Author Topic: The Top 100 Club (Mar 2013 - Aug 2015)  (Read 249115 times)

MartinTeller

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1160 on: October 24, 2013, 09:09:38 AM »

Return to Me - Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) is an architect/builder in a loving marriage to Elizabeth (Joely Richardson), a zookeeper.  After a fundraiser hosted by his wife, she perishes in a car accident.  The recipient of her heart is Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver), an aspiring artist and a waitress in her grandfather's (Carroll O'Connor) Irish-Italian restaurant.  Grace's embarrassment over her surgery (and its resulting scar) hampers her dating, but when she meets Bob, her defenses start to fall.  Neither of them is aware of their special anatomical connection.

This movie took me quite by surprise.  It's disarmingly sweet and remarkably unfussy for a first-time directorial turn by Bonnie Hunt (who also appears in the cast as Grace's best friend).  A premise that should come off as ridiculously contrived instead feels quite natural... it's not a plot device, just serendipity.  Although the transplanted heart does seem to have magical properties, the film never tries to make the point that Bob and Grace love each other because of it.  Perhaps fate stepped in to bring such closely tied people together, but the romance belongs entirely to the two protagonists themselves.  There's also a refreshing lack of hand-wringing over Elizabeth's death (which is handled tastefully offscreen with fine use of time jump and montage)... the grief is established in one or two short scenes, not hammered into the viewer or forming an oppressive cloud over Duchovny's character.

This is not to say I have no gripes.  There are beats and turns that are far too predictable, and the third act conflict feels overblown, but these things are accepted as part of the genre conventions (you can't have a romcom without an obstacle).  However, I could have done with one less scene of Jim Belushi (playing Hunt's husband) dealing with screaming kids, just because screaming kids grate on my nerves.  And the "bad" dates arranged for Bob & Grace are unnecessarily easy targets... the romance between them would actually ring stronger if contrasted with viable alternatives rather than clearly unappealing ones.

But these are minor nitpicks.  Duchovny and Driver have an appealing, believable chemistry.  And really, the entire cast (except for the aforementioned bad dates) is enjoyable.  The grizzled banter between O'Connor and his pals (Robert Loggia, Eddie Jones, William Bronder) is a hoot, and a fine example of the naturalistic dialogue, often overlapping in the grand tradition of Howard Hawks.  The friendship between Duchovny and David Alan Grier is fun and has a touching kindness to it.  Even Belushi is palatable here, reigned in to a lesser role where his comedy can poke through rather than overwhelm the proceedings.  And as a native Chicagoan, I always enjoy seeing familiar landmarks like the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Grant Park fountain.  And Hunt's implementation of montage feels emotionally motivated as opposed to merely cinematic shortcuts, especially in a sequence that turns out to be a surprising flash-forward.

In all, the movie has an elegant simplicity to it.  It seems to harken back to an age of simpler romance, paid homage to in the oldies soundtrack.  An age where we could simply delight in watching likable people doing charming things and finding happiness.  Very easy to watch, and very sweet.  Rating: Very Good (87)

Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1161 on: October 24, 2013, 09:52:45 AM »
:))

It doesn't get better than this! Did you get to watch it with your girlfriend? It seems like such a great date movie, with it being so easy to watch, yet not too easy. I love the comparison to Howard Hawks! I knew there was a reason I loved those old friend's banter. I'm also glad you brought up the montages. They are some of my favorite examples of the device and the one with the transplant and the music overlapping, chokes me up every time I see it. In trying to explain the hold this movie has on me, I once told smirnoff that it's highly addictive--it kept creeping up my top 100--and it's what you wrote in your last paragraph, that is the reason for it. I'm so happy the movie worked for you Martin!


MartinTeller

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1162 on: October 24, 2013, 10:00:36 AM »
:))

It doesn't get better than this! Did you get to watch it with your girlfriend?

