Good news, it seems that my reign of terror may be coming to an end. Last week Van Johnson died and I had absolutely nothing to do with it! I'm thrilled. I mean, about the fact that I didn't cause it ... not Van ... yeah ...
Meanwhile, poor Van Johnson. However, he was like 92 ... a good long life. Anyway, I've only seen 2 Van Johnson movies in my life: In the Good Old Summertime and Yours, Mine, and Ours.
In the Good Old Summertime is one of my favorite Judy Garland films ever. The teaming of Judy and Van is a little strange, I admit, but it's never bothered me too much. He's no Gene Kelly, mind you, but he was pretty funny and entertaining.
I think that's all I really have to say about him. There are some actual good articles about him here and here
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Good news, it seems that my reign of terror may be coming to an end. Last week Van Johnson died and I had absolutely nothing to do with it! I'm thrilled. I mean, about the fact that I didn't cause it ... not Van ... yeah ...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Good News: One of my favorite Christmas movies—a little gem called Holiday Affair—is finally out on DVD! It's not one of the most popular Christmas movies, but I think it should be. I happened to catch it one day a few years ago on TCM, and having never heard of it, I was surprised at how fabulous it turned out be. I definitely recommend making it a regular party of your Christmas movie line-up.
Janet Leigh stars as a young widowed mother who's working as a comparison shopper during the Christmas season. After a salesman, played by Robert Mitchum, finds her out and doesn't turn her in to the authorities, he gets fired and she feels guilty so she tries to be nice. Then he buys her kid a train set and things get quickly out of hand. Robert Mitchum develops a bit of a crush and finds ways to see Janet Leigh and her kid. To complicate matters, Janet Leigh is engaged to this very dorky but dependable fellow, Karl. (Or Karrrllll if you're her mother-in-law.) To be honest, Karl might be the best part of the movie. He's a total nerd, but kind of great.
The strange thing about this movie is it brings together two people who I primarily know from horror films. The only other Janet Leigh movie I've ever seen is Psycho, (and Bye Bye Birdie, but that's in color so it doesn't count.) so it was a little weird to see her in a light romantic holiday movie where she doesn't get murdered.
Then there's Robert Mitchum. Cape Fear, anyone? He does creep me out just a little in this film, partly because he's borderline stalking poor Janet Leigh and her son. He's just one creepy man.
But the horror film images associated with these two don't hinder Holiday Affair. In fact, they may make it even more amazing.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I watched Vertigo on Monday. I've seen it many times and every time I wonder why I continue to watch it. But every time I have a chance to see it, I want to. I think I keep watching it because the story is so dang complicated that I forget exactly what happens and I feel I need to see it again in order to remember what the heck it's about. After seeing it many times, I think I finally have it down.
It starts Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. In it Jimmy is, in a word, crazy. He starts going crazy at the beginning and gets progressively crazier, partly on account of Kim Novak and partly on account of him being him.
I'm not going to divulge many details of the story. It's complicated and has a number of twists. But the gist is Jimmy Stewart follows Kim Novak around. There are some good Hitchcock-style disturbing moments, and an incredibly strange dream sequence that makes the movie truly worth watching. Also, Jimmy has a friend, Midge, who's in love with him and is rather desperate. But with a name like Midge, you can't blame her for being desperate. (I apologize if you're name is Midge. I'm sure you're not desperate.) She may also contribute to Jimmy's craziness.
The first ... two hours of the movie are pretty slow. They involve a lot of long driving shots. Driving through San Fransisco. Driving by the ocean. Driving through the country. You name it, they drive there. There are also many long shots of Jimmy observing Kim Novak in a slightly creepy way. Observing Kim at the museum. Observing Kim in the cemetery. Observing Kim in the garden. Lots of observing. Finally, towards the end, things pick up, questions are answered, and everyone's happy. Or disturbed.
Incidentally, if you've seen this movie, I highly recommend watching it with someone who hasn't seen it and trying to convince them that various people in the movie are going to kill Jimmy Stewart. It works surprisingly well depending on who your victim is. I really had my roommate going on Monday.
Monday, November 3, 2008
After the whole McDonald's/Wicked Witch of the East debacle, and inspired by a pair of black and white striped tights at Goodwill, I decided to be the Wicked Witch of the East for Halloween this year. But I knew I had to do it right: with a house on top of me.
My wonderful boyfriend (who may or may not think I'm totally nuts) offered to make me a house to wear. After carefully considering my request that it not be a box, and that it allow me to move around freely (I'm not high maintenance) this is the amazing costume we ended up with:
Yeah, that's me, dead. My shoes are in fact red, even though they don't look it.
We also made my boyfriend an awesome Wizard costume, consisting mostly of green duct tape:
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Ok, ok these probably aren't the best Vincent Price movies. After looking through the Vincent Price filmography on imdb.com, I've come to realize that there are approximately 100 movies of his I haven't seen. Somehow I've missed out on some amazing sounding movies, such as "Confessions of an Opium Eater," "More Dead Than Alive," and "Bloodbath at the House of Death."
So this list isn't exactly comprehensive. But they are my favorites, so that's something.
Before I reveal my amazing list, I have to confess: I love Vincent Price! Especially around this time of year. Yes, he's over the top and yes, his movies are generally kind of lame, but have you heard him talk? Amazing.
Anyway, on to the list ...
A nice country girl moves into a big creepy mansion with some creepy relatives and basically everything you would expect to happen in a big creepy mansion with creepy relatives happens.
The Tomb of Ligeia
I'm pretty sure this is the first Vincent Price movie I ever saw. It's one of many he made based on Edgar Allen Poe stories. They all have the same weird 60's feel, and star fairly ugly people. Except Vincent, of course. Anyway, in this one, he's obsessed with his dead wife and believes she may be haunting his new hot wife. Craziness ensues.
The Fall of the House of Usher
Another Edgar Allen Poe inspired film, featuring Vincent with some very white hair. According to imdb.com, one of it's taglines is "Edgar Allan Poe's overwhelming tale of EVIL & TORMENT." Not sure how you can pass that up.
Ok, I realize that Vincent doesn't technically star in it, but it's still a great movie! And he plays the old, sad, slightly creepy man living in an attic quite well.
