Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Although "Vinegar Girl" is Anne Tyler at her most....Anne Tyler, I kept being reminded of the movie "Moonstruck," as I read it.
Even though the novel is a re-telling of Shakespeare's "The Taming Of The Shrew." Tyler not only updates it superbly, she makes some characters more interesting than they were in Shakespeare.
The play literally was a taming, with the macho Petruchio, trying to bend the shrewish Kate, to his will. Here, Petruchio becomes Pyotr, Kate's father's brilliant lab assistant, and with the father doing a kind of back handed Dolly Levi, he gets them together.
Pyotr is less sexist ogre than clueless romantic. Charming. What was more fascinating was the character of Kate's sister, Bunny. I do not recall Bianca being that dumb and vapid. And, of course, she ends up marrying a personal trainer, and living in New Jersey.
The novel follows the Shakespeare trajectory, without being overly literal. Tyler stick to things, but has some fun along the way. And she provides the reader with much fun.
When I heard about this whole Shakespeare update thing, I was skeptical. Someone has even done "King Lear," which should not be, as nothing surpasses Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres."
But Anne Tyler does a great job. And makes me curious about some of the others.
If you are stuck with the blues, or a Summer rut, this book is a sure cure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's not so much that it is unreadable; it is quite readable. It is just that it is look too many other dystopian works I have read.
Obviously, this is 2017's big Literary Theme, but I am getting a bit tired of it. Until the type of book comes along that breaks this thematic mold, I am staying away from books of this type. And, let me tell you something, should this work turn up, at year's end, on The Times Ten Best List, I will be as shocked as anyone on here.
I really have nothing to say about this book, except to say I should be thanked for saving all of you the trouble of slogging through it.
Just doing my job, dears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is no question that Betsy Palmer, whom everyone on here loves, should have received extensive media coverage, for her iconic portrayal of Pamela Voorhees, in the original "Friday The 13th," back in 1980. I must salute the person who designed this cover; it could not be more perfect than it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Poor Pamela! She just wanted someone to watch Jason. That damn horn dog , Barry, and that slut, Claudette! They got theirs! But the others really did not deserve it, having had nothing to do with Jason's death. Especially Janine Taylor as Marcie, forever remembered for those pink panties, and her Katherine Hepburn speech from "The Rainmaker."
Yes, Pamela should have been featured on TIME! And, now, see for yourselves, she is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darlings, when I found out that "Now, Voyager, " which I have not seen in a long time, will play the Film Forum sometime in October, this line just popped into my head.
Once I was in this position, girls. So, this blog post is a rally for all out there who are struggling with spinsterhood--gay or straight--to set your sights, and go about your business, as if you owned the world.
Let's face it, Charlotte had it rough from the start, having sprung forth from the vaginal teeth of Gladys Cooper! That is enough to do in anyone!
But, helped by an eyebrow job, and an Orry-Kelly wardrobe, Charlotte flung off the mantle of spinsterhood, and, girls, I am telling you, you must, too.
The scary thing is, in just ten years, Davis really would look like this, when she played a town librarian in "Storm Warning."
But beauty products were not so abundant, then. There is no excuse to look this way, now, unless one is just pathetic. There is a lot of that out there, though!
I know none of my girls are that way! Always look your best!
Spinsterhood may not be empowering but they have more taste than most. Hence those nieces' gifts!
Saturday, July 22, 2017
The Kindest Thing I Can Say About The 2017 "Beguiled" Is It Reaches A New Level Of Screen Awful-Ness For This Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From the first time I saw the film's trailer, I knew what Sofia and Company were going for. Either Sofia, or someone on her staff, had seen, and been captivated, by Peter Weir's 1979 melodrama, "Picnic At Hanging Rock." That film was also visually stunning, and featured groups of school girls, dressed impeccably in white, who never got mussed, even while on a bug-filled, woodsy picnic, beneath an Australian mountain.
Here, the white was a visual metaphor for sexual repression, and the mystery of what went down up on that mountain is subject to many interpretations, but I stand by mine. The girls were consumed by their own sexuality. Save for that survivor--or was their more than one?--the vanished girls, literally, devoured one another.
Well, Sofia Coppola has dressed everyone in white for this film, but the end result is like a Vanity Fair photo shoot. Oh, and let us get some important points out of the way, first.
