TV & Film Review: Drama
As a kid, I didn’t watch very many movies. My parents weren’t big film or movie buffs, so I didn’t see most of the popular flicks. I am an only-child and spent more of my time reading or thinking. Over the years, I’d catch maybe one movie per month, but I was more a TV sitcom watcher. Then, when it rose to over $225 per month, I canceled cable last month. I now only watch shows when they show up on Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon after the season is over. For some reason, I’m just about caught up on everything and had a lull in my television viewing time. W and I decided to pick a few movies and managed to catch seven (7) in the last two weeks, which is quite rare for us. We’ve been to an actual movie theater twice in the last two years. I thought I’d share my opinions on these movies since they range from love story to biographical account and comedy to thriller. A few were converted from books, too. Here goes…
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
- I saw the book all over Goodreads. My friend, Medhat, told me I needed to read the book and watch the movie. A few other friends kept talking about how the guy from Arm & Hammer products was in it (I had no clue what they were talking about). So… we caved last weekend and watched the movie even though I hadn’t yet read the book. I’m a bit sad I did this in the wrong order, which is rare for me.
- Loved it! So many great scenes from the emotional drama to the potential for something to be requited or unrequited. It also takes place in Italy, and I’ll be there for 2 weeks next month, so it is quite fitting. I shed a few tears at the end. I saw myself in a few scenes. I didn’t realize at first that it took place in the 1980s and kept wondering why it was so risky for them to be together. Sure, there was an age difference, but it wasn’t too many years apart. That’s when I picked up on the time period. Oops! Sometimes I’m a little dense or have tunnel vision when I get focused on the story or backdrop.
- Definite recommendation. Must read book first. Says so much about how we should live our lives rather than how we do live our lives.
- A ~30ish guy quits his job and moves to the country with his wife to be a writer. I don’t have a wife and I haven’t yet moved to the country, but this could be me! W thought I’d enjoy the film, but I secretly believe it was a way of saying “why do you want to move to the country?” since I keep
casually droppingheaving and unloading hints.
- Chevy Chase is always funny. It’s a bit overdone at times, but if you like this sorta thing, it’s pretty solid. It’s also from about 25 years ago and comedy is much different an entire generation later.
- A definite recommend for book lovers and writers. If you like silly and stupid humor, it’s also a barrel of laughs. And if you like the concept of small towns, married life issues, and real estate, you will adore it.
LAST CALL PITCHES
- I love movies where the cast sings. I saw the first two which meant I had to finish out the trilogy. And John Lithgow had a guest star role. It has to be fantastic, right? Oh… well… what’s that rule about the third film always being the letdown? I think I fell for the trap again.
- It wasn’t exactly bad. But it wasn’t good. I loved many parts of it. But none of the male cast returned, so I felt a bit of a disconnect. With the premise being the girls all broke up with their boyfriends, it sorta made for a different type of movie. I’m totally good with the all-women focus, but it felt a little too formatted and formulaic in how it came together.
- Add in the wacky premise of a USO tour with a famous rap artist, and I just kept looking sideways at the TV and W. What are we watching???
- If you watched the first two, you should see it. If you’ve never seen these movies, please don’t start with this one. It won’t make you see the awesomeness of the original.
- Another case of not reading the book first. It always happens that way for me with Stephen King. I’ve never read his books. I’ve seen some of his movies. I caught a few minutes of the original It (TV show or TV movie, I don’t remember). I love scary movies. I wanted to feel my heart thump and my skin crawl. It didn’t happen. It was a bit of a letdown from the fear-factor. I laughed at Pennywise the Clown’s antics. There were a few scenes where I was a tad nervous, but on the whole, it was just an okay movie for me.
- The camaraderie with the kids and actors was strong. The balance between story and visual art was really great. The underground scenes were stunning. And I hear there’s either a second part or a continuation? I need to look up more about this and maybe read the book in between. I didn’t dislike it, but it just didn’t wow me like I’d hoped.