The Pit and the Pendulum
Another Poe one. If you're into medieval torture methods and burying people alive, this one's for you.
House on Haunted Hill
A good ole' black and white horror film. There are actually some pretty scary moments, I think, mixed in with some cheezy special effects. It's pretty much the whole package.
House of Wax
He's sure in a lot of movies with the word "House" in the title. Anyway, this movie is a good time. Vincent is pretty creepy in it and there are some genuinely scary parts. Also huge vats of wax, if you're into that sort of thing.
Honorable Mention: (This didn't make the list because it's not actually a movie and Vincent Price is not actually in it) Sunday, Cruddy Sunday, an excellent Simpsons episode where Marge and Lisa use the "Vincent Price's Egg Magic" craft kit, and he answers their customer service questions when they have problems with it. He also pops up at the end driving a bus.
Meanwhile, if you're in the mood for some Vincent Price this Halloween, TCM will be showing a number of his films on the 30th and 31st, starting with The Tingler.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I foolishly decided to show The Sting for Old Movie Night this weekend. Big mistake! Knowing my history of killing people by movie watching, I actually had the thought a couple weeks ago that this may kill Paul, but I was hoping this time would be different since I was making plans in advance to watch it. The last three times it happened, I had watched the movie on a whim and the death came the next day. But this was scheduled! It was different! But really I only killed him sooner.
So I'm sorry, world, for taking the wonderful Paul Newman. Meanwhile, I loved The Sting! It went over well at Old Movie Night and I served a number of Newman's Own products. It was a lovely tribute evening.
I really need to watch The Sting again because 1. I know there are a lot of things I missed ... it's pretty complicated, and 2. It's awesome. Paul Newman is so smooth and cool and funny and rather dreamy. Where has he been all my life?? A friend of mine also gave me Butch Cassidy to watch and I'm looking forward to that. I sure hope Robert Redford is in good health.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
TCM showed The Women the other night, I'm guessing because the remake just came out which looks to be basically terrible. However, I found the original 1939 version to be fabulous!
I was thinking about renting it last week after all the talk about the remake, but lucky me, TCM was one step ahead of me. I do love them.
Anyway, the film follows a group of incredibly spoiled housewives who are friends only in that they see each other regularly. I'm not sure you can call many of their interactions friendly, per se; they're generally pretty cruel to each other. Nevertheless, they continue to have lunch parties and observe all the usual proprieties while mostly complaining to each other about their husbands. These are the ties that bind.
The opening credits involve each woman being compared to an animal. It's a little odd to say the least. I couldn't figure out the exact meaning of some of them, but I just know I wouldn't want to be the one compared to a cow.
As the film progresses we begin to learn more about each character, though it mostly revolves around Mary, played by Norma Shearer, a housewife living in her own little fairy tale world, totally oblivious to the fact that her husband is cheating on her with a perfume saleswoman, (Joan Crawford). Mary was generally much too happy and she often pranced around instead of walking like a normal person. Perhaps her husband was super annoyed by this as well. However, when she's finally crushed after hearing the news about her cheating husband, she stops prancing, thank heavens.
The best character in the film is the gossip-happy, basically insane Sylvia played by Rosalind Russell. She's just amazing and hilarious and has a very special taste in clothes. Along with her sidekick, Edith Potter (the cow in the opening credits), she easily spreads the news about Mary's husband and craziness ensues. This part was perfect for Rosiland Russell as she can talk about a mile a minute and her juicy gossip seems to fly out of her mouth before she can stop it.
The rest of the characters range from the cynical old maid to the perky young newlywed. They pretty much cover all the bases.
In some ways it reminded me of a very old fashioned Sex in the City or the like. Talking about men, some drama, some fights, and so on. It's nowhere near real life, but many of the issues they deal with can touch close to home. I think it's safe to say just about every woman can relate to at least one of the characters, unrealistic as they may be.
So I highly recommend it. It's funny in parts and serious in parts, but overall pretty entertaining. But see the remake at your own risk!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Good news, McDonald's is bringing back their Wizard of Oz Madame Alexander Dolls starting September 12th! The line up looks much better than last year's. I was so displeased with their decision to include the Wicked Witch of the East last year that I wrote a very strange letter of complaint. It was all a joke really, but apparently I was right ... at least about the flying monkey thing!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I have to be honest, I haven't seen very many Paul Newman movies. As I look through his filmography on imdb.com it's mostly the not-so-famous ones I've seen: What a Way to Go! (during my Shirley Maclaine phase, a mediocre film), The Towering Inferno (a fairly famous one I suppose, but also kind of lame), and The Hudsucker Proxy (a newer one, but good).
Clearly, I have some Paul Newman movie watching to do. I fully intend to show The Sting at Old Movie Night sometime soon. And some friends of mine watched Butch Cassidy last summer and loved it, so I guess I need to check that out. Any other suggestions?
Meanwhile, even though I can't really recommend any Paul Newman movies, I can tell you this: His figs are exceptional. I'm not kidding. Go to the grocery store of your choice and pick up some Fig Newmans. I'm eating some right now. They blow Fig Newtons out of the water, I'm telling you. Plus they're organic and have a clever name.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I just love musicals. Really, I think it's safe to say they're my favorite movie genre. What can beat people randomly breaking out into song? Nothing.
It's been a good week for musicals. On Sunday, we showed our first musical ever at Old Movie Night: Singin' in the Rain. I think it went over fairly well, though there are always going to be people who just don't get musicals. I feel sorry for them. I believe that Sunday was the first time in my life that I didn't fast forward over the ridiculously long ballet scene with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. It's not that I don't love both of them, it just goes on forever. It's right up there with the painfully long ballet in Oklahoma and the Uncle Tom's Cabin thing in The King and I.
Last night I enjoyed Grease in Grant Park with about a bazillion other people. It's really best watching a musical in such a large group. I love when people sing along clap for the songs.
