Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Circle of Trust

Meet the Parents
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Owen Wilson
Released: October 6, 2000
Viewed in theaters: October 7, 2000


Oscar nominations:

Best Song - "A Fool in Love" by Randy Newman (lost to "Things Have Changed" by Bob Dylan from Wonder Boys)

Meet the Fockers
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand 
Released: December 22, 2004


Picture it: Kansas City, Missouri, 2000. My mom and I are in KC for a weekend, just for funsies. We shop, we eat, we go to movies both nights we're there. On Friday night we see Remember the Titans and on Saturday night we see Meet the Parents. Okay, that's the extent of my story! 

Yes, I'm missing the third movie in this trilogy, Little Fockers, but it wasn't available on Netflix like the other two are and I heard it's pretty terrible, so I don't feel like I'm missing anything! 

The first movie begins in Chicago where Greg Focker (Ben Stiller (oh, and we will get to how horrendous that name is later on!)) is getting ready to propose to his girlfriend, Pam (Teri Polo). She's a kindergarten teacher and he has this whole thing planned out where he has her students arranged by the window holding up letters that read, "Will You Marry Me?" and he will surprise her by turning her around so she'll see the message. It's all very cute. Just as he's getting ready to pop the question, her phone rings and it's her younger sister, Debbie, telling her SHE'S gotten engaged. What are the odds of that? When Greg hears that her sister's fiance, Bob, asked permission from her father because he appreciates things like that, he decides to nix the proposal.  Although, does it seem a little weird that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend without ever meeting her parents? I know her parents live in New York, but you would think they've been dating long enough that their paths would have crossed at least once. Lucky for him, Debbie and Bob are getting married in two weeks (seriously, WTF? They JUST got engaged and they're getting married in TWO WEEKS?) so he will be able to meet Pam's parents and ask her father for permission to marry her

Greg's trip to Oyster Bay (yes, I checked, and yes, it is a real place. It's on Long Island) doesn't start out so well when the airline loses his luggage which had a two-carat diamond engagement ring inside of it. Was he seriously planning on asking Pam to marry him the same weekend as her sister's wedding? Ehhh....not a good idea. Why is he trying to take away attention from the sister who's getting married? But man, I would be so pissed if they lost my luggage with a diamond ring in it! And the next three days for him are only going to get worse.

Greg meets Pam's parents, Jack and Dina Byrnes (Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner) and right away Jack gets in two jabs at Greg. This will be a running theme throughout the movie (and the next one!) He comments about their rental car and tells him, "Interesting color, you pick it?" (It's green). Greg tells him the guy at the counter was the one who picked it out and Jack tells him, "They say geniuses pick green...but you didn't pick it!" Ouch. Also, I call BS on that. When Pam tells her parents that Greg lost his luggage, Jack asks if she got her luggage and she tells him she took a carry-on to which he replies, "That's my girl!"

This is the point of the movie where the viewing audience learns what Greg's last name is. Dina asks him how it's pronounced and he tells her just how it's spelled, F-O-C-K-E-R. You know they were hoping that wasn't the case! I have to admit, I laughed at all the Focker jokes. Because I'm 12. There's a few in this movie, but they're more prevalent in the second movie when we meet Father Focker and Mother Focker (hehehe). Speaking of Meet the Fockers, I was surprised they got away with  calling it that! Little Fockers sounds even worse...try saying that three times fast and you're saying something completely different! While doing research for this movie (which is reading the trivia page on IMDb), I read that the MPAA would not allow them to use that name (it is PG-13 rated movie, after all) unless they found someone who had that last name. Evidently they did. Just imagine, there are some poor schmucks out there with this horrible last name. And these movies probably didn't help them! By the way, if I were Pam, I would NOT change my name! (Spoiler alert: they get married!)

We're introduced to the Byrnes' cat, Mr. Jinx (who usually goes by Jinx or Jinxy). Now, I don't remember my reaction to first seeing Jinx, but I'm sure it was one of the following:
-I probably clapped.
-I probably "ahhhhh"-ed.
-I probably squealed in delight.
-I probably did all the above.
Why? Well, because Mr. Jinx was played by a Himalayan and I don't know if you remember (and you probably don't), but when I reviewed Homeward Bound, which also features a Himalayan cat, I mentioned I had a Himalayan cat. His name was Mac and he has since passed on, but he was alive when I saw Meet the Parents, so of course I was more then delighted to see a Himalayan cat being represented in the film industry, haha. Jinx belongs to Pam and she left him with her parents when she moved to Chicago, but they should have just made him her parents' pet. It didn't make any sense why she never told her boyfriend about her cat...you think that would come up on one of their first couple of dates; everyone loves talking about their pets! Also, Jack is ENAMORED with this cat, another reason they should have just made it his own cat. While I remembered the whole teaching Jinx to use the toilet trick, I had totally forgotten about his smaller, but still equally impressive tricks. When Jack calls Jinx ("Come here, baby! Come to Daddy!"), the cat jumps onto a chair, then into his arms. Super impressive. Also, when Jack tells him to say "hi" to Greg, the cat waves his paw. It's so cute! In another scene, Jack will feed him bacon from his mouth (that's not really a trick though, anyone can do that!) Jack tells Greg that he taught Jinx to use the toilet and when Greg makes a joke about having another guy around to leave the toilet seat up, the three human Byrnes just stare at him and Jack tells him "He can't lift the seat, Greg. He lacks the strength and opposable thumbs." Pam drops the bomb that Greg hates cat and Jack just gives him this look which quickly tells Greg that if he wasn't already on Jack's bad side before, he certainly is now! And maybe that's the reason Pam never told Greg about her cat. I still think they should have just made Jinx her parents' cat. I did laugh when Greg tells the Byrnes he's more of a dog person and Dina, who is standing behind Jack, mouths, "So am I." How much do you want to bet he would divorce her in a second he had seen her?

Later, Greg will accompany Jack to the store when Pam suggests they go together so he can pick up some toiletries in case his suitcase doesn't arrive. It's the first time they're alone together and it's super awkward with small talk and just when Greg is about to have a serious conversation about his feeling for Pam, Jack asks him, "Greg, home come you don't like cats?" Greg tries to do damage control and tells him that he does like cats, but just prefers dogs over them. Jack calls them "an emotionally shallow animal" and that "cats make you work for your affection; they don't sell out like dogs do." Trust me, that logic doesn't work for my cat. If you give him food and pats and belly rubs, he is all purrs and cuddles.

Greg gets caught in a little white lie where he tells Jack that he grew up on a farm and pumped milk. At dinner that night, Jack asks him about it and Pam tells him that Greg is from Detroit. It cracked me up when Dina asks him, "Do they have many farms in Detroit?" I have never been to Detroit, but I imagine the answer is no! Greg has to clarify that he grew up in a farm-style house with lots of pets and he tells this crazy story about how he milked a mother cat (who apparently had a litter of 30 cats!) so he could feed a little runt that wasn't able to get any milk. He tells them that you can milk anything with nipples and this is when we get the most quoted De Niro line since he uttered "You talkin' to me?" in Taxi Driver (I'm joking, but I'm not), which, of course, is, "I have nipples, Greg. Could you milk me?"

This is also the scene where Greg accidentally knocks over the urn with Jack's mother's ashes and Jinx uses it as a litter box. Greg will do a lot of dumb things over the next two days, but this one is probably the worst. Jack surprisingly forgives him (well, sort of!) pretty fast. Greg tells him that he feels horrible about what happened and Jack replies, "Well, it was a horrible thing, but let's just put it behind us and enjoy the weekend."

Jack has a little chat with Greg right before they're all getting ready to go to bed and I'm sure if Pam knew about this, she would be mortified. He tells him, "I'm a realist, I understand it's the 21st century and you've probably had premarital relationships with my daughter." I love that Greg just stares at him, not giving any indication that he has or hasn't. You know if he says yes, then Jack will get mad. And if he says no, Jack will call him a liar and get mad. So it's a lose-lose situation for him. Jack tells him he will be sleeping in the den and he doesn't want any funny business because "under my roof it's my way or the Long Island Express Way." Now, even though he says it's the 21st century, it was actually still the 20th century as the 21st century didn't start until 2001.

There are a lot of jokes about Greg being a nurse and his legal name (Gaylord) and I feel like they wouldn't fly today, because, really, is it that big of a deal for a guy to be a nurse? I don't think it is. But I guess since it was still the 20th century, those jokes were still okay to make.

Greg was under the impression that Jack was a horticulturist, but finds out he was actually in the CIA for 34 years and Pam never told him because it was "strictly on a need-to-know basis." He was a psychological profiler and was used to interrogate suspected double agents. This is the scene where he sets up a lie detector test for poor Greg. He tells Pam that he asked him if they were living together, something Pam made clear that she did not want Greg to tell her father, but he was saved when Dina interrupted them and was able to get out of the room. Pam tells Greg that her father is a human lie detector. Now, if she knew this about her own father, why is she making Greg lie about this if she knows her dad will probably be able to suss it out anyway? Jack tells Greg that he is now in the "Byrne family Circle of Trust" which is a running gag that goes into the next movie.