Nicole Kidman no longer has a face to act with. She is Botoxed beyond belief, and the way her character psychologically unravels is, for each progressive scene, her eye make-up becomes more severe. This in contrast to the consummate Geraldine Page, who could chill with just an upturn of her eyebrow. Kidman, from the neck up, is immobile.
Oona Laurence is no Pamelyn Ferdin!!!!!!!!!!!!! As Amy, she is a bit large, anorexic, and, like her costars, is simply Central Casting's idea of what dissipated Southern women should look like. Ferdin's Amy was almost the moral compass of the film, and turned things on its head, with the pivotal death of Henry, the turtle. Here, the scene is just thrown away. And Laurence lacks Ferdin's acting chops!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Actually, much of the story's juices are tossed away. The inexcusable omission of Hattie, the Black character, is matched by Sofia's presumption, and I hate to say she may not be too far off the mark, of the present-day audience's lack of historicity, by having a title explaining, at the start, that the film is set in rural Virginia, three years into the Civil War.
Where was Darleen Carr?????? Probably hiding her face in shame, if she had the tolerance to sit through this mess. You can be proud, Darleen and Pamelyn, of the work you did in what was far better a film.
I had hoped Colin Ferrell, who can be a hottie, would bring some tension to the Clint Eastwood role. Not only was Clint a better actor in the original, he was better looking. Except for an Irish brogue, Ferrell, like Elle Fanning, walks through the film in a fog, apparently having been directed that their only job was to pose nicely, and look pretty for the camera. If the girls are at a Vanity Fair photo shoot, Farrell is at one for either that or GQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone please tell me, when did Kirsten Dunst get so old? I know she is no longer a little girl anymore, but she looked ready to play Katie Nolan in "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," someone beaten by life, who still rallies, rather than a repressed Southern spinster. Oh, and by the way, Miss Coppola, who gets blamed for the script, too, breaks a cardinal rule of Southern literature--sexually repressed Southern spinsters do NOT find sexual fulfillment. Someone should have referred her to the works of Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers, or Truman Capote. But does Miss Coppola even care? I doubt it!
Adding insult to injury, she claims to have been drawn to the story by giving the women more empowerment. How, Sofie? By having them pose in tableaux vivantes?????????? Do you even know what that means, dear???????????????????
It took me so long to write this post, because I did not really want to. Now, with the flood gates loose, all the vitriol comes out. Now, how to end it.
The only reason to see this "Beguiled" is to steer one to the original. And to serve as the best example, now extant, of lesser directors remaking movies that were better in the first place.
Beguiled? Simply boring, darlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was that recent episode of "Cold Case" that led me to this film. In tracking down "Targets," I came across this online. I had always wanted to see it--why I did not when it was first released is a mystery to me, as it was, and is, right up my alley. Maybe I was too busy, that same year, going gaga over Betsy Palmer as Mrs. Voorhees in "Friday The 13th."
Seeing "Fade To Black" made me wonder what ever happened to Dennis Christopher, who, incidentally, is my age. He exploded onto the scene in 1979's "Breaking Away," then did this film as a vehicle of his own, but what after that? Was he in "Chariots Of Fire?" If he was, I have forgotten, for, save the haunting theme, I have blocked that film out.
In many ways, "Fade To Black" is similar to the "Cold Case" story. Eric Binford lives with his Aunt Stella in a Freudian house of horrors, with only his love of movies to fall back on. I get it, but someone should have told Eric, or the writer, that having the character chain smoke and have butt-filled ash trays all over the room is a fire hazard, with all that film material around. I guess writer/director Vernon Zimmerman was too busy getting his film references accurate, though I spotted one glaring error. If one is going to make-up Dennis Christopher as a Bela Lugosi inspired Dracula, why show Christopher Lee in the film clips? Maybe it was a rights problem.
Nevertheless, I bet Dennis Christopher, the set and costume designer, and, most of all, the make-up crew, had the time of their lives making this film. As critics said at the time, it is an ordinary revenge story, but, with its inventive background settings of sleazy Hollywood, the brilliant make-up, and Christopher's empathetic performance, it should have been one of the major films about Hollywood. When "La La Land" eventually hits the revival circuit, at places like the Film Forum, this should be shown with it.
Surprise of surprises! This film features a--you'll never believe this, girls!--a baby-faced, hot looking, Mickey Rourke, as workplace bully Richie, who gets his, in a brilliantly shot noir sequence, where Eric Binford guns him down--impersonating Hopalong Cassidy!!!!!!!!!! Though horror characters are mostly used, Cassidy, and Cody Jarrett, James Cagney's brilliant acting turn in 1949's "White Heat," are prominently featured.