Last week, I saw Mamma Mia, and I'm a little bit ashamed to say that I loved it. It was painfully corny, but isn't that what's so fun about musicals? As long as the songs are good, the corniness is acceptable. The only real problem with it was Pierce Brosnan's offensive singing. But I still highly recommend it, especially if you're an ABBA fan.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I've been enjoying the Grant Park Classic Film Fest these past couple weeks. Sure, it's kind of a pain to get down there, and parking is ridiculously expensive, but for some reason watching a movie outside with hundreds of other people is way fun.
The Odd Couple was their first feature. I had rented it awhile back and enjoyed it, but for some reason it was significantly more hilarious on the second viewing. I highly recommend this movie.
Then came The Blues Brothers this week. I was pretty excited to have the chance to watch it in downtown Chicago. It seems appropriate. There were even a few people dressed up. I'll be honest, I didn't find it as funny as The Odd Couple, but there are still some hilarious moments. About an hour and a half into the movie, the rain started pouring down and I ran for cover, missing possibly the best part of the film. It seems I may never know how this movie ends as I've tried to watch it many times, but haven't been able to see it all the way through. It's getting annoying.
I'll be on vacation for the next two weeks so I'm going to miss those movies, but when I get back they'll be showing one of my favorites, An Affair To Remember. Will I cry? Possibly.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I went to see the latest Pixar film, WALL•E, last night. It was excellent. Quite different than most Pixar films in that it's basically heart wrenching. I think I almost cried a few times. Luckily I kept myself under control. I never thought a robot's life could be such an emotional roller coaster.
By far the best part of the film was their brilliant use of two songs from Hello, Dolly: "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" and "It Only Takes a Moment." I had heard they used some clips from Hello, Dolly so I was looking forward to seeing it, but I no idea of what a large part they played in the film. WALL•E the robot has an old video tape of the movie and watches those songs constantly. They teach him about love and dancing. Isn't that what all musicals teach us, really?
So good job Pixar for integrating a great classic musical so well into a movie primarily about robots. I highly recommend seeing WALL•E. And Now I need to go watch Hello, Dolly.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I got a dreaded “TCM Schedule Change Alert” email today informing me that Cyd Charisse died yesterday. You know it's never a good sign when TCM is changing their schedule.
Strangely enough, I just happened to watch The Harvey Girls on monday night—with Cyd Charisse in one of her first film roles.
This is the third time someone has died the day after I watch one of their films. It’s starting to weird me out. Seriously. I know I watch a lot of old movies starring many people that are near death, but still. What are the odds?
Anyway, in honor of Cyd Charisse I will share my favorite Cyd Charisse moment from Singin' in the Rain:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Today would have been Judy Garland's 86th birthday. TCM is having a Judy marathon that I cannot enjoy as I, unfortunately, have a full time job that prevents me from sitting around watching TCM all day. I'm celebrating by listening to Judy Garland all day. I also had this conversation with my mother:
Me: It's Judy Garland's birthday
Mom: she's dead
Me: that doesn't mean I can't celebrate her birthday
Mom: it means she doesn't have any more birthdays
She doesn't understand me.
There's not really much to say about Judy that I haven't already said, so I'm just going to make a nice list of past Judy related posts:
Monday, June 9, 2008
So they're planning on remaking My Fair Lady. I've heard rumors of this for awhile, but they've now officially announced it. I'm excited and a little disturbed. It has the potential to be really amazing or really terrible.
They're saying Keira Knightly will play Eliza. I don't have any particular feelings towards this really; she could be good, could be bad. I'm not particularly attached to Audrey Hepburn as Eliza given the whole Julie Andrews debacle, so I'm pretty indifferent. Can Keira sing? I have no idea. But does it really matter? It's not like Audrey Hepburn sang! (I'm not bitter)
I'm much more concerned about their choice for Henry. He's really a hit or miss. From my experience, either Henry is done very well—smart, clever, and pretty mean—or is extremely effeminate and gay. I suppose one could argue that Henry is in fact gay, but I don't buy it and that's not the kind of Henry I want. Sure, there's a fine line between overly academic British man and gay British man, but we know they've done it right in the past. If they'd just copy Rex Harrison, I think we'll be pretty safe.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
I'm watching a film right now called On the Beach on TCM. It's really weird.
I came in on the middle and the first thing I saw was a guy in some sort of sci fi looking space suit. I thought it was going to be some crazy sci fi film so I stayed with it. Space suit man was wondering through some old warehouse and found a morris code machine, so he started morris coding.
Cut to a scene of a bunch of navy guys listening to his message. First I see a man baring a strong resemblance to Fred Astaire. I couldn't believe it was actually him ... this isn't the kind of movie I'd expect to see Fred in. Two seconds later, I realize Gregory Peck is standing next to him. Then I spot Anthony Perkins. This seems like such an odd combination.
Apparently it's not really a sci fi movie so I don't know what all that space suit business was about. I guess I'm going to finish watching it. We'll see how it goes.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I'll be honest, I certainly haven't seen every Doris Day movie. I just don't really enjoy the early ones. But of the ones I've seen, these are my favorites:
-The Pajama Game. This one's just ok. It's a musical, so that's a plus, but Doris kind of freaks me out in it. Plus, her name is Babe. Plus, most of the songs are pretty cheezy. But for some reason, it's the only Doris movie I've actually written about on this blog.
-That Touch of Mink. First things first, Cary Grant is in this movie. That's important. Also the woman from the Honeymooners plays Doris's roommate. Anyway, the movie is good, Cary is cute of course. There are some funny moments and plenty of 60's sexual innuendos, if you go in for that sort of thing.
-Send Me No Flowers. Rock Hudson. That's all I really need to say. In this one they're married, which makes it a little less interesting than the others (more on those soon), but it's still pretty hilarious. Rock is a hypochondriac who thinks he's dying and attempts to find a nice man to marry Doris when he bites the dust. Lots of confusion and lots of good times.
-Move Over Darling. This one's a remake of an amazing film called My Favorite Wife starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunn. Honestly, I prefer the original but Doris's version is great too. Mostly because it stars the dreamy James Garner. The best part is James trying to get out of actually sleeping with his new wife, Bianca. She's really annoying.
