Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Sandy  (Read 6030 times)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2018, 03:02:30 PM »
So, if they had seen the Brady Bunch Movie instead, would they have said, "Look at all the trouble they had with six kids!  We couldn't possible deal with it!" ?

My life would have been completely different! Or, I might have been lucky and they hired a live in maid. :)

The films that shape us! :))

:)) Ain't it the truth! They become part of our DNA too.


Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2018, 03:45:03 PM »
Benny & Joon (1993)

I think for a minute I was getting this mixed up with Henry & June. Very different movies obviously but this does make more sense as a Sandy pick. In a way, there is a Silver Linings Playbook connection. Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) would be analogous with Bradley Cooper's character, someone with a fairly severe mental illness that makes it hard for them to function among the general public and can be straining on family, in this case her brother Benny (Aidan Quinn), whose personal life is often sidelined in his devotion to her care (see also, Laura Linney in Love Actually). I guess Sam (Johnny Depp) would be the Jennifer Lawrence adjunct, in this case seemingly on the spectrum with a particular obsession with physical comedy of the silent film era. So if these two films have some overlap, the question is does this film similarly suffer the problem of romanticizing the idea that two people with social issues will somehow act as cures.

Even if this is still problematic, I think the difference in tone makes a big difference in how critical that is to the film. This is a whimsical and slightly surreal film. Johnny Depp is very good here, reminding you how good he can be when his tendency for quirky characters has a softer touch. Sam as a character might be a bit annoying in person. He's someone you'd want to watch as a street performer, but at times the inability to switch it off would be trying. Ultimately, the film plays to my wheelhouse of stories that involve a community kind of coming together to support people through their problems.

Henry and June!? :)) That would be an odd choice for my top 100.

I was wondering if the whimsy you talk about would soften the more difficult aspects of what the film is exploring. It sounds like it has, yes? As for your wheel house, this is where we tend to agree often. Lars and Silver Linings are both films I enjoyed. I need to go over your top 100 list, to see what others like these I can find.

This is probably my favorite Johnny Depp performance, because it showcases his particular essence -- that quiet deadpan that has served him so well. And, this is one of my favorite moments in any movie. Such a great mix of reveal, framing, music and faces.






Here's a better view of the moment,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnM6dPbV9Ng&t=0m52s#no
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 03:54:46 PM by Sandy »

Junior

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2018, 11:46:14 AM »
Ball of Fire

This isn't my first, second, or third time at the Howard Hawks screwball rodeo. As such, I had a general idea of what to expect. Fast talking, absurd plot machinations, and a sizzling romance characterize the Hawksian comedies and are just as on display here as they are in His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, and Twentieth Century. So why did I like this one a little less than those? Good question. I think it has to do a little with the lull that occurs midway through the film. For me, romance movies are almost always best when the fire is getting started, when there's that spark of the new, and this one was no different. This time it's Gary Cooper's curious but out of touch professor who falls in love with the quick-witted, jive-talking Barbara Stanwyck who's mixed up with some bad guys and must hide out at the mansion housing Cooper and a host of 7 other profs working on an encyclopedia that doubles as a vanity project for the guy who invented the electric toaster. Sounds about right for a screwball comedy, and it is quite funny early on as we're introduce to the cohort of profs and their quirky stuffiness. Cooper is the youngest of them by far and his grammarian role has him realizing that all of his work on slang is twenty years out of date. So when he goes out into the world he finds Stanwyck's Sugarpuss O'Shea (an all-time great character name) who is a lounge singer and great deployer of all sorts of 40s era slang.

The first half hour or so is a riot. I admit I'm biased as a budding academic myself, but it's delightful to see such stuffy old men given the business a bit as they react obliviously to the world around them. When Sugarpuss O'Shea enters their cloistered realm in her sequined and skimpy dress, it throws them for the biggest loop of their lives and Hawks gets the most out of it, extending her introduction to them as long as he can. It's a good impulse, because what follows as her mafia boss lover finds out about her whole situation and starts to get jealous of Cooper and co. gets a little slow for me. We lose much of the satire of academia and the chemistry between Stanwyck and Cooper can't carry so much plot. Luckily, though, things pick up as the movie reaches its conclusion.

