Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tale as Old as Time

Beauty and the Beast
Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Josh Gad, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci
Released: March 17, 2017
Viewed in theaters: March 21, 2017

After I saw this movie, I tweeted, "I saw a movie where Emma Watson plays a character who loves to read and spends most of her time in a castle surrounded by enchanted objects." I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice those Harry Potter parallels! Beauty and the Beast is the latest of a slew of animated movies to be turned into live action films. And so far, I believe it to be the best. Now I may be biased because Beauty and the Beast, the one that came out in 1991 and is the ONLY animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture before there was an Best Animated Movie category and before they allowed up to ten slots for Best Movie, is my favorite animated Disney movie. I have also seen it twice in the past six years while it's been over a decade since I last saw Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and God knows when was the last time I saw The Jungle Book. I've seen all of their remakes and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite.

Let's be clear here: as much as I enjoyed this live action remake of the 1991 classic, the animated film is still so much superior and remains the better of the two. I've heard people say that this movie is an exact replica of the animated movie which is true...but also not. First of all this movie is longer by about 40 minutes, so obviously it has extra scenes. There's some backstory with Belle's mom (she's not present because she died from some disease) and we do get a few more scenes with Belle and the Beast (just like with the animated movie, I don't think we ever learn what his name is, ever!) Another reason for the added length is the number of songs. They keep all of the songs from the original (which won the Oscar for Best Score and Best Song for the title song), so yay! Believe me, I was biting my lip from singing because I wanted to sing along so bad! I grew up with all these songs; I have the soundtrack and I remember my friend's mom would play it her car when she would drive us somewhere. You better believe I know all the words to "Belle" ("Little town, it's quiet village; everyday like the one before; little town, full of little people; waking up to say...."); I know all the words to "Gaston" ("No one's slick as Gaston, no one's quick as Gaston, no one's neck's as incredibly thick as Gaston's"); I definitely know all the words to "Be Our Guest" ("Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test. Tie your napkin round your neck, cherie, and we'll provide the rest!"); I know all the words to "Something There" ("New and a bit alarming! Who'd have ever thought that this could be? True, that he's no Prince Charming, but there's something in him that I simply didn't see"); and, of course, I know all the words to "Beauty and the Beast" ("Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, barley even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly)." My favorite number was Belle...even though it did sound like Hermione was singing to me! During the reprise of that song, I did love when Belle tied a handkerchief around her head while singing "his little wife", which is what she did in the movie. And, also, just like in the movie, she ran out into an open field ala Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. It was much more awe-inspiring in the animated movie because in this one you could clearly tell it was a green screen. I did laugh a lot during the "Gaston" number when Le Fou is spelling Gaston's name and sings, "GAST...T...it just occurred to me that I'm illiterate and have never had to spell his name!"

However, those familiar tunes aren't the only songs in the movie. There are quite a handful of other songs. They're okay, but not very memorable. I couldn't sing you anything from them, but that might be unfair since I've known the original songs for the last 25 years. I had just assumed the songs I didn't know were from the Broadway play, but they're not. They were specifically written for the movie. Celine Dion sings one of them (called "How Does a Moment Last Forever") at the end credits which is a nice throwback since she sang the pop version of the title song. This time they have two current pop singers in Ariana Grande and John Legend who sing the pop version of the song. I think they're both talented (well, I might be a little too kind to Ms. Grande as I've only liked one of her songs), but I am not feeling their version of that song at all. Honestly, I don't even know why they even recorded a new pop version of the song. The reason they did it for the animated movie with Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson was to put it on the radio and I remember hearing that song quite a few times on the radio back then. Has anyone heard the Grande/Legend version on the radio? Has it even had any air play? It's not even the first song you hear during the ending credits! I've only heard it on Spotify. Of course, if they DIDN'T have a new pop version of the song, then I'm sure I would be complaining about that, so I should just shut up!

The characters are all the same characters from the original that we all love (or love to hate!) You have Emma Watson as the beautiful and bookish Belle who lives with her father, Maurice (Kevin Kline). Gaston (Luke Evans) is the arrogant and egotistical hunter who wants to marry her because she's the most beautiful girl in town (and that makes her the best! And doesn't he deserve the best?) and Le Fou (Josh Gad) is his goofy sidekick. There's a funny scene where we see Gaston saying, "You are the most gorgeous thing" and the camera pans back to reveal he's looking in a mirror. Even Philippe the horse is in the movie!

Of course, those were all the human characters; it was the inanimate animated objects that I was more concerned about. For the most part, I think they did a pretty good job bringing these everyday household objects to life. I loved the way they did Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), but I was SO DISAPPOINTED he didn't make his joke about, "Like I say, if it isn't Baroque, don't fix it!" Boo, movie! Boo for not having that awesome line! Chip was so cute and I loved he did his blowing a bubble trick for Belle. It's hard to imagine anybody other than Angela Lansbury voicing the teapot, Mrs. Potts, but Emma Thompson in this movie is a very good actress to get. There's a scene in the movie when Mrs. Potts get offended when Le Fou calls her the little tea cup's grandmother (which was not in the animated movie) and they do make a good point about how weird it was that Chip was Mrs. Potts' son rather than her grandson. When you see her in the animated movie as a human, she's this gray-haired granny type and Chip is this little five year old boy! They should have just made her his grandmother. Audra McDonald voices the wardrobe and we see her at the beginning of the movie before she changes into her inanimate object as someone who ofter sang and entertained as the Prince's fancy parties. Her husband is the maestro (played by Stanley Tucci) and he is turned into a piano, a character who wasn't in the 1991 film. Lumiere is my favorite character in the animated movie, but something about him in this movie didn't work for me. Ewan McGregor voices him and he's fine, though I don't understand why they just didn't get a French actor to voice him (though, to be fair, Jerry Orbach wasn't French either). It's very interesting that there's only one character with a French accent when the story is set in France! Ewan McGregor does fine on the singing too, but listen to this movie's version of Be Our Guest and the original and you will hear that he sings it a bit differently than Jerry Orbach did. Just listen to the way they both sing, "Try the gray stuff, it's delicious! Don't believe me? Ask the dishes!" But it's not Lumiere's talking or singing voice that I find offputting; it's the way he was designed. I absolutely hate the way he was designed! Now Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts aren't exactly designed the exact same way as they are in the animated movie, but you at least you know it's a clock and a teapot. In the animated movie, Mrs. Pott's mouth is right under the spout so it looks like the spout is her nose. In this movie, her face is painted on the side of the teapot. Lumiere has two designs: the one when he's an actual candelabra (and an actual prop so the actors could carry it around) and one when he's the CGI moving character. And I wouldn't mind that at all except for that fact when he's a talking object, he doesn't even look like a candlestick! He's this weird doll-sized brass man who has candlesticks right above his hands and his head! He doesn't look like a damn candelabra! It drives me absolutely crazy! I suppose they did it this way because it was easier, but ugh!

They must have been worried that Gaston wasn't unlikeable enough because they created a new storyline where, after Maurice has told the townspeople about the Beast and Gaston has asked him to take him to the castle where Bell is trapped, he punches Gaston in the face once it's clear that Maurice can't find the castle, then ties him up to a tree and leaves him to the wolves. Another added storyline is that the Beast has this magical book, where, if you close your eyes and touch the page, you can wish to be anywhere you want to be and he and Belle go to Paris, the place of her childhood. We also get more information about the Beast's background in that he used to be a very sweet young boy up until his mother died, then his awful father groomed him to be a jerk just like him. In the opening scene of the movie, he is having a fancy party with all his fancy friends and turns away an old, haggard woman who is seeking shelter from a storm. She reveals herself to be this beautiful enchantress (personally she freaked me out...I thought she looked like Cate Blanchett as Galadriel when she becomes possessed for that split second in Lord of the Rings) and warned the Beast not to let looks be deceiving and thus cast that spell on him (and the other people in the castle).

Yule Ball!
Just like in the animated movie, Belle discovers the enchanted rose that is keeping the spell over the Beast and the other people in the castle who have turned into objects. The Beast yells at her and she runs away and is almost killed by the pack of wolves in the woods. The Beast saves her, but it attacked by the wolves and she nurses him back to health. She is tempted to get back on her horse and escape and she easily could, but she knows he needs her help. After that, they learn more things about each other, such as their love for books and this is when the Beast shows her his library stock full of books because he thinks she should read something better than Romeo and Juliet, her favorite book. Not gonna lie: the library in the 1991 movie was much more impressive; though I guess it is way easier to draw an amazing library than to build one! Same goes for the ballroom. Yes, the ballroom for the dance scene is beautiful with its marble floors and many chandleries, but it doesn't hold a candle to the grand ballroom in the animated movie. That scene remains one of my favorite all time scenes in any animated movie, ever. They should have just cut to the animated version during the dance scene, then cut back when it was over. Because that wouldn't have been odd at all!