- I’m a huge monarch and royalty buff when it comes to the historical aspects (not the soapy drama components in today’s world of ‘what are the royals doing?’). I’ve studied most of the UK throne changes and adore the Tudor, Elizabethan, and Victorian periods. But I hate politics of any sort. So, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this one… but I definitely did! I watch The Crown regularly and enjoyed John Lithgow in the Winston Churchill role, so I assumed I’d like this movie.
- Gary Oldman is amazing! I loved him in Harry Potter, but this was fantastic. I forget how versatile and adept he is at truly becoming the role. It’s a heavy film, and there are a lot of political machinations going on behind the scenes, but well worth it. It’s a highly recommended suggestion from me. It even has Rose from Downtown Abbey in it, which made the film even more interesting.
- I knew very little about this one. It did not look interesting. And although I do like Frances McDormand, I wasn’t keen to watch it. But it was the best of the choices one night, so we gave it a chance. And all I can say is… I am an idiot for thinking it wouldn’t be an amazing film. Wow, it completely took me by surprise and falls into one of those films that actually made me change my opinion of a character I severely hated to someone I really liked.
- I’d love to talk about the ending. But I’d be spoiling it. The best way I can liken this movie is to say… imagine there’s an event that happens resulting in several people being pit against one another in a small town. All this stuff happens, but you don’t know because you’re just hearing the story months or years later. And when you hear the story, you only hear parts of it. You never actually know the full story. And you have to decide or judge for yourself the difference between right and wrong.
- I loved this film and am a bit amazed and angered by the ending all at once. The acting was top notch. There were so many scenes were I wanted to get my shotgun and poke the barrel at a few characters myself – just like what happened in the film. But I don’t own one, so that wouldn’t work. Instead I just grunted and had another Jack Daniels & whiskey. It served its purpose. I definitely recommend this movie, but go in prepared — it’s psychological and you won’t get all the answers you want.
ME BEFORE YOU
- I read all 3 books. I held off on watching the movie so I didn’t get corrupted in how I pictured the characters. The film was beautiful. It brought to life many of the fantastic scenes in the book that made me love the characters, drama, and pain. Casting was pretty strong, but I definitely feel the book captured the emotions better than the film.
- It opens up so many questions about life and trust. What’s fair versus dealing the hand you’re given. Love comes in many forms. Jojo Moyes is a wonderful author. I need to read more from her. I’ve only seen a few episodes of Game of Thrones, but the actress who plays Lou seems quite versatile in her roles. I loved seeing the actress who played Queen Victoria, Jenna Coleman, in a different type of role. And the actor who played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter – he’s all grown up.
- If you’ve not seen it, please be sure to read the first book before seeing the movie. It will make you have a stronger connection or attachment to the story. It’s a tough one, and the ending is definitely controversial.
4 out of 5 stars to the 2017 release of Beauty and the Beast. If you’re unfamiliar with the latest version, check it out at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2771200/
I’m sure most people have heard this story before… either through the Disney versions or reading the original French fairy tale. In case you haven’t, the story goes essentially as follows:
- Prince doesn’t realize how good he has it and fails to be kind to others.
- A curse is placed upon him, where he will turn into a beast for a very long time.
- Years later, he may or may not torture a village (different versions).
- A beautiful maiden, Belle, meets the Beast.
- He captures her and she’s forced to stay in his castle.
- She stays there to protect her family and the village from him.
- She falls for him, but he cannot allow himself to be with her.
- He eventually lets her go, his way of showing his love.
- Belle leaves, but something draws her back.
- She kisses him and the curse is broken, now that’s he’s learned his lesson.
Disney tells the story one way. Literature another. The TV show Once Upon a Time yet even other way. But it always comes down to the simple saying:
“If you love someone, set them free. If it’s meant to be, they will come back to you.”
I never realized how much this story was similar to Phantom of the Opera. What’s with those French? That said, I’ve seen a few versions before this one. I wasn’t anxious to see it in the movie theatre, so I simply downloaded it On Demand this weekend and watched it with a lovely glass of champagne… or a bottle actually… somehow in the 2 hours the movie ran, I finished off the whole bottle. And no, I’m not saying the movie drives you to drink. It just happened.