But my favorite sequence is the one that redoes Richard Widmark pushing his mother down the stairs, in the 1947 classic, "Kiss Of Death." As one of the screen's underrated bitches, Aunt Stella, played by Eve Brent, just about steals the show! Looking like an obese Elizabeth Taylor wannabe, especially with that wig, it turns out she has her own back story. She was a Hollywood hanger-on, a promising dancer; no Donna McKechnie, certainly, just a dime a dozen in Hollywood, especially in the Forties and Fifties. What Eric does not know is, she is actually his mother, who, though she resents having given birth to him, and blames him for the accident that put her in the wheel chair, still lives with him, and has a quasi-incestuous relationship with him, via some nightly back rubs she makes him give! Oh, honey! No wonder this kid is guaranteed to be messed up!
Aunt Stella's malevolent glory is displayed early on, when she speaks her first words to Eric--
"Eric! Get up! Well, lookie here, Mister Smart Mouth fell asleep
with his nose buried in the screen again! Your one-eyed monster
is gonna soften your eyes, much less rot your brain! You spend
all your time daydreaming, and watching those silly movies on
the TV, and on your projector."
What a hateful bitch! I was ready to rank her up with Shelley Winters as Rose- Ann D'Arcey in "A Patch Of Blue." Actually, Aunt Stella is not quite that bad, but her words really resonated for me. You see, my father had two uneducated sisters, my aunts, whose husbands were distinctly blue collar, and, once I reached adolescence and it was clear I was not going to follow the family program, said pretty much the same words to me. And, along with the movies, I actually read books, seriously and scholarly. So, I can relate to Eric, in a way, just as I could to Paul Shepard. I wish I had his make-up ingenuity! The Dracula drag is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everyone in this film pretty much gets their comeuppance--and so does Eric. The confrontation with his boss unintentionally echoes the famous Ernest Borgnine scene in "Willard," but minus the wit and humor.
Maybe the film was too gimmicky for a mainstream audience. Or maybe only the more cinematically attuned would get it. I know I did. And, as the film really did fade to black, itself, a thought struck me.
Eric wouldn't have had the emotional problems he had, if he had been raised by Aunt Ida!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"A matchmaking site for suicides. It was bound to
happen."--Kathryn Erbe, as Alexandra Eames in
"No Exit" on "Law And Order, Criminal Intent,"
Recently, girls, I wrote about that episode. In it, a Mr. Smythe, played by Jason Antoon, runs a website called "Terminal Decision," for those looking for ways to end their lives. It is how the victims in the opening, as well as Edie Elverson, found their way to their respective deaths. I had heard of The Hemlock Society for years, but, naturally curious, after viewing this disturbing episode, I hunted around to see if a real life version of "Terminal Decision" existed.
In a way, like Eames, I really should not have been surprised. Because, in a sense, it does.
When I first heard the phrase "The Blue Whale Challenge," I thought it was some kind of cyber shaming of obese people. This would have been bad enough, but things sometimes go from bad to worse, which is the case here.
The challenge turns out to be some kind of online game, where the participant is encouraged to perform a series of injurious acts on themselves--fifty, to be exact. Each act accelerates in severity as the numbers increase, culminating in suicide.
Parents of teens should beware; this sounds like something directed at their state of impressionability and vulnerability. However, in Wichita Falls, Texas, on July 4th of this year, a 32-year-old woman, Natasha Cadena, hanged herself in her home--and her mother Sandy cites this medium as being responsible.
On July 13, in San Antonio, 15-year-old Isiah Gonzalez, took the challenge--and his life!
What is going on? There are more questions than answers
Why would some sick thing create such a thing? This is pressing Freedom Of The Press way too far, just like the site in "No Exit."
The instructors operate under anonymity, but they are real people. How to track them down, and shut this down?
The points of origin are said to international. Why?
Now, some of you may ask, what about simply resisting the challenge? Well, for those of us who ask that question, it is a no brainer; I , for one, would simply not tune in to such a thing. But those affected are vulnerable to such influence, and are highly at risk. This site finds them as much as they find it.
If any out there think this is a joke, watch the "No Exit" episode online, and then reread this. Think of all the recent suicidal tragedies, dating back to Tyler Clementi.
And then ask yourself how such sickness can be perpetrated.
But, more important, how it can be stopped.