The Beast lets Belle see her father in the magic mirror he has and he lets her go when she sees that he has been locked up. He apologizes to the objects, but they understood he let her go because he loved her. It's a little different in this movie, because, and correct me if I'm wrong, in the 1991 movie, if the spell wasn't broken, then everyone would remain the household object they were, but they would still be able to talk (and dance and sing); they would just never be human again. In this movie, the Beast would die and all the objects would turn into literal inanimate objects: no more talking or singing or dancing for them. Belle learns her father has been locked up for his talk about a Beast and talking teacups and a castle full of magic. (This place is a little crazy if you think about it; even Hogwarts didn't have taking teacups!) Belle defends her father and says that there IS a Beast and this makes Gaston and the other wants to kill him and they lock up Belle with her father when she tries to stop them. Of course, she ends up getting them out and goes to stop the Beast from being killed. All the townspeople are in the castle, fighting with the objects. There was a scary moment where Mrs. Potts falls and you think she's going to smash to the floor, but she is caught by Le Fou who has decided to join their side because Gaston, he's learned, is not a very nice person. Belle is too late, though, as Gaston has shot him and she tearfully says "Come back, I love you!" to the dying creature. The last petal on the rose has fallen and all the objects are no longer alive. However, the possessed Galadriel-like enchantress has come to the castle and has witness Belle admitting her love for the Beast, so she lifts the spell and the Beast comes alive and becomes a human and all the inanimate objects return to their human forms. Whew! The townspeople are still on the castle ground and we find out that Mrs. Pott's husband and Cogsworth's wife were among them, so that was a bit of a new twist. The movie ends with Belle and the Beast dancing to Audra McDonald as the opera singer singing "Beauty and the Beast" and I'm thinking, "Ooh, I bet Mrs. Potts is mad that she's singing HER song!", but then she sings the next verse. I absolutely loved the dress Belle was wearing in this scene.

So this movie gets point knocked off for 1)Too many songs I didn't care about, 2)Weird Lumiere design 3)No "If it isn't Baroque, then don't fix it!" line. Other than that, I give it high marks. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

P.S. The Book Was Better

P. S. I Love You
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Cast: Hilary Swank, Gerald Butler, Kathy Bates,  Harry Connick Jr.,  Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Released: December 21, 2007
Viewed in theaters: December 23, 2007

This is a perfect example of a perfectly acceptable book being turned into a crap movie. I saw this movie in the theater because I had read the book two years prior and had enjoyed it. It is the first book by Cecelia Ahern who wrote it when she was only twenty one years old. She is the daughter of Bertie Ahern, a former Prime Minister of Ireland, so I have no doubt that helped her launch her writing career! I've read many of her books and many of them very whimsical. For the most part, I have really liked getting lost in her novels. They're just mindless fun. 

The only book of hers I really don't like is If You Could See Me Now which is about a 30 year old woman's childhood invisible friend coming to life and only she and her young nephew can see him and she doesn't know he's invisible to everyone else. I was thinking there was going to be some kind of Fight Club-esque twist where this was all in the woman's mind, but nope, the invisible friend was actually real and worked with other invisible friends. (Cut me a break...this was only the second Cecelia Ahern book I had read so I didn't know how whimsical she could get!) And she falls in love with her invisible friend, so ick! Totally creeped me out! 

The Gift is Ahern's take on A Christmas Carol as it is set around the holiday season and one of the few times where her main character is male. He is a rich businessman and he meets a homeless man outside the building where he works and offers him a job. This one has an interesting twist that lets the busy working man spend more time with his family thanks to the homeless man. 

Then you have There's No Place Like Here which is about a 30 year old woman (you will soon notice that all of Ahern's protagonists are all 30 or thereabouts) who is obsessed with finding missing things and works with people who want to be reunited with long lost loved ones. This was the fourth Ahern book I had read so by this time I was used to her whimsical and quirky story lines. She ends up in a location aptly named Here (I am not joking!) and it's where all the missing people go. If this had been my first Ahern book I had read, I would have thought this was a weird purgatory where all the people who have been adducted and killed gathered. But no, that would be much too dark for Ahern's writing. The whole thing was just weird. Interesting, but weird. 

The Time of My Life is about a, yep, you guessed it, 30 year old woman who finds herself stuck in a rut with family problems, boyfriend problems, and job problems. She finds out that her Life wants to meet with her. Her Life is an actual person, a man, oddly enough. (You would think if your life was another person, it would at least be the same gender as you!) I didn't mind that her life was a person...in this universe it is normal, but it didn't make sense that her life had his own life too. Someone asked him if he was allowed to have a girlfriend and he said yes. How does that even work? Would that mean she would have a girlfriend as well as her new boyfriend? Luckily that doesn't happen but it is so weird. I think Ahern wanted to make him his own person but it got in that weird territory where a lot of things didn't make sense. I give her props for trying something new and it was a charming, original story. 

The Book of Tomorrow actually has a 17 year old spoiled teen as the main character and she finds a book that tells her what's going to happen the next day and uses it to her advantage. From this she finds out her real dad who she had thought had died in a fire, never died at all. That's all I really remember. 

Thanks for the Memories is really weird. It's about a woman who falls in love with the guy who donated blood to her after a terrible accident and because she has his blood, she's able to see his life...yeah, I know very weird! They fall in love but it takes forever for them to meet even though you know it's going to happen. 

So those are all the books of hers I have read. I would say that The Gift, The Time of My Life, and P.S. I Love You are my favorites. Despite being super weird, There's No Place Like Here was pretty interesting. The rest are either meh to non memorable, but If You Could See Me Now is the worst. There's also a handful I haven't read.

Ironically, P.S. I Love You is probably the most realistic of all of Ahern's novels (the ones I've read anyway). There are no people with magical abilities or invisible people or books that predict the future or made up places. It's just a straight-forward story about a married couple, Holly (Hilary Swank) and Gerry (Gerald Butler). He dies from a brain tumor and leaves behind messages for his widow, one for each month and encourages her to do things to stay strong. The book, like all of Ahern's novels, is set in Ireland, obviously as she is Irish herself. This was set in New York, so Swank does not have an Irish accent. I really hate it when a book that is set in a country that is not America is made into a movie and then the city is changed into a big American city. I guess I understand because probably it will sell more tickets. To me, the casting of Hilary Swank in this didn't work for me. I'm used to seeing her in these dramatic movies and this film, despite the fact that one of the main character dies, is a fairly light and frothy movie. I think someone like a Reese Witherspoon or Kate Hudson would have worked better (you know, if they had to absolutely keep it set in the U.S.). I defintely feel like this movie was only made for the people who had read the book because if you hadn't read the book, you would probably be going, what is going on? The first scene starts with Holly and Gerry arguing in this long drawn out scene that goes on forever (and by God, she is super annoying...I'm surprised he stayed married for her for ten years or however long they were together!) By the end, they have made up and are making out.

Then, in a new scene, we're at a funeral and it turns out it's Gerry's! What the huh! Of course I knew this was coming up because I had read the book. (Oh, I suppose you would know it you saw the previews...I don't think they keep it a huge secret that he dies, but still! His death comes out of nowhere!) Now I don't have the book....I lent it to someone and never got it back (insert angry emoji here) so I don't have it to see how things differ. I'll just have to look it up online like I do for all my other reviews!

I do remember in the book, Holly receives one message from her husband beyond the grave each month for one year. In the movie, it was more like one per season. They definitely cut out a lot of the letters he left for her.

Is it bad that all I could think of throughout this movie is that I bet their friends wished it had been Holly who had died instead of Gerry? He was obviously the more fun one, the life of the party while Holly was more uptight and needed to take a chill pill. Although, since Gerry is from Ireland (at least one character is from the country of origin!), that would mean Holly has known their friends the longest. They are much more fleshed out in the book, obviously, as is her family.

Holly's 30th (of course!) birthday is not long after Gerry's death and she's still mourning him when her mom (played by Kathy Bates) and friends come over to surprise her with a cake and presents. The cake comes with a recorded message from Gerry telling her she's going to be receiving messages from him and he doesn't want her trying to figure out how he's doing this (the real reason for this is they never explain how a dead man set this up months in advance. Yes, I realize he knew he was going to die, but obviously people were involved in this, but yet Holly's mom and friends are all shocked by this, so we never have any idea who was helping him as the movie never says. I can't remember if they reveal it in the book).

