Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Sandy  (Read 6056 times)

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2018, 01:52:13 AM »
How Green Was My Valley/All That Heaven Allows

I've been ill, so I took the time to watch Sandy movies.  A worthwhile endeavor!

Despite the disparity of settings and subject matter, both films will remain unified in my mind because they both had a similar trait: that their first half hour turned me off of the film, but my patience rewarded me.

How Green Was My Valley begins, frankly, with extraordinary sentimentality, and it tells you right from the beginning that we are going to be treated to a rose-tinted nostalgia-fest. Not my idea of a good time.  All That Heaven Allows gives us a romantic, even erotic, novel premise with animal love between a widow and a gardener.  And the leads truly look the part, with Rock Hudson at first exemplifying the sexy Elvis and Jane Wyman the young, desired widow.  All very stereotypical and sappy and dull.

But about half way through both films they begin to deconstruct. That, in and of itself, wouldn't necessarily be interesting. In order to maintain a certain stereotypical setting, characters must be shallow and expectations must be met. In deconstruction or the reversal of tropes at least we have the possibility of depth of character and the complexity of situations.  And so we have in these films. The shiny nostalgia is broken, the young gardener has opinions.

Generally, though, I appreciated the approach of Heaven than Valley.  I love Rock Hudson's development in the film and his offering a new life to Wyman, but never forcing her to do anything.  I like the fact that Wyman is not punished for her wishy-washiness, but she obtains what she really wants despite her delay and the negative consequences. I love how Agnes Morehead errs, but never becomes an enemy, always remains a true friend.  It is ideal, but an ideal I can appreciate.

How Green Was My Valley, however, never subverted my expectations.  As soon as I saw the deconstruction, I could see where it was going. I loved Gregory Peck... I mean Walter Pidgon and Donald Crisp, but I kept wondering why Maureen O'Hara didn't get more to do. Okay, honestly, I kept thinking of her in The Quiet Man and how she would make a remarkable lead here. Or even given an important part in one of the main storylines.  It was all fine, and Ford shows his cinematic gold as usual, but I still felt a bit let down by the lack of surprise in the end.

The other common element of both films is how they present their varieties of patriarchy.  Both films have worldviews that clash: the flexible good-natured patriarchy or the harsh, punishing patriarchy.  The socially stagnent patriarchy, or the living-in-nature patriarchy.  At least Rock Hudson gave Jane Wyman a choice, but it was still a choice of his way or the highway.  No one gave women a real voice, an option to compromise or to make small changes in the world that they loved.  It just ate at me a bit.

How Green Was My Valley-- 3/5
All That Heaven Allows-- 3.5/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2018, 03:22:55 PM »
Ball of Fire

This film comes loaded with enormous baggage of excellence. A screwball comedy, directed by Howard Hawks, written and based on a story by Billy Wilder, staring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper.  Hawks had just directed Stanwyck and Cooper in Meet John Doe, and Wilder learned from Hawks the craft of directing by watching him direct this film. On top of this, it is on Sandy's Top 100 and is a huge favorite of 1SO's as well!  That's a lot of weight for a little comedy.

Although Wilder based the story idea on the Seven Dwarfs, it reminds me much more of Sister Act.  A woman is running from danger because her boyfriend is a mobster, so she joins a conclave of people inexperience in real life to hide.  She ends up turning the whole community upside down. Both films have a low-culture-influences-high-culture theme. And both are just fun.

I was disappointed at how few LOL moments I had with the film, although a couple of the lines by Stanwyk were gold... "It's as red as The Daily Worker and just as sore!" "Who's Richard ill?"  Some of them were so quick, I'd have to go back to catch them all.  But the best part of the film is the team of "professors", played by a fine set of character actors, whose timing and cooperation were magnificent. I loved them all, which make us believe Stanwyck's affection for them all.

Certainly a great showcase for all involved.

