Movie Resolution: Week 33

August 12: Listen, Darling

Of all the Judy Garland films I’ve seen so far, I enjoy the ones where she is young the most. She was so charming, infectious almost. This is another made before she became a star. Oh wouldn’t it just be marvelous to be famous? To be loved and admired and desired by all? To be photographed and acclaimed? To be wanted? I think it’d be just the most wonderful thing that could happen to a person. I would love the photo shoots, responding to the fan mail, the interviews on late night television, the society parties, becoming the face of products. I’ve already consented to promote Swatch, Nespresso, Le Creuset cookware, Tommy Hilfiger, and Andrew Christian underwear. I’ll do Calvin Klein, too, if they ask me. I’d love it, not to mention the free products and worldwide travel necessary to promote them. Back to the film, though. Pinky, played by Judy, is deeply distraught because her mother is planning to marry a man she doesn’t love. She doesn’t mind him much but she knows she doesn’t love him. But Dottie, her mother, needs some stability in her life. She has no insurance and a limited income. This fellow can take care of all that. Pinky doesn’t want her mother to be unhappy, so she and her best friend, Buzz, come up with a plot to kidnap Dottie and go around until they find a man who is better suited for her. Dottie is not at all pleased with this turn of events, but she knows that it is sweet and goes along with it. At the campsite, they meet an interesting bachelor named Richard. Pinky and Buzz think he’s perfect, so they introduce him to Dottie. She likes him well enough, but he puts his foot in his mouth a few times and she sees other things about him that she  doesn’t like so much. He wants to be independent, he doesn’t want to be responsible for others, things like that. But, he realizes that he loves her and her kooky family and decides to marry her. It’s sweet, but unrealistic. Who gets married without courting for a couple years? I would, actually, now that I think of it. Rich people, I’m adorable and available. [My Rating: 9/10]

August 13: The Ghost Comes Homes

This film is rather unknown and those who have seen it seem to think it’s dreadful. I thought it was charming! Frank Morgan and Billie Burke are both in it, the Wizard and Glinda! Frank plays Vern, a kindly pushover who runs a pet shop. He seems to gather more animals than he can sell, but he doesn’t mind much. His wife, on the other hand, does. She hates to see more animals and the cost of feeding them. She’s s bit of a killjoy. One day Vern receives a phone call from a childhood friend who wants to donate a large sum of money to his childhood home. He is a very rich man now in Australia and he wants Vern to come out and discuss the donation with him. So, he buys Vern a ticket on the Mariluna and expects to se him soon. Unfortunately, Vern gets smashingly drunk at a nightclub before his departure and is thrown into jail for sixty days. When he is released, he is ashamed and makes his way home. When he arrives, he’s rather surprised to see the house has been remodeled and is now very luxurious. He is told that the Mariluna had sunk and that there were no survivors, so his wife claimed his life insurance money. Vern is rather annoyed, but he understands. His family is in a panic, though, now that he’s back, it’s insurance fraud! So they hide him upstairs in the attic, but he soon grows tired of this. He still wants to live his life. He can’t because they don’t have enough to pay back the amount of life insurance money they have used. Thankfully, Vern recalls a bit of property he owns and is able to rejoin society. It’s s sweet, but unimportant and convoluted picture. [My Rating: 5/10]

August 14: Kisses for My President

Allegedly, this is supposed to be a charming, amusing picture. It was not. It was offensive for a number of reasons, which we’ll get into, believe you me. (What is that supposed to mean? Is it Old English?) The film begins innocently enough with Leslie McCloud being elected the first female president. I couldn’t have been more delighted, even though it was a film from the 60s and sadly not based on reality. I was a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I loved every bullet of her plans and her goals for the nation. Equal rights for all and universal health care? That’s swoon worthy, darlings. When she ended her bid for the Presidency, I was a bit devastated, but it was almost worth it. She’s such an important and beloved piece of our nation now. I think she has done so much to better our nation and her relations with the world. Plus, her speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention was the single greatest speech I’ve ever heard. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke a good speech, don’t get me wrong, but Hillary’s was just a masterpiece. Watch it:

Greatest speech of all time. Period.