The climax of this movie--which starts with Cooper and the other profs held at gunpoint in their workroom by some mafia cronies and ends with a marriage (as these things all do)--brings back all of the stuff I liked about the first part. There's arcane trivia used as a code that the illiterate gunmen can't understand, there's Gary Cooper learning how to box from reading a book in the back of a garbage truck, and the heat rises again between Stanwyck and Cooper. Even Freud gets redeemed a little! It's unfortunate that the middle was disappointing for me because if the movie carried its momentum throughout it might have topped His Girl Friday as my favorite Hawks screwball comedy. Middle of the pack is still good, though, especially when the whole pack is pretty great.

B+

As a suggestion to Sandy, I think you might get a lot out of Le Silence de la Mer if you haven't seen it yet. It's a great movie about occupied France and maybe a love story so subtle it's subterranean.
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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2018, 11:40:17 PM »
Have to jump in here because this one's in my Top 100 too. Not just one of my 500 Essentials, but Top 100 and my All Time Favorite Screwball Comedy. (I think. Might be His Girl Friday. Top 3 at the least.)

Did you notice this was written by Billy Wilder with Charles Brackett. Probably obvious now that I said it. Two writers with a love for words handing a script about word usage to a director who loves to let actors throw dialogue fastballs at each other. This is probably my #1 reason for loving the film, but then there are the other moments Hawks chooses to draw out. I like "Drum Boogie", but I love the encore where Stanwyck gathers everyone around the table and whisper sings while Gene Krupa drums with matches. Totally unnecessary. Totally Classic.

The slow part for me is the Bachelor Party with everyone singing "Genevieve", but it also brings emotional depth most screwballs don't make time for. I wonder if like many, you don't care for Dana Andrews, who plays that mafia boss lover? It's a common remark, but I like Andrews a lot and this movie is a good deal why. One of the great lines is his answer for how to find a needle in a haystack. Brilliant writing, but it's Andrews confident delivery. This is a guy who answered one of the hardest brainteasers and he didn't even have to really think to do it. He's not your usual dumb tough guy. This one's tricky. (Speaking of dumb, tough guy... is this your first Dan Duryea film? He's the henchman who does all the trick shooting when he's holding the men hostage.)

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Junior

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2018, 11:14:41 AM »
Have to jump in here because this one's in my Top 100 too. Not just one of my 500 Essentials, but Top 100 and my All Time Favorite Screwball Comedy. (I think. Might be His Girl Friday. Top 3 at the least.)

Did you notice this was written by Billy Wilder with Charles Brackett. Probably obvious now that I said it. Two writers with a love for words handing a script about word usage to a director who loves to let actors throw dialogue fastballs at each other. This is probably my #1 reason for loving the film, but then there are the other moments Hawks chooses to draw out. I like "Drum Boogie", but I love the encore where Stanwyck gathers everyone around the table and whisper sings while Gene Krupa drums with matches. Totally unnecessary. Totally Classic.

The slow part for me is the Bachelor Party with everyone singing "Genevieve", but it also brings emotional depth most screwballs don't make time for. I wonder if like many, you don't care for Dana Andrews, who plays that mafia boss lover? It's a common remark, but I like Andrews a lot and this movie is a good deal why. One of the great lines is his answer for how to find a needle in a haystack. Brilliant writing, but it's Andrews confident delivery. This is a guy who answered one of the hardest brainteasers and he didn't even have to really think to do it. He's not your usual dumb tough guy. This one's tricky. (Speaking of dumb, tough guy... is this your first Dan Duryea film? He's the henchman who does all the trick shooting when he's holding the men hostage.)

I missed the writing credit when I was watching but looking it up after I wrote this on IMDb revealed that Wilder was involved and it made perfect sense. Especially in those early goings there was that felicity with language that really hit my buttons. I learned from there that he had written an early draft of this in German and I thought that was particularly interesting. I'm sure it's totally different slang.