We find out Pam has a younger brother, Denny, the next morning when she's about to get Greg more clothes to borrow from her dad and he tells her he feels weird wearing her dad's clothes and underwear. Pam tells him to borrow some from her brother, who's still sleeping. It appears that Denny still lives at home and he's either in high school or college, but it's just so weird that we've already spent an entire day with the Byrnes and weren't introduced to him or Pam didn't say something about him. I think this might be some kind of joke that he's invisible because there will be a scene later on when Jack is looking for him and he yells his name a couple of times and his son is literally in the same room, sitting on the couch. ("I'm right here, Dad!") Anyway, Pam really annoyed me in this scene because she tells Greg to go wake up her brother, who he has never met, mind you, and ask to borrow his clothes, which includes underwear. That's a bit of a forward thing, don't you think, PAM? Why don't you ask your brother if he can lend clothes to your boyfriend, PAM?

Besides meeting Denny, Greg also meet's Pam's sister, Debbie and her fiance, Bob and his parents. (His dad is played by the late character actor James Rebhorn. Even if you don't recognize the name, you would definitely recognize him as he's been in a ton of things). They are all going to have a pre-wedding lunch at the Best Man's house. Okay, let's see if I can get this straight: the Best Man, Kevin (Owen Wilson) is also Pam's ex-fiance and he and Bob went to lacrosse camp together. Greg is very intimidated by Kevin because not only does he get along great with Jack, but he lives in this massive house with an indoor pool where they play volleyball. Greg, Jack, Denny, and Bob's dad are on one team and Pam, Debbie, Kevin, and Bob are on the other team with the two moms watching. Poor Greg isn't doing too well so when his team has a huddle, Jack gets another jab into him and tells him, "Greg, nobody's expecting much out of you, so if I set you up with the ball, do you think you could spike it." So mean, but so funny. Greg gets a little too aggressive and he ends up smashing the ball into Debbie's face. It looked like she broke her nose because a lot of blood comes gushing out, but she's screaming, "My eye! My eye!" and in the next scene her eye is swollen shut. I love that Dina starts freaking out and jumps into the pool with all her clothes on. Let's review here: Debbie's fiance is in the pool. Her father is in the pool. Her sister is in the pool. Her brother is in the pool. There are plenty of people to come to her aid, and of course they all do.

Greg's day will only get worse when he accidentally sets the ornate altar that Kevin carved for Debbie and Bob's wedding on fire and when he loses Jinx by letting him outside when he's not supposed to. Naturally, this upsets Jack greatly, especially since they can't do the dress rehearsal without Jinx because he's the ring bearer! Debbie say, "We can't cancel the rehearsal because of some stupid cat." Outraged, Jack replies, "Stupid cat? How can you say that? That cat's been like a brother to you." I love he says that with Debbie's actual brother right there in the same room. Jack voices his concern for Jinx: "We're supposed to let him wander the streets without food, water, or toilet?" Pam volunteers Greg to look for Jinx. He goes to an animal shelter and sees a Himalayan that he's sure is Jinx but the guy points out in the photo that Greg brought with him that Jinx has an all black tail and this cat has a white tip on the tail. Greg spray paints the cat's tail and passes him off as Jinx. Surprisingly, it works and he's hailed as a hero. I really thought Jack was going to see right through him and know that cat wasn't his, but he gets a message from his neighbor that night telling him that they have Jinx at their house.

They all come home from a rehearsal dinner that night to find that the impostor cat has gotten into all the wedding things, including the wedding dress. Jack accuses Greg of getting a Himalayan and passing it off as Jinx. In return, Greg accuses Jack of being back in the CIA business because he saw him have a meeting with some guy at the drug store who gave him some passports and overheard him talking in Thai on the phone. (I seriously would not know what Thai even sounds like!) Jack says that he was planning a surprise honeymoon for the newlyweds to Thailand and is angry at Greg for ruining the surprise. Things are just spiraling out of control and even Pam thinks Greg should leave, so he heads to the airport with his bag which he has just gotten.

I was under the impression that Jack wanted his daughter to marry Kevin because they were buddies and he was really successful and he had respect for him and that's why he was such a jerk to Greg, but we learn from Dina that he didn't warm up to Kevin until after they broke up, which is a bit weird that her dad is buddy-buddy with her ex, but whatever. Dina tells him, "Nobody is good enough for your Pam" and he realizes this is true and heads to the airport to make things right with Greg. I'm glad they didn't have both parents be crazy and at least there's a reasonable parent, or I would have really felt bad for Greg! They wait to make both parents crazy in the second movie!

Meanwhile, at the airport, Greg has been kicked off the plane when he got into a fight with the flight attendant about his bag not fitting in the overhead department. He tells her, "It's not like I have a bomb in here! It's not like I want to blow up the plane!" This, of course, gets him kicked off the plane. Even in a pre-9/11 world, you could NOT say the word "bomb" on a plane! (The same actress will return as the flight attendant in the second movie for a brief moment and if I hadn't watched these movies back to back, I would have never even noticed that!)  Jack is able to talk to him and asks him if he wants to marry Pam and Greg tells him, "I did until I met you" which is really sad that he would not want to marry the love of his life because he's terrified of his girlfriend's father. Jack feels bad about this and says, "If I lighten up, would you consider marrying my daughter?" (Spoiler alert: he does NOT lighten up!) Greg agrees to this after standing up to Jack and asking him not to interfere with their lives so much and to stop making fun of him for being a nurse. They go back to the house, where, of course, he proposes to Pam (and uses Mr. Jinx to carry the ring on a little pillow...how adorable!)

Now it's time to meet the Fockers! Greg and Pam aren't married yet, but they're having their wedding in the near future. In the meantime, they're planning a trip to Florida with Mr. and Mrs. Byrnes so the two sets of parents can meet before the wedding. Nothing can absolutely go wrong with this plan! It has already been established that Pam has met the Fockers several times. It makes me wonder how that went. If Greg was worried about meeting HER parents, I bet he was much more concerned about his girlfriend meeting his parents! But nobody really cares about Pam meeting her future in-laws for the first time and the funnier story is the uptight and conservative Jack meeting the kooky and hippie-dippy Fockers for the first time.

They're all driving to Florida from New York in a huge RV with a cat (Mr. Jinx is back!) and Jack and Dina's one-year-old grandson they call "LJ" for Little Jack. He is Debbie and Bob's son and they are watching him while his parents are in Thailand (you remember, where they went for their honeymoon) opening a clinic. Wait, what clinic? It really makes no sense for this tot to be in the movie. He is only used as a plot device for a couple humorous scenes. If this were real life and grandparents were watching their grandson, they would NOT go on a trip across the country to visit their daughter's fiance's parents. No, they would reschedule when they weren't watching a one-year-old. Also, taking Mr. Jinx sounds like a really bad idea too. I would be worried that every time the RV stopped for a pit stop and the doors opened, the cat would get out and run away.

Father and Mother Focker
When they get to Florida and meet Bernie and Roz Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand), Dina at least has the decency to be polite, but you can sense the irritation coming from Jack. I can't say I really blame him. Bernie is one of those touchy-feely people who hugs people and plants raspberries on their necks. Look, a hug is fine, but don't kiss me, especially if we're meeting for the first time. Roz is a sex therapist for older couples and Greg wants her to keep that under wraps until they've gotten to know the Byrnes a bit better. He has to hide all these embarrassing statues and paintings of naked people in the den where Jack and Dina will be staying. His parents are very open about their sex life and this leads to a lot of embarrassing moments for poor Greg.

Bernie shows the Byrnes the "Wall of Gaylord" where they have displayed all of Greg's "accomplishments". Jack sees a medal ribbon and says, "I didn't know they made 9th place ribbons and Bernie tells him, "They got them all the way up to 10th place." (Really? I thought they only went up to 3rd place). Jack is not impressed.

There is a good call back to the first movie when Bernie toasts Pam and tells her if he had a daughter, he's want her to be just like Pam. Jack questions Greg about him telling him he had a sister and had milked her cat. Greg does not respond at all, just ignores him.

Pam tells Greg that she's pregnant and they decide to move the wedding up to June instead of October.They also agree not to tell anyone about the pregnancy until after the wedding, but Roz finds out and she tells Bernie and Pam ends up telling her mother, so Jack is the only one who doesn't know.

Even though I still maintain the baby had no reason being in this movie, there is a funny use of him in a scene where everyone is having dinner and the Focker's voluptuous Puerto Rican housekeeper, Isabel, who Greg had a crush on when he was a teenager, says hello to everyone and sees LJ. She automatically assumes he's Greg's and Pam's and says, "Ooh, he's a handsome little Focker" which elicited a giggle from me. Jack is quick to tell her that he's Pam's nephew and "he has no connection to Greg whatsoever." Even though they've made progress since the first movie, Jack is still not too keen on Greg and meeting his parents probably doesn't help matters. Greg is mortified when his parents reveal to the Brynes' that Greg lost his virginity to Isabel when he was 19. Jack does some investigating with this information and finds out that Isabel has a 15-year-old son, Jorge, who suspiciously looks a lot like Greg, who, coincidentally, was 19 fifteen years ago. The teenager has never met his dad and doesn't know who he is. He is sure that Greg knows about this and has been keeping it a secret from Pam and plans to out him by giving him truth serum at an engagement party Greg's parents are throwing for them. Fifty Fockers are expected to attend. "Fifty Fockers. What could be better?"