I enjoyed the movie and the changes in the story. The graphics were amazing, especially with all the inanimate object characters that come to life. Wow! That was fantastic editing. The music was good. The acting was strong. All in all, a solid effort. It didn’t completely overwhelm me, so it earns a 4 out of 5 on my movie scale. Key players include:
Jean the Potter
What I found most interesting was all the hullabaloo over LeFou being gay in the movie. From everything I’d heard, I expected him to be flamboyant, out and a main part of the show. But it was such a small aspect… he flirted a tiny bit with Gaston. He danced with another guy at the end. And he had a bit of flair. But so did they all. Ugh, please. Not even worth mentioning anymore. Was totally fine for all viewers. And to think a movie theatre wouldn’t show the film. Yikes.
The setting and scenery between the abandoned castle and the woods were gorgeous, especially the aerial views, which seemed to capture everything. I thought the film was a bit short and could have told a few more stories between some of the other characters, as if you didn’t know who all the characters were from previous versions, you might have missed a few pieces of the beginning and how they connected to the rest of the movie.
Anyone else see it? What’d ya think?
About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”
I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.
The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.
Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
3- of 5 stars to the re-make of the film Dirty Dancing, just released on ABC TV in May, 2017. I had no clue they were doing a re-make of this movie until a few days before it aired, and I only knew because I happened to catch a quick promo in between watching on TV shows. I wonder why they didn’t advertise this one too much… wait… I know…
Was there any need to even do a re-make? Let’s dive in to the review… quick side note — I’m not going to do a typical review where I compare and contrast… I’m just throwing a few key thoughts out about the re-make and opening it up to questions and feedback!
The original Dirty Dancing movie was a phenomenon when released in 1987. I was ten years old and not originally allowed to watch the movie, as it was considered too racy; however, my mom later caved when we were visiting with friends one weekend. I remember my mom and her friend Joyce discussing whether it was appropriate for me and for Joyce’s daughter, Robin, who was 2-years older than me. Ultimately, because the mothers wanted to watch it, they caved and let us watch it, too. But I also recall being asked to close our eyes at a few parts and even asked to leave the room for 5 minutes when the whole abortion discussion came up.
Anyways…trying to stay on track here… I really liked the movie, but I wasn’t a crazy fanatic who fell in love with Patrick Swayze or Jennifer Grey, nor felt the need to watch it every time it was on. I’ve seen it a few times, love many of the songs and I fully admit, when they do the lift, I am on a bit of a high. I have never practiced it tho… either the lifter or the liftee! Have you?????
If you’ve never seen it (what rock do you live under as I need to send you a VHS, as that’s probably the video equipment you’re still using… but then how are you reading this post? Oh @#$#$, now my brain hurts!)…. it’s about a family who vacations in the Catskills in upstate NY in the 1960s/1970s. The father’s a doctor, the mother’s a housewife. They have two girls, about 18 and 20. While on vacation, Baby, the younger daughter, decides to take some dancing lessons and essentially falls for the instructor, Johnny, who is trying to make a living and stay out of trouble. Johnny’s dance partner has a sort-of-botched abortion and can’t dance for a few weeks. Baby steps in, without her family knowing, and has the “time of her life.” Once her family learns about what she’s been up to, they try to stop it; however, it’s too late, as she’s fallen in love with Johnny.
There are tons of other side-stories, but this is the primary one… somewhere between romance and family drama, it had women swooning over Patrick Swayze, people talking about Jennifer Grey’s funny-shaped nose and it created a whole new generation of people rooting for less “restrictions” in life. (That’s way over simplifying this movie… but if you haven’t seen it, there’s no point in reading my mini-review of the re-make version, right????)
But I’m not wrong, am I???
Focus Jay… so, someone decided to re-make this movie 30 years later… and thus, I have a few comments and questions.
