Movie Resolution: Week 32

August 5: The Strange Life of Timothy Green

This film would make more sense if it were titled, The Incredibly Irritating Life of Tree Boy: Donde Está El Plot? It was the most mindless jumble of sappy mush, the Twilight series were well written in comparison. Jennifer Garner stars as Cindy Green, a happily married woman who is unable to have a child. This is deeply upsetting for her and her husband, Jim, they have everything they need aside from a baby. I’m not sure why they want a baby so much. Babies don’t clean, they don’t make polite conversation, they can’t cook, you have to be focused in them 24/7 for years! Too much stress for me. I’m not against having a child, but I’m adopting mine from Brazil when he/she is about 9. Plop them right into private school. Enough about me. The Green’s decide to do some emotional healing by filling up a box with scraps of paper detailing the child they want. He’s a great musician. He’s a great athlete. He’s a great artist. He sounds like a bore to me, I like people to be a little lackluster. For reasons that were purely cinematic (nobody would do it in real life), they bury this box in their beautiful garden. One good thing about this movie was the set design, truly beautiful. That night, there is a bizarre rainstorm that deluges the farm and suddenly there’s a muddy boy in the house. Creepy, but they take to him immediately. Timothy is a freak. He’s overly kind and innocent and has leaves growing out of his ankles. This is never explained. If it we supposed to be a fairytale, I’d buy it, but as serious material, I take issue. The first mistake these dummies make is telling Timothy to hide who he is by wearing knee socks. So, their dream son isn’t allowed to be what he wants to be. Rude. They basically adopt Timothy and send him to school and put him into activities that they were both failures at in their childhood. All the while, Timothy’s leaves are falling off. We know this is bad, but it’s never explained. Cindy and Jim decide to invent a new type of pencil to save their community’s pencil factory from closing. Yet again, Hollywood is mining my computer for ideas. I don’t mind, but I’d like a credit in both the opening titles and closing credits. I’ve long been researching the use of leaves for everyday materials. So, their pencil is an awkwardly shaped device made from ground leaves. It would be impossible to sharpen. It defies logic. I can’t understand how, but supposedly it is going to save the town. Then, Timothy’s final leaf falls off and there’s a storm and he’s gone. Cindy and Jim are devastated, but rebound quickly. It’s never explained what Timothy was or where he came from. Seemed pagan. They tell their story to the adoption agency, where the agent seems to be the mother of Penelope Cruz. She grants these lunatics a child. I wouldn’t have. [My Rating: 3/10]

August 6: Room for One More

[The clip is in Russian. Only one I could find.]

This is the second picture I’ve seen that stars Cary Grant and Betsy Drake as a couple. I enjoyed Every Girl Should Be Married, but Betsy was overacting liked mad in that, she toned it down in this one, though, and showed remarkable improvement. She and Cary star as Anna and George, two very loving people who are known for their kindness. All stray dogs and cats eventually make their way to their home, where they are happily taken in and loved. One day Anna’s women’s club visits the local orphanage (sounds like a lovely afternoon, doesn’t it?) and she is touched by the sadness of it all. The babies are easy to be adopted, but the young children don’t have as much luck. Anna decides that it’s her duty to take in one of these unlucky children. She didn’t plan on having a troubled youth, though. George isn’t thrilled at the prospect of another child in the house, but he’s so bighearted that he soon consents. Anne is a troubled girl, she has been deprived for most of her life and it takes her a long time to acclimate to her new family and her new life. After some time, though, it’s as if she were always one of them. George and Anna are delighted by this success and so is the adoption agency. They agree to take on another child, the angry, violent, handicapped Jimmy John. What a name! Jimmy is deeply unpleasant, always talking back and making a scene. The family decides that he’s not the right fit for them, and decide to send him back. The child’s vote to see if the think he should stay or leave, and they all say leave. Jimmy can’t read, so he doesn’t understand the verdict and the children are all so touched by his speech that they let him stay. He finally meshes in. They’re all happy. It’s quite sappy, but rather nice. [My Rating: 6/10]

August 7: The Madwoman of Chaillot

What a strange film. The 60s must have been a terrible time to be alive. So many hippies, so much confusion. This picture started off marvelously with Katherine Hepburn playing the Countess Aurelia, an elderly woman who dresses much like a lady from the Belle Époque. She lives completely in the past and is delightfully happy there. She has a group of equally insane friends, one who has an imaginary dog and the other who imagines love affairs with men she sees. I was going along with this just fine, I adore Katherine, but then the film went insane. Somebody finds oil under Paris on property that Countess Aurelia owns. Suddenly the plot is about France becoming a nuclear capable country prepping for war. I don’t know why. It was strange. It felt like two films that were meshed nonsensically together. If it had all been about Countess Aurelia, I probably would have loved it. We could see how she deals with moving into the modern era, deciding what to do with the oil rich property she owns, the struggles she has with each. Instead, it is a confusing piece of garbage. [My Rating: 3/10 only for Katherine’s parts]

August 8: Phffft!