Jack invites Jorge to the party and introduces him to Greg, telling him that he's 15 and has never met his dad and plants doubt in Greg's mind that this could be his son. When he gives a speech, Greg reveals he may have a son he never knew about and that Pam is pregnant. It turns out Jorge is not Greg's son (maybe Isabel has a certain type) and everyone is angry at Jack when it is revealed he gave truth serum to Greg. Jack also finds out that everyone knew about the pregnancy and is hurt by this. He leaves, but Greg and his dad go to find him, yada, yada, yada, everyone is happy again and Greg and Pam get married.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Teen Royalty

The Princess Diaries
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Hector Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore
Released: August 3, 2001


The Princess Diaries is a cute movie. That's about the highest compliment I can give it. The title isn't exactly accurate because (spoiler alert!) she doesn't become a princess until, like, the last five minutes of the movie. It's based on the 2000 book by Meg Cabot. I've never read it, but I believe it's written entirely in diary format, hence the title. I knew this was a series, but I didn't realize there are well over ten books in it and they're still being written. (Well, the last one published, according to Wikipedia, was in 2015.) It looks like there's spinoffs to this series as well. I really do not know anything about this world! I guess it does make sense there's a series because I'm sure it's fun for young girls to read about this girl who became a princess and how she's living her life now. But we're just going to stick with the first installment.

Mia Thermopolis (played by Anne Hathaway in her first lead role) is a gawky, clumsy, unpopular fifteen-year-old high school student with frizzy hair and glasses. Her only friend at school is Lilly (played by Heather Matarazzo) who is just as unpopular as Mia, but she doesn't care about that and cares more about social issues affecting the world than the social politics at school. Mia has a bad crush on the popular Josh Bryant (which her mom will later refer to as a "Backstreet Boy clone", heh) and often fantasizes about kissing him. For the longest time I thought he was played by Chad Michael Murray because this was around the time he was really popular, but it's not him. His girlfriend is the popular Lana (played by Mandy Moore in her first movie) who is just a mean bee-yotch! There's one particular scene where she's being extra bee-yotchy and Mia shoves an ice cream cone into her cheerleading uniform, which was most definitely deserved.  Lilly's older brother, Michael has a crush on Mia despite her fizzy hair and clumsiness. He'll especially like her more after she gets her makeover. He works at an auto shop and is fixing up Mia's first car, a 1966 Mustang, a sweet ride, if I do say so myself. 

I love how much of a cat person Mia is. She has a black and white cat named Fat Louie (who isn't even fat) who is fairly present throughout the movie and her bedspread has cats on it and she wears cat pajamas and cat shorts. Her wall is decorated with cutouts of cats from magazines (she must subscribe to those pet magazines) and I'm pretty sure I saw one of a Himalayan...I love Himalayans! Her cat's cathouse has stickers and cutouts of cats all over it. There is also a stuffed cat on her bed, although it is an orange cat. You think she would want a black and white stuffed cat to look like her real cat. 

Mia lives in San Francisco with her mother, who is an artist. She must make a killing selling her artwork because they have a pretty nice place. Apparently selling two pieces of her artwork, she was able to afford Mia her car. As far as I know, Mia has never had any type of relationship with her father who recently died within the last couple of months. Her parents met in college and got married very young, then divorced. All Mia knows about her father is that he's from the small European country of Genovia and comes from a wealthy family.

When her grandmother, Clarisse (played by Julie Andrews...okay, how amazing would it be to work with her in your first movie? Anne Hathaway had to be freaking out!) is in town and wants to meet with Mia, Mia is not super enthused as this is the first time her grandmother has shown any interest in her and thinks of her as "snooty". She thinks her grandmother made her parents get a divorce, but her mother tells her it was a mutual agreement. While they're having tea (and the tea Mia is drinking looks super weak), Clarisse asks her if she is familiar with Edward Christof Philippe Gerald Renaldi and when Mia says she isn't, her grandmother drops a bombshell on her when she tells her he's her father and was the Prince of Genovia (making her, Clarisse, the Queen) and now that he's gone, Mia is now the legal and only heir to the throne and she wants to train her to be a princess. Mia has the funny "Shut up!" moment that was in all the trailers when this movie came out, but she is not thrilled at the prospect of becoming a princess as the thought terrifies her and she just wants to remain invisible, something she is good at. Queen Clarisse tells Mia that if she refuses to accept the throne, Genovia will "cease to exist" - I'm not really sure how that works. Surely there is some other blood relative out there like a distant cousin? But goodness, that's a lot of pressure to put on a fifteen-year-old! But hey! Now I understand how Mia's mother is able to afford her daughter a nice car, enroll her in private school, and have a nice house: her ex must have been sending her some nice checks! Now it all makes sense. I knew there was no way that artwork could pay for all that!

We never find out how Mia's father died, but it had to be something that was sudden like a car or plane crash. (Suicide? But that would be really dark!) If he had been sick with cancer or something and they knew he wouldn't have long to live, then surely they would have time to prepare and tell Mia about this before he died?

When Mia confronts her mother who knew about all of this, she tells her that after she and Philippe divorced, they decided that he and Clarisse would keep their distance so Mia could have a normal childhood and that they had planned to tell Mia everything when she turned eighteen. Mia, her mother, and Clarisse all compromise that Mia won't have to make a decision until the Genovia Independence Day Ball, but in the meantime her grandmother will give her princess lessons. This includes how to dress, how to sit and eat properly while dining, how to talk properly, how to wave etc. etc. There's a funny moment when Clarisse is teaching Mia how to sit and tells her, "Princesses never cross their legs in public" and Charlotte, the Queen's assistant, who has been sitting with her legs crossed, very discreetly uncrosses her legs. Instead, they sit with one ankle behind the other. And of course we get the famous montage where Mia gets the She's All That makeover where they give her contacts and do something with her hair (at least in this movie it's a little more than just taking out her ponytail as they get rid of her frizz and give her a sleek, straight hair). Everyone is shocked she is a beauty! Everyone acts like she was so ugly before, but she really wasn't. She just wasn't as polished as she is now. The guy who gave her the makeover is played by Larry Miller (aka the dad from 10 Things I Hate About You) and there's a funny moment when he asks her if she has contacts and she says she does, but doesn't like to wear them. He snaps her glasses in half and tells her she'll be wearing them now. Aghast, she says, "You broke my glasses" and he simply replies, "You broke my brush" because just moments before he had been brushing her unruly hair and the handle broke off when the brush got stuck in her hair. He also tells her, "If Brooke Shields married Groucho Marx, their child would have your eyebrows."

Let's learn some fun facts about Genovia, shall we? (And by the way, when you type it into Wikipedia, it guides you to the page about the Princess Diaries novels). Genovia is a small country located between France and Spain. Now, in this world, is Genovia Andorra? Does Andorra even exist? Are there TWO small countries between France and Spain, Genovia AND Andorra? English and French are the two national languages, the capital is Pyrus (terrible name), they do a lot of trade with Spain (but not with France?), and they are very well known for their pears. Their flag is three vertical stripes of  lime green, white, and turquoise. I'm surprised the colors aren't hot pink, white, and lilac or something really girly like that. Oh, and Julie Andrews is their Queen...so not too shabby!

The Queen has a driver, Joe (played by Hector Elizondo) who drives Mia to school. When they pick up Lilly, she is wondering what is going on with the limo and Mia's new hair style. Now that Mia has a new look and is carrying a new expensive backpack and riding in a limo, Lilly accuses her of being an "A-crowd wannabe" and that Mia used to care more about what's in her head then what's on it. She is also mad at Mia because she was too busy to sign a petition that was important to her.  Knowing that she might lose Lilly's friendship, Mia tells her what's going on, but swears her to secrecy. The news excites Lilly and she apologizes to Mia. Mia wears a hat to cover her new hairstyle, but Lana points out that students aren't allowed to wear hats in school and the teacher makes Mia take it off. Now you know Lana thinks Mia is wearing a hat because she's having a really bad hair day and just wants to embarrass her, but HA, joke's on you, Lana!

The next day at school, all the paparazzi has arrived at the school because they have learned that Mia is royalty. Lana tells that that she's best friends with Mia. You wish, Lana! Lilly swears to her that she didn't tell anyone. Clarisse and Mia's mom arrive at the school to address the issue with the vice-principal who is played by a pre-Grey's Anatomy Sandra Oh. She is very different from Christina Yang here. She lets the Queen sit in her chair and serves her coffee in a porcelain mug while she offers Mia's mother coffee in a paper cup. She asks her, while kneeling very close to her, "What's it like in Genovia? Do people just fawn all over you?" It turns out that the stylist was the one who told the press about Mia because he wanted the whole world to know that he was the one who gave her the transformation.

Her debut as a princess-in-training is a State Dinner her grandmother is having with a bunch of dignitaries from around the world. It doesn't go quite so smoothly for Mia. You would think when she accidentally catches the sleeve of the person sitting next to her on fire and has to douse his arm in an ice bucket, that would be the biggest scene she caused of the night, but it wasn't. (And also, how did that guy not even notice his arm was on fire until she put it in the ice bucket?) No, the biggest faux pas she makes of the night is when a grape rolls off her plate and she goes under the table to retrieve it (why?) and while she's under the table, the guy next to her gets up and trips over her and he trips a waiter who throws his platter in the air and water and food spill all over the table. It looks like Mia is going to be in serious trouble, but everyone starts laughing. Oh, ha, ha, ha! Whew, that was a close one!