- Main Roles / Stars
- Abigail Breslin plays Baby (Primary Character, AKA Frances)
- Colt Prattes plays Johnny
- Sarah Hyland plays Lisa (older sister)
- Nicole Scherzinger plays Penny (Johnny’s dancing partner)
- Bruce Greenwood plays Jake (father)
- Debra Messing plays Marjorie (mother)
- Katey Saga plays Vivian (older woman seducing Johnny)
- Shane Harper plays Robbie (father of Penny’s baby)
- At least other 10 characters / actors (some famous) but minor roles
- Differences (don’t read if you don’t want spoilers)
- Baby and Johnny don’t end up together — that’s just gonna piss off people
- Vivian has a much larger role in trying to nail Johnny — love her, but why???
- Marjorie wants to divorce Jake — eh, weak plot device
- Lisa enters into an inter-racial romance, while her fling with Robbie is very short — kudos for the change
- Baby wrote a book, and a Broadway play is made of her time doing “Dirty Dancing” — a bit odd
What did I think?
I would have given the original movie a 4+ out of 5 stars. I gave the re-make a 3- out of 5 stars. I wanted to give it a 2, but by my definition, that would have said it was pretty bad. If there weren’t ever an original Dirty Dancing, then I think I would have been fine with this new one, hence settling on a 3- for the re-made version.
A few things that irked me:
- The things they chosen to do differently didn’t really add any value; they took away from the overall story. I’m sure they added some to give meatier roles to other actors and actress and hopefully bring in their fans to watch the re-make. And I love Katey Sagal, but we didn’t need the additional story points with Vivian. While I enjoyed the latter part of the romance between Jake and Marjorie, their relationship issues didn’t impact me in the first part.
- I didn’t agree with most of the casting, which was my main problem. They went for the “ultra-hot guy” with 12 pack abs (Aside: I know that’s not possible, but coming from a 2-pack-maybe-4-pack-on-a-good-day-when-I-didn’t-eat-pizza-or-drink-the-night-before-guy… come on… not right… I mean who feels the need to focus on that when there’s so much more to discuss in this movie… oh wait, I just spoke about my own body, ugh… just like the movie – big mistake!… shut up now), but that wasn’t the normal body type in the 1960s/1970s (pointed out by my significant other)… So it did not feel authentic, especially when they did a lot to “cover up” Abigail Breslin who while quite beautiful, does not have your “typical” dancer-body as compared to every one else dancing in the movie. For many reasons, I thought she was a good “Baby,” but I couldn’t stop thinking about her from her role on Scream Queens to realistically look at her in a more serious and meaty role.
- I’m off topic again… my point being… they went in opposite directions with casting the two leads, highlighting body shapes/types when that really has absolutely nothing to do with the romance, dancing or movie??? It shouldn’t have ever been something to pick up on, except for the fact that the camera folks seemed to purposely focus on it. Johnny should have been a more regular-looking guy in good shape [max 2-pack abs with just a few bulges in his arms — pick either triceps or biceps, right?] and not a focus on every single one of his muscles as the thing to admire. (As I did admire it… let’s be real!)
A few things I liked:
- It felt like it was recorded in the proper time period, including the background setting, clothing and location shoots.
- The new music, as I believe they couldn’t either get the rights to the original versions, or didn’t want to replicate those parts for fear of the ultimate in comparisons, worked well. I didn’t like them a much as the original, but they still had some light and fun moments, one or two sexy moments and they created a great compilation overall.
Why even do a re-make?
The ultimate question… when something is so good, why put effort into a re-make when you know it will never come close to the original. And even if they found the perfect actors and actresses, it will always be compared to something that some people feel is their favorite movie ever… If you’re going to re-make a movie like this one, the changes should be very clear and specific. This one felt like it had differences in all the wrong places… lost some of the original sultry aspects and awkward yet embracing charm… and the casting was too far off the original to bring about the right overall mood.
Should movies ever be re-made? What do you think? What did you think of this one? Please share… would love to hear from those who loved the original and watched the re-make, as well as those who thought the re-make was a fantastic shout-out to the original!
I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!
Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
4 of 5 stars to Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, a drama released in 1964 about the eccentricities of a southern woman who has lived in a house for over 50 years, afraid to ever leave the confines of home. Full of macabre, murder, intrigue, over-the-top drama and campy cult phenomena, this movie is a must see for anyone who loves older/classic movies with a bit of fun humor.
