Throwback Thursday- Steve Martin Triple Feature- Shopgirl (2005), Bringing Down The House (2003) And It’s Complicated (2009)

It seems, that with some actors, they either mellow or they are able to expand the genres that they are able to work in as they age. Steve Martin is one of those actors.

In the 2000’s, he started to step away from the goofy roles that he previously played to play more mature, romantic leading men and family man characters.

In 2005, he wrote and starred in Shopgirl. Mirabelle (Claire Danes) is a twenty something college graduate living in Los Angeles. Hoping to build a career as an artist, the only job she can get is working at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.  She meets two different men: Ray Porter (Steve Martin), a wealthy older man and Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), a man of about her age who has also not yet discovered what he wants out of life.

I like this movie. It’s romantic, but not too sentimental. It is simple, sweet and well done.

Two years earlier, he starred in Bringing Down The House. Peter Sanderson (Steve Martin) is a  workaholic lawyer whose marriage has just ended.  In an attempt to re-ignite his love life , and get over his ex wife whom he still loves, Peter registers for an online dating website. The woman he thinks he is speaking to is a Caucasian blonde. The woman he is actually speaking to is Charlene (Queen Latifah), a convicted criminal who needs Peter to prove that she is innocent.  Problems arise when Charlene’s presence in his life nearly ruins his prospects of wooing a very wealthy client and winning his wife back.

There was some controversy at the time of the movie’s release of the depiction of Queen Latifah’s character.  But frankly, I don’t see where the issue lies. Charlene is a smart woman who was caught up in something that was not of her making. She knows that Peter is not only the key to exonerate her, but he also needs a little shaking up in his life.

Finally, in 2009, Steve Martin was part of the trio in It’s Complicated.  Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) have been divorced for years. Jake is remarried with a stepson, married to the woman he cheated on his ex-wife with. They meet again for one of their children’s college graduation and  the spark re-ignites between them. Meanwhile, Jane is looking to remodel her house and hires Adam (Steve Martin) to advise on the remodel. Adam is smitten with Jane, but Jane and Jake are sneaking around together.

What I like about this movie is that the three main actors are all age appropriate, which is not often seen in movies. I especially like that Jane is fully fleshed out character and not the bitter middle aged divorcee that she could have been written as.

I recommend all three movies.


Star Wars 7 Trailer

OH. MY. G-D.

The trailer for Episode 7, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out.

I want more. I need to see this movie now. I cannot wait until December. The fangirl in me is doing somersaults.

I only hope that JJ Abrams and George Lucas have realized their past mistakes and given the fans a film that is worthy of our adoration.

To borrow a quote from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, I WANT IT NOW!

Throwback Thursday-Sgt Bilko (1996)

There is an old saying about the road to perdition, that is paved with good intentions.

Master Sargent Ernest G. Bilko  is on that road. While his methods are unusual, he tries to do what is right, but in his own way.

In the 1996 movie Sgt. Bilko, the titular character, played by Steve Martin, runs the motor pool at a Kansas army base. Based on the 1950’s television show starring Phil Silvers, Sgt. Bilko does not always run the most honest of operations. But his commanding officer, Colonel John T Hall (Dan Aykroyd) has bigger fish to fry. The army is closing bases and the Colonel is concerned that his base is next.

Enter Major Colin Thorn (the late Phil Hartman). Major Thorn’s job is to inspect the bases and report back to his superiors about which bases to keep open and which bases to close. When he hears that Sgt. Bilko is the man in charge of the motor pool, Major Thorn will do anything to get back at the man who he feels wronged him.

To be fair, I have never seen the original television program, so I cannot make any comparisons to the movie adaptation. But I can say that this movie is exceptionally funny.  Sgt. Bilko has a good heart, but his scheming con artist ways always seem to trump doing what is right.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-Gargoyles (1994-1996)

Do you ever walk by a stone gargoyle and wonder if it is just that? Or is there something more to them?

The animated program Gargoyles aired from 1994-1996.

According to Scottish lore, Gargoyles were beings whose job was to protect the human population. They were stone by day and alive by night. In 1094, an uneasy alliance led to the destruction of most of the gargoyles.  It was foretold that the survivors would sleep for a thousand years and awake when the castle would rise above the clouds.  In 1994, billionaire David Xanatos (voiced by Jonathan Frankes) transfers the castle from Scotland to New York City. As it was foretold, the Gargoyles wake up to find themselves in a world not their own.

I enjoyed this program. The mix of myth, magic, the modern world and being a stranger in a strange land made for compelling drama.

I recommend it.


Throwback Thursday- The Birdcage (1996)

Young love is grand. It is even grander when the parents of the young lovers meet. Especially when one set of parents are the owners of a drag night club and the other are a straight laced, right wing couple from Middle America.

This is the premise of the 1996 movie, The Birdcage.  Based on the 1978 French film, La Cage aux Folles, both films ask what happens when two completely different sets of parents meet their child’s future in laws?

Armand Goldman (the late Robin Williams) and his longtime partner Albert (Nathan Lane) are the owners of a drag nightclub in Miami. Armand is the brain behind the scenes and Albert is the star of the show. Twenty years ago, Armand had a brief heterosexual fling with Katherine Archer (Christine Baranski). The result of that fling is their son, Val (Dan Futterman).  Dan is now an adult and has recently announced that he is engaged.

His soon to be spouse is Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart), the daughter of the ultra conservative politician Sen. Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman) and his wife Louise (Dianne Wiest).  Val wants to invite his fiance and future in laws to meet  his parents. Val and Armand try to cover up the truth about their family, but the truth, like all truths, has a way to slipping out.

Directed by the late Mike Nichols and written by Elaine May, this movie is nothing short of hilarious.  But what strikes me, looking back on this film nearly 20 years after it’s release is how it helped to put one more brick on the road to LGBTQ equality. While this is only one movie, it helped to pave the way for gay men and women to be open with themselves and their loves ones.

I recommend it.

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