December 1: Brief Encounter
When I first started this one, I thought it was going to be another dreadful waste of time. I was wrong and right. The beginning was boring, but it soon gave way to something rather delightful. You know that there is nothing I love more than a melancholy romance. I’m writing one right now. I’m finding it very difficult, though, to properly write about the mutual ecstasy and agony of love. I want it to be the most stunning romance of the modern era. I’ll have to do some more work, but I have the right story. This movie was about a reasonably happy married woman who meets a doctor at the train station. For some reason, they get along well and begin as platonic friends. It’s all fine, but they soon realize that they have more than just friendly feelings towards each other, but they’re both in relationships. They know that they can’t be together and that’s the real disaster of the film. Their anguish is palpable, especially the woman’s. The ending is particularly and wonderfully tragic. (See clip above.) They are at the train station trying to say goodbye (it’s a cyclical film, so this is also the opening scene, the rest of the film was in the past), but it doesn’t go according to plan. They are interrupted by an acquaintance and aren’t able to express what they need to say. He goes and as the train pulls away from the station, she runs to the dock, sure that he won’t have gotten on, sure that he’ll be waiting for her. He’s not. She’s crushed, but they both knew it never could have been. Really very good, better than I had expected. [My Rating: 9/10]
December 2: That Lady in Ermine
I never really understood what was happening in this film. It was about a newlywed countess who was the ruler of a little kingdom. There is a skirmish and her new husband has to go off to fight, but the castle is taken over and she kind of falls for the conquerer. While this is happening, her ancestor’s portrait (which looks just like her) comes to life. Why? Honestly, I don’t know. The whole thing was a mess. [My Rating: 2/10]
December 3: The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever!
There are many great injustices in my life. One that hurts me the worst is that I missed the opportunity of seeing the new Spice Girls musical Viva Forever by about two days. If we had been in London just a little longer I could have experienced it, but alas, that was not to be. If it stays running long enough, I might try to go over for a quick trip to see the show, have tea at the Ritz, buy some macarons from Pierre Hermé, and spend a lazy afternoon at the British Museum before flying back home. I need to pay off a couple bills first, but that sounds like a delight. This documentary was about the Spice Girls and about their lives. If you know anything about them, there are no surprises here, but it was good as a refresher course, and it’s always a delight to see my beloved Jennifer Saunders who wrote the musical. Ginger was super annoying–always going on about how she did everything. She seems to give herself total credit for the success of the girls. Maybe that’s true, but she’s always been my least favorite. I’m forever and always Team Posh. I love Victoria Beckham and still have every intention of being best friends with her. I loved this line that she said: “The things we used to get up to…we had a lot of fun…even me! Turns out, I can be quite a laugh.” Wouldn’t it be fun to go laughing with Vicky B.? Those are the kind of things I dream of. I’d be out to lunch with her and Karl (they’re friends) and we’d be talking about the nonsensical things fashion insiders discuss and we’d have a good time with a bottle of champagne and a VIP room. Ah, if only life were what you dreamed it to be. I’m so far from that. Le sigh… Good documentary, though, a lot of fun. [My Rating: 7/10]
December 4: Magic Mike
Me, along with the rest of the world, was ridiculously overexcited for this movie, and I think that might have been what cursed it. We wanted more stripping! Why cast Matt Bomer, easily one of the most handsome men in the world, if he only has about ten minutes of screen time? The whole thing was boring, really. The best thing about it was the trailer. From that, it seemed that it was going to be something of a romantic comedy with lots of naked men. Not at all. It was more of a drug fueled drama with only a few naked men. I didn’t care for it much. I don’t like Alex Pettyfer on a good day, I particularly don’t like him as a druggy. I certainly don’t like him when one of his lines was, “You know how I feel about wearing a fucking tie.” Bitch, put on the damn tie and get a job, you miserable asswipe. I had no sympathy for his character. I’m indifferent about Channing Tatum and the other cast members weren’t given nearly enough of a role. The area where it was filmed was around Clearwater, Florida, which I’m rather familiar with, so that was cool. I didn’t understand Mike’s issue. I applauded his desire to open a custom furniture company, but his furniture was hella ugly. I wouldn’t have that in my second guest bedroom. I also did not understand his business plan. He’s been successfully stripping for over six years and he’s only managed to save up about $13,000? How is that possible? Oh yeah, he’s spending all his money on a gorgeous beachfront house and fancy car and other stuff. If he really wanted to succeed, he would live more modestly, so I had no sympathy for him either. I could save over $13,000 in three years and I have a modest job with no stripping money on the side. That being said, being a stripper looks like fun. I think I’d like being a stripper. Mainly, I’d like tearing my pants off. I need to get a pair of those. I applaud strippers, but I don’t think they’re all drugged idiots. One final comment, sandbar parties sound like the best idea ever. I wouldn’t watch this film again. If you buy the DVD, I guess there is an extended scene of Matt Bomer stripping, and honestly, that’s worth it.