So, I’m a big supporter of female presidents. Leslie McCloud proved to be a shrewd, effective president, which was marvelous to show on screen, but that wasn’t the purpose of the film. It was a Fred McMurry vehicle and he starred as the President’s husband. What followed was maddening. The President’s spouse does so much more than organize garden parties, they are working hard and always in the public eye for the benefit of their partner and nation. They aren’t wasting time as was portrayed here. Thad, the husband, was a whining bitch. He wasn’t happy that he didn’t get enough attention. Sorry, Madame President has better things to do right now. He loved her, obviously, but he did not respect her position or her importance. I was hoping that by the end of the picture, Thad would come into his role as so many have before him, but no, that was not to be. Leslie had become pregnant and decided to resign from office. Are you freaking kidding me? Not only did she let her nation down, she wasted the money of donors, she gave up her beliefs and goals, she portrayed America as a nation of quitters, and also set feminism back a decade. Women have had children and still do important work. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. I was beyond offended, really. [My Rating: 0/10]

August 15: Mogambo

Africa is beautiful. I dream of going on a long vacation there. I’d stay in a beautiful resort in Kenya, picnicking beneath an ancient baobab and watching the giraffes meander around the reserve. Gazelles run in the distance and great wide birds take flight above me. The sun is warm and wonderful and I tilt my hat forward to cover my eyes before taking a quick nap. My adventures begin calmly enough, but I am on an adventure after all! So, I travel down to South Africa to experience the culture and go on a long safari. The lions would love me (I’m a cat whisperer) and rub their giant heads against me in a playful, loving fashion. Then….crack! crack! Poachers! Dammit! We hurry into the caravan and take off, flying across the Savannah, the dirt flying back in a cloud. The guide puts a rifle in my hands, I’m terrified, but we must stop the poachers. There they are, they’ve killed a rhino and are sawing at the tusk. Gunfire, you can hear the bullets whiz by in the air. Nervously, I aim and take a shot–missed. The poachers are scared, though,and drive off. A crate bounces off the back of their truck and I curiously make my way towards it. Inside is a lion cub. I look at it, it looks at me. I know that I must raise it as my own. Then, me and Buddha, the lion cub, board a rivers cruiser and sail up the Nile all the way to Egypt where we explore the wonders of that ancient nation. We’d go out to tea with Zahi Hawass and he’d take us to his latest archaeological dig. It’s hush hush, but he knows I’m trustworthy. We’ve found Nefertiti. After months away, we sail for Marseilles and catch the train to Paris. Then to London via the Chunnel and finally we board a Cunard ship bound for New York. What wondrous travels Buddha and I have had. Wasn’t that fun? Well, this movie wasn’t. Clark Gable looked gaunt and unattractive, a robot could have expressed more emotion than Grace Kelly, the plot was nonexistent, and the end was too long in coming. Wait for the cinematic adaptation of my as-of-yet inexperienced African travels staring myself and Matt Bomer. Seriously, Matt and I are twins, it’s weird. [My Rating: 1/10]

