May 13: The Muppets
This was not a bad movie, but I had such great expectations for it that it was a disappointment to me. I always overstate my love of the Muppets. I don’t actually adore them as much as my mind seems to remember. What I actually adore is Miss Piggy. Me and that bitch are soul mates. I don’t really give half a crap about the rest of the characters. Kermit is an exhausting irritation. He’s such a pushover. I just want to smack some sense into him, but, of course, he’s a puppet, and that would do no good. The plot revolves around two real people, Gary and Mary, played by Jason Segel and Amy Adams. Both of them were irritating to me. Too cutsey. It’s never explained how, but Gary has a brother, Walter, who is a muppet. It’s a film for children and nostalgic adults, but I wanted to know a bit about the biological processes. Maybe it’s just me? Walter is obsessed with the Muppets and when Gary and Mary go to Los Angeles for a romantic trip, he tags along so that he can go see the Muppet Studios. It’s nearly in ruins and then Walter overhears an evil oil-tycoon’s plot to take it over, tear it down and, to quote that quack Sarah Palin, “Drill, baby, drill!” So, the three of them just wander over to Kermit’s gorgeous mansion and discuss this development. Kermit is just like, “Whatever, I’m going to mope about it.” But, finally, they manage to convince Kermit to get the gang back together and save the theater. I’m all for the restoration of historic edifices, so I went along with this. So, off they go collecting members. The only funny bit was when they went to get Gonzo, who is in charge of a huge factory. He’s obviously rich and could probably finance the purchase of the theater himself, but that’s never brought up. Drove me nuts. Finally, they go to find Miss Piggy. Those little bitches actually had the audacity to go to Paris, break into Piggy’s offices at a very chic magazine and plead for her to return. I, like her, was annoyed. Piggy had found her niche and was obviously enjoying her life, but her love for Kermit (what does she see in him?) overpowers her and they join forces to save the theater. They decide to put on a telethon to raise the money and put on a show. They don’t make near enough money in the end, but somehow it’s happy? I was annoyed once again. One of the only good bits was when the bad guy, Tex Richman (clever, no?) said, “Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laugh!” That amused me. I wouldn’t bother with this movie. I hate to say that. [My Rating: 4/10]
May 14: Katharine Hepburn: All About Me
One day, I was dog-sitting for friends and was looking for something to read as I was working out on their elliptical machine. I found a copy of Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn and proceeded to devour the book as my body poured buckets of sweat out of my pores. I hadn’t been very aware of her career up until that point. I had focused my interests on Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Katharine is now up there with them as one of my favorites, though, nowhere near my beloved Joan. I hope there is an afterlife so that I can talk for hours and hours and hours with Joan, she would have been such fun. Anyway, Katharine is truly a phenomenal woman. She was a strong feminist, took no nonsense from anybody, was sure of herself, got what she wanted, and had a damn good time. This film is basically an adaptation of the book and narrated by Katharine herself. Good fun. Watch it. I was so jealous of her family’s huge house on the beach. I want a beach house. [My Rating: 9/10]
I watched this probably a decade ago with my father. I don’t really recall it, and upon viewing again, I understand why. It’s awfully bland. Abbott and Costello aren’t on top form. Their comedy felt forced and stale. I read that they weren’t fond of each other in later years, when this was filmed, and it was obvious. The plot was stale as a loaf of bread from 1798. It was about the cult of Klaris who need to get an amulet for some reason or another. The film shows Abbott and Costello dodging the enemy and running from the mummy, which might be the worst rendering of an animated mummy in all of cinematic history. If you love Egyptian things as much as me, you should see it, but otherwise, don’t bother. [My Rating: 2/10]
May 16: Anna Karenina