-Pillow Talk. The historic, very first Rock Hudson/Doris Day film. It's great because it features a womanizing Rock Hudson, a party line, and a doctor that thinks Rock is pregnant. There's an amazing song in this one, Roly Poly. I think you have to just hear it to truly understand how incredible it is. This is also the first film to feature what I call the "pre-sex song." This is the song that Doris sings while she's contemplating/getting ready for/feeling guilty about the prospect of having sex with her leading man. Typically, it's a terrible song and I almost always fast forward over it. But still, it's an integral part of many Doris Day pictures.
-The Thrill of It All. A powerful commentary on working moms and the suffering their families endure as a result of their soap commercial jobs. James Garner is in this one again, and again, looks rather dashing. It's a good one.
-The Glass Bottom Boat. This one stars Rod Tayler (of The Birds fame), playing a scientist who courts Doris after he accidentally strips her of the mermaid suit she's wearing while swimming around beneath her father's glass bottom boat. His NASA buddies soon come to believe she's a spy and madness ensues. This one features lots of ridiculous 60's futuristic gadgets, none of which actually exist today. It also includes a pre-sex song.
-Lover Come Back. I think this is my favorite. It's probably one of the dumbest, but for some reason I love it. Doris plays an advertising exec trying to land the "Vip" account—a product that Rock Hudson, a fellow advertising exec, made commercials for even though it doesn't exist. She ends up basically courting Rock, whom she believes to be the scientist that invented this Vip, and ends up singing her pre-sex song after Rock plays the "no one will ever love me" card, and she feels the need to show him how much of a man he really is.
So there you go. I highly suggest watching all of these movies. And I've come to realize that I really only watch Doris Day movies for the handsome men that star in them.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I just got done watching Carousel for the first time. Now, I don't really like sad movies, so I've avoided watching it. But it happened to be on TV so I figured I'd check it out.
I only managed to catch maybe an hour ... and I cried three times. I can't imagine how many times I'd cry if I actually watched the entire picture.
I've always had a problem with certain songs making me cry. My whole life there have just been random songs that I would cry at, and today I discovered a new one: You'll Never Walk Alone. Every time they sang it I cried uncontrollably. And they sang it like 10 times.
Meanwhile, since I came in at the middle, I don't know exactly what this movie is about. But, I'll be honest, what I saw was a little weird. I think Gordon MacRae was in heaven. Or maybe purgatory. I don't really know. He was dead, but not. And of course it featured the signature Rogers and Hammerstein way-too-long ballet sequence that doesn't make any sense. Nevertheless, I'm tempted to watch it again. I would like to see it in its entirety. I'll just have to make sure I'm up for the crying that will surly ensue.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I just finished Julie Andrews' memoir Home: A Memoir of My Early Years. It was pretty fabulous.
I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it since I knew it was only about her life up to Mary Poppins, but learning about her childhood turned out to be very interesting if not a little bit depressing. She has a great attitude despite it all. The stories she tells about the war and her vaudeville work in England as a child are especially fascinating. And of course her stories about My Fair Lady and Camelot are great.
I also learned that Julie and I share some interesting characteristics such as a fear of balloons popping (although she actually has a good reason, growing up hearing the bombings during the war. I don't have such a good reason. Actually, I have no reason), and a tendency to cry at a particularly beautiful or sad piece of music.
The most exciting part of Julie's life by far (according to me) was when she went to see the Judy Garland concert at Carnegie Hall! And she loved it. Awesome. I have so much more respect for her knowing she's a Judy fan.
Monday, April 28, 2008
To be honest, I was not expecting this movie to be good. I’m typically a little leery of movies that feature actual monkeys, but Cary Grant was in it, so I figured something good had to come out of it. Turns out it’s fabulous!
The story centers around Dr. Barnaby Fulton played by Cary Grant and his wife, Edwina, played by Ginger Rogers. Barnaby is a chemist in the process of creating a magic potion that will make everyone young again and Edwina is his obedient wife who selflessly supports him at the expense of all her wants and needs. Despite the fact that Marilyn Monroe’s picture is plastered all over the case and DVD, she only plays Barbaby’s boss’s completely idiotic secretary ... barely a supporting part, but whatever. Her random one-liners are hilarious.
Anyway, Barnaby has begun to test his magic potion on monkeys who are caged in his lab. One night when the lab is empty, one of the apparently brilliant monkeys breaks out of her cage and begins mixing her own version of the potion. I was shocked at how well trained this monkey was. Then, for some inexplicable reason, she takes her potion and dumps it into the water cooler. Needless to say, insanity ensues when pretty much everyone takes a drink from the water cooler of youth and, depending on how much they drank, goes back to a different stage in their lives. Apparently they were all completely insane in their younger years.
The movie was made in 1952 when Cary Grant was mostly playing the classy, debonair type, but in this film he goes back to his slapstick comedy days. He and Ginger were completely hilarious especially when they drink a few cups of coffee made with water from the water cooler of youth, and turn into ten-year-olds who wreak havoc on everyone they come into contact with.
Watching it reminded me of my absolute favorite movie what was ever featured on Mystery Science Theater, The Leech Woman, about a woman desperate enough to be young again that she kills pretty much every man she sees. That one has darker theme, obviously ... and no monkeys, but the main idea is still there. Plus, the woman in it ends up looking like a monkey, so that’s something.
Monday, April 14, 2008
The next installment in my Bette Davis phase is Now, Voyager, an excellent film about an incredibly ugly spinster named Charlotte who goes to the loony bin, gets a makeover (thank heavens!), falls in love with a married man on a cruise, defies her overbearing mother, and eventually becomes the confident, lovely woman she was meant to be (cue inspirational music)! It’s quite the uplifting story without being too corny, though I’m not really sure the ending left me completely satisfied. But nevertheless, you’re pulling for poor Charlotte throughout the film, and she doesn’t disappoint.
This is considered one of Bette Davis’s best movies, and I have to say it’s probably my favorite so far. She was nominated for a best actress Oscar, but lost to Greer Garson for Mrs. Miniver. I’m a little disappointed that Bette didn’t win anything for this movie considering how terribly ugly she had to look in the beginning of the film. Now let’s be honest, Bette is a little strange looking to begin with. So intentionally uglifying her is near painful. She had some guts. The eyebrows. They haunt me.