Why This Movie?
I began watching “Feud,” the Ryan Murphy TV series depicting the famous rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. In the second to last episode, Crawford and Davis agree to make a follow-up movie to “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?,” but Crawford later drops out due to issues with other people on the set. Olivia de Havilland steps in, at Bette Davis’ request, thus fueling the feud of whether Joan quit or was pushed out due to her antics on the set while in Louisiana. I had to see the actual movie and watched it this last Saturday evening.
I’ve been to the plantation where it was filmed in Louisiana, and it’s a pip! There is a room dedicated to Bette Davis, as well as other famous things from the time period. Plus it’s a very dog-friendly place! Go check it out here.
When the film begins, it’s the mid-1920s at a party in a southern plantation. The audience learns that Charlotte, a 20ish girl, has been having an affair with her neighbor, but he is married. Charlotte’s cousin, Miriam, tells Charlotte’s father about the affair, and he forces the neighbor to end it. As the party comes to an end, we see someone approach the neighbor with a hatchet. And then the neighbor’s hand and head are chopped off. In the next scene, Charlotte enters the party, covered in blood, leaving the audience to assume she is the murderess.
The movie then jumps forward 50 years when Charlotte, now a recluse living in the same house, is being forced to move off the property when the government is trying to take her property to build a highway and a bridge. She asks Miriam, who’s moved away, to come home and help fight the town and sheriff. Charlotte is a bit off-her-rocker, shooting at the workers and cops to get them off her property. Dr. Drew, her friend from childhood, is trying to keep her calm until Miriam returns. Once Miriam does, a week passes by where the 3 of them, plus Velma, Charlotte’s friend and housekeeper, work together to try find a solution. But Charlotte begins to see her former lover’s dead body and head rolling around, thinking he might be alive sometimes, dead at others. She is eventually sedated by Drew, as she’s going quite loony. All the time, the audience questions whether her imagination is running wild or if someone is playing tricks on her. And if someone is, could it be Velma, Drew or Miriam…
Rather than spoil the ending, all I will say is: You find out who murdered the neighbor. You meet the neighbor’s wife, who is still alive. A newspaper man comes snooping around to see if he can figure out who the murderer is. And someone else is killed. It is really very clever and funny.
- MY FAVORITE
- Bette Davis is absolutely the star with her over-the-top performance. You really can’t tell if she’s crazy or playing crazy most of the time. You feel bad for everyone taking advantage of her. You almost want her to shoot the sheriff or workers and get away with it. And when you see her in the ending, there is still a little bit of… “what’s going on here…” momentum. Though she plays a bit of a similar role to others she’s played before, it’s still a really good performance. Her eyes are magnificent.
- Olivia de Havilland is a close runner up to my favorite. She is also adept at playing the fine line between caring cousin or possible snake in the grass. You can’t quite tell until about 2/3 of the way thru when you know who is really behind all the drama, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers… Olivia was the second actress to play this role. Joan Crawford was originally cast and worked several weeks into the shooting before she left the set. I liked seeing the differences between Olivia in this role and in her role in Gone with the Wind, where she played another cousin, Melanie. And the actress is still alive (2017) living in France.
- Joseph Cotton plays Dr. Drew. I’d never seen him before, but he did a fine job. He has an interesting speaking voice, and I couldn’t quite see a lot of range from him in this role. He seems to be most known for his role in Citizen Kane.
- Agnes Moorehead plays Velma. She was a bit over-the-top, too, but quite amusing. I love her as Endora in Bewitched. She plays a little crazy in her role, but has a wonderful scene where she’s emotionally wrought and trying to get help for Charlotte.
- Cecil Kellaway plays the interested reporter. I know I’ve seen him before, but I can’t be sure where it was. Looked it up, but nothing rings a specific bell. He’s most known for his role in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” which I’ve also not seen.
- Victor Buono plays Charlotte’s father. I saw him in “Baby Jane” and thought he was good. I was very amused at the actor portraying him in Feud. Buono’s role in this movie is relatively small, as he appears in the first 15 minutes in the early scenes before the film hops to what was then current times.