The first letter is fairly simple and just tells Holly to buy a lamp for the bedside table. I remember this from the book. Whoever was the last up had to turn off the overhead light and that person would usually stub their toe. How can you have a bedside table, but not a lamp? Gerry signed it, like he did with all his other letters, "P.S. I Love You". The next letter tells her to buy a new outfit so she can wear it when she sings a karaoke song and overcome her anxiety of that. We see a flashback where Jerry goaded Holly into singing and she does, but ends up breaking some bones when she trips into the wires of the karaoke machine. Then there's a letter where Gerry has planned a trip to Ireland for Holly and her two friends (played by Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) and her friends find letters from Gerry at the little cottage they stay at. Holly meets a guy named William (William Dean Morgan) and it is so obvious she has a type because this guy is not only Irish, like Gerry was, but also looks similar to him with the same build and coloring. They end up sleeping together and Holly is SHOCKED and MORTIFIED when she finds out that William knew Gerry. Well, duh! Any idiot could have figured out that. One of the requests Gerry gave to them was to go to a pub and see the performers. William was one of them and he ended up singing a song that touched one of Holly's nerves. It was a song that Gerry would often sing to her, so obviously he had called up his friend William and asked him to sing it when Holly and her friends would be there. But the kicker is that William had no idea that the woman he had slept with was the same one he had played for a couple nights earlier - just how drunk he was to not remember that?

I don't remember William from the book, although obviously she didn't go on a trip to Ireland since she already lived there. However, I do remember the character of Daniel who is played by Harry Connick Jr. There is a small spark between them, but once they do kiss, the realize it's like kissing their brother/sister, so really, what was the point of that character?

One of Holly's last letters from Gerry is him telling her to get a new job. I think she's a real estate agent, but she hates it, so she decides she's going to design shoes! And she's a huge success! Uh huh. (And her dad wasn't even the President!) The movie ends with her finding closure with Gerry's death as he writes in his last letter that he wants her to find love again and it looks like she will...with his good friend and lookalike, William!

Ugh, I hated this movie! The only good thing about it was that it introduced me to the song "Love You Til The End" by The Pogues which I really like. Who knows if I would even still like the book if I ever read it again...though I'm sure it would still be better than the movie! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Oscar Thoughts

If you're a cinephile like me, I'm sure you, like others were watching and tweeting about the Oscars, especially that moment at the end! (At one point, I had tweeted, "Okay, can we wrap this up, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!! #Oscars). Actually, to be honest, I didn't even know about the mix up until the next morning as I had to get up at the crack of dawn Monday morning so I was just waiting for them to announce the Best Picture so I could finally go to bed. When La La Land was announced I had my answer and turned off the TV. I figured there was a 80% chance La La Land would win, but I wouldn't be surprised if Moonlight stuck in there for the win.

So when I wake up the next morning, there's an announcement on my phone saying Moonlight had won and I was very confused so I watched the clip on YouTube. I felt really bad for Warren Beatty; you know everyone was going to blame him for reading the wrong name so I understand why he wanted to explain that his card said "Emma Stone, La La Land." I guess that explains why he was taking such a long time to announce the card. I THOUGHT he was trying to be cute and funny and was thinking, "Get on with it, Clyde!" I am a little confused why he didn't say he had the wrong card, though. Surely he knew he had the Best Actress card, right? I'm pretty sure he did know it was wrong and was trying to get Faye Dunaway's attention, but she just blurted out the name. And everyone thought La La Land was going to win, so nobody was surprised. I mean, what if Casey Affleck had won right before the Best Picture was announced and they the Best Actor card and read Manchester by the Sea as the Best Picture? Surely they would know there was something up then because that movie didn't have a chance of winning, right? It was La La Land with Moonlight as a possible upset. I'm seen so many jokes on Twitter asking what if they had the Best Makeup card and Faye Dunaway announced Suicide Squad as the winner? At least then they would definitely know they had the wrong card!

While I still wonder why Beatty didn't say anything, I don't place any of the blame on him. I do think he tried to do something, but just went bout it the wrong way. The blame lands 100% on the guy from Price Waterhouse Cooper. I guess he was taking photos of Emma Stone backstage and tweeted a pic of her (which was then deleted, but someone saved a screenshot of it) and got so distracted that he handed Beatty the wrong card. I've seen people saying, "Oh, leave the poor guy alone. Everyone makes mistakes. It's not like people died." To those people, I say, Are you effing kidding me? He made a HUGE mistake. He made the La La Land people look like fools for accepting an award that didn't belong to them (though they were gracious about the whole thing) and took the moment away from the Moonlight people. He also had people blaming poor Beatty and Dunaway. This guy is an idiot and he deserved to be fired for his mistake. I do feel bad for the woman who was fired, but I guess she didn't stop the mess in time. There were three speeches from the La La Land people before they finally realized what was going on! This guy had ONE job...and not a difficult one! Just give the right envelope! Not that hard! I will say it gave us one of the most memorable moments from the Oscars!

And this scenario is exactly what I wished had happened at the 2006 Oscars....Jack Nicholson reads Crash as the winner, but oops! He had the wrong card and it was Brokeback Mountain that really won! Why couldn't that have happened that year?

Overall, I really liked the show...all the winners (as usual) were who I expected. I think the opening with Justin Timberlake singing "Can't Stop the Feeling" was one of the best openings I've seen at the Oscars in a long time.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Director: Adrian Lyne
Cast: Diane Lane, Richard Gere, Olivier Martinez, Erik Per Sullivan
Released: May 10, 2002

Oscar nominations:

Best Actress - Diane Lane (lost to Nicole Kidman for The Hours)

If, for some reason, you've never seen this movie in the fifteen years it's been released, I highly recommend that you see it before you read this review because I will be spoiling it! It is a really good movie and you do not want to be spoiled! Okay, you have been warned!

Diane Lane and Richard Gere play Connie and Edward Sumner, a couple who have been married for eleven years. They have a young son, Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan...you may remember him as Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle) and live in quite the house in the suburbs outside of New York City.

As you may have guessed from the title, it doesn't take a genius to figure out one of them is going to commit adultery. Connie is in the city on a very blustery day, trying to catch a taxi. She is carrying two shopping bags and the heavy winds are whipping her hair and skirt (why is she wearing a skirt? Didn't she check the weather forecast for that day?) every which way. She runs into a man carrying a stack of books and falls on top of him. So you could say she literally fell for him. He is Paul (Olivier Martinez) a good-looking young French guy who collects and sells books (hence the stack of books he was carrying). He tries to help Connie hail a taxi as she watches his books, but he doesn't have any luck either. Connie has a nasty cut on her leg and he tells her she can come up and bandage it since they are right in front of his apartment. She sees a taxi pass by right then and she could have easily hailed it, but decides to follow the handsome stranger instead. We see the elevator is out of order which is going to come into play later in to the movie. There is some slight flirting on Paul's side and it makes Connie a little jumpy. Paul offers her a book to take with her and she sneaks it into her bookshelf amongst the other books. While she doesn't tell her husband about the book, she does tell him about what happened that day and how this man offered to help her when she scraped her leg. Edward jokingly asks if that man was good-looking. Little does he know he has to worry about him!

Connie finds Paul's phone number while flipping through the book he gave her. She decides to call him, but it's obvious she knows she shouldn't be doing it because she's calling him at a pay phone in Grand Central Station. She has to get up the nerve to call him a couple times before she actually places the call. She gets his machine and is about to hang up until she hears his voice answer the phone. She calls under the pretense to say thank you for helping her and that her leg is doing better. Of course, we know this is not true! He asks her over for coffee and she looks at the paper cup of coffee she's holding and places it in front of her and goes over to his place. There is more flirting occurring and it still makes Connie a little bit uncomfortable. After she tells Paul she took some French in high school, he says something to her in his native language and she thinks he wants her to take something off, but he meant would she like to take her coat off.

Despite her nervousness, she returns a third time. He has some music playing and they start to dance. She realizes what she's doing is wrong and decides to leave. However, when she comes back in to retrieve her coat she forgot, Paul grabs her and takes her to his bed and they have sex. This seemed a little rape-y to me. She's saying no to him, that this isn't right, but he keeps on going. We see this part as a flashback because as she's on the train back home, we see her having flashbacks of them together. While she did seemed to enjoy her little tryst, you can tell she also feels really guilty. They will meet up several more times to continue their affair and the first time is really the only time where she's uncertain they should be doing that. The other times she seems very happy and excited to be with him even though she still knows what she's doing is wrong.