Lilly asks Mia to be on her access cable show Saturday night and Mia promises she'll be there. She is also asked out to a beach party by her crush, Josh, who has recently broken up with Lana. When she tells her mother this and her mom points out that he was never nice to her and Mia says, "He is now", I have to wonder how many brain cells she has. Does she not understand that he's only being nice to her because she's famous and has better hair? The party turns out to be a disaster for Mia because somebody called the press (I wasn't clear if it was Josh or Lana) and when Josh goes in to kiss Mia who isn't ready for it (she wants her first kiss to be perfect and for her foot to "pop" (meaning she wants her foot to lift as she's being kissed like in the old movies)) the paparazzi snaps an awkward photo of them kissing. And if that's not bad enough, when Mia runs away from the press, Lana and her minions "help" Mia by telling her to hide in this changing tent. I actually really thought Lana was being genuine at this moment and did want to be friends with Mia since she was a princess and you would think Lana would want to be on her good side, but nope. While Mia is changing from her bathing suit into her clothes, Lana motions for the press to come over and she tips over the changing tent where we see Mia with just a towel around her and the press starts snapping photos.

Now...I have a huge issue with all this press/paparazzi stuff. I'm trying to imagine this scenario happening in my hometown: a young teenaged girl has been discovered to be the descendant of a royal from a small country and is indeed a princess by birthright. Of course, that would be exciting news. I can see the local news interviewing her and there being a spread about her in the paper. However, I cannot see the paparazzi giving a crap and following her around. Granted, I live in a place where there is no paparazzi, but I really can't see anyone following her around with their cameras and snapping photos because, honestly, I really don't think anybody would care that much. No offense to Genovia, I'm sure it's a lovely country, but does anyone really care about that country? Does anybody even know where it is? I just can't see Mia being followed around by the paparazzi and getting those photos published in the paper. Also, why are they taking photos of her in just a towel? Shouldn't common sense tell them that this isn't right, that they're taking photos of a nearly naked fifteen-year-old girl? And yet these photos are still being published? This smells likes a lawsuit. This makes FRONT PAGE news on the freakin' San Francisco Chronicle. You think it would be in the entertainment or lifestyle section, but no, this is front page news! Interestingly enough, the date is June 11, 2001. Hmm...something tells me in three months nobody is going to care about this anymore!

Her grandmother is disappointed with her because she embarrased the family. Lilly is angry with her because she ditched her radio show to go to the beach party and Mia tells her she forgot to tell her she wouldn't be able to make it. Mia tells her she's decided to abstain from being a princess and this news makes Lilly sad, that even though she's angry and jealous of Mia, she wants her to be a princess because she could have the power to affect change and do something good with her new title. I have to say, Lilly is an amazing best friend. Had I been in her situation, I probably would have persuaded Mia not to take the position. I wouldn't want my best friend to move all the way to Europe! But Lilly realizes that this is an amazing opportunity for Mia and encourages her to rethink about refusing the throne.

Mia also ended up disappointing Michael, who had invited her to see his band practice and then they could get a pizza together, but it was the same day as the beach party and she ended up ditching him to be with Backstreet Boy clone Josh. I have to say that Michael is much better looking for Josh. I really never understood what Mia saw in that douche anyway. Fun fact: Michael is played by Robert Schwartzman (you might be more familiar with his brother, Jason who's been in a lot more movies). He is the son of Talia Shire, who you might remember from my Godfather review, played Connie Corleone. Which means his uncle is Francis Ford Coppola, so that's pretty impressive. To apologize to both Lilly and Michael, Mia invites them to the Genovia Independence Day Ball. Even though she's not going to be a princess, she's still expected to come.

Mia has a neighbor, who is a self-loathing soap opera writer and won an Emmy (daytime, I assume). I really have no idea why he's even in this movie because his scenes add nothing and if you took them away, you wouldn't even notice. The only mildly amusing scene with him is when he's chatting with Joe who's waiting for Clarisse who's visiting with Mia. He tells Joe that he once wrote a character who was a spy, just like him. Joe tells him he's not a spy and the neighbor tells him that that's what the character said too. Yeah, this character was completely unnecessary and didn't add anything to the story at all.  I guess he does give Joe some information about which way Mia went when he's looking for her.

Queen Clarisse tells Mia that she wants to formally renounce her title at the Ball, but Mia has plans to run away to Colorado with her cat. I'm not really sure if she's really thought this entire plan out. Where is she going to stay? Or do about money? However, as she's packing the diary her grandmother gave her for her (early) 16th birthday present that was from her father, an envelope falls out and she reads a letter from her father. Reading this letter makes Mia change her mind and she decides to go to the Ball. She's already late and wearing jeans and a sweatshirt (one of the guests will question her date, "Do you think they're trying to save money on the gown?" when Mia shows up) and it's pouring and she can't get the top up on her convertible so she her to drive without it up. As she's going up that crazy steep hill (if I lived in SF, I would avoid that hill like the plague!), her car doesn't make it, but she is rescued by Joe who has been sent out to look for her. (This is when the neighbor tells him which way she went and how long ago she left). They make it to the Ball and there's an amusing moment where Charlotte is squeezing the water from Mia's hair into a glass as they walk towards the Queen who's about to announce her granddaughter couldn't make it. Mia tells the audience that she had every intention of abdicating the crown, but had a change of heart when she realized how many people she could reach and help if she accepted her title of being a princess. She wants to be forever known as Amelia Minunet Thermopolis Renaldi, Princess of Genovia. (That's a mouthful!)

Mia changes into her princess gown and has her first dance as a princess with Michael. She also has her first real kiss with him and her foot pops to lift a lever. At first I thought she was going to turn the lawn sprinklers on, but it was the lever that turned on all the lights to the fountain so it was this perfect, you might even say, fairy tale kiss. The movie ends with Mia on her private jet (well, it was probably the Queen's private jet) on her way to live in her new palace in Genovia, writing an entry in the journal her dad gave her. So now she's officially a princess and writing in her diary, hence the title. I love that her cat is sitting on a fancy pillow and wearing a tiara. I'm sure he loved that! Michael and Mia spent the summer in Genovia with Princess Mia, but the relationship between Mia and Michael must have fizzled out because he's not in the sequel called Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement where she is looking for a husband. Heh, Chris Pine is the one who plays her romantic interest in that movie.

If they ever write a book where Mia has a baby, they should call it Princess Diaries [insert Roman numeral here]: Mama Mia! 


All hail King Louie

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

8th Movie Montage

I have made my eighth movie montage! I always have a lot of fun creating these and I hope you enjoy watching them! You can find and watch my other movie montages by clicking on the "montage" label. 




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

An Offer You Can't Refuse

The Godfather
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire
Released: March 24, 1972

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture (won)
Best Director - Francis Ford Coppola (lost to Bob Fosse for Cabaret)
Best Actor - Marlon Brando (won)
Best Supporting Actor - Al Pacino (lost to Joel Grey for Cabaret)
Best Supporting Actor - Robert Duvall
Best Supporting Actor - James Caan
Best Adapted Screenplay - Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola (won)
Best Costume Design (lost to Travels With My Aunt)
Best Editing (lost to Cabaret)
Best Sound (lost to Cabaret)

*It should be mentioned that the score by Nino Rota was originally nominated, but was deemed ineligible and was replaced by the score from Sleuth. This was because Rota had already used portions of this score for a 1958 movie called Fortunella. *


The Godfather Part II
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, John Cazale, Lee Strasberg
Released: December 20, 1974

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture (won)
Best Director - Francis Ford Coppola (won)
Best Actor - Al Pacino (lost to Art Carney for Harry and Tonto)
Best Supporting Actor - Robert De Niro (won)
Best Supporting Actor - Lee Strasberg
Best Supporting Actor - Michael V. Gazzo
Best Supporting Actress - Talia Shire (lost to Ingrid Bergman for Murder On the Orient Express)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola (won)
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (won)
Best Costume Design (lost to The Great Gatsby)
Best Score - Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola (won)


The Godfather Part III
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Cast: Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy Garcia, Sofia Coppola
Released: December 25, 1990

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture (lost to Dances With Wolves)
Best Director - Francis Ford Coppola (lost to Kevin Costner for Dances With Wolves)
Best Supporting Actor - Andy Garcia (lost to Joe Pesci for Goodfellas)
Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (lost to Dick Tracy)
Best Cinematography (lost to Dances With Wolves)
Best Editing (lost to Dances With Wolves)
Best Original Song - "Promise Me You'll Remember" by Carmine Coppola and John Bettis (lost to "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man") by Stephen Sondheim for Dick Tracy)




***Spoiler warning for all three movies***

I'm going to say something that might anger a lot of movie aficionados: I don't care for most movies from a certain era. This "era" includes from the inception of film making to the sixties. Now I'll be the first to admit that I haven't seen many movies from these decades (you may notice that many of the movies I review are from the eighties, nineties, aughties, and whatever the heck you call this decade), so perhaps it's not fair for me to make that judgement. But every time I watch (or try to watch!) a movie from the distant past, I have such a hard time getting into it. There are a few exceptions to this. I really liked Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and 12 Angry Men (1957). And even though I'm not gaga over Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and Citizen Kane (1941), I can appreciate their places in pop culture relevancy. I actually came to appreciate Tiffany's a lot more when I tried watching My Fair Lady (1964). I couldn't even finish that one! All About Eve (1950) is another one I couldn't finish. I've seen Casablanca  (1942) and eh. I wasn't impressed. Yeah, it gives us that great line, but I really didn't see the big deal. (I'm just really asking to be murdered by a cinephile, aren't I?) And there are other movies from this era that I've seen that I don't care for. Oh! How could I forget? I really don't like one of the most beloved movies of our time, The Wizard of Oz (1939). It's been more than a minute (or a decade or two!) since I've seen it, but I think my dislike for this film is inherited from my mom who hilariously hates this movie (she said she had to watch it a lot when she was a kid and in turned started to hate it) and also, I lived in Kansas when I was a kid/teenager so I have heard many of the stupid jokes about "I don't think you're in Kansas anymore."Ugh! Everyone who ever said that to me thought they were being SO CLEVER! So yeah, now I've probably pissed off a lot of people....but don't worry, you'll be getting some good news in a bit.