In other movies where Bette Davis plays a character named Charlotte, last month I watched Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte. This provided many jokes while watching Now, Voyager, given the same name thing. Anyway, in Sweet Charlotte, Bette again plays a crazy person who falls in love with a married man, but this time she’s old and lives with her crazy maid in a huge old house that is going to be torn down to make room for a new highway.
Many years earlier (when she was young and not as crazy), Charlotte had plans to run off with her married boyfriend. Shortly after discussing their plans he was brutally murdered, sending Charlotte into a black hole of insanity. The movie picks up years later when she’s old and crazy (and screams a lot!), and is wondering, along with the rest of the town, who killed her former married boyfriend. In the meantime, she refuses to move out of her house and causes much trouble for the local government types who are trying to tear it down, so they bring in Charlotte’s younger cousin, Miriam, to take care of things. Craziness ensues as Miriam has other plans that don’t so much involve getting Charlotte to move out of the house as they do making Charlotte just go completely crazy. It’s basically an insane movie and Bette Davis is a little weird in it, to say the least. I’m not sure I’ll watch it again, but it had some interesting twists and some disturbing moments if you like that kind of thing.
So if you’re trying to decide between the two, Now, Voyager is certainly the more legit, quality film. But if you’re up for some screaming, crazy, old Bette Davis action (who isn’t now and then?), you might want to check out Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Well this is weird. Charlton Heston died tonight at 84 ... the night after I watched my very first Charlton Heston movie! Now I feel a little bad about making so much fun of of the movie, but I still say it deserves it.
Anyway, the reason this is freaking me out is because a very similar thing happened when Katherine Hepburn died. PBS happened to be showing Pat and Mike one night and though I'd heard of it and had seen parts, I'd never bothered to sit down and watch the whole thing. But that night I decided to watch it, and the next day Katherine Hepburn died. I was a little weirded out because I really don't watch Katherine Hepburn movies on a regular basis. It all seemed very odd.
So now I'm a little wary of watching any movies starring people who are near death. But tonight I'm watching a Bette Davis movie, so I think I'm safe.
Last night AMC showed Planet of the Apes. I'd never seen it before, and for some inexplicable reason I felt the need to watch it. At least to get the jokes.
All I can say is: weirdest.movie.ever.
I really didn't quite know what I was in for when I committed to watching it. I'd probably seen a couple clips and heard lots of people making fun of it ... and rightly so, but I didn't really know the story or the ending.
In addition to being really, really strange, I thought the story was a little uncreative. Ok, so apes and humans switched places. Basically everything that was an issue for the apes in the movie has at one time been an issue for humans in real life. Every debate we've had concerning religion/science/evolution was the exact same debate for the apes. They even called Charlton Heston the "missing link." Couldn't they come up with a new phrase?? Plus they spoke English. I was a little disappointed that they couldn't produce something more original! Pretty much any 5 year old could come up with the same concept.
And why, why did the apes ride horses?? Couldn't they come up with some other animal that real life humans don't ride? Just for something more interesting. Maybe a buffalo.
And why can't the humans speak? If they really lived long before these apes as we do now, did they like devolve and loose the ability to speak? Doesn't make sense.
I'm also not quite sure what the point of the movie was. Are we supposed to feel bad for the animals in the zoo? Do they want to convince us that evolution is true and someday a talking ape is going to show up and be the missing link? Is it supposed to prepare us for the day that apes inevitably take over the world?
Ok, there are a lot of unanswered questions here. Perhaps if I bothered to find answers to them, I'd have much more respect for the movie. But I don't plan on taking the time for that. I'm pretty sure it's one of those movies only men can understand. And I'm ok with that.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The other evening I watched an interesting Joan Crawford movie, Sudden Fear, with Jack Palance. The only other thing I'd seen him in was City Slickers where he was quite old, and let me tell you, as a young man he's very, very strange looking! That worked for this movie, however, as he played Joan's husband whom she suspects is trying to kill her. It wasn't a bad movie. There were definitely some very corny moments, but overall I enjoyed it.
This movie came as part of my sort of Joan Crawford phase that started last month when TCM showed this amazing documentary, and a marathon of Joan films. The documentary was great and I learned that she was basically nuts. She embodied pretty much every crazy Hollywood stereotype, and that is why I love her!
Her daughter was interviewed in the documentary and let me tell you, that girl doesn't sugar coat anything! It was fascinating and made me wanted to watch Mommie Dearest since I hadn't seen it in many years. All I have to say is, that movie is weird!
First of all, Faye Dunnaway just looks creepy through the whole movie. Joan didn't always look that creepy!
If you don't know, Mommie Dearest is based on the book by Joan's daughter, Christina, who is ridiculously bitter towards her mother. I have no doubt that Joan was a terrible mother, but Christina tries so hard to make sure everyone knows what an awful person she was that it just gets kind of embarrassing. It's pretty obvious that she's most bitter about being left out of Joan's will, along with the rest of Joan's kids. So Christina basically uses the movie (and book) as payback, especially at the end when she so slyly points out that Joan didn't manage to get the last word. Ok, we get it, your mother was terrible, bla bla. It was also a great way to make money off her mother, since Joan didn't actually leave her anything. Brilliant!
Anyway, all this to say that this did not change my view of Joan Crawford. In fact, I may like her more. I intend to watch many more Joan Crawford movies.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I use Google Analytics to see how many visitors come to this site and where they come from. By far the best feature is the search keywords report that shows you what people are searching for to get to your site.
I noticed there are a number of questions that people search for on a regular basis, so I figured I’d try to answer the most common (and interesting) questions all in one neat little post.
—Did Christopher Plummer like The Sound of Music/Julie Andrews/the children?
This is by far the most common question (it comes in many different forms), mostly because of this post about his commentary on the DVD. He definitely did not like working with the kids at first because they stole his thunder, but he seemed to warm up to them. I also think he resented the fact most people only knew him from that movie. But it seems he's gotten over it for the most part.
—When is Debbie Reynolds' birthday?
April 1, 1932
—When is Julie Andrews' birthday?
October 1, 1935
—Is Tony Curtis gay?