There really is no rhyme or reason why she's cheating on her husband. We see a scene of them earlier in the movie where they are being intimate and they both seem to be attracted to each other. Edward is a good guy; he's not a jerk and he's very attentive to his wife. In order to sneak out and see Paul, Connie makes up stories why she needs to go to the city. During one visit to the city, she runs into two friends she hasn't seen in awhile. They ask her what she's doing in the city and she lies and says she's shopping for window shades. They invite her to coffee and she has to go because she can't get out of it. I had to pause the movie at this point because the two women looked so familiar, so I had to go on IMDb and see where I knew them from. One of them played Meredith's mom on Grey's Anatomy and the other one played Blair's mom on Gossip Girl and it was like, Oh, duh, of course. Doesn't it drive you crazy when you see a character actor and you can't quite place where you know them from? Thank God for IMDb! Since Connie is stuck having coffee with the two women, she uses the pay phone to call Paul and tell him she's going to be late. (One of her friends is confused she uses the pay phone and says Connie could have borrowed her cell). He actually comes to the coffee shop and they go at it in the bathroom.

The other two women saw Paul when he came in and was sitting at the counter. They talk about how hot he is and one of them says she would be on her back in a second if he looked at her. This scene felt very forced because what are the odds that your friends would be discussing how hot the guy you're hooking up with right in front of you and they don't actually know you're hooking up with him? You know what I mean, right? The Kate Burton character (that's Dr. Grey) says she once had an affair a long time ago and it was the worst thing she ever did.

Edward starts to have suspicions about his wife. The stories she tells him don't match up and he notices that she's been wearing sexier dresses and heels out. She's also been a little distant towards him. He hires a private detective to have her followed and his worst fears come true when he finds out that his wife has been with another man. I should mention that Connie and Paul have been out in public, which is how the PI caught them: when they were coming out of movie (they were the only ones in the theater and were having sex - I would hate to be the person who had to clean that theater! Ugh!) he snapped photos of them holding hands and embracing. The first time they're out in public together is when they're at a restaurant and Connie feels very exposed, as she should. She is seen by someone that knows Edward (but she doesn't notice him) and you think that might be the way Edward finds out, but, obviously it isn't. I felt it was very stupid for Connie to be in public with Paul. Well, I thought it was stupid of her to have this affair in the first place, but don't flaunt it in public! We've already seen that she knows people in the city and is bound to run into someone she knows. Just really sloppy on her part.

Edward confronts Paul at his apartment and we see an aerial shot of Connie running out of his apartment just as Edward is about to cross the street and enter it. He confronts Paul and tells him he's Connie's husband and Paul tells him that Connie finds the city more exciting and implies that she is bored with her life. Edward sees Paul's bed and you know he's imagining what was going on in that bed with the handsome young Frenchman and his wife, but things get even worse for him when he notices a snow globe on his bedside. Earlier in the movie we see a collection of snow globes at the Sumner's home so it was obviously taken from that collection. This particular snow globe seems to mean a lot to Edward and he demands to know where Paul got it and he says that Connie gave it to him as a gift. I have to say that was a pretty stupid thing of her to do. Why would she give him a gift from her house that her husband was bound to know it was missing? Why not buy him something? She was certainly capable to go shopping; she even did it with her husband when she stopped by his office to bring him a sweater she had bought for him, obviously out of guilt. And why would she think Paul would want a snow globe anyway? It just seems like a weird gift to give your lover. But all that really doesn't matter because this snow globe is going to play a huge role in the movie.

Overcome with rage, Richard smashes the snow globe on Paul's head, cracking his skull. While this is defintely the most cringe-worthy scene of the movie, I can't say it's the grossest scene of the movie, even with the blood. No, the grossest scene happens much earlier when Connie tells Charlie to spit out whatever he's chewing (I'm not sure what it was, maybe gum?), then later pops it in her mouth! Ugh, eww! That just churned my stomach! Yes, I understand it hadn't been in someone else's mouth when Diane Lane put it in her mouth, but it was meant to be that way in the movie. To me, that was the most disgusting part of the movie! Anyway, back to death by snow globe. Edward (rightfully!) starts to panic. He has a lot of work to do: wrap up the body in a rug, thoroughly clean the apartment, and wipe down his fingerprints. He must have done a pretty damn good job because he is never caught! While he is doing all of this, the phone rings and there's a message from Connie telling Paul that she needs to end their affair. She realizes this once their affair starts affecting her life as she forgot to pick up Charlie at school. Edward was probably thinking, Great, I just committed murder for nothing! Remember the broken elevator that I said would come back into play? It stops working on the way down and Edward has to heave the carpet/body up onto the floor and climb out. When he finally gets outside, lugging the heavy carpet, someone offers to help him carry it, but he says he's good. By this time he's late to his son's play and when he gets there he's very flushed and out of breath (he went into the bathroom to throw away his blood-stained shirt and change into an extra shirt he had) and Connie asks if he's okay. When they are about to get in his car and leave, someone accidentally bumps into the back of his car and the trunk opens just a little. What are the odds that would have happened?! Edward has to slam it a few times before it latches and you can tell he's in a panic. It's not like the body was showing, but I do understand why he didn't want that open! The guy who hit his car wants to double check the trunk to make sure it's not broken, but Edward snaps "NO!" at him.

In the middle of the night, Edward sneaks out to rid the body in a junkyard. He's a little too good at this if you ask me. In fact, he's much better at murdering someone and hiding the evidence than Connie is at having an affair! Although, he didn't get rid of ALL the evidence because a few days later policemen show up at their house, investigating the disappearance of Paul. Edward didn't see that Paul had Connie's name and number written down. The police question her with Edward present and she lies and tells them she was going to buy a book from him, but never did. They obviously don't believe her, but don't have any real evidence to press further. Connie figures out pretty quickly that her husband has something to do with the disappearance of Paul when she sees the snow globe she gave him back in its place. Okay, maybe Edward isn't that great at getting away with murder...why would you keep the murder weapon? But remember, he never got caught while Connie did. But there's no way he could have thrown it away because it has sentimental value to Edward. We realize why he was so upset when he found out his wife gave her lover it because he gave it to Connie during a trip to Chicago on one of their anniversaries and Connie finds out that he had hidden a note in the base that told her if she found this before their 25th anniversary, she had to wait to open it. Of course she opens it then and Edward, who is playing the piano with Charlie, looks over as she reads the note which says "To my beautiful wife, the best part of every day." It's written on the back of a photo of them with Charlie as a baby. I bet she felt pretty s***y for what she did!

I think Edward should have left Connie. Not only did she cheat on him, but she gave a very personal gift from her husband to her lover! I would have been livid! Obviously, Edward was furious and even admits to Connie that he wanted to kill her. They decide to try to make it work as a couple, although it's left a little ambiguous what happened with them. Did Edward turn himself in (the last scene shows them in their car next to a police station) or did they continue on with their life as though nothing happened? 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dating Advice

He's Just Not That Into You
Director: Ken Kwapis
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Aniston, Scarlet Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Kevin Connolly
Released: February 6, 2009

They should have called this movie He's Just Not That Into You...Unless You Are Scarlett Johansson. (Insert laughing emoji here). This movie is based on a self-help book of the same name which you have probably heard of. I am amazed and baffled that there is a book out there telling women the signs of when a guy isn't interested in her. It's really not that hard to figure out; you don't need to read a freakin' book! I suppose there are women out there like Ginnifer Goodwin's character (bless her adorable soul) who can't get a clue and need it, but there is no reason to be shelling out ten dollars for a book that tells you a guy may not be into you if 1) he doesn't call you, 2) he doesn't ask you out (again), 3) he doesn't want to date you, 4) he doesn't sleep with you, 5) he's sleeping with someone else, etc. No s&(%, Sherlock! (BTW, I looked up the price and some of the chapters on Amazon.com. I guess ten dollars isn't too much to spend if you just want to read it and have a good laugh!) 

This movie revolves around a bunch of characters whose story lines interconnect and interweave within each other. Like I mentioned earlier, Ginnifer Goodwin's character, Gigi, is the clueless girl who can't get a hint when a guy isn't interested in her. She spends most of the movies going out with different guys and wondering why they never call her back. When we first meet her, she's on a date with Conor (Kevin Connelly), who her sister, Janine (Jennifer Connelly) has set her up with. (And I already forgot how Conor and Beth know each other....through work stuff, maybe?) Through Gigi's eyes, the date seems to be going okay, but after it's been a week and he hasn't called, she begins to second guess herself and how the date actually went. Poor thing is even more confused when Conor had told he he would give her a call. Doesn't she know that doesn't mean anything? She even goes so far as to stake out the bar where he usually hangs out. Oh, honey, you are so very adorable, but a little stalkerish! Luckily, he's not there, but she does find out the main bartender, Alex (Justin Long), is a friend of Conor's. Alex sets her straight and tells her that Conor isn't into her. She goes on dates with a couple more guys and when she gets cryptic messages about whether they'll call or not, she calls Alex for advise. Alex offers to set her up with one of his friends, but when he tells her he gave him the wrong day and his friend won't be there and it's just the two of us, Gigi thinks that Alex made up his friend because Alex is into her. There were also a few other reasons (such as he would call her out of the blue to talk to her) why she thought he might be into her. Although her reasoning is sound, I just felt so embarrassed for her because I knew - I just knew! - that she was dead wrong and I was right. Turns out he wasn't into her and did have a friend to set her up with (who was not attractive, btw, nice job there, dude!) But wait...he found out he actually WAS into her and they end up together. Insert groan here.