You're probably wondering where the '70s fits into this (actually, you're probably wondering when I'm going to start the damn review!) as I don't count it among the decades of filmmaking I don't care for and I also haven't reviewed too many movies from that decade. Well, I hope to change that soon. As much as I hate '70s fashion (bell bottoms? ugh!), '70s music (disco? It's the WORST!), and '70s decor (orange shag carpet? Whoever thought that was a good idea?), I think the '70s has some great films and to me, that's the first decade where I truly love the majority of the films (and even though I haven't seen as many movies from the '70s than from the '80s til the present, I have seen many more films from the '70s than from any before it). Obviously you have the rise of Steven Spielberg and Jaws (1975) which is considered the first blockbuster and you have Star Wars (1977) which, while I don't really care about those movies, has been one of the biggest franchises of all time, if not the biggest. Already I've just named two movies and already this decade is way more impressive in terms of filmmaking than any decade before it. Oh, and let's just add The Godfather and it's sequel (1972, 1974) and it pretty much cements the '70s as the first truly great decade in film history. That's okay if you don't agree with me, but rejoice, film aficionados and cinephiles! You don't have to kill me! I love The Godfather movies! (Well, the first two...the third was okay, but we'll get to that later). 

Seeing as all three movies are either almost three hours long or over three hours, it took me about four days to get through all of them, but it was an engrossing experience as I knew I was in the thralls of what is considered to be two of the best movies ever made in the history of film (and the third one was still pretty enjoyable for what it is). It was like finding the Holy Grail of movies. I'm not saying this is my new favorite movie, but wow! It was so good! I was just in awe watching them. I get why people love these movies and rave about them. I get why they've won so many accolades. I get why the first one is ranked #1 (or 2 or 3) on many Best Movies Of All Time lists. The only movies that ever seem to get ahead of it on these lists are Citizen Kane and/or Casablanca, and like I've mentioned before, I don't much care for those films. The American Film Institute ranked it the second greatest movie of all time behind Citizen Kane.

Yes, believe it or not I had never seen The Godfather trilogy. I admit, the length was a big factor in that. I just never had time to really sit down and watch all of them and knowing they were all around three hours just seemed like a huge chore, but I was able to find time to set aside a couple hours each day to watch them. I also wasn't sure if I would like them. I'm not the biggest fan of the mafia/mob genre. Besides Goodfellas(which I really love), I really haven't seen many films depicting it. I watched The Sopranos (and I could tell it was very influenced by The Godfather), but it was never a favorite show of mine. Hell, I still haven't seen the last season to this day! I was very aware of The Godfather in pop culture history, how could you not be? It has been parodied countless times in other movies and TV shows. (Zootopia comes to mind). I was very aware of the horse head scene and I knew "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse" (which is the second most iconic movie line after "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" from Gone With the Wind according to AFI's 100 Greatest Movie Quotes). It also gives us the well-known mantras "It's not personal, it's business" and "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer", although I don't think they originated from the films or the 1969 novel  by Mario Puza the first film is based on, but I'm sure it helped make them popular. It also helped popularize the phase, "sleeping with the fishes."

The first movie opens with Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the head of one of the Five Families, a powerful New York mob family granting requests on this, the day of daughter's wedding. He has a cat in his lap who is just loving the pats and scratches and belly rubs its getting from the Godfather. We meet the Corleone family. There's oldest son, Santino, who goes by Sonny (James Caan); second oldest son, Fredo (John Cazale); youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino); and youngest, his daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Oh, and he's also married to a woman named Carmela, but she's pretty much a non-factor. In fact, I had to look up her name. She has a couple scenes in the movie. We also meet Vito's lawyer and adopted son, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). I did not recognize Duvall at all...I knew he was in this movie and kept looking for him and just figured he had a small part and I just missed it, but no, he's a major character and it wasn't until after I looked him up that I realized who he was!

Michael brings his girlfriend, Kay (Diane Keaton) to the wedding. I knew Diane Keaton was in this movie, but I did not recognize her at all! Yeah, this movie came out 46 years ago, but I have seen Annie Hall and that was released a few years after this one and she looks like Diane Keaton in that. I'm used to Diane Keaton looking like...Diane Keaton and I did not recognize her at all! It wasn't until I was well into the movie and had already seen the other two women in the movie who clearly weren't her as they were both Italian and dark-haired, that I realized the young fair-haired woman we were introduced to early in the movie was indeed her! By the second movie, I do recognize her, although that could be because I'm already aware it's her!

So I already mentioned the infamous horse head scene but I was NOT expecting it to happen so soon! Something like that, I thought for sure there would be a build-up to it, but no, it happens just a little over half an hour into this nearly three hour saga! The poor horse was killed because of some Frank Sinatra wannabe named Johnny Fontane who sings at Connie's wedding and who all the girls and older women fawn over him like he's the Beatles or Elvis or One Direction. He wants out of his recording contract and his Godfather is able to make that happen. When a movie executive refuses to put Fontane in one of his movies, he wakes up to find his beloved $600,000 racehorse's head in his bed. I had always assumed the head was on the pillow next to his, but he wakes up to find himself in a pool of blood (a LOT of blood) and follows the trail to the foot of his bed where the head is and has the reaction I think anyone in his situation would have: he screams in horror and anguish. As horrible as this scene is in the context of the movie, I think the behind-the-scenes story is almost worse. First of all, it's a real horse's head. Ugh. Now I understand why the actor screamed like that! I would need years of therapy! I did not know about this until after I saw the movie. I just figured the horse head was donated to them after a horse died of old age or natural causes, but no...it's much worse than that. It's pretty horrific, actually. Probably just as horrific as you know, decapitating a horse after you kill it. Coppola got the horse head from a dog food company. Yes, there was once upon a time when they slaughtered horses for dog food. What the f*** kind of s*** it that? Not cool, Frank. As far as I know, that no longer happens, but you can bet I marched over to my cat's cat food to read the ingredients and was relieved to see the only protein listed was chicken. There is no way in hell you could film this scene in today with a real head, even if the animal had died of old age or natural causes. So yeah, pretty disturbing.

Despite playing the titular character, Marlon Brando wasn't in the movie very much. He's only in it for less than an hour. He gets shot early on in the movie by a drug trafficker named Sollozzo after he refuses to go into business with him. He survives the assassination attempt, but spends time in the hospital. After a corrupt cop named McClusky, who's on Sollozzo's pay roll, pops Michael in the jaw, Michael decides he's going to get revenge on them, and kill them. He also knows if they're not killed first, they're going to come after his father because they know he survived the assassination attempt.  There is a meeting set up under the guise of a truce because after the assassination attempt on their father, hothead oldest son Sonny had a hit put out on one of Sollozzo's allies. (There was a lot of plot to follow!) The only way to do this is find a hiding spot for his gun at the restaurant they'll be at since he'll be frisked beforehand. He's given advice from Sonny and Clemenza, his father's right-hand man on how the hit should go down. The advice he gets includes "two shots a piece in the head as soon as you come out" [of the restroom] and for him to drop the gun and "walk fast, but don't run." Clemenza is not amused when he asks Michael, "You shot them both, what do you do?" and Michael replies, "Sit down, finish my dinner." When he's at the restaurant, he's starting intently at the wine opener the waiter is using and I really thought it was going to come into play. Either he wasn't going to find the gun in the bathroom where they decided it would be hidden in a toilet tank and have to improvise with the wine opener or he was just going to snap and grab it from the waiter and puncture the men's necks with it. But that doesn't happen. When he goes into the bathroom, he finds the hidden gun, but instead of immediately shooting the men as he was directed, he sits back down at the table and I wondered if he had changed his mind. But no, as Sollozzo is talking to him, you can see the anger raging in him and he shoots them both in the head (and the police officer also gets it in the throat) and the table flips over. The waiter is standing right next to the table and blood gets all over his uniform and he just takes a step back, with his arms behind his back. It's very odd. He doesn't scream or look scared. The other extras in this scene just sort of slip out the back door while Michael briskly walks out the door.

The men he killed were connected to one of the other Five Families (and I'm sure somewhere out there, someone has a detailed family tree of these mafia families!) and he is taken somewhere he'll be (supposedly) safe. Picture it: Sicily, 1945. (How much do you want to bet Sophia Petrillo loves The Godfather?) He's staying there under the protection of his father's friend, Don Tammasino. He meets and falls in love with a beautiful young woman named Apollonia and they get married. This has to be the smallest villages ever because after he sees her, he and a couple guys he was with go to an outdoor cafe and while they tell the guy who owns the cafe about the girl, we find out that she's his daughter and he's not happy they're talking about her like that! But through a translator, Michael wins him over and asks him if he can introduce him to his daughter. The marriage doesn't last very long as the bad guys have found out where Michael is and a car bomb that was intended for him, kills his first wife instead and he heads back to New York after being in Sicily for a couple of years. We never do see any fallout from her father. She could have easily been a forgotten character, but she is brought up in the third movie when Michael mentions her to his grown children. That's kind of a messed up thing to do. "Hey, kids, I was married to another woman before I married your mother, but she was killed. Otherwise, if she hadn't died, I would still be with her and you two would never exist." So yes, Michael ends up marrying Kay when returns to New York, but he doesn't approach her until he's been back for a year and they just sort of pick up where they left off, even though Kay had no idea where he was or that he was married. Their son, Anthony, is born a few years later.

