April 29: High Society
Oh what a dreadful waste of time this picture was, I didn’t enjoy a second of it. Well, I did like this one scene where a full bar magically appeared from behind a bookshelf in the library. I need one immediately so that I can sip mint juleps on the porch I don’t yet have. Maybe there’s a two-for-one construction deal? Anyway, this is a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story that should never have been made. Grace Kelly had absolutely no charm nor personality in her role as the lead, Tracy. She played a divorced socialite who was about to marry a very boring man. Her calm life changed when her ex-husband came back and an irritating duo of reporters arrive to cover the wedding. It’s a big deal because they’re rich. It goes on and on. There’s singing, but it’s not any good. Even my love of musical couldn’t overcome this crap. The story is mindless. I couldn’t wait for the credits to role. [My Rating: 1/10]
April 30: Pat & Mike
I am only moderately athletic, and that’s really quite an exaggeration. I have absolutely no interest in sporting and only enjoy activities that are solitary. I like to run and bicycle and do yoga, I could walk to the moon without breaking a sweat, and I perversely enjoy laboring in the gardens. But I don’t give a hoot about points and technique and teamwork, so sports such as baseball, basketball, and the like are out for me. I don’t even enjoy watching them, I don’t care who wins what or what team is playing. Because of this, I find it bizarre that I enjoyed this film since half was nothing more than Katharine Hepburn playing golf and tennis. For some reason, watching her was absolutely fascinating. She was a thing of grace and beauty as she swung her racket. The story is about Pat, who is wonderfully played by Katherine Hepburn. She seems to be a meek feminist. Her husband begs her to wear skirts and act demure. Finally, she can’t stand it anymore and goes off to become a professional athlete. Her manager is Mike, played by Spencer Tracey. I never understood what Katherine saw in his craggy face, but whatever, there really must be somebody for everybody because their chemistry was, as always, fabulous. Pat turns out to be an even greater athlete than they had ever anticipated and she becomes very famous and will be very wealthy. Unfortunately, Pat has an Achilles Heel, her husband. Whenever he’s around, she crumbles into an untalented, gangly fool on the court. Eventually, she teaches all the men around her that women are just as capable in every single way and falls in love with Mike. Unexpectedly, I enjoyed this picture tremendously. [My Rating: 8/10]
MOVIE of the MONTH: The Road to El Dorado I know! You weren’t expecting it either! I loved this movie. Go get it and watch it a thousand times. Such fun!
May 1: Casablanca
I had always assumed that this was one of those overrated classics you always hear about like To Catch a Thief. I was wonderfully wrong. Casablanca is a fantastic picture! It isn’t as dreamily romantic as I had been led to believe, but the story and the acting were fantastic. It’s about an American expatriate named Rick who goes from place to place and winds up running a very popular nightclub/casino in Casablanca. Casablanca is part of an escape route from the rapidly spreading Nazi empire. From there, an escapee would fly over a narrow strip of the Mediterranean and into Portugal, and from there, they’d sail for North America. Because of this, and because it is French territory, there is quite a diverse group of people that make up the population. One day, Victor and his wife Ilsa arrive in Casablanca. This is terribly dramatic for Rick because we soon discover that he and Ilsa met in Paris and were madly, passionately in love, but Ilsa abandons him without ever explaining why. Oh, the heartbreak I felt. There’s nothing worse than losing your lover. The only thing worse is losing your pet. Both are pretty sucky. So when Rick and Ilsa come face to face, all their old emotions come flooding back to them. Rick is angry and Ilsa seems just kind of depressed over her past. The Nazis are chasing after Victor and have forbidden him from leaving Casablanca. Dramatically, the only person that can safely get Ilsa and Victor away is Rick because he has some very important papers. I’m not going to write much because I really think you should see this movie. The only thing wrong with the entire picture is that they killed Peter Lorre right in the beginning!
I was going to put this picture as the header because Peter Lorre totally made me love Casablanca, (how could they kill him so quickly?) but, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, so Bogart and Bergman are up top. Still can’t get over him getting killed off. It’s a horrible thing to do! I adore his creepy voice and slicked back hair. Other than that, no complaints from me. [My Rating: 9/10]
May 2: The Wasp Woman
Trainwreck alert! Many people find this to be classic camp, and by definition, it is, but it’s so poorly done that I couldn’t really get into it. The main character, Janice is the face and finder of a cosmetic company. Unfortunately, she is no longer the beauty that she was and sales have gone down because she’s aging and her company’s advertisements are no longer so stunning. Janice is understandably distraught that she is becoming older and less attractive, do she searches for a solution to all of her woes. She finds it in a kooky scientist who creates a serum from the royal jelly of wasps. First of all, I never knew that wasps could produce honey, but I did some research, and they can, but it isn’t very tasty. The serum is a success in its trials, cats become kittens and rabbits become babies. Janice is ready to turn back time. (Mandatory Cher interlude.) She takes the injections and each day she becomes more and more beautiful, but sadly, all good things must pass. It is never explained, and is biologically impossible, but it’s a movie, so whatever, anyway, Janice becomes a giant killer wasp. Then she dies. Bizarre. [My Review: 2/10 just because the wasp outfit was beyond stupid.]