I already mentioned Gigi's older sister, Janine. She is married to Ben (Bradley Cooper). She tells Gigi that it took Ben eleven days to call her after they went out on their first date. Holy crap; that is insane! After the third day is when I give up hope! They have been married for awhile, but it's revealed they haven't had sex in a long time (which is a chapter in the book that he may not be into you!) When she asks if he's been smoking, he denies it (though later it turns out to be true), but he does admit that he slept with another woman, Anna (Scarlett Johansson). She is also being lusted after by Conor (remember, he was the guy who went out with Gigi). In fact, after Conor and Gigi had their first date, she saw him take out his phone as they parted their ways and was convinced she was leaving her a message, but he was actually calling Anna, who he used to date and they still sometimes hang out and he's confused by her feelings for him. I am glad they made a storyline where a guy wasn't sure if a woman was interested in him, because, trust me, there should be a book called She's Just Not That Into You! Needless to say, Janine tells Ben she wants a divorce. Thank God!

Then we have Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Neil (Ben Affleck) who are friends with Janine and Ben. They have been together a long time, but aren't married because Neil doesn't want to get hitched. Beth wants to get married and one of her friends or sisters (I already forgot who because there are so many damn characters in this movie!) tells her (like one of the chapters from the book!) that he's just not that into her because he doesn't want to get married. They break up, but realize they miss each other when they meet other people who they have nothing in common with. Beth tells him she doesn't need to get married, but Neil ends up proposing and they have a happy ending. Honestly, I found this storyline to be the most boring of the movie. 

Anna's friend, Mary (Drew Barrymore) has been meeting guys online. One she likes in particular, she met on MySpace. MYSPACE, OMG, remember MySpace? Wow, that was a blast from the past! I literally had forgotten that site existed until this movie reminded me. Now this movie came out in 2009, but was it suppose to take place in 2004 ish? Because I feel like MySpace wouldn't be relevant anymore by 2009! One of the funniest moments of the movie comes when she gets a message from a musician she met on that site who calls and leaves her a message and sings her a song with her name. She then listens to a second message and it's the same guy, only he's singing a song with a different woman's name and he realizes his mistake in the middle of the message. She ends up meeting Conor and they hit it off. 

I think I got all the storylines! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Me Before You

Me Before You
Director: Thea Sharrock
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Sam Clafin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis
Released: June 3, 2016

Spoilers ahoy! 

Valentine's Day may be over, but I'm continuing my trend of romance movies through the rest of the month of February (and maybe into March, depending on how fast I can roll these out!) This movie is based on a book I had never heard of by an author I'm not familiar with, Jojo Moyes. It stars Emilia Clarke (aka Khalessi (yes, I had to look that up to make sure I spelled that right!) from Game of Thrones) as Louisa "Lou" Clark. Emilia Clarke, Louisa Clark; is it me or do those names sound really similar? While she doesn't come from a poor background, her family is struggling with money and she needs to get a job after she lost her job as a barista because the place just closed for some reason...or maybe she was fired? I'm not exactly sure what happened there, but the movie clearly wants us to move on and she goes to a job agency where they hook her up as a caretaker for a man who is paralyzed. She is hired even though she has no experience with this sort of thing.

When fandoms collide
She is interviewed by the matron of the estate (oh, yeah, this is a rich family she's working for; they even own a freaking castle!), Camilla Traynor (Janet McTeer). Lou has just assumed the man she will be tending to is her husband, but is shocked when Mrs. Traynor tells her it's her son, Will (Sam Clafin), who is only a few years older than Louisa. I'm sure Game of Throne fans went giddy when they saw that Mr. Traynor was played by Charles Dance and saw Tywin Lanister and Daenerys Targaryen in the same scenes together (did they even have any scenes together in GoT? I honestly don't remember). But wait! It gets even more fandom-y crazy! Lou has a boyfriend, Patrick, and he is played by Matthew Lewis who is best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies. When I first saw them in a scene together, I was like, "Wait a minute...is that...yes, that's Neville!" So Khalessi and Neville Longbottom are a couple....sure, I could buy it!

But don't get too attached to these two as a couple, because she's going to end up falling for Will. Will was in an accident two years ago where he was hit by a motorcycle. Before the accident, he seemed to be a complete douche: the rich, good-looking guy who did everything right and was handed everything on a golden platter. And let's be honest, pre-accident Will would have never given Louisa, a pretty, but quirky and talkative girl with an eccentric taste for fashion, a second glance. You know I'm right! He's also a douche post-accident, but I guess you can't really blame the guy because he's only 31 and will be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and has a lot of physical pain. He is very rude to Lou when they first meet and doesn't want her to talk to him. She tries everyday to try to get him to open up to her, but he won't budge, so finally she just tells him he's acting like a jerk and the only reason she's there is because she needs the money. Another reason he's also so sour is because his ex-girlfriend and best friend have fallen in love and are getting married. Now, before you accuse his ex of leaving him after he got into the accident, that was not the case; instead he shoved her away and wouldn't talk to her. 

However, after about a month, they start talking and start to connect and soon a strong bond is formed between the two. When she tells him she doesn't do much besides wake up, go to work, then come home and sleep, he tells her she should live her life fully. The two attend the wedding of Will's best friend and ex-girlfriend (so awkward!) and also attend a concert together. Louisa sits on his lap as he moves around in circles in his motorized wheelchair as they "dance" to Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" (which, remember, the first lyric of that line is "When your legs don't work like they used to before") and it's very cute.

There's another scene where Lou invites Will to her birthday dinner with her parents, sister, and boyfriend. When Patrick sees how close his girlfriend had gotten close to her client, he is clearly jealous. When she is opening her presents, they clearly stole that scene from one of the new episode of Fuller House, haha! Okay, remember that episode- (What am I saying? Of course nobody remembers this because nobody watches the Full House revival!) So there's this episode where it's DJ's birthday and Matt, her boyfriend, and Steve, her high school boyfriend who is still in love with her, each give her a present. Matt gives her a really lame present and Steve gives her a very meaningful present. This is exactly what happens in this scene! Patrick gives her a gift...it's a necklace with a heart pendant that says "Patrick" inside of it. So lame. Will gives her a pair of black and yellow tight aka "bumble bee" tights. Lou had told him she had a pair of these when she was a little kid and loved them so much, but she couldn't find made for a grown woman. She freaks out and gets all giddy when she opens her gift from him and gives him a huge hug.

Don't upset the
Mother of Dragons!
Although they've been spending a lot of time together, Lou finds out that Will is looking into assisted suicide at a place in Switzerland. He wanted to do it six months ago, but told his parents he would wait another six months before he made his final decision. His parents, especially his mother, are both hoping he will change his mind now that he has Lou in his life. They go on a romantic vacation to Mauritius (also there is Will's physical therapist, so it's not exactly just the two of them) where they share their first kiss. (If I remember right). However, Will tells he still plans on ending his life because he can't live with the physical pain anymore and he misses his own life. Did anyone find this to be a slap in the face to Lou? Oh, you did all these things to make me see that life is worth living and you took care of me for the last six months and showed me you loved me, but that's not enough...I'm still going to kill myself!

Lou is crying and won't talk to Will for the rest of the trip and on the plane ride back home. (Good thing he didn't tell her until the last day of their vacation!) When Will's parents are there to greet them at the airport, they can clearly see from Lou's expression that their son hasn't changed his mind about the assisted suicide. She tells them they don't need to pay her and gets on a bus to take her home. She does have a change of heart and flies out to Switzerland to see Will before he dies. There's a lot of tears and he leaves her a note with instructions to visit Paris, which was one of his favorite places to visit and she does, wearing her bumble bee tights. She also learns he left her with a bunch of money. Bet she's not crying anymore!