Connie is married to an abusive man and Sonny beats him up. When it happens again (and there are  dishes being smashed and belts being lashed and furniture being turned over), Sonny heads out to help his sister, but ends up being shot at when he tries to go through the toll, but his car is blocked and he's unable to get through as the men riddle his car (not to mention Sonny himself!) with bullets. This was all a plot by one of the heads from one of the Five Families who got Connie's husband to wile her up so she would call Sonny for help and then they could trap and kill him. Of course Connie's husband will later be killed in retribution, making Connie none too pleased with Michael, who ordered the hit.

Vito, who is now recovered, calls for an emergency meeting between the Five Families and wants a peace offering. Because of this, Michael is able to return to the United States without fear of retaliation. The film will jump forward in time a few years without telling us. (They're much better about that in the second movie). All of a sudden, Marlon Brando is in old man make up and he's playing with his grandson in an orange grove where he will eventually keel over and die.  Oranges play a pivotal role in these movies: whenever you see one, a character will die or almost get killed in that scene or maybe a few scenes later. I have to admit, I honestly didn't notice it until the second movie, but when I went back and revisited some scenes, then I defintely noticed. Just keep your eyes peeled for oranges whenever you watch any of The Godfather movies (although, I swear in the third movie, sometimes there are oranges in a scene and nothing significant happens). Because of the deaths of his father and older brother, Michael is now the head of the Corleone household.

While I don't know which scene in The Godfather is the most iconic, I would have to assume it's one of the last scenes where Michael is at the church baring witness to his sister's baby being baptized while a multitude of murders are going on. Pretty much Michael is making sure he's turning on his foes before they turn on him. While the baptism is going on, we see the other heads of the mafia families being killed. Probably the most memorable death is that of one Moe Greene, the bespectacled Las Vegas casino owner who refused to sell his shares to Michael. He is shot in the eye (through the lens of his glasses) as he's getting a massage and a lot of blood spurts out. Pretty impressive how they did that. Although I have to give major props for the guy who died on the steps and rolled down them. That got a chuckle out of me.  That was some great acting there. The baby we see getting baptized is none other than future Oscar-nominated director Sofia Coppola (aka the director's daughter). She was only a couple weeks old when they filmed that scene and she was born in May of 1971, so that should give you a timeline of when the movie was filmed. I'm sure many people would agree that her performance in this movie is much better than her performance in the third movie...oh, we'll get to that in due time!

Time to move on to The Godfather Part II. Some people like the first movie the best, some people prefer the second to the first. Never is the third movie in this conversation. (Wonder if there's anyone out there who does like the third more than the first two?) While I think there are great scenes in the first movie, I think I may like the second a bit better because by this time I was more invested in the movie and I was more familiar with the characters. But then again, there are some great scenes in the first movie and you have that iconic performance by Marlon Brando. Yeah, this is tough. The second movie is the longest at three hours and twenty-two minutes. (The first one is three minutes shy of being three hours and the third one is ten minutes shy of being three hours. Dang, these are really long movies!) In a way, Part II is like watching two movies interwoven into each other: one starring Al Pacino and the other starring Robert De Niro. The movie is so long that there was actually an intermission break after two hours! Seriously, after the scene ended, this cue card came on that said "Intermission". I have never seen a movie have an intermission, not even Titanic which is the same amount of time (five minutes less!) and I saw that in the theaters three times! This movie is the first sequel to win an Oscar, something that won't happen again until 2004 when the third Lord of the Rings movie won.

It's 1958 Michael and his family are living in a lake house near Lake Tahoe in Nevada and his children are grade school age, young Anthony just having celebrated his First Communion. Early on in the movie, an assassination attempt it made on Michael when bullets come flying through his bedroom window as he's talking to his wife, who is in bed. Nobody is hurt, but Michael will spend the rest of the movie trying to find out who put out a hit on him.

A new major character is that of Hyman Roth, a Jewish investor and business partner of Michael's. He plays into Michael's father's mentality of "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." He is played by Lee Strasberg, who, I'll admit, I didn't know who that was, but after listening to some podcasts and reading about him, discovered he was a famous acting coach who taught acting method and some of his famous clients included Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Paul Newman, and his co-star, Al Pacino. When we first meet Hyman, he's lounging on a chair with one leg draped over the arm of the seat. I have never seen anyone sit like this in the movies or in real life, but now knowing his background as a method actor, it all makes sense that he would think outside the box. Needless to say, there's some shady stuff going down with Roth. Michael thinks that Roth put the hit out on him, but when Roth tells him that he was a friend of Moe Green's and heard he had been killed, he did not worry about who put the hit out on him, and let it go, insinuating that Michael should do the same. Hyman has a hit out for Michael, but Michael's men kill him first. It turns out that Michael's only surviving brother (for now!), Fredo was the one responsible for the attempted hit on him. "I knew it was you, Fredo...you broke my heart." In Fredo's defense, he says he didn't know about that, but it's too little, too late. Michael has one of his men kill Fredo (a shot to the back of the head while they're fishing in a boat), but not until after their mother has died so she doesn't have to be alive to know about it.

Kay, who is pregnant with what Michael hopes is a son (why does he care when he already has a son?) has lost the baby in a miscarriage, but later, she will reveal to Michael something I think she should have taken to the grave: she tells him she didn't have a miscarriage, but rather an abortion because she didn't want to bring any more children into this family. Well, this makes Michael furious and he slaps Kay in an intense scene. They get divorced, not surprisingly.

There's a lot more things going on during the Michael storyline, including a Senate hearing investigating the Corleone family. Plenty of oranges and murders! While all these scenes are going on, we get some reprieves with the flashbacks to a young Vito Corleone. Yes, we get the Vito Corleone origin story. And it starts at the very beginning with him. We see him as a nine-year-old boy named Vito Andolini who lives in Corleone, Sicily. His father has been murdered by Don Ciccio (pronounced Chi-chi-oh!), the main mafia leader after Antonio Andolini insulted him. (Dang, don't insult Ciccio!) Vito's older brother vowed revenge, but also ended getting killed himself. Ciccio has his men fetch Vito because he wants him killed too. His mother begs for his life, telling the crime lord that the child never talks and isn't a threat, but Ciccio doesn't care. I have to say, that he's right. Sure, right now he's a weak nine-year-old kid, but as well know, he'll grow up to be one of the most powerful men in the mafia who will build an impressive empire. And, spoiler alert, he will get his vengeance on Ciccio. Just not right now. Cuz he's only nine. Mama Andolini distracts Ciccio and tells her son to run. He complies, but she is shot. With help, Vito gets on a ship and travels to New York. Because he doesn't talk, his last name becomes Corleone, the place of his birth.

When we see Vito later, he will now be a young man and he's played by Robert De Niro. He was thirty when he filmed this and he looks so young! Even if I didn't know he was in this movie, I would have recognized him. I grew up with '90s and '00 Robert De Niro, so I'm used to him being fifty and older in his movies (think Meet the Parents or Silver Linings Playback De Niro). He does a good job of adopting Brando's mannerisms from the first movie. All the Vito scenes are subtitled in English because the characters are speaking Italian. Vito lives in Little Italy (where else?) with a family that are distant relatives of his. This is where he meets Genco, who he will eventually start an olive oil company with called Genco Pura. (Mmm, olive oil). He gets a job as a grocer at Genco's father store, but understands when he has to be fired because a man named Fanucci, who has a lot of power and is able to get his way, wants his son to have the job. We see how Vito meets Clemenza and Tessio who are both important figures in the first movie and become important allies for Vito. They start an illegal operation and Fanucci gets wind of this and demand that Vito and his men cut him in for a profit or he will go to the police. Vito will hide in a dark shadow of Fanucci's apartment and kill him with a towel. Well, a gun wrapped inside a towel. Before Fanucci will meet his demise, he will grab an orange from a market. Should've gotten an apple, Fanucci.

Speaking of people who Vito will get his revenge on, remember good old Ciccio? He's a much older man, but he's still alive (for now) when Vito goes back to Sicily twenty-two years later under the guise of selling his olive oil to him. When the hard-of-hearing Ciccio asks his name, Vito replies, "Vito Corleone" and when he asks who his father is, he has to tell him twice that it's Antonio Andolini because Ciccio didn't hear him the first time. As he leans closer to tell him, he knifes him in the stomach, cutting him diagonally as he say, "And this is for you!" Yep, Ciccio was smart in wanting to kill Vito when he was a young boy so this wouldn't happen to him!

Time to move on to The Godfather Part III which came out sixteen years after Part II and is set in 1979. I was kind of surprised to find out it was nominated for Best Picture (even though it didn't win like the first two did) because whenever The Godfather trilogy is brought up, people HATE this movie and talk about how awful it is and how it can't be counted as a perfect trilogy because this movie brings it down. I do agree it's not as good and doesn't have the same pedigree as its predecessors, but honestly, I didn't think it was that bad. Of course, I was expecting for something really awful, but it was still an enjoyable stand alone movie. I think it has my favorite Al Pacino line from any of The Godfather movies which is, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" This movie came out the same year as fellow gangster flick, Goodfellas, also nominated for Best Picture. That movie was much better than this one.