Because I’m literate and cultured, I decided that I should read Anna Karenina. It’s a classic and everything, and you know what? it is. It’s a wonderful, wonderful book with a broad, well-told story. This movie does not give credit to it, but, in itself, it is a good adaptation. The book has, maybe, three plots, all sparking off of the titular character, Anna. She’s a great beauty that changes the lives of people around her, but not always for the better. It focuses more on Anna and Vronsky’s relationship, especially their time in Moscow. This is all good for me because this allowed beautiful sets and gorgeous costumes. Truly, the atmosphere of the movie was superb. The dialogue was a bit slow and tedious, though. Decent acting. Not a bad film, but I would not consider it the definitive adaptation of the novel. I’m curious about the new adaptation with Keira Knightley. It looks stunning, but I’m not sure just what I feel of her in the lead role. I’m hopeful. [My Rating: 5/10]
May 17: Bringing Up Baby
You all know that I love me some Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, so I was looking forward to this. It wasn’t stunning, but I was not disappointed. This is a rather odd film, but I liked it. It’s about David Huxley (Grant) who needs to get a million dollar endowment fund for his museum. He has difficulties doing this, because his chances keep getting ruined by a ditzy woman (Hepburn) named Susan. She sets her sites on him and is determined that they should be together. So, she finds ways to keep him in her company. She has a leopard, named Baby, which she has to take care of and that causes all sorts of funny bits. The story takes a long time to develop, which was exhausting. Finally, we wind up in Susan’s family house where her domineering aunt lives. She is also in Lady for a Day, and A Star is Born. A high caliber talent. By this time, David is terribly annoyed. His chances are nearly ruined for his endowment fund and his relationship with a young lady in New York City is probably destroyed. He has a bit of a breakdown and goes darting about in a very becoming house coat. It keeps going on and on, then Baby gets loose and all Hell breaks out. In the end, they realize that they should get together. It’s a good film, but quite tiring. [My Rating: 6/10]
May 18: W.E.
This picture very nearly killed me. From the very moment I heard of it, I was bound and determined to love it. I was thrilled with all the developments I read, with the music that leaked online, with the story, with the images, with Madonna’s interview on Anderson, with every damn bit. Then the trailer came out and I about wept with excitement. It looked so good. But then, the movie was never released in Iowa. Not a screen, so I had to wait for the DVD, and then as I watched it, it felt like a dagger straight through to my heart. It let me down distinctly. Don’t think it was bad, because half of the movie is quite excellent, but the good bits, some genius bits, were totally trashed by terrible crap that I think ruined the picture. The trailer is almost for a completely different film. A film that looked…good. We’re going to have to start at the beginning for this one. Bear with me. I first heard about Wallis Simpson when I was rather young. I don’t recall where, but I was fascinated with the idea of an American woman becoming Queen of England. She never was, of course, but she could have been. That possibility is tantalizing to me. All my life, all my life, I’ve felt royal and regal and as if something is missing from me. I can’t really explain it, but I feel naturally inclined to life amongst elite circles. I feel perfectly at ease in exquisite residences, wearing formal clothes, and all that. It sounds pompous written down, I’m well aware of it, but I can’t deny that it’s true. I want so much to be somebody people know about, maybe that’s it? Maybe that’s why I have an overwhelming desire to be famous, it’s the only way an American can be royal, I think. We don’t have titles and things like that. Wish we did, though. I have no greater desire in life than to pull a Grace Kelly or a Wallis Simpson or a Prince Daniel and become romantically entangled with a prince. I’d be a damn good prince, too. I have connections to royals, I just don’t know how to pursue them. It’d be unattractive to start showing up places and shouting, “Marry me! Marry me! Save the monarchy!” I know a person who knows a person who is the mother of a woman who designs for Kate Middleton. Will that get me anywhere? I don’t know. My grandparents are also friends with people who are very friendly with the Royal Family in Monaco. Like, they literally go yachting with Prince Albert. When this fact was first revealed to me, I believe I blacked out. So close to them. How do I make this work for myself? I assume I’ll have to seduce somebody. I’ve not yet figured it out, but if I’m going to be Prince of anything–Monaco works just fine for me. Have you ever been to Monaco? I have. It’s gorgeous. Incredibly gorgeous. Obligatory photo break.