[My Rating: 3/10]
December 5: Where the Boys Are
I’ve been meaning to watch this movie for ages! Ever since I read about her in Entertainment Weekly (remember when I was published in that magazine twice last year? Of course you do. I’ll never forget!), I’ve been obsessed with Dolores Hart. She was a promising young actress that decided to give up a decent career to become a nun. I applaud people like this. I may not be a big supporter of religion, but I don’t scoff at anybody who follows their heart. She’s still a voting member of the Academy, and I should probably write to her for an autograph. I wonder if she’d do that? In this film, she costars with George Hamilton, who might never have been the greatest actor, but was awfully handsome at his prime. I’ve seen him in person when he came to Des Moines on a tour of La Cage Aux Folles and he’s a bit orange now, but still charming in that way that charming people are always charming. You know what I mean. I should write to him for an autograph, too. I adored his work in one of my favorite films, Light in the Piazza. When I finish with all these ridiculous resolution movies, I’m going to enjoy watching that one again. It’s so beautiful. One of the greatest romantic travel movies ever made. Anyway, in this film, Dolores stars as a young college student who is too smart for her own good (a phrase I don’t believe in, but is fitting here) on spring break in Florida. What a dream! I’ve never gone to one of those orgy/drug/libertine-fueled spring breaks. I don’t think I’d like it. I might. Who knows? She expects to study and catch up on work (HA!) while she’s there with her ridiculous friends, but as anybody who has ever vacationed in Florida knows, that will not be happening! She falls in love with George Hamilton’s character. And who wouldn’t? He was handsome, rich, smart, and had a promising future. Plus, he was rather sweet. You just don’t get that combination very often. As happens in any teenage drama, they fall in and out of love before realizing that they must be with each other and there’s the required car accident. It’s very generic, but the writing of the film really elevated it. It was very well done. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“I’d rather starve than go home without an even tan.” Preach, gurl. I’m the same.
“Ugh…more snow. If I see another flake, I’ll barf.” Straight from my mouth.
“Sophistication isn’t a matter of where you come from, or even what your family does–it’s the way you think, your outlook in life, what you’ve experienced.” Thank God!
“Gahds! It must be nice to go out with someone who wears a suit.” Indeed!
[My Rating: 8/10]
December 6: The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
This is not the place for a discussion of my theological beliefs, but the older I get, the more and more religion annoys me. I don’t think it is necessary in modern society. I don’t have any problem with people who choose to go to church or pray before a meal, but the way that America is filled with God is very upsetting to me. That’s one of the many things I love about Europe, it’s wonderful secularism. I don’t think that politicians here should use a book written thousands of years ago as a moral guideline, especially when they ignore other things for their own gain. (Like this whopper: Ezekial 23:20: There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.) Gay marriage should be legalized on a federal level. If it upsets God so much, I’m sure he’ll find a way to let us know. So, if you see any burning bushes or whatever, do let me know. That being said, I’ve always been intrigued by religions–all of them–I am fascinated by their traditions and beliefs and the people that follow them. I may not be a Catholic, but I certainly enjoy wandering around the Vatican. I’m not Muslim, but I love taking tea at the Mosquée de Paris. I should get onto my review. This film was about the Marian apparitions that took place at Fatima. Three children claim that the Virgin Mary appeared to them and told them to return at certain times to hear revelations. She told them secrets and the future and things to do, like build a church. What is that about? What is the point of a church? It’s an expensive building for an invisible entity? And we’re supposedly so modern. Why not use that money to build shelters or feed people? The children are criticized and defamed by the locals and government, but they start coming around to the idea. It’s a romanticized look at the story, which I’ve read a lot about as it’s a fascinating tale, and it’s well acted, but it was sickly-sweet and in the end, rather unpalatable. [My Rating: 4/10]
December 7: Love Finds Andy Hardy
Like most fans of Judy Garland, we absolutely adore her incredible talents–her prowess at acting and the amazing way she belts out a tune. Have you ever heard “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows?” I think it is one of the most beautiful songs ever sung. Here you go:
But, for as much as we love all that, we’re also obsessed with her later years and the pills and drugs and her unfortunate death. We’re so accustomed to this image that when we see movies like this one, where she is just getting her start in acting, it’s a refreshing delight to see her so young and innocent and still so very talented. In this film she plays Andy’s unexpected love interest. His girl has gone to her grandmother’s for Christmas and he agrees to take his friend’s girl to the Christmas dance. Annoyingly, she starts becoming far too attracted to Andy for his comfort. To top it off, Judy’s character is sweetly in love with him, too! It’s a cute picture, but nonessential. I think nonessential has been my word of 2012. [My Rating: 5/10]
MOVIE of the WEEK: Brief Encounter This truly is a whopper of a film that I’ve thought a lot about after watching it. Do see it.