3.5/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2018, 06:53:48 PM »
1. Has anyone heard from Sandy?

2. Meet John Doe is Frank Capra.

3. Ball of Fire benefits from the Austin Powers effect of being funnier as you spend time away from it. When I first saw it, the only part that made me really laugh was the Yum-Yum scene, but now I look forward to hearing many of the lines again. Comic timing here is unparalleled, from Cooper chiming in with “boogie” at the wrong time to the usage of “hoi toy toy”.
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2018, 09:25:08 PM »
1. Has anyone heard from Sandy?

I'm here! Been up in the mountains, but am back on the grid now and replying to reviews...

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2018, 11:21:22 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.

You've been busy! I just saw that you posted about The Greatest Showman and can't wait to sit with it and reply (hopefully tomorrow). I also saw your review of Taking Off and may watch it it for Music of May. Something about the generational clash, especially of the 60's and 70's catches my interest.


               VS               

Can you tell I like James McAvoy? :))


Quote
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.


Yes, he is. And the more I see Penelope, the more I'm grateful for Dinkledge's presence in it. That goes for Cahterine O'Hara too. I think she is hilarious and each time I see the movie, she gets funnier. She makes me laugh and cringe so much! 

As for Ricci, you're right, she's much too pretty to be so rejected, but I find she's the metaphor for the statement, "It's not the power of the curse, it's the power you give the curse." I just went and looked over my top 100. Each and every one of them have lessons that speak to me personally and the higher up the list, the more personal and important (to me) they get. Maybe that's a strange way to make a top 100 list, but I'm trying to navigate my way through this world and film is an excellent way for me to find road maps.

*SPOILERY*
Being isolated and seen as less than, can make for a powerful curse, yet it is an illusion. Whether others create it, or it comes from the self, there is a way through. Like Johnny said, she wanted "to be free" and the way through was to like herself the way she was. So simple, but hard to do. Yes, you're right, acceptance. I'm not saying anything you didn't already get from the film, but writing this down helps me solidify why it means so much to me. I'm very happy you watched it. :)

Quote
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.

Meta Mega Mix! Exactly! There are many details in Becoming Jane where she is picking up inspiration for her novels and whether they are true or not, I enjoy seeing them.



"My characters shall have, after a little trouble, all that they desire." --Jane Austen

This was not to be for Austen herself, so I find her giving it to her characters such a sweet gift. More than the details of her gathering "copy", I am most interested in her as a person and the impossibility it was to be a woman with a literary gift in her time period. She stood up to the expectations of family and society and lived as she thought best. She also let go of her love, for the sake of others. These things I find inspiration in.

oldkid linked to an article about women and the arts, which garnered some discussion. I found it to contain some truths. In it were the words, "There is likely quite a bit more to the female text than we initially see." Being a woman, it gives me an advantage to Austen type texts, just like The Godfather is a man's film through and through. I love being here and seeing film through other's eyes and mostly men's at that. The perspective is not my own and so is valuable to me. Becoming Jane is written and directed by men, which isn't wrong, but I wonder if I would have connected with it even more, through women artists.

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

Well, Penelope is higher on my list, so I have no problem with your verdict! :) Thanks for your reviews, 1SO!

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2018, 12:15:01 AM »
1. Has anyone heard from Sandy?

2. Meet John Doe is Frank Capra.

3. Ball of Fire benefits from the Austin Powers effect of being funnier as you spend time away from it. When I first saw it, the only part that made me really laugh was the Yum-Yum scene, but now I look forward to hearing many of the lines again. Comic timing here is unparalleled, from Cooper chiming in with “boogie” at the wrong time to the usage of “hoi toy toy”.

