Watching “The Big Chill” (1983), my two reoccurring thoughts were: 1. “My god they must have paid a fourtune for music!” And 2. “Was “Thirtysomething” (1987) based on the “Big Chill”?”
(I was far too young for the yuppie TV show to hold my interest while I was babysitting and stealing fancy potato-chips from the pantry.)
I was right about both- they did pay a fortune for music and they turned a delightful film into four seasons of “Thirtysomething”.
Now, we wait for the remake.
Meg Tilly = Any (flexible) actress born between 1989 - 1991
It’s a little surprising that Phoebe Cates lost the role as Chloe, the sex crazed teen girlfriend (of the dead friend) to Ms. Meg Tilly. But, Phoebe moved on to work on such super-channel classics as “Gremlins” (1984) and “Shag” (1989) then she married Kevin Klein. (Whom she met at The Big Chill audition.)
Eighteen years later, Phoebe and Kevin worked together in the ”Anniversary Party” (2001), where Klein plays an actor who is no longer a ‘leading man” and Phoebe has retired from acting to be a mother. ”Anniversary Party” was also Phoebe’s last role. Interesting, no? ”Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life” -Oscar Wilde
Roger Ebert said it best:
“”The Big Chill” is a splendid technical exercise. It has all the right moves. It knows all the right words. Its characters have all the right clothes, expressions, fears, lusts and ambitions. But there’s no payoff and it doesn’t lead anywhere.
I thought at first that was a weakness of the movie. There also is the possibility that it’s the movie’s message.”
Sunday morning: Now, Voyager (1942).
Hey internet, please tell me there’s a Paul Henreid Tumblr out there! He’s the best. I have no problem buying that every line he delivers as Jerry (or Laszlo, in Casablanca) he came up with himself. Natural! Did you know - his real name was Paul Georg Julius Henreid Ritter von Wassel-Waldingau. Austrians are the coolest.
As much as I love this movie, if I were Jerry and a beautiful woman I just met handed me a photo of herself, trying to prove that she used to be an ugly spinster, and then started crying and said that she just got out of a sanatorium… I’d be weirded out and probably wouldn’t fall in love with her. Whatever, wartime melodramas for female audiences were pretty satisfying.
Even if you whittle down Charlotte’s transformation to a brow wax and new wardrobe, it still seems less self-involved than Eat, Pray, Love.
An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmaster of ever afterwards. -F.Scott Fitzgerald
Jay Gatsby 1926, 1949, 1974, 2012
Daisy Buchanan 1926, 1949, 1974, 2012
Please don’t put Ben Affleck in your 3D version….
If you roll up “Sex and the City” with “Couples Retreat” (2009) and injected it with slap-stick zingers you have “Casual Sex” (1988). I must be a clairvoyant, because in looking up writer Judy Toll, I discovered that she was a consultant on “SATC” in 2000.
I’ve always said that you can judge a film by the pre-show trailers and the font. But if a film begins with the main characters looking into the camera and “breaking the fourth wall”, there is a 99.9% chance you are about to embark on a piece of crap. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this tactic in VERY small doses ala Groucho Marx, Annie Hall, Bill and Ted, Hedwig, Fight Club, Ferris Bueller and Pierrot le Fou (1965)… but, when it seems to be the only way the writer can tell the story— yawn.
Looking back it seems Hollywood thought Lea Thompson was the best looking gal in America (circa 1985-90). Miss.Lea didn’t think that she was pretty enough to play Amanda Jones in “Some kind of Wonderful”. I have to agree with her. I would have preferred Eric Stolz trying to woo Jennifer Connelly.
“The Carnival of Souls” (1962) is a low budget horror film that leaves out so many details that at first glance it seems like a typical b-horror… until you realize that perhaps it’s intentionally hiding details like a David Lynch film- making it incredibly avant-garde.
The heroine Mary Henry is a little bit like Laura Palmer. Well, if Laura walked out of the water as opposed to washing up on shore. Both Mary and Laura are far from religious and yet, both girls are haunted by visions of a man. They seek therapy from seemingly untrained Doctors. Have they gone mad? Have they lost their souls? What evil is hidden beneath
Twin Peaks the town of simpletons?
The film could easily be re-made starring Gwyneth Paltrow as the cynical organist who leaves town after a horrible car crash. She moves into a small boarding house next-door to an alcoholic suitor and takes a job as the local church organist. All the while she is haunted by ghouls.
We slowly discover that Mary is living between two worlds- a la “I see dead people”. While Mary is out shopping for a new dress, she realizes she is completely invisible. No one can see or hear her. It’s like watching an American shopping in Paris.
With $33’000, two weeks vacation and a little white make-up, Herk Harvey created a classic film that inspired many writers of the genre.
I must say, when I finished the film, I had the sudden urge to watch “They Live” (1988).
In 1981, Peter Bogdanovich wrote and directed a wonderful romantic tragedy starring two actors in their fifties. Now, a great role for an actor over fifty is, “It’s Complicated” (2009). Mr. Bogdanovich didn’t write about aging divorcees, he added a couple of hip detectives, an ex-model cab driver, a country singer, and a cute rollerskating blonde to liven up the mix.
“They All Laughed” (1981) is a slow-paced film with very little dialogue. For the first 35 minutes I’d be surprised if you could figure out the premise. Though, a beautiful story unfolds though a myriad of hand gestures.