While I didn't think the movie was as bad as everyone made it out to be, I did have to agree that Sofia Coppola was awful in it. This was something I also heard in regards to this movie, and hoo boy, they weren't lying. "Sofia Coppla was really good in Godfather 3," said no one ever. I totally blame this on the director, what was he thinking putting his eighteen (nineteen?) year-old daughter in this? I guess Winona Ryder was originally supposed to have the part, but she dropped out to be in Edward Scissorhands. While there were other actresses who expressed interest in playing the role, they were on a tight schedule and Sofia was the only one available...or something. I'm not quite sure about the whole story. Maybe Francis Ford Coppola had his father glasses on and his children can do no wrong in his eyes, but did he not see how awful his daughter was in this movie? Even Stevie Wonder could see that! Her voice and delivery are flat, she has no emotion, just everything about her acting is terrible. Well, I thought she was good in one scene, but I'll get to that later. (And you'll think I'm so mean!) I have enjoyed Sofia's movies she's directed, so she does have talent...acting just isn't it! I do feel bad for Sofia because she was so young and she got a lot of flak for this. That's gotta be hard. FFC is no stranger to casting his family in his movies. Talia Shire, who plays Connie in all three movies, is his sister.

I should probably mention that Sofia plays Michael and Kay's daughter, Mary. Yes, Diane Keaton is back too and they're still divorced, but on more friendly terms. There's this really creepy and icky subplot involving Mary where she falls for her cousin, Vincent (Andy Garcia) who is the illegitimate son of Sonny and a woman he hooked up with at his sister's wedding. They are flirting with each other and when they start making out with each other after what is supposed to be a sensual scene of him guiding her hands to make gnocchi (think Ghost with the pottery), I thought I had misunderstood the scene of them earlier where they're talking about "the old days" with their fathers and something else entirely had come out of their mouths or when they called each other "cousin" or "cuz", that was a term of endearment in Italian. I was thinking, THEY CANNOT ACTUALLY BE FIRST COUSINS AND MAKING OUT! THAT IS DISGUSTING! Seriously, I almost threw up in my mouth a little when they say, "I love you cous" and start kissing. By the way, how embarrassing would that be to have your dad direct you in a make-out scene?  I totally thought I had misunderstood this whole business of them being cousins! But, no, they ARE first cousins as her father points out (thanks for clearing that up, Al) later on. When Michael says, "He's your first cousin," she replies, "Then I love him first." GROAN. And, ewwww. Was this acceptable back in the '70s? Is this an Italian thing? I don't get it! While he does say it's a no-no since they are cousins, he seems more concerned that it's too dangerous, you know, since Vincent has family connections. Vincent does agree to stop seeing Mary and when we see that scene, are we supposed to feel sad they're not going to be together? Cuz I sure as hell don't! I don't care that's she boo hoo hoo-ing and sad. Girl, go meet somebody who isn't related to you and shares your blood! Ewww! Seriously, if I were in a movie where my character was in love with her first cousin, I would tell the director (especially if it was my own dad!), "Uh, you sure about this?"

Anyway...as with any Godfather movie, there are one or two (or three or four) death scenes, but some of them in this one are way over the top. One of the earlier ones feels like it came out of a Die Hard movie. Michael is in a fancy conference room with other mob bosses and a helicopter starts gunning them down from the ceiling...its quite ridiculous. One idiot dies cuz he's trying to get his lucky coat off a hook. Don't think that coat is lucky anymore. Of course the only people who get out alive are the two main characters. There's also an assassination attempt on Michael when the whole family (including Kay) are in Sicily to see Anthony (their son, remember) perform at an opera. Anthony has decided to be an opera singer for whatever reason. The opera is called Cavalleria Rusticana and it looks like the most boring opera ever. It looks very religious and long and weird and boring. Seriously, I wish someone would shoot me if I were watching that! It's not until after the opera when everyone is outside that Michael is shot at, but his shoulder is grazed and instead Mary gets hit in the chest and falls on the stairs. This is when Sofia has her best scene: when she's lying dead on the steps, not breathing. (Heh, I told you it was mean!) Michael gives a chilling reaction to his daughter's death. He later dies as an old man. Okay, the more I think about it, the more this movie isn't that great and I take back what I said about it being not as bad as I thought it was. It is pretty bad. Except for the one Al Pacino line I like.

So yes, while Part III brings the overall score of the Godfather movies down a peg, the first two movies are quite a cinematic achievement and I have to wonder what it would be like to see it in the theaters when it was released. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sasquatch Sighting

Harry and the Hendersons
Director: William Dear
Cast: John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, Don Ameche, Lainie Kazan, David Suchet
Released: June 5, 1987

Oscar nominations:
Best Make-up (won)


My knowledge of Bigfoot/Sasquatch stems from this movie and an episode of The X-Files, so that means pretty much none. I know there are (were?) shows about tracking down Bigfoot, but I don't watch those. That has to be a boring show because you know they're never going to find him! I am not a Bigfoot believer. You should go to the Bigfoot Wikipedia page and read the paragraphs under "hoaxes" - it's very interesting. I also thought "Bigfoot" was two words, but it appears to be one.

This is a movie I've only seen once, maybe twice before so I really don't have any sentimental attachment to it. The Hendersons, a family who live in the Seattle suburbs, go camping and on their way home, the patriarch, George Henderson (John Lithgow), stops suddenly when he sees something big and hairy in the road and hits it and it tumbles to the side of the road. His wife, Nancy (Melinda Dillon aka the mom from A Christmas Story) tells him he needs to check on the animal to make sure it's not suffering if it's still alive. To them it just looks like a giant ball of fur and they can't tell what it is. George gets his rifle from the back of the station wagon (understandable) and goes closer to the animal. Nancy thinks it might be a gorilla, but George tells her that gorillas don't "usually get this big around here." Huh, I had no idea gorillas could be found in the Pacific Northwest! That's an unusual habitat for them! 

While George is inspecting the dead (so he thinks) animal, his young son, Ernie, screams out the window, "SHOOT IT!" to which his dad tells him that it's already dead and Ernie screams, "SHOOT IT AGAIN!" Here is a good time to tell you how much I hate the kids in this movie. First of all their son, who is about ten years old, is a little blood thirsty. He just wants to kill and shoot things! It's a little disturbing. He tones down his bloodlust as the movie processes so he's just a normal kid, however his older sister, Sarah, oh my God, she is THE WORST! Ugh, I couldn't stand her! She is your typical sullen teenager and she is that way throughout the entire movie. 

When George sees the large ape-like paw, he realizes they must have stumbled across Bigfoot and that a museum will want him, so they need to take him home. Um, why doesn't he just call somebody? Why does he need to take this (seemingly) dead animal home with him? But he has his family help hoist the Bigfoot on top of the station wagon and they begin driving again until a few moments later, the creature, who is clearly very not dead, surprises them by peeking down at the windshield. George slams on his breaks and sends the creature hurtling off the car. Again, he checks on the animal and determines that this time, it is indeed dead. As he tells his wife, "Nancy, I'm no doctor, but it has no pulse, it's not breathing, and it's cold as a popsicle." Bigfoot must have some kind of ability to appear dead when it's really not...because he's not dead here either! They continue to take him home and it's really funny when they pull into their driveway and you see these two huge feet sticking out of the tarp that covers the rest of the Bigfoot's body. 

While all this is going on, we see a Bigfoot trekker named Jacques LaFleur (David Suchet) who finds the bent license plate that fell off when the Hendersons hit the Bigfoot and hairs he cannot identify (and licks them for some reason...gross). 

At 5:30 in the morning George hears something and goes out to the garage where he notices there's not a big lump under the tarp on the top of his car anymore. He hears crashing coming from his house and in his kitchen he sees Bigfoot drinking milk out of the fridge which he has knocked over. Bigfoot growls at him and comes toward George who shields himself with a table, then a chair, but Bigfoot only knocks him it out of the way. I liked the shots from Bigfoot's perspective when he's looking down at George so you can see just how much taller he is than George (and at 6'4", John Lithgow is very tall! The actor who was in the Harry costume (and how hot did that had to be, wearing that costume?), Kevin Peter Hall, was 7'2" and also played the predator in...wait for it...Predator).  It isn't until George starts screaming for help that his family wakes up. Did they not hear all the racket when tables and chairs were being thrown across the room or what about when the fridge tipped over on its side?

It was funny when Ernie, who comes down first, says, "All right! I knew you weren't dead!" and his dad replies, "Not yet, I'm not," and his son says, "Not you, him!" Nancy is able to lead the creature away by spaying a bottle of Glade and they are all able to get away from him, except for the daughter who is a complete moron. When she sees Bigfoot eating her 15th birthday corsage (who gets a corsage for their birthday? I have never heard of that), the one she saved for 6 months, she gets all indignant and starts reprimanding him like a dog. ("That was a bad thing you did! Do you hear me?") Girl, what the hell are you doing? Look, we all know this is a family movie and Bigfoot will turn into a friend of the Hendersons named Harry and they'll all come to love him, but right now...they don't know that! Let's not anger this huge creature that could squash you like a bug! Not a good idea, Sarah!

The Hendersons go outside and watch as their new visitor wreck havoc on their house because of his sheer size. We soon learn where Ernie got his bloodlust from because there are a lot of dead animal heads mounted on the walls. Harry sees one of a deer and punches through the wall to try to find the rest of the body. They see him go outside to bury Helen's mother's mink stole. George quickly realizes he has to hide all his taxidermy animal heads in a closet and this is when we see just how many kills he's done in the past. There is a moment when George climbs up to the second floor with his rifle and has a chance to shoot Harry, but he sees humanity in the creature's eyes and can't go through with it. Instead, he calls the police who don't believe him and just start laughing at him.