And what's up with the title? Is the "Me" referring to Lou and the "You" referring to Will or is it the other way around? Because I'm not quite sure...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Time of Their Lives

Dirty Dancing
Director: Emile Ardolino
Cast: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Jerry Orbach, Kelly Bishop, Jack Weston, Cynthia Rhodes
Released: August 21, 1987

Oscar nominations:

Best Original Song - Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz for "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" (won)

As it is February, the month of Valentine's Day, I thought I would review movies revolving around romance and what better way to start out with one of the most romantic films of our times? (Okay, I may be exaggerating a little bit on that!)

I didn't know that Jennifer Grey's character, Baby (and we will get to that ridiculous name in a bit!), was only seventeen. I don't think they actually say what her age is in the movie, but everywhere I've read about this movie, it says she is seventeen and it is mentioned that she is planning on attending college to study economics and wants to join the Peace Corps, so it sounds like she is just barely out of high school. I guess I had just assumed she was in her early twenties, not jail bait. I also figured Jennifer Grey was in her early twenties when she filmed this, but she was 27....ten years older than her character! Considering I thought she was 22 or 23, I guess she pulled it off...barely though. Still don't see her as a teenager! Her real name is Frances Houseman, but she goes by "Baby" for God knows what reason. Who the hell calls a grown ass woman "Baby?" Okay, she's "seventeen", but still, I mean, seriously now! Yes, it did give us that iconic line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" ....but it still sounded pretty stupid when her father or mother called her "Baby". (And way creepy when the father said it). We do get a funny line where someone tells her, "Go back to your playpen, Baby." Baby's dad is played by Jerry Orbach and her mom is played by Kelly Bishop. Imagine my shock and delight when I saw that a young Emily Gilmore was in this! Wait! Does this mean that Baby is Lorelai's older half-sister? I can see Lorelai having a field day making fun of "Baby's" nickname. Although, the time line wouldn't work because this movie is set in 1963, but I think they forgot to dress some of the extras in the last scene because there are some very '80s clothes and hair on some of them who are watching the final dance! Plus there's this other scene where Baby is wearing acid wash jeans where you forget this movie is suppose to be set in the early '60s!

Baby's family, along with her older sister, Lisa (what? she doesn't have a saccharine nickname like "Honey" or "Sweetie"?) are going to a resort in the Catskill Mountains called Kellerman's which is owned by a man named Max Kellerman (Jack Weston), who Mr. Houseman knows. It doesn't really remind me of a resort, but rather a camp for families. There are cabins guests stay in and activities that include dancing (duh!), arts and crafts, golf, and boating.  

Crazy for Swayze!
While at a dance lesson, Baby (I cannot get over how stupid her name is!) sees dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) and his dance partner (dance partner only, mind you!), Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) putting everyone to shame as they dance the salsa...or the mamba...or the waltz. Hell, I don't know what they were doing! Baby can't keep her eyes off the older guy and meets him when she accidentally gets invited to a party that's for staff members only. Apparently there's 400 people who work at this resort because that's how many people are dancing inside the lodge. This is where everyone is bumping and grinding against each other. They could never dance like this in front of the guests! This is when Johnny and Baby are introduced to each other and Baby is introduced to "dirty dancing". (Do people really call it that? I just call it "bumping and grinding").

There's a lot of drama involving Penny who is pregnant and wants to get money to get an abortion. We're suppose to think it's Johnny's baby since they used to date, but it's a douche bag waiter named Robby who also has his eye on Lisa. Baby asks her dad for the money who just gives it to her because she tells him it's for someone who's in trouble. Which, yes, is true, but sheesh, I would want to know more specifics before I shelled over $250 to anyone. To be fair, he does ask what the money is for, but she tells him she can't tell him. He seems happy enough to give her the money when she assures him she's not the one in trouble and whatever the money is for is not illegal (:::coughWRONG!cough:::) Turns out that $250 was a horrible investment because this so-called "doctor" only had a dirty knife and a folding table and didn't even use ether on her. Good Lord! Understandably, Penny is in agony and Baby runs and gets her father, who is a doctor. When he asks who is responsible for Penny, Johnny tells him he is. Mr. Houseman tells his daughter he doesn't want her associating with Johnny anymore.

What he doesn't know is that Baby has been taking dancing lessons from Johnny. Johnny and Penny usually perform the Mambo at the Sheldrake Hotel, but since Penny will be out of commission due to her, ahem, "procedure", Baby fills in for her. There's a lot of dancing montages and while I don't remember the abortion subplot at all, I remember all the dance montages, like when they're dancing on the log over the water together. (No way I would do that...I don't want to slip and break my neck!) Even though there's plenty of songs from the '50s and '60s, two of the most iconic scenes feature songs from the '80s. Obviously the last dance scene (probably one of the most famous dances in cinematic history) has "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" which was written for the movie and "Hungry Eyes" by Eric Carmen which is played during the montage where Baby is learning the steps to their dance also came out in 1987. It too was written specifically for the movie. While I do love both song, neither of them sound '60s at all! They're both totally '80s. (Well, I think so!)

There's a move at the end of the dance where Baby is suppose to run and jump into Johnny's arms and he'll lift her up in the air. (You know the move!) She chickens out doing it when they perform at the hotel and they just change it into another move. Aside from a few missteps, she does pretty well for her first public performance. Since Baby and Johnny have been spending a lot of quality time together and especially since most of this quality time has been spent dancing and touching each other, they start to have romantic feelings for each other. This is when the movie starts to feel a tad creepy to me. We never find out Johnny's age, but I'm guessing he's suppose to be early twenties. Their age difference wouldn't really be that big of a deal if it weren't for the fact she was seventeen...it's just creepy! Patrick Swayze was seven years older than Jennifer Grey in real life, so that would have made him 34 when he filmed this. And she's on vacation and she sneaks out of the cabin she's sharing with her parents and sister to have sex with Johnny. Even her sister sneaks out of their cabin to have sex with Robby (who she finds is already doing it with a cougar who is staying at the resort). Am I the only one who finds this extremely disturbing?

Grandma Gilmore!
Baby has to admit she spent the night at Johnny's cabin when he's been accused of stealing. She says she know Johnny didn't do it because she was with him in his cabin all night. Turns out the thieves were this elderly couple. Johnny is fired anyway because of his relationship with an underage girl (well, they make it sound like he was fired because he had a relationship with a guest, but really, he did have a relationship with an underage girl!) Mr. Houseman is outraged by this, but once he learns that Johnny wasn't the one who got Penny pregnant and he has some pretty sweet dance moves, he seems to be okay with the two of them hooking up.  Johnny comes back so he can dance the final dance with Baby. Nobody put Baby in a corner, indeed. If you go on YouTube, you can find a TON of videos from weddings where the bride and groom dance to this song. Although this does come from Dirty Dancing, this dance is very appropriate to dance to in front of your grandparents.

Surprise! I have a bonus movie review!

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
Director: Guy Ferland
Cast: Diego Luna, Romola Garai, John Slattery, Sela Ward, Jonathan Jackson, Mika Boorem, Patrick Swayze
Released: February 27, 2004

I've seen this movie referred to as a sequel (WTF?) and a prequel, but it's neither. Even though it came out 17 years after the original, it takes place in 1958 so it comes before the original in the timeline. But it really has nothing to do with the original. It's not a remake or a reboot...I guess the best way to describe it would be a re-imagining. You will notice Patrick Swayze in the cast list. No, he does not play Johnny Castle because that would make no sense at all as Johnny would have been a teenager (probably?) in 1958 while Swayze was in his early 50s when he made this. Maybe he played Johnny Castle's father, Jonathan Castle? He is only credited as "Dance Class Instructor" so I guess you could use your own interoperation for who he really is.

Diego Luna? Si, por favor!
While I'm not the biggest fan of the original, I do understand why it's such an iconic movie. This movie is fine. It doesn't hold a candle to the original, but why would it even try? This was the movie that introduced me to Diego Luna, so therefore I love it. When I first watched this movie back when I rented it in 2004, I was like, "OMG, who is that boyishly cute, yet extremely gorgeous guy with the super swoon-worthy accent?" I rented a bunch of his movies and became a fangirl. He somehow manages to be both super cute and super hot at the same time. Usually guys are one or the other (or neither!), but rarely both. To be honest, I hadn't seen many of his movie since the early '10s, but I did see him in Rogue One, and yep, even twelve years after this movie, he's still hot. A few years after I saw this movie on DVD, I was talking with a co-worker of mine and this movie came up in a conversation and I told her how much I loved Diego Luna and she said she did too and saw the movie twice in the theaters and I was like, "Girl, I don't blame you!" Diego Luna can teach me Spanish or make me tacos or make out with me anytime.