May 3: Whirlpool
Whirlpool was a decent movie, but so melodramatic that it seemed a bit unpalatable to me, and had it not been a Jean Arthur film, I would have deleted it from my DVR. It’s about a man named Buck who kills somebody at a circus and is sent to prison. He leaves behind his pregnant wife. For reasons I didn’t really understand, I assume he wanted a fresh start in life or something, he forges a letter from the prison saying that he’s dead. Sad. So, twenty years later his daughter, Sandra, is a very hardworking reporter and is assigned to deal with a story on Buck. She quickly realizes that it is her father and they have a very happy reunion. They are so happy and it goes on and on and they are so happy. But, tongues start wagging. Of course, people don’t know that Sandra is his daughter so they assume he is seeing two women at once. What’s worse is that Buck’s identity is about to be revealed and Sandra’s mother will have to stand trial for bigamy! Plot twist I did not see coming. To deal with this revelation, Buck shoots himself. End of the trial, but I fear that Sandra will forever be miserable and racked with guilt over the second loss of her father, whom she adored. [My Rating: 6/10]
May 4: I Bury the Living
Oh God, it wouldn’t end–the longest hour of my life. I really can’t stand crap movies. I’ll give you the plot and then be done with it. Robert is the new director of a lovely old cemetery. Inside the office is a giant map showing where all the bodies are. When somebody dies, a black pin is put on their plot. Well, Robert accidentally puts a black pin on the plot of a living person and they die. He starts freaking out. To discover if he’s truly master of death, he experiments again and again and again and again and goes crazy. All the people die. It’s so stupid, but the ending really amps the stupidity level. CRAP. Avoid this film at all costs. [My Rating: 0/10]
May 5: A Star is Born
A while back I heard a rumor that my beloved Beyoncé is planning on starring in a remake of A Star is Born. Now honey, let me tell you: B and I are like this. Not yet, but we will be. We’re gonna be rocking some sunglasses like from the Diva video, in Deréon jeans (they’d better do menswear), pushing Baby Blue down 5th Avenue buying everything. We’ll hang and chill and send Jay off to get us some more champagne. Then, when we get bored of our opulent lives, she’ll decide to write another album and beg me to do backup because I’m that good. We have the same range, of course, and sometimes I have to fill in for her when her voice gets hoarse on tour. We’ll sing Halo in pyramids, just for the hell of it. God, life is good with B. Anyway, I decided to see the source material for what will inevitably become my favorite film, and it’s good. The story is about a girl named Esther who lives out in the middle of nowhere with her pushover father, negative aunt, brother, and kindly grandmother. She dreams of a better life–of being a star! She says, “Someday you won’t laugh at me! I’m going out and have a real life! I’m gonna BE SOMEBODY!” Hold up, wait a minute, ain’t that my catchphrase? Esther and I have so much in common that it’s sickening. Her Grandmother secretly gives her some money to catch a train to Hollywood and she’s gone. Hollywood isn’t the wonderland that we all dream of, of course, it’s hard work and slimy and sad. (It won’t be for me when I get there, but you knew that.) She can’t get any extra work and she can’t seem to get any kind of job in the acting business aside from a waitress on occasion. So she goes to work and there’s Norman Maine! He’s the biggest star in town. He really falls for her and gets her a screen test. She sucks. But she perseveres and practices her ass off in my favorite scene of the picture. She goes back to the studio and they cast her as the female lead in Victor’s new picture. She is rechristened Vicki Lester and becomes an overnight sensation. Victor proposes to Vicki and they are happily wed. But, as seems to often happen in pictures of this genre (The Artist, Singin’ in the Rain) as one of their stars rises, the other falls. Victor becomes box office poison and sinks into an alcoholic stupor. Vicki tries to save him and gives up her career to be with him. Victor, in what I believe to be a sympathetic stroke of genius, drowns himself in the ocean, allowing Vicki to be the star she has always wanted to be. It’s really rather sad. [My Rating: 8/10]
FILM of the WEEK: Casablanca See it today. It’s a classic for a reason.