Did you die? I died. Now, on to the movie. It is beautiful. If I were to rate it on costumes and sets alone, it would have scored off the charts. Sadly, movies are more than sets and dresses. Where to begin? Oh, Madonna, I love you so much, this hurts me. Alright. Here we go. The movie was annoying. Why? It was basically two movies. It is not only about the relationship of Wallis and Edward, but also between a modern woman named Wally (did you vomit? I did) and her relationship to her abusive/emotionally distant husband and new lover. I loathe movies that take place in two different times. It works in a book, wonderfully in a book, but not on film. For example, Julie & Julia. Why wasn’t it all about Julia? None of us cared about Julie and her burnt boeuf bourguignon. We didn’t care a damn bit. We all wanted to see Meryl Streep give a masterclass in acting. That bitch does NO wrong. W.E. is in a similar vein. The Wallis segments are wonderful. They are truly well done and interesting and riveting. The Wally bits, though, are dreadful. They drag the movie down, they slow it down, they bore you, they annoy you, and they just piss you off. The connection between the two stories was even further polluted when for reasons beyond my understanding, Madonna decided to put the two females in each other’s world as a kind of phantom. It was so stupid. I wanted to bitch slap something, but there was nothing to hit. Wally was constantly moping about Sotheby’s touching all of Wallis’s possessions at an auction. She doesn’t say much. Then, she’d go back to her abusive relationship with her husband. He was styled to look like Edward. It was so transparent. There is a security guard who falls in love with her for some reason, I didn’t get the appeal, and she spends most of the movie ignoring him. Bitch, please. If a handsome Russian man is wanting to take you out for coffee, you go. You go fast. You run. She decides she needs to jet off to Paris to go see Mohamad Al-Fayed, of all people, like anybody gets an appointment with him! He agrees to show her a bunch of Wallis’s old letters, because suddenly he’s a softy. Whatever. Then Wally mopes around Paris. Madonna, again for reasons unknown to me, decides that the camera should focus only on Wally as she wanders the rainy streets of Paris and all we can see is her miserable face. This is a huge, damnable mistake. You do not ignore Paris! It’s the most beautiful, captivating, romantic, and intriguing place in the world, and all we get to see is blurred outlines? Come on, Madonna. She goes back to New York and she and Evgeni (the handsome Russian) finally get together and have a baby, it’s beyond stupid. Now, on to Wallis. It is a fairly accurate portrayal of her life. It’s beautiful. I can’t complain about it as it’s tremendously well done. If it had been the entire picture, I can’t imagine it not receiving critical acclaim. Wallis is gorgeous. An absolutely stunning portrayal, physically. Look here:
I don’t believe anybody is as quick and amusing in real life as Wallis was scripted, but I wasn’t bothered. I was enraptured by her. In the end, this movie was poisoned by itself. It has moments of pure genius and grace that are shot to bits by stupid camera gimmicks, irritating musical choices, unnecessary plots, and perhaps, an overstated importance. [My Rating: 6/10] If you fast-forward through the Wally bits, though, it’s a solid 9. Also, another irritation: there is a wonderful piece of music that is played several times in the movie that is not on the soundtrack and I can’t find out what it was. Annoying. Also, I just realized that they shot part of the film in Villefranche-sur-Mer, one of my favorite villages in France. They shot a scene right outside the Hôtel Welcome, which is a lovely place. Lots of art by Jean Cocteau. Tell them I sent you.
May 19: Another Language
This film didn’t hold my attention for a second. Sounded potentially intriguing, but that was not the case. It’s about Stella and Victor who fall in love and quickly get married. When they return from their honeymoon, it’s time to meet to Victor’s family. They’re quite awful and make Stella feel like shit. She can’t take it, she doesn’t understand why they are being awful to her. I just couldn’t get into it. [My Rating: 1/10]
FILM of the WEEK: Katharine Hepurn: All About Me Great overview of her life with lots of interesting bits and pieces of her life and career. If you love the glamorous days of Hollywood as much as me, you’ll love this. It’s completely available on YouTube. Holla for the modern era!