It’s hard for me to think of Audrey Hepburn co-exsisting in the 80’s with “Dynasty” and “Hall and Oates”, but it was lovely watching her as an older woman. She seems so much more comfortable with herself. Side note: At times, Audrey really looked like Isabella Rossellini wearing Yoko Ono’s Sunglasses. That alone is worth the watch.
If you squint, “They all laughed” (1981) looks a little like “Bored to Death”.
I guess that makes Jason Schwartzman the modern day John Ritter.
Detective agencies and love stories really do go hand-in-hand. Find me a Detective that isn’t about to fall for his client. Well, “The Thin Man” (1934) is a happily married detective. But technically, Nick Charles is retired, and so there is no chance of him falling for another dame.
“Please Give” (2010) has a such a realness to the story it is near impossible to discuss the premise without boring you to tears. Nicole Holofcener films are always honest and well written… too bad that isn’t what most people want from the movies.
Catherine Keener makes every Catherine Keener film a Catherine Keener film, and I love her for it. Ever since ”Johny Suede” (1991) her characters have been raw and charming… just like a Nicole Holofcener film.
The film is an endearing (and funny) portrayal of a guilt-ridden woman, her relationship with her teenage daughter, cheating husband, and neighbors.
“Please Give” (2010) reminded me:
- Rebecca Hall is absolutely lovely. I wish I could take every Kate Beckinsale film and re-watch them staring Miss.Hall.
- Amanda Peet is hilarious.
- Oliver Platt was in “Working Girl” (1987) and has extremely long chest-hair.
I have officially reached my “Point Break” (1991) quota. I will not force another person to sit through the 120 minutes of hilarity. Maybe.
Despite how poorly written this film is, it’s almost a good movie. We can thank Patrick Swayze and Kathryn Bigelow for that. The story is good, the direction is fine, the acting is so-so, but the writing is near porno! All character motivation (no matter how obvious) is explained within the dialogue. Every thought is spoken, even when the characters are not sure what they’re thinking!
Johnny Utah: ”Shit what am I thinking!?”
Cheesy dialogue is good in small doses. ”True Romance“ (1993) does it well. Someone shouts the ridiculous line “Hey Lee, something I’ve never told you ‘bout me- I hate f**kn’ cops!” and voilà! A wonderful shoot-out. It’s all about balance.
Speaking of dialogue, listen for Utah’s mention of Bhodi (Swayze) eating lunch at “Patricks Roadhouse”.
This film would be boring as hell to someone who didn’t love the Maysle brothers and/or The Rolling Stones. Luckily, I’m a fan of both.
After the film, Albert was asked how he, and his brother manage to capture the honest portrayal of iconic and private people. He simply answered, “love your subjects”. The 83 year old also talked about, “trying a little bit of cocaine” with the Stones and his upcoming projects: a documentary on 6 year old children, a collaboration with Russell Brand and Oliver Stone (insert confusion), and a potential project where Keith Richards sits down with his daughters and recaps his life story.
Speaking of love, the Altamont free concert was not the free-love hippie concert that the Stones may have anticipated.
Watching the expression on Charlie Watts’ face as he listened to a Hell’s Angel justify the stabbing by stating, “You mess with an Angel and you get what you deserve.” could be my favorite scene of the film- but Charlie Watts is the coolest cat.
Miss. Ringwald couldn’t handle “Richies” and the Hells Angels certainly could not handle the Hippies.
The Hells Angels thought they would sit on the stage, puff up their chest and drink a few beers… no one is going to mess with an “Angel”. How wrong they were. The highly publicized murder was blamed on everyone from the Angels, the event co-ordinators to Jagger himself. Though, you clearly see Jagger analyzing the Maysle footage of the events leading up to the stabbing. I’m sure he wondered if he could have prevented it, or if he could be held accountable for the actions of inebriated hippies and bikers.
Mick (and the gang) gave an amazing “Performance” (1970) at both Madison Square Garden, and the Altamont Speedway, but I enjoyed the more candid moments such as watching them listen to their not yet released recording of Wild Horses. A glimpse into the world of five, very proud little boys.
I wonder if “Gimme Shelter” (1970) was where a young camera operator named George Lucas befriended the young sound engineer, Walter Murch. After-all, it was only couple of years later the two worked on “THX 1138” (1971) and eventually became masters in their own fields.
Disclaimer: Normally this would be a renter, but for some reason I had a strong urge to go to this movie as soon as I could. Why? A very smart gal pointed out that “Date Night” (2010) is a modern day “Adventures n Babysitting” (1987). That’s right, somehow Tina Fey opened a childhood memory and I had to pay $12.50 to see it. Just like I needed to see “Adventures in Babysitting” opening night… and a few times after that.
In the ‘modern’ version, they covered all of their demographics: car-chase action, sentimental marriage dysfunction, Mark Wallberg shirtless, and a smidge of improvised dialogue. Speaking of dialogue, I was shocked that no one laughed at the “16 Candles” (1984) Long- Duk-Dong joke. Well, I laughed.
Kristen Wiig (Haley Sullivan) was under utilized. I kept expecting her to be folded back into the plot- maybe those deleted scenes will be on the DVD.
It was funny and I laughed, but when I left the theater I’d completely forgotten why I was laughing and I wished that I had gone to “Greenberg” (2010).