Monday, January 28, 2008

The Pajama Game

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.

SAG Awards

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

The Graduate

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

Strangers on a Train

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!