Obviously, from the title, the movie takes place in Havana, Cuba. It is about a high school senior named Katey Miller (Romola Garia) who is moving to Havana with her parents (John Slattery and Sela Ward) and little sister, Susie (Mika Boorem). I'm not sure why they move there (with only a weeks' notice too, WTF?), but it is mentioned her dad works for Ford and was promoted. Can I just say thank God the female lead in this movie has a normal name and not a creepy nickname like "Baby"? They live in a swanky hotel where all the other rich white Americans live and Katey meets some of her peers. One of the snobby girls is played by January Jones and James, the son of Katey's dad's boss, is played by Jonathan Jackson, who you probably know best as Avery from Nashville. Katey really only cares about school and studying and reading books and doesn't really associate with her peers, but when James asks her out to a dance at the country club, she accepts so she will fit in and make new friends. Because of the time period this takes pace in, the Cuban Revolution is going on with Castro and Batista and yada, yada, yada.

During this time she also meets Diego's character, Javier Saurez who works at the hotel. They have a brief run-in there but when she sees him dancing to a Cuban band in the Town Square, she likes what she sees. (I mean, can you blame her??) She had missed the bus, so he offers to walk her back to the hotel so she doesn't get lost.

After Katey is insulted at the Country Club dance by January Jones by insinuating she's too goody-goody to come to someone's house to drink, she tells them that she and James are going to a Cuban club, La Rosa Negra because Javier told her about it. Both boys are jealous of the other because they are trying to vie for the attention of Katey, but let's be honest, it's really not a fair fight! James is cute enough you can see why Katey would accept an invitation to a dance with him. Although a bit smug, he seemed to be okay until he puts the moves on her in his parked car after he sees her dancing with the Cuban hottie even after she told James no. So you have a semi-cute smug guy who assaults his date against the super cute/super hot Cuban guy with the adorable accent (and let's not forget those sweet dance moves!) and he's super sweet because he offers to walk her home. I told you it was no contest!

Javier ends up getting fired from his job because Susie and one her friends saw him with Katey and they snitched. It was a big no-no for the staff to be conversing with the guests. Katey feels awful because she knows Javier needs the money to help out his family. She sees a poster promoting a Latin dance competition which will give the winners five grand. She figures with her knowledge of ballroom dancing (both her parents were professional ballroom dancers in their prime) and Javier's street dancing, they can marry the two ideas and come up with a winning dance. Javier is reluctant at first about the idea, but finally agrees. As I mentioned earlier, Patrick Swayze played the dance class instructor and helps Katey fine-tune some of her dance moves and gives her advice.

There's a lot of dance montages and Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is played during it (although it's not Shakira singing...not sure who it is). Although the song works for the movie with its lyrics and Latin flair, I am still scratching my head on why a current pop song is playing during a movie set in 1958, but if you remember, the original had songs from its current day playing during a movie set in 1963. But who cares because it's a catchy song and you get to see a lot of cute dance moves in the montage!

Katey's mom, who thinks James is cute and wants things to work out between her daughter and the boss's son has no idea that Katey is spending time with a local boy as Katey is telling her she's spending the time with James. Her parents would have a heart attack if they knew she was spending her time with a poor Cuban boy and not a rich white American one! Hey! This movie is more like Titanic than the original Dirty Dancing if you think about it. I didn't find the relationship between Katey and Javier to be creepy like the one between Baby and Johnny because they were closer in age (as well as the actors) and she wasn't sneaking out to have sex with him ala Baby. Katey makes James cover for her by threatening to tell her parents of the assault if he doesn't.

The dance contest is at a swanky ballroom on Christmas and three couples will be chosen to compete in the finals set for New Year's Eve. But, surprise! Mr. Miller has a surprise for the whole family and is taking them, along with James and his parents, to watch the Latin dance contest. Katey (wearing a black coat over her slinky dress) manages to get away by telling the others she has to use the restroom. There's a funny scene where she's been gone for a few minutes and her mother asks, "Where's Katey?" and Susie (who knows about her sister's participation in the dance contest), replies, "Just wait."  Katey's parents are NOT amused at all and they are just watching her dance with stone cold faces. This is the big dance sequence of the movie and it's pretty impressive what they do. Diego Luna is adorably cute and super hot in this scene; how does he do that?? Oh, yeah, that blonde girl he's dancing with does a good job too, but who is looking at her, haha. No surprise, they are one of the three couples that will be competing in the finals. However, Katey may not get to attend that dance because, boy, are her parents PISSED! (Oh, who are we kidding? Of course she's not going to miss the final dance). Even though her parents don't approve of her relationship with Javier (even though he was totally adorable and gave her mom a flower - c'mon, Sela Ward, you weren't charmed by that?), they do want her to compete in the finals because they know how much she loves dancing. They are the last couple to dance, but they don't get to finish because Javier's brother, who is a revolutionist, has disguised himself as a waiter and opened fire in the crowded ballroom. Everyone manages to get out okay and Javier stops his brother from doing anything (more) stupid. Our favorite couple doesn't win which I thought was a little unfair since their dance was interrupted!

Katey and her family have to leave Cuba in a few days and she wants Javier to join them (like he's her new puppy she found or something!), but he tells her he has to stay in Cuba because that's where his family is and he needs to stay in his home country. Katey's mother comforts her when she gets home and yes, I would be crying too if I had to say goodbye to someone that hot (and cute!) But it's okay because she gets to have one last dance and one last make out session with him, at least.

Okay, yes, I only like this movie for purely shallow reasons! So sue me! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Seeing Double

The Parent Trap (1961)
Director: David Swift
Cast: Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Joanna Barnes
Released: June 21, 1961

Oscar nominations:

Best Sound (lost to West Side Story)
Best Film Editing (lost to West Side Story)

The Parent Trap (1998)
Director: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix
Released: July 29, 1998

I am doing a double movie review feature which is perfect because these movies feature twins! Ah, yes, The Parent Trap. Everyone knows this movie. It's a classic. If you really think about it, it's a bit of a f***ed up movie. A couple meets, falls in loves, gets married, has twin girls, then gets divorced soon after. That's actually all normal, but it's the fact that each parent takes a twin and live on opposite sides of the country (or, in the remake's case, different continents) and neither girl has no idea that the other one even exists! Also, I'm pretty sure that's not how custody works. I don't think the parents can just choose which child they want to keep as their own! 

The '98 movie follows the original pretty closely with only a few updated changes. So much so that both movies are pretty much the same length. Hayley Mills plays Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers and Lindsay Lohan plays Annie James and Hallie Parker. Now I know that Hayley Mills was a popular child/teen actress of the early '60s, but to me, she'll always be Miss Bliss fromSaved By the Bell! This was Lindsay Lohan's first movie and before she became a tabloid favorite, she was a pretty cute little eleven year old and it's impressive that her first movie was playing two characters who both have very different personalities and mannerisms. They could have easily cast the Olsen twins (who are the same age as Lohan), but I like that the movie cast only one actress as the original did. I felt like it would be cheating if they had cast real twins! I had always just assumed they named one of the Lohan twins "Hallie" as a homage to Hayley Mills (Hayley, Hallie, they sound close enough), but reading through the IMDb trivia section, I found out that the Lohan twins were named after the director's daughters.
Besides the names, the ages are also different. The Mills twins are thirteen and the Lohan twins are eleven. Both movies start with the girls going to the same summer camp. (Seriously, what are the odds of that; especially when they don't even live in the same town and the camp isn't even in the same area where they live?) I guess when they were making movies in the '60s, they didn't know how to build suspense because the very first moment Susan and Sharon are in the same room, they see each other. This happens the first night at camp when they're in line for dinner at the mess hall and both reach for something and see each other and give each other a look of surprise. At least in the remake, they milk it a bit before the twins discover each other. Like the original, there's a scene where they're both reaching for something while in line for dinner, but they don't see each other because the camp counselor is between them. They finally see each other for the first time after they've had a fencing duel and take off their masks and also gasp in surprise at their similarities. For some reason, both sets of twins take an immediate disliking to each other (with one twin insulting the other's looks...um, hello, you look exactly the same!) and a prank war ensues. This results with the girls being sent to the Isolation Cabin.  This is when they start to learn peculiar things about each other. One girl grew up with her father and never knew her mother (Susan and Hallie) and the other girl grew up with her mother and never knew her father (Sharon and Annie). They also find out they have the same birthday and will be turning the same age! And they look exactly alike! What are the odds of that?

