Author Topic: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine  (Read 8143 times)

1SO

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #70 on: April 26, 2020, 08:58:08 PM »

The Out of Towners (1970)
"I'm suing 'em all. I don't care if I'm in court all year."

I haven't seen The Out of Towners in twenty years and I've been waiting to spring it on Mrs. 1SO once her memory of the terrible, terrible remake had vanished. She's a big fan of Jack Lemmon and films with New York City attitude, and I'm happy to report the film completely held up for me and entertained her, with one of the great neurotic lead performances. Lemmon's George is so tightly wound and overly controlling it's a delight to watch every situation turn against him. He deserves what he gets, while his wife Gwen (Sandy Dennis) is calmly logical all the way.

GEORGE: What's the matter?
GWEN: I stepped on a bottle. I broke my heel on my shoe.
GEORGE: How did you do that?
GWEN: By stepping on a bottle and breaking the heel of my shoe!

Like What's Up Doc, this is a film built on speed, and instead of a person who's the force of nature it's the city. Neil Simon unleashes every possible problem that could happen on a trip to the big city without letup, and while it's unlikely so much would happen all at once, every unfortunate event is logical.
RATING: ★ ★ ★ - Very Good

Antares

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #71 on: April 27, 2020, 05:34:03 AM »
What's Up, Doc?

The Out of Towners (1970)

Two of my favorites from the early seventies. You'll never hear the phrase Oh my God! without thinking of Sandy Dennis again, after you watch The Out of Towners.
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Antares

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #72 on: April 27, 2020, 07:20:51 PM »
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) 98/100



       Long before Peter Sellers became famous for playing three separate characters in Dr. Strangelove, Alec Guinness set the benchmark for thespian versatility with his portrayal of all eight members of an aristocratic family who are systematically murdered by an estranged relative in Ealing Studio's black comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets. Although Guinness is more famous today for his portrayal of the Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (a fact which brought him much consternation in his later years), this is the film that most film lovers believe is his tour-de-force performance. 

       The D’Ascoyne family is a prominent lineage of noblemen who date back to Edwardian England. They have fought in all of Britannia’s major land and sea battles since that time and are deeply ensconced in the prevailing doctrine of the day, which separates the levels of class in post-Victorian society. Unknown to the family is that in their pursuit to keep their bloodline pure, they have forged an enemy who will achieve through guile, treachery and blind luck, the mantle of patriarch of the D’Ascoyne family. Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price) is the son of the estranged daughter Louisa D’Ascoyne, who in the family’s eyes has married beneath her station to a commoner, an Italian opera singer named Louis Mazzini Sr. (Price, also in a dual role). In an effort to distance them from this societal faux pas, the entire family has disowned her. When Louis Sr. unexpectedly dies at the announcement of his namesake’s birth, Louisa is left to fend for herself and her newborn. She will labor in the most menial of jobs to provide for her child, all the while fighting for Louis’ recognition by her alienated family. She schools Louis on the proud family lineage and explains to him that he is a distant successor to the title of Duke of Chalfont.

       As Louis reaches adulthood, fate deals him a cruel blow when Louisa is struck by a merchant’s wagon and subsequently dies. He swears to avenge the wrongs perpetrated against his mother by eliminating the remaining descendants of his distant family and becoming the ninth Duke of Chalfont. The pursuit of his vendetta is told in flashback as Louis is penning his memoirs from a prison cell, where he is being held prior to his pending execution. He has been charged in the murder of not one of the D’Ascoynes, but of a childhood friend who is married to his mistress Sibella (Joan Greenwood). Sibella is also a childhood friend who spurned Louis’ proposal of marriage because of his social status. When Sibella learns that his claim of D’Ascoyne ancestry is valid, she decides to blackmail him into marrying her after the suicide of her husband. Faced with impending poverty, she withholds the suicide note from Scotland Yard and frames Louis for his apparent murder after learning of an argument between the two men. In exchange for the title of Duchess of Chalfont, the ‘missing’ suicide note will mysteriously appear and exonerate Louis before his ascent to the gallows.

       Kind Hearts and Coronets is British humor at its darkest and may be totally misunderstood by audiences that find sight gags and sophomoric humor the pinnacle of comedic achievement. It is an exemplary bit of social satire that delivers its message in an abundance of dry wit and tongue-in-cheek innuendo.
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #73 on: April 30, 2020, 06:35:42 AM »
A couple quick entries to close my contributions:

The Royal Tenenbaums

Actually watched last week, just didn't bring it up. The running joke about Margot not really being neither Royal's daughter nor Richie and Chas's sister is the saddest and meanest funny running joke around. I also see an interesting critique about the nature of genius and the results of a sheltered - if exceptionally well-meaning - upbringing. None of these grown children can cope with themselves let alone the outside world. Watching them, along with neighborhood friend Eli Cash, resolve major loose ends from their childhoods in various different ways is captivating, heart-breaking, and even a little heart-warming.

Last note, but the suicide scene with Elliott Smith's Needle in the Hay playing is very rough on me, but incredibly well and sensitively done by Anderson.

Young Frankenstein

Oh, the puns and double entendres! Oh, the comedic timing! Oh, my god...woof.

Highly quotable and memorable, I knew I had to get to this one after finally getting a complete viewing of Blazing Saddles last month. Now Saddles' political and social critiques on top of some very on-the-edge moments of cinema (third wall breaking, spilling into other sets, etc.) made that one an insta-fave, and YF doesn't quite get to that level. That's not to say it doesn't have anything to say, the Putting on the Ritz/monster exhibition surely has something to say about what it means to be cultured and intelligent. There's also commentary embedded on the classic Hollywood blonde, putting out into daylight the trouble with the influence of the male gaze in film. But this one truly lives on its laughs per minute, nothing wrong with that. A delightful take on a classic monster story.

I'm sure many of you have your favorite laughs, mine is a classic that Wilder just pulls off so well: With the monster locked up in a cell, he decides to go in and win him over with love, but tells his companions not to let him out no matter the screaming and the pleading; then, he gets in there, and well, you know. Well, you only know if you've seen, but Wilder pulls this joke off with such great physicality, tone of voice, and timing, I got such a good laugh out of it.
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

Sandy

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #74 on: April 30, 2020, 10:44:35 PM »

Antares

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #75 on: May 01, 2020, 05:22:20 AM »
Nice level of participation for being the first time we did this in April, should we do it again next year?
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #76 on: May 01, 2020, 06:20:30 AM »
I mean, I'm always down. Might go a little outside out of my comfort zone next time.
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

1SO

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Re: "Laughter" is the Best Medicine
« Reply #77 on: May 01, 2020, 02:31:07 PM »
I love monthly group Marathons, so I'm all for it.

 

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