He may look/act/sound gay, but I would say he isn't. Actually, he's been married 6 times; kind of the opposite of gay.
—Is Julie Andrews still alive?
—What color are Bette Davis's eyes?
I have no idea because, as I stated here, I've never seen a color Bette Davis film. Ok, i just looked it up, they were blue.
—Are Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett gay?
Uhhh ... not that I know. Though I don't know for sure, of course, but seeing as they're both married (to men) and have been for most of their adult lives, I'd say it's unlikely.
—How does "Some Like it Hot" relate to "The Graduate?"
I have no idea. I'll be honest, I've only gotten one search for this, but I thought it was fascinating.
—Is Charmain Carr still alive?
Yes, she's not even that old. Goodness!
—i love love julieandrews !!!!!!!!!!11
Yeah, I know it's not a question, but it's funny.
Friday, March 21, 2008
As is my tradition, I am watching Easter Parade to celebrate the season. Here is my post from last Easter.
This year, I'm sharing my favorite things about Easter Parade, compiled while watching the movie. Here are my Easter Parade favorites:
- Judy moment: When she makes her terrible face in order to show Fred she can get the attention of random men walking down the street.
- Coat: Peter Lawford's ridiculously ugly fur coat.
- Quote: Don Hewes: A girl dancer has to be exotic; she has to be - a peach.
Hannah Brown: I suppose I'm a lemon!
- Musical number: The "vaudeville" type medley; especially when fred says "pow" in the train song at the end.
- Fred moment: Probably Steppin' Out with My Baby. With an honorable mention for the Drum song.
- Pointless scene: When the stupid waiter takes 10 minutes to explain every detail of his salad to Judy and Peter Lawford.
- Dashing British man: Peter Lawford
- Insane dancing: Anne Miller during Shakin' the Blues Away. Especially when she spins out of control and her hair whips her in the face.
- Costume: Judy's purple and blue outfit for the second half of the piano song. Especially the bring purple shoes!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I can't believe I've never written about Bette Davis. I apologize for that gross oversight. She's amazing!
Anyway, this evening I enjoyed a fabulous Bette Davis picture, Dead Ringer. In it, Bette plays a down-and-out middle aged bar owner in desperate need of a corset, who murders and assumes the identity of her well-to-do, corset-wearing sister (also played by Bette, of course) who married the man she was in love with some twenty years earlier. Unfortunately, she doesn't plan things out quite as well as she should have and things quickly go awry, making for a fantastic picture. I like to think it could make a nice sequel to The Parent Trap.
This is just one of the many weird, creepy Bette Davis movies I love. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is, of course, a favorite. I tend to like the old, creepy Bette to the younger, creepy Bette. She's really quite interesting; at times she can be rather glamorous, but at other times she's downright disturbing. I guess that's what makes her great.
I recently saw All About Eve for the first time, which was excellent. I vaguely remember this Mr. Skeffington movie, featuring a more glamorous Bette.
The sad thing is, these are about all the Bette Davis movies I've ever seen. I also realized tonight that I've never actually seen a color Bette Davis film. I'm not even sure that she made any movies in color. I need to look into this.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wow, this movie is incredible. If you like movies about blond little girls murdering people, this one is for you!
I won't divulge too much of the story because there was a nice little message at the end of the film asking me not to. But basically, the prim and proper 8 year old Rhoda is all sweetness on the outside, and all evil on the inside. And when her nemesis at school drowns mysteriously, everyone starts to wonder about sweet little Rhoda. And things just get better from there.
I'll be honest, this movie is incredibly corny. On the bright side, the joke possibilities are endless. It's not supposed to be a comedy, but it certainly can be with little effort. There's lots of 50's psychological theories thrown around, which is always ... enlightening. There's also a fabulous drunk lady that points at people a lot.
The first half of the movie is a lot of talking, but in the second half, when everyone starts freaking out, things really pick up. Yes, it's very, very corny, but there are enough disturbing parts to make it so worth the watch.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Ok, maybe this is a thought everyone's had, but I just realized it yesterday: Max and Elsa are perfect for each other!
I'm talking The Sound of Music, of course. I stayed home sick yesterday, and seeing as daytime TV is incredibly lame, I threw in The Sound of Music figuring I could try to fall asleep to it. As I laid on the couch with my eyes closed just listening to it, I realized that Max and the Baroness are meant to be.
First of all, she laughs at his ridiculous jokes that no one else thinks are funny. He must appreciate that. Secondly, they're equally conniving and manipulative. Together they'd be unstoppable! Thirdly, when the Captain dumps her, she states that she needs someone who needs her money. Certainly no one needs her money more than Max. He's basically a leech! Plus it's very convenient that the Von Trapps leave Austria; Max and Elsa are free to express their love without any awkwardness between Max and the Captain.
Granted, the Baroness is way too pretty for Max, but really that shouldn't matter. He probably should have made a move right after the Captain dumped her before she left for Vienna, but I think he still has time. Hopefully he realizes how perfect she is for him and takes some action. I think they'd be very happy together.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Wow, Cary Grant is amazing. I watched North by Northwest last night for the first time ever. Of course I’d seen the scene with the plane and the end where they’re on Mount Rushmore, but I never had any idea what was actually going on.
This movie is incredibly long, but I didn’t get bored. There were a couple parts that probably could have been cut shorter, but they weren’t too bad.
Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a Madison avenue exec, who gets mixed up with some bad guys, out of no fault of his own. They think he's this Kaplan fella, a guy the CIA made up in order to trap them. Thornhill realizes they’ve made a mistake, but can’t convince them, and manages to get into all kinds of trouble (and meet a very forward blond) ... all while wearing the same grey suit. He wears this suit for like 3 days straight at least. Lucky for him, he looks pretty hot in it. And it matches his hair nicely.
This movie is one of the more confusing Hitchcock ones, I think. Not quite like Vertigo (I still get confused about that one), but there’s a lot to it and you have to pay attention. But isn’t that what’s great about Hitchcock? He doesn’t miss anything.
As far as Hitchcock movies go, I probably still prefer Psycho or The Birds, but this is definitely one I’ll be watching again.
Did I mention I love Cary Grant in a grey suit?