Their nosy neighbor, Irene (Lainie Kazan), who has been watching their dog while they were away, comes over to return him. They know that if Irene finds out that a Bigfoot is at their house, then the whole world will know. They shut curtains as Irene walks across the yard, trying to peer in and Ernie takes Harry down the basement. He tells him he'll like it because it's like a cave. As Harry descends down the stairs, the first step he takes, the entire staircase crumbles.

It is established that Harry stinks to high heaven, so when they answer the door, Irene takes a big whiff (why? In fact, she keeps sniffing! Don't sniff if the smell is so bad!) and asks what that smell is. George, Nancy, and Sarah are all blocking her, but she can still peer around them and see all the carnage from the mess Harry made. When asked about the tipped over fridge, Nancy replies, "We decided to defrost the fridge", which you would have to be an idiot to buy that line. I'm beginning to think Irene is one because George starts moving up because Harry's head has lifted the floor where he's standing and Irene doesn't even look down to notice that something is coming out of the floor and believes George when he tells her he's exercising. And right when she's about to leave, she sees a huge paw come through the laundry chute, but doesn't even question it. The Hendersons tells her it's Ernie's new pet for a science experiment; that it's like a gerbil, "only bigger!" (Yeah, much, much, MUCH bigger!) I feel like if I were Irene in this scenario, I would have a lot more questions!

There's a cute moment where Harry lifts Ernie up to the main floor and smiles at George. He and Ernie want to keep Harry and charge people to see him so they can get rich, but Nancy is against that idea. She thinks Harry might be some kind of human as he has many human characteristics which include sitting on lazy-boys and laughing during a sitcom while dipping plant leaves in dip. She mentions that they don't even know if it's a male or female and Sarah says, "It's definitely male". Nancy asks, "How can you tell...don't answer that." They don't show anything graphic, but you have to wonder....where does this thing go to the bathroom? You know what? Don't answer that! Maybe that's why their neighbor's pool gets the color it does (which is a murky brown).

There's a funny moment where George has taught Harry to sit by giving him a sugar cube and everytime he sits down (and he takes a huge jump before he does), he breaks something - the couch, a table, stool. He's ruining everything in their house and Nancy tells George that they can't keep him and they need to send him back to where he came from because it's the right thing to do for him and they can't be selfish and think of ways to get rich off of their new discovery.

Harry is a little reluctant to go (you think he'd want to return to his home since he has a Bigfoot family waiting for him!) and George tosses a fish sandwich (they know he's a pescetarian because he ate one of their goldfish), fries, and a chocolate shake (with the lid tightly on!) into the backseat of the car to entice Harry to get in. Oh, and while all this is going out, little Ernie is crying his eyes out, telling Harry how much he's going to miss him. And this is from the same kid who wanted his dad to shoot his new friend twice! Your crocodile tears don't fool me, kid! This is the moment when Harry gets his name. George tells Ernie that they should say goodbye to their "hairy friend" and Ernie says, "Harry? Since does he have a name?" and his dad replies, "Since right now." When they go check on the car after hearing a loud noise, they see that Harry has escaped (do they think a locked car is going to stop him? All he has to do is rip off a door!) I'm not really sure why he escaped. Doesn't he want to go back to his family? Does he want to stay with the Hendersons? Not really sure what's going on here except to advance the plot.

I'm not sure how long Harry is gone from this moment until he's reunited with George, but there are suddenly an outpour of Bigfoot sightings in Seattle and George starts keeping tabs on the areas where people mention they've seen him. George works at a place called Shoot N Stuff (hilariously stupid name) that sells rifles and other hunting equipment. His father is the manager and he wants George, who we learn loves to sketch and has a talent for it, to create a Bigfoot cutout that they can display at the front of the store with a map of the area and keep track of all the places where people have spotted Harry. He wants him to draw the Bigfoot with long sharp teeth and claws and as scary as he possibly can, but as George tells his wife, it's like he's drawing a wanted poster of his best friend and ends up drawing the Bigfoot to look exactly like Harry: calm and gentle. When he sees the drawing, his father tells him it looks like "a giant gerbil".

Jacques LaFleur gets the Henderson's address by getting the DMV to run their license plate number (by the way, are they not aware they're missing a plate?) He tells the woman at the DMV that he saw an old army buddy from forty years ago and took down his license number because he couldn't remember his name. Something tells me that this kind of thing wouldn't fly in this day and age! He pays a visit to their home where he tells Nancy he's with the U.S. Forest Service and they're investigating about a large animal that was either maimed or killed. Nancy plays dumb and tells him it all happened so fast, they didn't see what kind of animal it was, but that it was okay because it "walked" back into the forest. LaFleur questions her choice of the word and she quickly chooses other words such as "crawled, scampered, scurried, waddled, and creeped." This woman is like a walking thesaurus!

He next goes to Shoot N Stuff where he buys "some pretty serious ammo", according to George. He asks LaFleur if he's going on safari, but LaFleur just replies he's only going hunting in "his own backyard" which concerns George greatly. George's father tells him that LaFleur always shows up when a Bigfoot sighting is reported and that he is the one who caught and killed "Claws" the huge taxidermy grizzly bear in their store. George checks out a bunch of books about Bigfoot at the library and when he and his family are at home reading them (well, except for Sarah who's on the phone), there's a photo of LaFleur and Nancy realized she was duped by him earlier. All the books make the Bigfoot creatures into man-eating killers except for one by a Dr. Wallace Wrightwood (Don Ameche) who is an expert on Bigfoot and works at the North American Museum of Anthropology (which is just a rundown shack in the middle of nowhere) where George pays him a visit.

Meanwhile, we see Harry looking forlornly across eight lanes of traffic at the mountains where his home and family is. There's also a weird scene where Harry is looking into the window (and not even attempting to hide himself at all) of a home where he sees a woman put a whole raw chicken into a pot of boiling water. While this is going on, he also sees a couple getting into a hot tub, also bubbling. This concerns him because I guess he thinks the people are cooking themselves. It's hilarious, but a little dark!

With the last known location of Harry, George is able to find him in the one part of Seattle that doesn't have any traffic or people. (I know, I know, it was a movie lot with a fuzzy Space Needle slapped into the background). He's in the bin of a garbage truck, but LaFleur finds him first and Harry jumps up and surprises him (and anyone watching, I'm sure!) and flings him into the bin with him. George hears all the growling and commotion and this is how he finds him. Some garbage man is getting fired the next day because George is able to drive the truck because somebody left the keys in the ignition. While George is driving the truck, LaFleur points a gun at Harry, but he knocks it out of his hand and proceeds to the point the gun at himself between the eyes. A but intense for a family movie! LaFleur reaches to pull the trigger, but at that moment, George slams on the break to avoid hitting a homeless man and the bin goes flying, then skids across the street. And when I say flying, I mean flying. Nobody (or living thing!) would get out of that unscathed...but of course both Harry and LaFleur are perfectly fine. I laughed when Harry gets into George's car by tearing the other back door he hadn't torn off previously and getting in and George just shrugs. His head also stretches the roof of the car to accommodate his height.

LaFleur is arrested for being in possession of a firearm and there's a funny scene where he's locked in a jail cell with several other inmates and every time he paces, all the other inmates go on the opposite side since he reeks so bad from being in a trash bin and being in close proximity with the pungent Bigfoot. LaFleur does not smell like his surname!

When they return home, everyone is happy to see Harry, even a reluctant Sarah. Ernie accidentally opens the door to the closet where George had stored all his taxidermy animals and Harry is outraged. They bury all of them and have a funeral and this seems to appease Harry. They give him a bath and it must have completely extinguished all the odor because they invite Dr. Wrightwood over for dinner (and they all dress up as if the President of the United States were having dinner with them) and while they're eating dinner, Harry comes up right behind the anthropologist, but he seems to neither smell nor sense Harry until the very last second when he realizes something is behind him. Can I just say that Don Ameche is the most adorable old man? His sheer joy at seeing that a Bigfoot exists is wonderful, even though his "YAHOO!" cry is a bit corny. There's little time for celebration because LaFleur is out of jail and they need to get Harry to his home, pronto. They get stuck in Seattle traffic, but after seeing cars part way for a cop car to get through, Harry sticks his head out the window (which nobody apparently notices with all that traffic around them) and imitates the siren sound, thus letting their car get through all the traffic.

LaFleur is still on their tail and the family only has a short amount of time to say goodbye to Harry. To get him to leave, George tells him that he's not wanted anymore, to go back to where he came from, and slaps him (a bit harsh!), you know the old troupe of trying to get an animal to leave for its own safety. Why don't they just tell him he needs to leave so he doesn't get killed? When they realize that LaFleur can easily just follow the footprints, the Hendersons and Dr. Wrightwood strap on fake Bigfoot feet (not sure where those came from or how he had enough for everybody) and scatter around to make footprints to confuse LaFleur.


In the end, LaFleur comes around and sees Harry as a human being as George did. When Harry is about to go back to his home, George tells him, "You take care of yourself now, okay?" and Harry replies, "Okay." This is when we see his Bigfoot family (including a little Bigfoot) who were hiding in plain sight all this time.

Like I said, this is the only movie I've seen which features Bigfoot, but I have a feeling it's the only one where they make him into a gentle giant.