And yeah, I thought about posting this review to my blog just so I could include that shot of Stanwyck reflected in the black gloss table as the drummer did the matchstick routine. It's fantastic.

I actually liked Dana Andrews for the reasons you cited. I thought he was a little more interesting than your stereotypical gangster because he too is quick-witted. It does the HGF thing where everybody plays to the best of their abilities and even though he's the bad guy you still feel like you'd rather know that guy than Scarface (the Hawks one) or whoever.

I do think this is my first Dureya. I know he was big in westerns around this time and I could see that playing well. Even though he's the dumb tough guy I think there's something interesting in his character too, maybe his Sgt. York reference!
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2018, 10:40:19 PM »
I'm sitting here enjoying your conversation. :) I think the first time I heard of Ball of Fire is when roujin shared the Yum Yum scene. This film is perfect for Gary Cooper,  since the woodeness fits his character. I don't know what to add to what's been said, except to echo my appreciation for the writing. I love words and word play and this film is chock full of them! I also love the old professors' interactions.

I only saw this once and directly put it in my top 100, because it made me happy. :) Thanks for championing it, 1SO! And thanks for your review Junior. I always love your writing.

Adding Le Silence de la Mer to my list. I trust your recommendations! I believe the last time I listened to you, I went on a Borzage journey!

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2018, 09:03:30 PM »
3 films left in my Curtiz Marathon. After that, I have BOTH Penelope and Becoming Jane, which I will review like the Bracket Tournaments, recommending the best one to everyone else. After that, I plan to flow into Music of May with a continuation of our conversation about The Greatest Showman.
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oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2018, 02:36:21 PM »
Did you notice this was written by Billy Wilder with Charles Brackett. Probably obvious now that I said it. Two writers with a love for words handing a script about word usage to a director who loves to let actors throw dialogue fastballs at each other.

How is this film not in my top 100?  I'll answer my own question with a question, How have I not seen this movie yet?  Running, not walking, to find this one.
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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2018, 01:10:47 AM »

               VS               



Penelope

I knew James McAvoy was in this, but I was not prepared for Peter Dinkledge, who makes every film he's in better. You know who else will nudge me towards liking a film? Nick Frost. He doesn't have a big role, but he floats my goodwill to where I'm elated to see Reese Witherspoon show up much later in. It's also one of Reese's most likable characters.

While I miss early period Tim Burton, I wish this director trusted himself enough to develop his own style and not just do Burton crossed with Jean-Pierre Jeunet. That said it works better here than it should, building the fable world that allows the heavy metaphor to float by lightly. I liked the film's main message of acceptance and how it was just as strong in the relationship between mother and daughter as it is in Penelope's relationships with men.

The way men react to Penelope's looks is a constant problem because whatever degree of hideous we may find her nose is offset but the rest of Christina Ricci's physical features. Even the snout is kind of cute and Penelope herself is such a sweet character. It can be taken as the extreme rebuke of the upper class, but again, Ricci is too beautiful for a little snout to lead to such a constant, extreme reaction.

Peter Dinkledge is awesome. He's always awesome. It's like he can't help it.


Becoming Jane

There are some good names in the cast here too, and I didn't realize I was having a James McAvoy double feature. There's the conceit of presenting Jane Austin's life as if she were the heroine of a Jane Austin novel. It works like all those biopics where a famous person's real life inspires their art in a very direct way, but here it's like Jane always sees the world through a filter that will serve her well. It's like learning J.K. Rowling actually went to Hogwarts when she was young.

Problem is, I'm still not that deep into Jane Austin, so this was like sitting through yet another of her stories of love and money and social standing. It's really not my thing, though I could see it working as the ultimate meta mega mix of Austin's style.



VERDICT: Sadly no contest. I got a lot out of Penelope, which is flawed but very interesting. Plus it has Peter Dinkledge.
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Bondo

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2018, 05:03:10 PM »
Late response but I just rewatched The Florida Project and that fits the community support style of film. Another top 100 film with that aspect is Leave It On The Floor. Arguably that aspect is what made me likeThe Greatest Showman too, even though it papers over a terrible man.