- Mary Astor, of the famous Astor family, plays the neighbor’s wife. She was very good. I enjoyed her sarcasm, wit and portrayal of the disadvantaged wife. She has a great scene with Cecil Kellaway, when she asks him to deliver a letter to someone after her death. I knew there was more to that part of the story, and it comes back in the end when Cecil finally hands the letter to someone.
The Good or The Bad
- Only Agnes Moorehead was nominated for an Oscar, but she didn’t win. No other awards, which is sad… but I haven’t see any of the films that were produced that year… so I can’t quite say if it was a good decision. Will get back to you!
- Bette Davis calls someone a “bitch” in the movie. I didn’t think they said those things back in the ’60s in regular movies. Shocking! But great scene.
- It borders on being campy, which was kinda fun. It was a little too silly with the rolling head, but I totally understand they had limits back then on what they could show and how good productions were. Today, it would be all gore… It was considered a “B” movie at the time.
- Some of the gas-lighting scenes were so silly, I couldn’t hold the laughs in. That’s why I felt it bordered on camp. But it wasn’t as prevalent back then as it is now, so it probably added to the suspense more than looking at it 50 years later.
- The fall down the stairs for the second murder victim was good camera work. But always leaves me wondering… would someone really die immediately from that? It didn’t look like the victim had a neck injury. But drama is drama…
- I tried to picture Joan Crawford in Olivia’s role. I could see it for part of the time, but I’m not sure Joan could have played the full-on subtlety that was needed.
- As far as it being 50+ years old… it kept my attention the entire time. Never any slow parts. Never any unwatchable parts. That makes it top notch in my book.
- The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 was due to the slight campy nature and the over-played scenes when it came to deaths or murders. It’s more of a comedy than a drama to me, but I know Hollywood wouldn’t have called it that in the 1960s.
- If you love old Hollywood or fun intrigue, give it a chance. If you pick things apart too much, avoid it.
- Olivia de Havilland was a surprise for me. I liked her in Gone With the Wind, but now that I’ve seen a second movie with her, with different range, I’m curious… so I plan to look up her filmography and pick something. Any suggestions?
- I hadn’t realized Agnes Moorehead was in films as well as TV Shows. I might take a look at her credits, too.
- It reminded me of Hitchcock… and someone I follow on here published her monthly biography which was focused on Hitchcock. Will probably pick one of them.
- I need to write up a review of Ryan Murphy’s “Feud,” probably later this week.
I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Each week, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.
Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare!
Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
4+ of 5 stars to All About Eve, a drama about an aspiring actress and her obsession with a famous star set in NYC in the 1950s, starring many famous actors and actresses of the decade. The film is also highly praised and considered one of the best movies of the 20th century, which makes it a classic everyone must enjoy.
Why This Movie?
Several weeks ago, I began watching “Feud,” Ryan Murphy’s TV series about the famous feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I’m a big fan of Ryan’s shows, and I’d also seen “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” many years ago, enjoying Bette Davis’ performance. And then there’s that time I took a a trip to visit Houmas House, the Louisiana plantation where “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” the follow-up to “Baby Jane” also starring Bette Davis, was filmed.
It was Saturday night, last night, and we had plans for an old movie and some friends. And by friends, I mean drinks. Started with Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale. Later switched over to a nice Cabernet Sauvignon to go with the skirt steak chimichurri I made. I was searching for “Rebecca,” but couldn’t find it, so we settled on continuing the Bette Davis experience; hence, we chose “All About Eve.”
Margo Channing is a famous Broadway actress dating her director, Bill Simpson, and currently starring in “Aged in Wood.” Her playwright, Lloyd Richards, writes the parts for her, but most of the time, the main character is mid-20s, despite Margo recently turning 40. Margo’s best friend, Karen Richards, stumbles upon a beautiful young girl, Eve Harrington, standing outside the theatre, claiming she likes watching Margo leave each evening. Karen likes her and brings her inside to meet Margo, and they all quickly become friends. Eve moves in with Margo as her second personal assistant, as Margo already has right hand woman, Birdie.