Ah yes, it's one of her favorites. 

smirnoff

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1163 on: October 24, 2013, 06:32:27 PM »
The Remains of the Day


When every scene brims with subtle clues about people's true feelings and intentions, but you are unsure where the larger story is headed, it can be a struggle to calibrate your brain to give the appropriate weight to the appropriate detail. There's not a scene in the film that feels unimportant... but you can't remember everything so you filter based on what you think you'll need to know later. And as the story progresses you realize occasionally that you should have been paying more attention to something else. It's not as though the film is confusing, it's about how much wheat you've left on the chaff when it's over. I and feel like I left a lot. Not that I disliked sitting through the film mind you. I was very much involved in every scene and micro-story... moved by the performances and entertained by the dialogue. But if I had to write a paragraph on the film's greater meaning I wouldn't know what to say.

Now I do know though! Now I know what it's all building towards. When I watch it again it will be a totally different film. And I think it really says something when you can come away feeling like you've missed the point but are more than willing to see it again because there's so much else there to enjoy besides. It's that rare kind of homework that you actually look forward to doing. :)

8/10

Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1164 on: October 24, 2013, 10:59:47 PM »
"Right, its like coming home on Friday night and doing your homework right away so that your Saturday night is free to just party." :)

I love that screenshot! So telling--sympatico yet separate. It's a movie that I can watch a clip and feel the weight of the whole story in it, as two people say so much while speaking so little. I hope your next viewing is as harvesty :) as you hope for. I suspect it will be so, since I gleaned so much more the second time around as well. Thanks for watching it! Now you have context to my overly quoted line "...I am placing my thoughts elsewhere while you chatter away."

ses

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1165 on: October 25, 2013, 02:37:19 PM »
:))

It doesn't get better than this! Did you get to watch it with your girlfriend?

Ah yes, it's one of her favorites.

Yay, so glad you liked it.
"It's a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart"

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smirnoff

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1166 on: October 25, 2013, 03:52:02 PM »
"Right, its like coming home on Friday night and doing your homework right away so that your Saturday night is free to just party." :)

"No I like the way I said it better". :))

Quote
I love that screenshot! So telling--sympatico yet separate. It's a movie that I can watch a clip and feel the weight of the whole story in it, as two people say so much while speaking so little. I hope your next viewing is as harvesty :) as you hope for. I suspect it will be so, since I gleaned so much more the second time around as well. Thanks for watching it! Now you have context to my overly quoted line "...I am placing my thoughts elsewhere while you chatter away."

:))

Thanks for letting me know you had a similar experience.

smirnoff

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1167 on: October 25, 2013, 06:43:13 PM »
Shadowlands


After seeing this and Remains of the Day I finally have some films I can point to, to say "these are the Anthony Hopkins movies I really like", along with The World's Fastest Indian.

I'm familiar with method-acting, but this film makes me wonder if there's such a thing as method-filmmaking. It feels like that's what director Richard Attenborough was attempting here. It's not just that he's created a rustic atmosphere to fit the story, it's that the filmmaking itself feels rustic. The way it sounds and looks... the ways it's all put together... you notice the plainness of it, the simplicity. An uncomplicated production... like coffee before Starbucks.

I think that's why it crept up on me... my sensibilities are trained to a more modern style, and in it's absence my expectations were lowered.

I really like this story and these characters. A lot. I got all emotional 'n stuff... that's my blurb for the VHS box.  :)

9/10


Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1168 on: October 25, 2013, 08:38:42 PM »
Yup. It's a wonderful movie.
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Sandy

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Re: The Top 100 Club
« Reply #1169 on: October 25, 2013, 10:22:18 PM »
:) yup



Shadowlands

Again you pick a great screenshot. I love the brother's relationship. It's the same as what you described the whole movie as being.

Quote
... feels rustic. The way it sounds and looks... the ways it's all put together... you notice the plainness of it, the simplicity. An uncomplicated production...

You explained so well the atmosphere of the whole film.

Quote
I think that's why it crept up on me... my sensibilities are trained to a more modern style, and in it's absence my expectations were lowered.

I really like this story and these characters. A lot. I got all emotional 'n stuff... that's my blurb for the VHS box.  :)

It's unassuming in it's ability to take hold of you unawares. I find myself using this movie as a touchstone of sorts, to keep me from forgetting the deal. It's also home to one of my other favorite quotes.

I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God, it changes me.

smirnoff, I am so wanting to borrow your VHS box blurb for my signature for a little while! I'd need your permission. :)



"Right, its like coming home on Friday night and doing your homework right away so that your Saturday night is free to just party." :)

"No I like the way I said it better". :))

 :))

OK.