It's the twin of the mother who realizes that something is up and has a realization that they just may be related. (Duh, no kidding!) In the original, Susan tells Sharon she's seen a photo of her mom and Sharon shows her a huge framed photo of her mom (seriously, who would bring something like that to a camp?) to which Susan asks what she's doing with a picture of HER mother and Sharon says that it's HER mother. In the remake, both girls have a torn photo, ripped down the middle of the parent they didn't grow up with. They reveal the photos and realize it makes a whole and the other girl recognizes the parent they did grow up with. "That's my mum!" "That's my dad!"

It's the idea of the twin who grew up with her father for them to switch places when they leave camp, so that way, their parents (who have never gotten remarried to other people), will have to unswitch them and will therefore meet and fall in love again. To do this, they cut the the hair of the twin with the longer locks and in the remake, they pierce the ears of the twin who doesn't have them. They also tell each other about their lives at home and the people in their everyday lives, like Sharon's/Annie's grandfather and butler and Susan's maid/Hallie's nanny.

In both movies, the twin of the father is from Carmel, California, but in the original, the twin of the mother lives in Boston while in the remake, they make her from London. Actually, while watching the original, I was a little surprised when I found out she was from Boston because she sounded more British than Bostonian; she certainly didn't sound like the people from movies and TV who are from Boston! Then I realized the "other" twin also sounded a little British and realized Hayley Mills just didn't quite get rid of her British accent as she's British in real life.

So Susan travels to Boston as "Sharon" where she meets her mother, Maggie McKendrick (Maureen O'Hara) and Hallie travels to London as "Annie" where she meets her mother, Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson). I love that the twins are blonde and have a redheaded mother in the original and in the remake the twins are redheads and have a blonde mother? While riding in the car to her mother's home, Hallie is looking out the window and gawking at all the famous London sites. Girl, compose yourself! Remember, you're a native! The mothers in both movies are very beautiful, proper, and refined and the twins who finally get to meet her are just so enamored with her. Elizabeth is a famous wedding gown designer and takes her daughter to a photo shoot. I don't think they ever tell us what Maggie does.

Sharon travels to California as "Susan" where she meets her dad, Mitch Evers (Brian Keith) and
Annie travels to California as "Hallie" where she meets her dad, Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid). It was a little creepy in the original because when Susan was describing her dad to Sharon, she used words like "dreamy" and "sensational". Okay, let's calm down, it sounds like you have a crush on your dad! (Eww!) Luckily, they don't go that route in the remake. (I should hope not!) The fathers in both movies are rich, handsome, rugged-outdoors men and the twins who finally get to meet him are just so enamored with them. But not to the point of creepiness. The only girl who has a crush on her father in these movies is Susan! Like the mothers in both movies, both of the fathers live in large, gorgeous houses, so it's not like neither sets of twins were destitute. Both sets were living pretty great lives, but they just want to make their lives even better! Who can blame them? In both movies, Sharon and Annie, posing as the other twin, are confronted by Susan's and Hallie's confused dog who barks at them.

Unfortunately there is a little hiccup in Operation: Get Parents Back Together when Sharon/Annie discovers their father has a girlfriend - a MUCH younger girlfriend, which he plans to marry. Mitch is planning to marry Vicky (Joanna Barnes) and Nick is planning to marry Meredith (Elaine Hendrix). Joanna Barnes plays the mother of Meredith in the remake, so that's pretty cool. There's a funny moment in the remake where Nick is about to tell "Hallie" he's going to marry Meredith, but Annie interrupts him and says how she's so excited to have a big sister since he's obviously going to adopt her. Who would adopt a twenty-six year old? It's so ridiculous, but funny.

Sharon and Annie call their sisters to reveal the bad news. Susan gets a telegram from Western Union delivered from Sharon that says "Alexander Graham 3 AM important" and her mother and grandparents can't crack the code. Please. It's so obvious that she's suppose to call her "friend" (who she says it's from) at three in the morning.

Both sets of twins get caught before they reveal who they really are. Susan and Hallie get caught by Sharon's and Annie's grandfather (I guess technically, he is their grandfather too) after they've gotten off the phone with the other twin. He makes her tell the truth to his daughter. Susan is a total brat when she reveals who she really is to her mother and grandmother because she's whining how Sharon is back in California "riding my horse and having a keen time while I'm stuck here with these lousy music lessons and I hate them." Sharon is caught by the Evers's maid, Verbena and Annie is discovered by Hallie's nanny, Chessy, when both women become suspicious of the dog acting different towards the girls and their change of appetites.

By now the only person who doesn't know they've switched places is their father. Susan/Hallie and their mothers fly to California to switch places and hopefully stop their dad's marriage to a floozy and rekindle a romance between their parents. In both movies they do the old joke where the dad sees one twin, then, a minute later, sees the other twin and he's confused as to how she just popped up again so soon and she's wearing different clothes. There's a totally cringe-worthy moment in the original where Maggie takes a shower at the house while Mitch is out on his horse and when he comes back, there's a bra hanging on the shower door and he thinks it belongs to his thirteen-year-old daughter (which it obviously doesn't). Again, luckily, they take this out of the remake. When Mitch/Nick sees their ex-wife, they are shocked. So shocked, in fact, they fall into a lake/pool. In the original, when Mitch and Maggie are reunited, they start fighting and SCREAMING at each other. Now I can see why they got divorced! They're a lot more civil to each other in the remake. This is when the twins show up and explain to their father they've switched places this whole time. Both sets of twins guilt trip their parents into saying how they've grown up this whole time without a mother/father and beg their father not to marry Vicky/Meredith.

The twins set up a date for their parents that matches the very first date they ever had. This is when the Mills twins sing "Let's Get Together". The Lohan twins don't serenade their parents, but there is a scene earlier in the movie when one of those twins is humming it. However, the romantic dates don't quite work because the mother plans to fly back home with her daughter (the right twin this time). The twins play a trick on their parents by dressing exactly the same and not revealing who is who, therefore confusing their parents. They tell them they both want to go on the camping trip their dad has planned with the whole family. After they return, they will tell them who is who. Plans change and Vicky/Meredith end up going on the camping trip instead of Maggie/Elizabeth. This gives Susan and Sharon and Hallie and Annie the perfect opportunity to terrorize their almost stepmother-to-be. The remake keeps most of the same pranks as the original such as the girls putting a little lizard on the gold digger's water bottle, telling her to clap two sticks together to keep the mountain lions away, and putting water and sugar in her bug spray. The final, biggest prank is the one that's different. In the remake, they drag Meredith out from her tent on her inflatable bed while she's sleeping and float her out on the lake. I'm surprised she didn't roll into the water. She doesn't fall into the lake until the next morning when she wakes up and is standing up and screaming. Well, of course, you're going to fall into the water if you stand up on an inflatable bed! While I would have been pretty furious if someone did that to me, I would have much rather have that prank played on me than the one Susan and Sharon play on Vicky. These girls pretty much try to have this woman murdered when they put honey on her toes and leave a trail of it so when she wakes up, two bear cubs are licking at her feet. Understandably, she starts screaming and freaking out as any normal person would in that situation. Some guy (I guess the ranch hand) says, "Those are itty bitty bears! They wouldn't hurt a fly!" like it's no big deal. WHAT?!? Sure, those bear cubs may not do any damage, but Mama Bear ain't gonna be too happy! They must not have known about bear safety in the '60s, maybe? They seemed pretty laid back about two bear cubs visiting their camp. Even if they hadn't enticed the bears with honey, they still would have had them as visitors what with all the food they just left out on the tables! Susan and Sharon are just lying in their sleeping bags and I really wanted to smack them. I did not like them after that incident. Don't get me wrong: Annie and Hallie are plenty bratty to Meredith, but they never put her in a dangerous situation where she would have been mauled by a bear! Good God, movie! In the original, Vicky is furious and just leaves and in the remake Meredith is also furious and gives Nick an ultimate: them or her. Of course, he's going to choose his own children over a woman he's only known for a couple of months.

Of course, in both movies, both sets of parents realize they're still in love with each other and reunite. These are Disney movies, after all, of course they're going to have happy endings! I'm not sure where they ended up living, though. I found the original to be more realistic from the fact that the parents really seemed to hate each other so it's easy to see why they got divorced! They were just screaming and snipping at each other quite a bit! I'm not quite sure what was going on there. The parents in the remake seemed to like each other a lot more, but it is revealed they got married pretty quickly so maybe they thought that was a bad idea and that's why they got divorced? I do like the remake better because it came out when I was alive, for one thing, so I am more familiar with it. The original was still good, but there were a few parts that seemed to drag on. There are also a few questionable things in the original that I already mentioned and I did find those sets of twins to be more bratty than the twins in the remake. But Hayley Mills is much more iconic than Lindsay Lohan!