way down the page entitled "Clara Bow Dresses For Dinner." At exactly 3:15 in the clip, she gets poked in the shoulder with a pair of scissors, and then, after bouncing up and down a couple times, turns to her right, and seems to say, "Shit!" to the girl who poked her. It's subtle, and you have to watch it a few times in slow motion, but if true (and I think it is), it makes cinematic history for the first time a curse word was captured on screen. At the very least, it makes for a good urban legend. Not to mention that Clara could then be (amiably) called the "Shit Girl." (Readers: I don't care if you reproduce this little mini-scandal - just please link to this post and give me credit for finding it. And if you want to know how I did ... it's probably exactly what I would have said, so that's why I noticed! Cheers, Don Rockwell). Update: I also found the use of profanity in "Wings" (also from 1927). So, whichever one was released first takes home the prize!
  14. The Fisher King was a tough, tough movie for me to "get into" - after the first 30 minutes or so, I was nearly certain I was going to dislike it strongly. Then, other things started happening, and I didn't know what to think. Then, from the time when everyone was at the Chinese restaurant up until the time when Parry got Clockwork-Oranged, I thought that interval of the movie was so good I couldn't believe it. Then, the ending became forced and gratuitous. This film is a patchwork of weird, bad, good, great, odd, hackneyed, overacted, funny, bizarre, pathetic (i.e., pathos), terrifying (e.g. The Red Knight), and I've never seen anything even remotely like it in my entire life. Feeling melancholy about Robin Williams, I wanted to watch something of his that I was unfamiliar with, and I'm *so* glad I did. He was wonderful in this role, and really carried the movie if you think about it closely - many people say that Jeff Bridges and Mercedes Ruehl were equally good, but it's just not true - without Robin Williams, this movie wouldn't have worked. More than just about any other movie in this forum, I'm interested in hearing other peoples' opinions, be they positive, negative, or somewhere in-between. Even one-paragraph comments about certain scenes would be most welcome by these eyes - after all, isn't that what these forums are about, discussion? Netflix asked me to rate it out of four stars (so their algorithms can help me select future films), and assumed I'd give it 2.5, when in fact I gave it 3. So what does everyone else think about The Fisher King? And what drugged-up, twisted mind thought of such a bizarre movie, anyway? One of the beauties about this forum is that there's no need to do plot synopses which I feel are both a waste of time, and, simultaneously, great big spoilers. Many movies discussed here are older, and even those that aren't, I vote NO on plot summaries (though people are certainly welcome to write them if they issue spoiler warnings) - they're a remnant from an old-fashioned method of movie criticism that is needless in this medium.
  15. I'm currently puzzling over this trailer: From what I can tell, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler go on a blind date where she chugs french onion soup because the buffalo shrimp sauce she tried was too spicy. The date, quite clearly, is disaster. They agree not to pursue things. A few days later Adam Sandler shows up at Drew's house to return the credit card she left at the restaurant. Then in a completely unrelated turn of events, it turns out their bosses know each other (but this was NOT how they met in the first place). Both bosses, for unrelated reason, are also not going on a trip to Africa. So both Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore manage to get the tickets to this Africa trip for their respective families. Side note: it seems unlikely both bosses would have exactly the same sized families as Drew and Adam's respective families. They both end up on this Africa trip where a lot of bizarre jokes are made. Adam Sandler calls his son Frodo. Does this sound right?
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