August 16: Love Affair

An Affair to Remember, one of my favorite romantic films, was basically a frame by frame recreation of this Charles Boyer original. Though their plots were similar and hardly a thing changed, I preferred the later version as it was a bit richer, Cary Grant was the male lead, and instead of a Portuguese municipality,  An Affair to Remember had scenes filmed in my beloved Villefranche-sur-mer. Oh I adore that village. I can’t wait for my next visit. I’d like to spend the summer there sometime, tanning on a balcony, lounging on the rocky beach, taking day trips to Cannes and Nice. At night, I’d put on my tuxedo and set out for a night in Monte Carlo. It’d be divine, the elegant people, the roulette tables, pink champagne, dancing on a yacht, walking by the Musée Océanographique in the pale moonlight, admiring the church were Grace Kelly was married, being invited into the palace for a cocktail. How rich that life would be, how happy and fulfilling! The next morning, I’d have a croissant and espresso in a café as I watched the first fishing boats unload their haul. But, right now I’m at work in the middle of Iowa. Cruel, cruel reality. Back to the film. Charles Boyer plays Michel, a socialite of sorts. He’s never had responsibilities nor has he been in love, but he is engaged to a rich woman. Irene Dunn plays Terry, a woman in an average position who is also engaged. On a transatlantic crossing (oh, the eleganza!) they meet and drink pink champagne and fall madly in love. As the ship cuts across the Atlantic, their passion grows and the discover that this is not just an onboard affair (we need to bring those back). So they decide to meet in six months time on the top of the Empire State Building if they both still feel the same way at that time. They do and both rush to the iconic structure. Unfortunately, Terry is struck by a car and seriously injured. For reasons that don’t make any sense to me, she decides not to tell Michel. How cruel! They live miserable lives and try to learn to be happy again without the other. Finally, by chance they meet again, but it’s terribly awkward. Michel forgives Terry, though, when he finally understands that she’s loved him every single day. Quelle romance! I wish that would happen to me, especially the cruise romance and pink champagne. Mainly the pink champagne, I’ve never tried it. [My Rating: 9/10]

August 17: Spirits of the Dead

I said on multiple occasions, “The hell?” Thinking back on it now, I’m still dumbstruck, I haven’t a clue what this was about. It was an omnibus type of film showcasing three short stories of Edgar Allen Poe. I was going along with this just fine, excited actually, but then the film started and Jane Fonda walked out in the strangest hooker garb I’ve ever seen. She played the depraved Countess Frederique who lives life for pleasure. I didn’t mind that so much, have an orgy if you what, what I did mind was her outfits. It wasn’t that they were particularly bad, but the didn’t make sense for the Middle Ages, they looked like something Gaga would be wearing to her next concert. Another bizarre thing about the film was that it was dubbed in French. Jane was clearly speaking English, yet French was coming out. No problem, I speak French, but it was certainly peculiar. The Countess falls in love with her cousin who turns into a horse…I didn’t follow. Perhaps I should read the original? Jane was gorgeous, though, and this was my favorite segment, which really isn’t saying much. Next was about a man who has been plagued by is doppelgänger since childhood. His twin is always around getting him into trouble and he hates it. For some reason, though, the man just keeps getting worse and worse. Later in the film, he kidnaps Brigitte Bardot and takes her to a surgical theater where he plans on chopping her up. Then he plays poker and whips a woman. Then he confesses his sins to a priest before stabbing his doppelgänger which results in his death. Dumb. Finally there was a Fellini segment that made no sense at all. I’m not going to try and figure it out. English actor in Italy being rude then driving fast. I don’t understand Fellini whatsoever. Overrated. [My Rating: 1/10]

August 18: The Tramp and the Dictator 

Before this documentary, I knew but very little about Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, The Great Dictator. I knew that it was a parody of Hitler and his regime, and aside from that, not much else. I didn’t need much more, I’m a huge fan of Hitler parodies. Good Lord, imagine if I were running for President. My opponent would surely have huge ads posted: “Senator Phillips says that he’s ‘a big fan of Hitler.’ Senator Phillips, ignorant, a bad choice for America.” I hope that the New York Times will come to my rescue. This documentary was fascinating and had a great number of interviews. The one that I found the most interesting was Reinhard Spitzy, a member of Hitler’s inner circle. He seemed so normal, which is something I never would have expected. He says that the Führer had loved to laugh, had a great sense of humor, had surely seen Chaplin’s film and probably would’ve loved it. Can you even imagine Hitler laughing? Aside from the interviews, the documentary shows newly found footage of the filming and drew many interesting similarities between Chaplin and Hitler. They were both born in the same week of the same year and had a young love for art. There were many more. Absolutely fascinating. [My Rating: 8/10]

FILM of the WEEK: Love Affair It’s a charming movie dripping with romance. If you love love, you will love it.

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