November 10: Mary of Scotland
My DVR is running out of space, so I needed to watch some of the films I recorded in high definition. That’s why I chose the majority of the pictures I did this week. You didn’t really need to know that, though, but it’s my website, so whatever. I had high hopes for this film, but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. Katherine Hepburn plays Mary Queen of Scots beautifully. She never gives a poor performance. I’m sure that isn’t true, but I always enjoy her work. I say that now and the next film of hers I’ll see will be crap, I’m sure! The film deals with Mary’s return from France and the ensuing political drama which ends with her being imprisoned in England by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. There isn’t a whole lot more to it than that. [My Rating: 4/10]
November 11: The Children’s Hour
I’ve put this movie off for quite some time. I didn’t like the description of it much, but I was determined to watch it since it stars Audrey Hepburn. I’m a reluctant fan of her work. I’ve spent so much time complaining that she’s overrated that it annoys me when I see films of hers that are actually very good. I’ve since changed my views on her and Marilyn Monroe–they were both rather marvelous. I hope they’ll forgive me. This film was much better than I anticipated it to be, but I also found it very…I don’t know…self-pitying. That’s a trait I have no love for. Two college friends, Karen and Martha, run a school and are quite successful at it. Unfortunately, one of their students is an awful bully and after they reprimand her, she maliciously starts a rumor about the two schoolteachers. She claims that they are in a lesbian relationship. I was like…whatever, but then remembered that it was decades ago and the gay rights movement and the many freedoms and comforts the LGBTQI community has today are rather new developments. Anyway, since everybody in town was a bunch of nasty prudes, parents withdraw the students from the school leaving Karen and Martha ruined. So annoying. They go to court over it, but this does not go well for them, so they mope about. I didn’t understand this part. Why didn’t they move or do something? In betwixt times, Martha admits to Karen that she finally understands her feelings for Karen and that she is interested in her more romantically than she ever knew. Karen is shocked by this but takes it well. She says that they will start a life together and then goes for a walk. While away, Martha hangs herself and Karen must go on alone. It is finally revealed that the story was a total fabrication, but her reputation is still ruined. I don’t understand how ever being a lesbian could be detrimental. I’m very thankful I was born when I was. [My Review: 7/10]
November 12: The L-Shaped Room
This was long. It wasn’t really much longer than any other film, but it felt like it lasted an eternity. I blame the material and the director. I’ve seen a few of his previous efforts and they were equally, if not more, nonsensical than this one. It’s about a pregnant French woman who takes herself to London to escape the shame of having a baby. I really don’t get the sixties. Have a baby or four if you want. I don’t care if you’re a single mother or father or if you’re gay or blue. Just raise the baby without doing anything stupid, thank you very much. She meets a bunch of weirdos in her apartment building, befriends a couple, loves one, goes to schedule an abortion, changes her mind, swallows a bunch of pills, has a baby, then moves back to France. Boring. [My Rating: 2/10]
November 13: Blazing Saddles
I’ve had the Netflix envelope with this movie sitting on my coffee table for over a month. Watching movies that are on physical media is a real pain. You have to find a television with a DVD player or a Bluray player and you can’t watch on your phone. Annoying. But, yesterday, I finally found some spare time to watch this one. I didn’t love it, that’s certain, but it wasn’t horrific. I’m a much bigger fan of The Producers, but not the original, I like the cinematic adaptation of the Broadway musical. “Springtime for Hitler” is my jam.