1. Yes, I know she wrote something around here, somewhere.

2. Capra, Hawks, what's the diff?  :-[

3. I could tell that by searching for quotes which were better in my memory than the first time I saw it.  I wonder if it isn't like when I saw His Girl Friday, which was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen, but it didn't give me enough time to laugh!  It so happens that the easiest way for me to watch Ball of Fire was to buy it so I'll have many an opportunity to watch it again and laugh.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Teproc

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2018, 08:32:00 AM »
Across the Universe (Julie Taymor, 2007)

This movie is a mess. I'm pretty sure that's what it's trying to be that, if it's trying anything at all beyond "hey, let's take a bunch of Beatles song and try to connect them with some kind of a narrative". I don't know that Taymor has anything to say about The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix (right?), Janis Joplin, the 60s, Vietnam, drugs, the relationship between the UK and the US, the music industry and the counterculture in general, in fact it seems to me that she actively wants to avoid saying anything about it at all: the whole film basically amounts to "the 60s, weren't those years something ?"

WHich is not to say I didn't find this enjoyable. I'm not a huge fan of the way the songs are produced, but some of the numbers are quite effective: Come Together and I Want You (She's So Heavy) particularly, and then it's hard to screw Hey, Jude up... and then there's that weird Sgt. Peppers interlude which fills no other purpose than being weird, but in a way that's kind of fun. It's hard to find anything meaningful to say about this film, frankly: its pleasures are all on the surface... and there's nothing wrong with that, but then maybe it shouldn't last for over two hours.

It's also quite remarkable that, of the six main players, all of them young and seemingly talented singers and mediocre (Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther) to good (Joe Anderson, Jim Sturgess) actors, only one is in any way recognizable ten years later. She (Evan Rachel Wood that is) is obviously the best part of the film, if only because - to get back to that surface level pleasures idea - of how perfect she looks. I mean, she's also good in the role, but she doesn't get much to play, and her singing voice - while lovely - is the one that clashes the most with the period, so mostly I'm admiring her beautiful eyes any time she's on screen, and I'm pretty sure that's what the film wants, given that it seems to remember at the end that it actually has something to say: nothing that happens in the 60s matters quite as much as two somewhat bland people loving each other. And maybe they represent America's love for The Beatles, too ? Sure, let's go with that.

Well, enough rambling: despite all of that, I had fun with it. It's a ballsy (well, maybe "gutsy" would be more appropriate) film, and there are enough individual moments that work, I just don't think it all adds up to much of anything.

6/10
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2018, 07:38:07 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.

Two very different kinds of movies, but have the through line you speak of. As one who is currently in search of community (having left my own), this theme is especially meaningful right now. Keep curating and I'll continue watching. :) 

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2018, 09:54:56 PM »
How Green Was My Valley/All That Heaven Allows

I've been ill, so I took the time to watch Sandy movies.  A worthwhile endeavor!

Are you feeling better, oldkid? I hope so! I have to be careful when watching movies if I'm sick. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is permanently fused with a raging fever I had at the time of viewing it. Any time I think of it now, I get a psychosomatic headache. :)

Quote
Despite the disparity of settings and subject matter, both films will remain unified in my mind because they both had a similar trait: that their first half hour turned me off of the film, but my patience rewarded me.

How Green Was My Valley begins, frankly, with extraordinary sentimentality, and it tells you right from the beginning that we are going to be treated to a rose-tinted nostalgia-fest. Not my idea of a good time.  All That Heaven Allows gives us a romantic, even erotic, novel premise with animal love between a widow and a gardener.  And the leads truly look the part, with Rock Hudson at first exemplifying the sexy Elvis and Jane Wyman the young, desired widow.  All very stereotypical and sappy and dull.

But about half way through both films they begin to deconstruct. That, in and of itself, wouldn't necessarily be interesting. In order to maintain a certain stereotypical setting, characters must be shallow and expectations must be met. In deconstruction or the reversal of tropes at least we have the possibility of depth of character and the complexity of situations.  And so we have in these films. The shiny nostalgia is broken, the young gardener has opinions.