Saturday, February 23, 2008
So, Mary Poppins fans across the country are all up in arms about this report on ABC News the other night. They claim that Mary is lying when she tells Bert she can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backwards. First of all, why the heck did this make it onto the news? Second of all, duh! I've known it was wrong basically my entire life, but never actually bothered to get into it because it really doesn't matter. But now they've made it an issue.
The real problem is not that she doesn't really say it backwards, but that she is inconsistent in her delivery. For most of it, she's just saying pieces of the word forward by letter but in backward order until she gets to the "repus" part when she suddenly puts the letters backward. The thing is, if she would have said the entire word backward, letter by letter, it would have sounded ridiculous. Like this kid.
Meanwhile, are we all just going to ignore the fact that Mary Poppins itself is basically one huge lie? Pretty much everything that happens in that movie is completely impossible; Mary flies around, jumps into a chalk pavement picture, tidies up rooms with a snap of her fingers, etc ... In light of all that, can't we just let this Supercal thing slide?
This does become an issue when Julie Andrews herself runs around at her one of her public appearances, and fulfills a request from one of the innocent children in the audience to say Supercal backwards. Now she's lying as a real person, in real life, to real children sitting in the audience blindly believing her. That is the real outrage.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Well, I experienced my first James Bond film last weekend, Goldfinger. It was fabulous. And I realized what a tragedy it is that I've not seen any James Bond films until now.
Yes, it's incredibly corny, but that's the fun part. Plus he has all kinds of fun 60's gadgets, including a rather primitive GPS system. And I had already seen the Mythbusters James Bond special, so I was pleased to finally get to see their inspiration.
I'm guessing that all the Bond films are pretty similar, but in this one, James is attempting to stop a certain Mr. Goldfinger from stealing the country's gold. There are a number of car chases, lots of explosions, and a couple deaths-by=hat. And along the way, James makes out with every single blond girl he runs into. One of them gets painted gold because of him and his skanky ways. That was the best part. I started to have trouble telling the difference between the women, they basically all looked the same, but it didn't seem to cause a problem. They're really just there for James to make out with and then they die so he can meet a new one.
In the end, it was silly and over the top and completely unbelievable, but beyond entertaining. And the song during the opening titles sung by a crazy 60's lady with excessive vibrato was fantastic! I definitely need to see some more Bond films!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
One of the few "current" things I really enjoy is The Simspons. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I can’t help it. It’s a great show. The main reason I love it is because they constantly make references to the corny, old things that I love. These are the jokes that most people under the age of 70 miss out on. So I thought I'd put together a top ten list of my favorite references to old movies/people/shows on The Simspsons.
10. The Sound of Music episode. I just saw this one for the first time yesterday and it may or may not be the inspiration for this blog post. Lisa takes on the task of tutoring the yokel children only to have Krusty turn them into a musical act for his show.
9. The Shining episode. The Simpsons look after Mr. Burns' summer cottage and Homer goes crazy. It's just a part of the Treehouse of Horror episode, but still wonderful.
8. The Music Man episode. A smooth talking fellow shows up in Springfield and convinces the town to get a monorail by singing a song not unlike "Ya Got Trouble."
7. Bart in Rear Window. Bart breaks his leg and is confined to his bedroom for the summer where he spies on the Flanders home next door. He comes to believe Ned has killed his wife, and Bart and Lisa investigate. Through his telescope, Bart also sees Jimmy Stewart spying on him through his camera. Brilliant!
6. Ma Kettle. Why any of the writers for The Simpsons know who Ma Kettle is, I can't imagine, but they do, and they throw a Ma Kettle reference in every so often. This one is my favorite from Cheif Wiggum while arresting Marge for smuggling drugs:
Wiggum: Save it, Ma Peddle!
Lou: "Ma Peddle"?
Wiggum: It's a reference to Ma Kettle, the popular movie character from the '40s.
Lou: If you have to explain it, it's not good, Chief.
5. The Mary Poppins episode. The Simpsons hire a nanny, Shary Bobbins, who wins the childrens' affections by singing such songs as, "Cut Every Corner" and "A Boozehound Named Barney."
4. Paul McCartney and Apu. Lisa becomes a vegetarian and after her family gives her crap for it, she ends up at the Kwik-e-Mart where Paul and Linda McCartney are (for some inexplicable reason) hanging out on the roof. There are too many Beatles references in this episode to mention, and Paul and Linda do their own voices.
3. Smithers as Judy Garland. Really one of my favorite Simpsons moments. Homer gets Smithers high and things get a little weird:
Smithers: This suit used to belong to Judy Garland. Uh, we could sing a song, if you don't mind being Mickey Rooney.
Homer: You mean that guy on "60 Minutes" who yells all the time?
2. Robert Goulet at Bart's Casino. Robert Goulet plays himself and is booked to sing at Mr. Burns' new casino, but Bart gets him at the airport and brings him to his treehouse casino where he sings "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" and whacks Milhouse with a microphone. Robert Goulet isn't in much of the episode, but when he is, it's hilarious:
Robert Goulet: Are you sure this is the Casino? Mr. Burns' Casino? I think I should call my manager...
Nelson: Your manager says for you to shut up!
Robert Goulet: Vera said that?
1. My Fair Lady episode. Lisa teaches Groundskeeper Willie to be a proper gentleman while they sing songs like "Wouldn't it be Adequate," "What Flows from the Nose, Should not Go on My Clothes," and "Indoors All Night." This episode is doubly wonderful because, not only is My Fair Lady my favorite musical, but Groundskeeper Willie is my favorite Simpsons character. It's like they wrote it just for me.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Let’s be honest, this is not a great movie. First, Doris Day’s hair is atrocious. Second, John Raitt may have been successful in stage musicals, but he’s really not a looker. Third, most of the songs in this movie are extremely lame. Hey There? Possibly the cheesiest song ever made. And the one they sing at the picnic is so bad I can’t even remember the name.
But what can we expect? How good can a movie about union pajama factory workers be? And the main character’s name is Babe. I realize this movie was made about 40 years a go, but watching it today, that name only conjures up images of an annoying talking pig.