Over a few months, Eve becomes an essential part of Margo’s life, handling everything from remembering Bill’s birthday to dealing with all Margo’s fans. Birdie suspects something is funny about Eve, but no one believes her. Soon after, Margo finds Eve starting to get too close to Margo’s life and tries to put up a few road blocks. Margo’s friends, Bill, Lloyd and Karen, start seeing the jealous side of Margo and set up a trap to teach her a lesson. Unfortunately, Eve ends up the winner as a result, suddenly finding herself as Margo’s understudy and starring for Margo one evening when Margo’s stuck in the country. Eve’s popularity quickly rises with the help of a critic, Addison DeWitt, and Addison later catches on to Eve’s tricks.
The movie closes with Eve winning an award for her performance in Lloyd’s newest play, finally starring an “age-appropriate actress” according to DeWitt’s newspaper column. But Eve realizes not everything she’s gone after is worth the trouble it’s caused her, leaving her open to another young ingenue who begins to play the same game with Eve — now in the role of woman blind to someone clearly ready to pounce.
- MY FAVORITE (in this movie)
- Bette Davis plays Margo Channing. Bette was fantastic. Now seeing her in two movies, and Susan Sarandon’s performance of Bette in Feud, it seems like Bette always plays the same roles. She’s fantastic at them, but it makes me wonder if she was typecast. I remember Madonna’s song “Vogue” mentioning Bette Davis, and there was the song “Bette Davis Eyes,” which had a number of popular versions by various singers in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, Bette didn’t win the award for this role, but she was nominated for a Best Lead Actress Oscar. Rumor has it, the results were impacted because her co-star, Anne Baxter, was also in the category and split the votes. I’m gonna have to look that up…
- Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington. She’s really good and I could very easily see the line she toed playing obsessed but sane, loving but a charlatan, coy but venomous. Was nominated for the Lead Actress Oscar.
- Celeste Holm plays Karen Richards. Good performance. First exposure to her. Was nominated for the Supporting Actress Oscar.
- Gary Merrill plays Bill Simpson. Good performance. First exposure to him.
- George Sanders plays Addison DeWitt. Good performance. First exposure to him. Won Best Supporting Acting Oscar.
- Hugh Marlowe plays Lloyd Richards. Good performance. First exposure to him.
- Thelma Ritter plays Birdie. She was funny. I liken her to Joan Crawford’s assistant, Mamacita. Was nominated for the Support Actress Oscar.
- Marilyn Monroe has a small role — nothing to really comment about.
The Good and The Bad
- All About Eve is based on a short story, ‘The Wisdom of Eve’, written by American author Mary Orr [1910-2006]. Thanks IMDB!
- It’s in black and white, so you have a certain amount of charm and imagination.
- For a film nearly 70 years old, it had tons of drama and caustic dialogue.
- The plot was very strong, and it had a few side-stories which kept everything moving along. Never felt bored. Had a few moments of “are you serious,” but then I realized it was 70 years old… so it was a bit of a pioneer.
- The whole “Eve wins an award” plot seemed a little far-fetched, as well as why Addison chose to support her, knowing she was playing a game the whole time. I thought he had more honesty about him.
- I’d have liked to see what happens to Margo afterwards… did she have more plays? Did she move to a different playwright? Did she and Bill get married? Why was she OK with Bill working on the play with Eve?
- I thought we should have seen a fight between Margo and Karen, especially since Karen’s the root of all the evil: Karen brought Eve to meet Margo, Karen told everyone to trust Eve and Karen setup the situation which led to Eve starring in Margo’s play.
- Since I’m on a Bette Davis kick, I think I’ll take a look at another film she starred in, “Dark Victory.” And of course, “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”
- Anne Baxter’s performance was also really strong. I will probably see what other movies she made…
- This is a movie with powerful and strong women, especially for the 1950s. I think it’s got lots of chutzpah.
- It’s not about crying when someone takes something that belongs to you. It’s about standing up and fight for yourself. I like it!
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