Movie Trivia #1

Hello all!!

Sorry it has been a while but I am back and plan to blog a little more frequently.

What I would like to do this evening is offer you a little movie trivia! So here goes:

The lead actor of this film stated he agreed to join the cast almost entirely based off of the title.

Who is the actor and what was the movie?

If you think you know, leave a comment with your answer. If you answer correctly, I will let you pick the next movie I choose trivia from! Not much you say? True, but its all I got at the moment! 🙂

Review: ‘Some Like It Hot’

Billy Wilder’s 1959 classic comedy Some Like It Hot
starts out with a typical in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time scenario.  His story follows two musicians as they struggle to find work in 1929 Chicago.

Trying to pick up a borrowed car to make it to a gig, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witness an incident parallel to the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, this time committed by Spats Colombo (George Raft) as opposed to Al Capone.  The Massacre involved a gang war spilling over into a parking garage, with seven people lined up against a wall and shot.  The central comedy of ‘Some Like It Hot’ is a stark contrast to this serious event in American history.

So what would you do if you were on the run from the mob?  You pretend to be a member of the opposite sex and get an all expenses paid trip to Florida in an all girl Jazz band, of course, complete with heels and wigs.

Lemmon and Curtis turn in Oscar worthy performances (Lemmon was nominated) as Joe and Jerry and then as “Josephine” and “Daphne”.  Once they meet Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), the band’s singer and ukulele player, Curtis creates yet another persona, the billionaire “Junior”, to woo her.

One of the greatest comedic moments in cinema is when Curtis returns to the hotel room after his date with Sugar.  He finds Lemmon euphoric and dancing with maracas after his “date” with Joe E. Brown’s character, Osgood Fielding III.  Lemmon and Brown spent hours learning how to tango for their date scene, but they had an excellent teacher – none other than Spats Colombo himself – George Raft!

There are two major flaws, in my opinion.  The first is Joe’s treatment of Jerry throughout the film.  The character of Joe seems to walk all over Jerry and undermine him whenever possible, from losing his overcoat on a bet at the dog track, to taking “Daphne’s” bracelet and giving it away.  It can be difficult watching such things and tends to impart ill feeling towards a main character.  The second flaw comes in the form of musical numbers.  It appears that one or two could have been cut with no ill effect on the movie itself.  As it is, all action – but most importantly, comedy – comes to a stand still for these numbers.

There is no doubt in my mind how this film came to be a classic.  It has elements of comedy, romance and suspense.  It keeps the viewer engaged.  What of my objections?  Well, I borrow my reply from Osgood – “nobody’s perfect.”

‘Your Highness’ Isn’t

Since I have been semi-working as a movie reviewer lately, naturally upon completion of any film my companions immediately ask what I thought.  This is exactly my reply when Your Highness ended.  “It was nothing like I thought, I can’t believe it was ever made, and I’m horrified that they left it open for a sequel.”

To say that the trailers are misleading is a devastating understatement.  I can imagine the stricken parents silly enough to bring their children and teens to this movie.  If they were expecting an unrealistic farce and romp through the forest – well, they sure got that in spades.  But it was far from innocent.

I would like to say – in my own defense – that I am not a prude.  I don’t object to watching porn but I at least like to know it is porn before it starts.  And I think that is what – pardon the phrase – rubbed me the wrong way here.  The trailer(s) gave the impression of an adventure movie – although with no basis in reality – one in which an inept person has to try to save the world.  However, in this case that inept person happens to be Pee-Wee Herman.

I would also like to point out that “Your Highness” is in the same vain as ‘Cheech and Chong’ and if you are not a “pot-head” the majority of the “humor” will be lost on you.  The few giggles I was able to get paled in comparison to the number of times I uttered, “Oh hell no.”

I felt a bit queasy when leaving.  Some might say it was the yellow grease I put on my popcorn.  But I say, “No, sir.”

I feel sorry not only for everyone involved in this film – but also their families – to have their name permanently marred by this abomination.  But I also feel bad for my scarred retinas that now require a healthy dose of Winnie The Pooh to recover.

I found it distressing to see someone of Natalie Portman’s caliber involved.  She is beautiful and an accomplished actress winning an Academy Award as well as having 23 other awards and 45 total nominations.  Why is she slumming it here?  And not to mention speaking of a beaver as anything other than a woodland creature.

The final item I would like to point out is this: A penis is not the most aesthetically pleasing item to begin with but then to have a giant half-mast Minotaur penis displayed prominently for the last twenty-plus minutes is also. . . um. . .

All I can say is, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.  Really?”

Is Brand’s ‘Arthur’ Better than Moore’s?

The 2011 remake of ‘Arthur’ is rather complex.  You can look at it in two distinct ways.  You can compare it to the original film, but you can also let it stand on its own and look at its’ individual merits.

So let’s start with a comparison to the 1981 ‘Arthur’, starring Dudley Moore as the title character.  The story follows the drunk and debauched Arthur as he tries to find his own way in life.  One thing that stands out dramatically is Dudley Moore’s ability to play a drunk.  As a viewer, you really believe he may topple over at any moment and his jokes are terrible.  Russell Brand’s Arthur seems to be more in control, even when drunk.

The remake involves some sex reversals of the characters.  In the 1981 ‘Arthur’, it was his father who forced Arthur into a marriage agreement and the glorious character of Hobson (John Gielgud) was a male butler.

The tentative marriage to Susan is a business proposition at best.  The original Susan, (Jill Eikenberry in 1981), was actually in love with Arthur and appeared more simpering and devoted.  Jennifer Garner’s Susan is a dramatic contrast, being more aggressive, even heartless.

The main complaint I hear – and feel – is that no one is capable of replacing John Gielgud as Hobson.  I do think Helen Mirren did an amazing job considering the shoes she had to fill.  However, I also feel she missed the mark slightly.  There was an underlying but affectionate sarcasm to Gielgud’s Hobson.  While Mirren was able to keep the affection, she came off more snide than sarcastic.

If we divorce the films, the 2011 ‘Arthur’ stands alone, a brilliant movie.  The cast works well together and there is an obvious delineation between the good guys and the bad guys.  Brand’s manic energy adds to Arthur’s character, but you can see that the jokes are a mask set in place to protect himself from reality.  Hobson is the stern but affectionate mother Arthur never had.

I have a feeling a lot of people may not agree with me on this.  But I think it is important to let go of the past and one’s expectations from previous films.  Enjoy the movie for what it is, on its own merits; on it’s own ability to make you laugh and also to examine your life.

Except – let’s not forget the unique charm offered by the original ‘Arthur’.

But to quote Russell Brand’s ‘Arthur’, “Don’t let that undermine what I just said.”