This film was a parody of Westerns, a uniquely American tradition. I don’t watch many (read: none) so perhaps I was missing some of the humor. A maniacal vice governor sends an African American gentleman to act as sheriff to a town that was about to be raided by criminals in hopes that the townsfolk would kill the sheriff and then his master plan (whatever it was) would be a success. There were tired racist jokes and a few good jokes, but it wasn’t all that funny. I enjoyed the last half much more than the opening. I wouldn’t tell you not to watch it, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. [My Rating: 5/10]
November 14: Bad Teacher
I didn’t think I’d like this movie. Well…I effing loved it. I really sympathized with Cameron’s character. Not that I act like her or would ever do the things she does, but I really understand where she’s coming from. When she said, “When I first started teaching, I thought I was doing it for all the right reasons: shorter hours, summers off…” I nodded in complete agreement. I work at a school and it’s the best! You don’t have to work over the summer. You know that. You’re jealous of it. Plus, we get to leave at 2:30 on Wednesdays. You don’t get to do that most places. It can be awful sometimes, like any job, but there are definitely perks to be found and everything’s plated with a massive silver lining called June-August. In the film, Cameron plays Elizabeth, a schoolteacher who gets to live out all the fantasies real teachers have. She’s lazy, doesn’t care much for her coworkers or her students and is brutally honest with them. She has unorthodox methods of teaching (when she actually is teaching) and dresses just-about-but-not-quite like a slut every day. Justin Timberlake is also in this film as the cute, quirky, ideal substitute. We all hated him, but he was cute and rich, so we could all understand Elizabeth’s motivation for wanting to get with him. Who doesn’t want a rich/cute husband? You’re lying if you didn’t agree with me. As she’s trying to stay conscious through her work day, she’s also trying to raise money for a boob job. Who doesn’t want plastic surgery? You’re lying if you didn’t agree with me. We all want a little nip or tuck. I’d like my eyes zapped and ass implants. Yes, I could squat and stuff…but why? Well, it is $10,000 and squats are free…so maybe I’ll start with squats. So she steals cans meant for recycling and she siphons off funds from the school car wash (which she deserved as she did a spectacular job), but she’s not close to her goal, yet. She learns that the teacher with the best scores on the state test gets a massive bonus. She decides to steal the test and train her students. This is a massive success, but her archenemies, Amy Squirrel (I know!) is suspicious and finds evidence of her test tampering locked in her desk. This was the only issue I had with the film. If you’re really going to steal a test booklet, why leave it in your desk, even if you lock your desk? Take that shit home or burn it. Always get rid of the evidence, girl. Because she’s sneaky, she gets out of trouble and realizes that she loves the gym teacher and decides to become a good teacher. A bit of a disappointment, that, but the movie was excellent. I highly recommend it, especially if you’ve ever worked in a school enviornment. None of us would ever behave in that manner, but we’d love to…just once. [My Rating: 10/10]
November 15: Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural
I didn’t get this movie…like…at all. The description on the DVR sounded awesome. Something about New Orleanian vampires luring a gangster’s daughter into their wicked ways in the roaring 20s. Sign me up. However, this was just crap. I didn’t understand from the onset. A young girl is taken in by a preacher after her father vanishes/gets locked up/dies? The girl receives a memo from Lemora that she needs to come see her father, so she tries to hitchhike and then there’s like 45 minutes of lewd discussion of how she needs to learn about sex. It was dumb. Finally she gets to the middle of the forest where she is locked up by Lemora who wants to turn her into a vampire. We never really find out why. She escapes and runs around aimlessly while she is being chased by a creature that looks suspiciously like those creepy things that live in the woods in American Horror Story: Asylum. Like, they look identical. I’m guessing my should-be-best-friend, Ryan Murphy has seen this picture. All of a sudden, she’s in church again. I didn’t get it. As I watched, I made a delicious batch of Paris Mushroom Soup and that was way more interesting. Make soup instead of watching this. [My Rating: 1/10]
November 16: Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?
I knew that I had to see this film as soon as I could after I saw clips and bits of it in The Eye Has to Travel, the documentary on Diana Vreeland. The editor in the film was based on her and I loved it! She looked like her and said amazing things as only Diana could. There are a couple amazing scenes (basically the ones with this actress) that I wanted to show you, especially a glorious one in a cemetery, but I could only find this opening scene which is good, too:
The film is not about the editor, sadly, but about Polly Maggoo, the most in vogue supermodel at the time. She was quirky and fun and meaningless and vague. She was the perfect canvas for fashion. There were what felt like three interconnected films taking place at the same time, and I didn’t like that. I enjoyed the one that was about Polly being followed by a reality crew (very ahead of their time, this was the 60s! What do I have to do to get my own reality series?). She would take tests and answer questions and look very chic and it was all very lovely. Another bit was about a rather handsome prince of a foreign land who was obsessed with Polly and wanted her to become his princess. Quelle romance. I never did understand if it was reality or a dream. There’s not really much else to say. It was an absurdist film, so…it wasn’t really intended to make much sense. As a whole, I loathe this kind of filmmaking, but it worked here. If only for the lovely things Polly said, like in the first clip. If you don’t speak French, shame on you! She basically says that fashion is always changing and so it is immortal. Things that don’t change are doomed to die. Feast on that! [My Rating: 8/10]
FILM of the WEEK: The award easily goes to the brilliantly funny BAD TEACHER.