You all remember how much I admire Judy Holliday, right? I was delighted to see this film that costarred her with Jack Lemmon, of whom I’m also fond. They star as Nina and Robert Tracy, a married couple who come to them realization that their marriage is not working out like it had. At one time, like the majority of those who wed, they loved each other, but sadly their spark is gone. The decide to separate and the file shows them trying to find love again. Robert rooms with a womanizing friend of his from the Army. He thinks it’s just wonderful that Robert had a divorce, he can now see more women! He sets him up with a woman played by Kim Novak. He likes her, but is incapable of loving her, there’s nothing there. Nina is going through much the same trouble. Her overbearing mother has taken over her life and the gentlemen callers she sees don’t thrill her. Eventually, Robert and Nina discover that they still love each other, that they would rather be with each other than anybody else. It’s very sweet, but it wasn’t as hysterically funny as some people go on about. [My Rating: 5/10]

August 9: The Awful Truth

It seems that a great flaw in many movies is that they have wonderful beginnings and fantastic endings, but the middles are muddled and underdeveloped. I have this same struggle when I write, I have to fight my brain to keep the halfway point of the plot as thrilling as the ending and as exciting as the opening. When I figure out how to bring tension and excitement to my next novel, I’ll have a best seller. I’ve been fighting that book for years. Anyway, on to the film. Cary Grant stars as Jerry Williams, the reasonably happy husband of Lucy Williams, fellow socialite. They live a madcap life full of nonsense. Oh, how I long to be an old-fashioned socialite. It would be wonderful to spend the evenings drinking pink champagne, wearing tuxedos, driving too fast, and playing idiotic party games with all the other rich young things. My existence is near totally unjust. Jerry and Lucy start to doubt each other’s fidelity and decide to divorce. It’s silly, but they’re already into it. Lucy is granted custody of their beloved dog and Jerry gets visitation rights, so they’ll still be seeing quite a bit of each other. They move on to new fiancées. Lucy becomes engaged to a very wealthy oilman, the only downside is that she would have to leave New York for the uncivilized West. Jerry becomes engaged to another socialite, but  she’s kind of a snob. Lucy and Jerry hate to see that their old spouse might be able to move on, so they both decide to sabotage the other’s engagement. Along the way they realize that they are still mad for each other. Sweet, but the film felt like an eternity. [My Rating: 6/10]

August 10: For Me and My Gal

In addition to watching every single Joan Crawford film, I’m adding every single Judy Garland movie. They’re marvelous–all the songs and dancing. Right up my alley. This one features Gene Kelly again with Judy and I couldn’t be happier! In this picture, Judy plays a vaudeville actress (an art we need to bring back) who teams up with Harry Palmer (Gene) and hope to make it to the top. Unfortunately success never seems to be a friend of theirs. But, Jo (Judy) doesn’t mind because she loves Harry, so she’s happy as long as she’s with him. He doesn’t seem to understand that she’s mad about him and decides to team up with a much more successful woman. He can’t do it, though, because he realizes how much he cares for Jo. They decide to get married, but only after they’re successful enough to play at the Palace theater in New York City. That’s the goal of all vaudeville acts. Their hope is cut short when Harry is drafted. He is terribly upset because he doesn’t want to leave without marrying Jo, but they can’t until they are successes. He decides to avoid the draft for a bit. My kind of guy, defying the draft to put on a song and dance routine! Jo doesn’t mind this, but then Harry goes too far. He smashes his hand on purpose so that he won’t be wanted by the military. (Again, my kind of guy. I hate the idea of a draft.) Jo isn’t stupid and she realizes that he did this so that he wouldn’t have to go abroad. This pisses her off to no end because her brother has just died defending the country. In her eyes, he is a worthless coward and she calls it off, then joins the Armed Forces as an entertainer. Harry finally realizes he has to do something to reclaim his good name and goes to do what he can as an entertainer as well. At the end of the war, back in New York, they reunite by chance at the Palace theater. All is forgiven and they are married. Wonderful picture and wonderful song, too:

Story of my life. I live on a farm. I moved to Paris. I never wanted to come back. Holla. [My Rating: 9/10]

August 11: The Feminine Touch

[http://www.allmovie.com/movie/the-feminine-touch-v91209]

I saved this picture to watch on my birthday. I thought it would be good fun, Rosalind Russell and all, but no. I watched a boring picture on my very special day. Le sigh… Rosalind plays Julie Hathaway, the wife of John Hathaway, a psychology professor. He doesn’t enjoy academia much because it is rather corrupt. He is forced to pass an idiotic student because he is a star football player. Sound familiar? Happens all the time. It isn’t right. So, he decides to move to New York and have his manuscript published. Seems rather confident. The book is all about the various forms of jealousy and the reasons behind it. Sounds dullsville and the publisher, Nellie, thinks so, too, but there is a chapter that she thinks could be expanded into a nice book. The president of the publishing  house, Elliot, takes a fancy to Julie even though she has absolutely no interest in him. Nellie takes a fancy to John, even though he is more interested in his book than anything else. John and Julie do a good job for the longest time, but then they finally succomb to the jealousy that John thought he perfectly understood. Nice enough movie, but kind of a snooze. [My Rating: 4/10]

FILM of the WEEK: For Me and My Gal It’s sweet and charming. Singing and dancing. Judy. See it.

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