The film’s main redeeming quality happens to be one of the non-lame songs: Hernando’s Hideaway. Ok, it’s a lame song. But at least it’s lame and awesome. Also, it will still be stuck in your head for days after you watch the movie. And you won’t be able to remember all the words so you’ll make up some of your own. All the qualities of a perfect song.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this movie. I actually kind of like it. It’s one of those movies you can watch over and over and completely make fun of every time. It keeps your mind sharp. I would recommend watching it if you’re so inclined, but be prepared for extreme cheesiness and really terrible Doris Day hair.
I love awards shows, but I don't really know why, seeing as most of the people I like are dead. Nevertheless, I watch them. Typically my favorite part is the "In Memoriam" video, or the Lifetime Achievement type awards if it's given to someone good and old. This year's memoriam video was particularly sad since we lost on of my favorites, Deborah Kerr.
I was rather amused to see Mickey Rooney there presenting an award. I don't know why they had him there really, and he kind of rambled on forever about who knows what. He was a little crazy, as usual, and extremely old, but he's always entertaining. I was shocked at how easily he walked out on stage, especially after a number of people younger than him had trouble making it to he podium. It also made me want to watch some old Mickey/Judy movies. They're always fun.
I always wished he had just married Judy Garland. Maybe her life would have been a little more normal. But then again, maybe it would have been even more insane. Instead, he married about 85 other women and had 9 children. But he has been married to his current wife for 30 years, so that's something.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I just watched The Graduate for the first time. It was interesting. I’m kind of surprised I hadn’t seen it before, but apparently the opportunity had never arose. But my friend purchased they new 40th Anniversary DVD, so we had to check it out.
I’m not sure if I liked it or not. I think I did. I’m pretty sure I would watch it again. I thought I knew quite a bit about it; I knew Mrs. Robinson seduced him and I’d seen the ending. What I did not know was that some of the craziest stuff happens in the middle.
Basically it’s the story of Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, who’s just graduated from college and clearly has no ambition and is completely devoid of any purpose in life. He’s a little weird. Mrs. Robinson realizes he’s a needy, pathetic, easy target and manages to get him to her house after his graduation party where she offers him a drink, brings him upstairs, and takes off her clothes. It’s at this point that we’re treated to some borderline subliminal shots of Ann Bancroft’s boobs.
Ben rushes out in a hurry, but days later realizes that since there’s basically no meaning to his life, he might as well take Mrs. Robinson up on her sexy offer. They start a painfully awkward “relationship” consisting only of meeting at a hotel to have sex. This goes on for awhile until Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine, comes home from college and Ben becomes smitten with her after being forced by his father to take her on a date. When Mrs. Robinson insists that Ben stay away from her daughter, he takes Elaine to a strip club in an effort to repulse her, where one of the strippers twirls tassels on her boobs. It’s pretty impressive really. But despite this, Ben and the daughter hit it off and continue to see each other, much to Mrs. Robinson’s dismay. Things get complicated and basically everyone goes crazy. The end.
My favorite part of the movie is the soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel. I actually purchased it on vinyl awhile back and it’s incredible. I want to have a cheezy 60’s party just so I can play the record in the background. It would be perfect. It goes from 60’s lounge music, to depressing Simon and Garfunkel, to upbeat, slightly less depressing Simon and Garfunkel.
The camera work is also fascinating. Along with the soundtrack, it’s what makes this movie unique. The entire film is basically a series of random shots. No scene lasts very long, and it jumps rather quickly from one scene to a completely different one without warning. It really keeps you guessing.
The Graduate is a classic. I’m glad I finally saw it and I would definitely recommend watching it.
Friday, January 4, 2008
I watched this movie awhile back, but never got around to writing about it. It's based on the life of Gertrude Lawrence who I'd heard of but didn't really know anything about. It stars Julie Andrews and is directed by Robert Wise, the same fella that directed The Sound of Music. I figured I couldn't go wrong.
Anyway, Julie Andrews plays Gertrude who, as it turns out, is basically a whore, though they can't say that explicitly seeing as this movie was made in 1968. But we know what they're gettin' at. The movie simply follows Gertrude's life, comprised primarily of acting, singing, and picking up men. She has a daughter along the way somewhere in Europe that she promptly neglects in favor of high society life in America. She's a real winner; kind of the Brittany Spears of the '20s. One of her many boyfriends in the movie is played by Robert Reed, the dad on the Brady Bunch!
Julie Andrews gets some big musical numbers which is always fun, though the concept for some of them is inexplicable. I'm not sure if these were actual numbers that Gertrude performed (doubt it), or if they were made for the movie, but some of them are a little strange, to say the least. One of them involves acrobats. But I like the song.
I'm not exactly sure what to make of this movie. I learned Gertrude Lawrence was kind of a depressing individual; her life basically consisted of success in show business, and failure in pretty much every other area of life. But the musical numbers were pretty entertaining and Julie Andrews is in it. I kind of want to watch it again.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
This New Year's my friends and I enjoyed a slightly lesser-known Hitchcock film, Strangers on a Train. I'd seen it many years ago, and couldn't remember most of it. But I knew I liked it.
Two guys meet on a train (strangers, of course); one is a semi-famous, good looking tennis player and the other is just a plain ole' creepy man named Bruno. Bruno comes up with a brilliant plan to trade murders. Bruno apparently reads the society columns and knows that Tennis Player Guy needs to get rid of his cheating, skanky, cat-eye glasses wearing wife so he can marry his innocent, beautiful, senator's daughter girlfriend. Bruno wants to get rid of his father for reasons I do not remember. Tennis Player Guy brushes off the crazy idea and gets off the train, but Bruno is rather determined and doesn't let it end there. There are a couple good twists along the way and generally, it kept me interested.
One of the highlights of the movie is Tennis Player Guy's girlfriend's little sister, Barbara, played by Hitchcock's daughter. She's funny and she has some amazing glasses.
The creepiness factor of this movie is pretty high. For me anyway. This Bruno fellow gets more and more disturbing as the movie goes on. He always seems to be lurking and he'll randomly just show up places. Plus, he has a rather odd relationship with his mother—not unusual for a Hitchcock movie, but it definitely increases his creepiness level.
Overall, a great movie!