Generally, though, I appreciated the approach of Heaven than Valley.  I love Rock Hudson's development in the film and his offering a new life to Wyman, but never forcing her to do anything.  I like the fact that Wyman is not punished for her wishy-washiness, but she obtains what she really wants despite her delay and the negative consequences. I love how Agnes Morehead errs, but never becomes an enemy, always remains a true friend.  It is ideal, but an ideal I can appreciate.

How Green Was My Valley, however, never subverted my expectations.  As soon as I saw the deconstruction, I could see where it was going. I loved Gregory Peck... I mean Walter Pidgon and Donald Crisp, but I kept wondering why Maureen O'Hara didn't get more to do. Okay, honestly, I kept thinking of her in The Quiet Man and how she would make a remarkable lead here. Or even given an important part in one of the main storylines.  It was all fine, and Ford shows his cinematic gold as usual, but I still felt a bit let down by the lack of surprise in the end.

The other common element of both films is how they present their varieties of patriarchy.  Both films have worldviews that clash: the flexible good-natured patriarchy or the harsh, punishing patriarchy.  The socially stagnent patriarchy, or the living-in-nature patriarchy.  At least Rock Hudson gave Jane Wyman a choice, but it was still a choice of his way or the highway.  No one gave women a real voice, an option to compromise or to make small changes in the world that they loved.  It just ate at me a bit.

How Green Was My Valley-- 3/5
All That Heaven Allows-- 3.5/5

A demure Maureen O'Hara is certainly against type. I really appreciate your descriptions of the varying modes of partriarchy. Whatever the manner, it's still dominion. It eats at you because you see it for what it is. It eats at me too and films like this help me to process what is, what was and what needs to not be in the future.

How Green Was My Valley is a musical. :) It's so pretty to look at and listen to, such a feast for the senses.

All That Heaven Allows contrast between society and real relationships with others and nature, really speaks to me. It's not an easy watch, for the constraints are palpable, but to walk away from that which is false, towards a truer and more authentic life is what I want most. I kept the quote about Ron Kirby's character at my desk for a long time. "He was so secure within himself, because he refused to give importance to unimportant things." This stance is why the movie is in my top 100.

Thanks for watching them and sharing your thoughts about how they played out for you. I enjoyed reading your dual review. :)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2018, 01:06:17 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.

Ball of Fire

This film comes loaded with enormous baggage of excellence. A screwball comedy, directed by Howard Hawks, written and based on a story by Billy Wilder, staring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper.  Hawks had just directed Stanwyck and Cooper in Meet John Doe, and Wilder learned from Hawks the craft of directing by watching him direct this film. On top of this, it is on Sandy's Top 100 and is a huge favorite of 1SO's as well!  That's a lot of weight for a little comedy.

Although Wilder based the story idea on the Seven Dwarfs, it reminds me much more of Sister Act.  A woman is running from danger because her boyfriend is a mobster, so she joins a conclave of people inexperience in real life to hide.  She ends up turning the whole community upside down. Both films have a low-culture-influences-high-culture theme. And both are just fun.

I was disappointed at how few LOL moments I had with the film, although a couple of the lines by Stanwyk were gold... "It's as red as The Daily Worker and just as sore!" "Who's Richard ill?"  Some of them were so quick, I'd have to go back to catch them all.  But the best part of the film is the team of "professors", played by a fine set of character actors, whose timing and cooperation were magnificent. I loved them all, which make us believe Stanwyck's affection for them all.

Certainly a great showcase for all involved.

3.5/5

Baggage indeed! This is the type of movie you want to run across without any prior knowledge and at the end sit back and say, "What was that?!" :)

Besides the word play - "Miss O'Shea, the construction "on account of because" outrages every grammatical law. :)) , I love the vulnerability  between Potts and O'Shea. But, like you, I adore the professors. They are the glue to all of this.

I've only seen it once and wonder how I'd react a second time. If you do see it again, I'd love to hear about your experience.