Daily Archives: April 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday-Classic 70’s Sitcoms- Welcome Back Kotter, Three’s Company & Maude

There is something about reruns of 1970’s sitcoms. The g-d awful clothing, the way too catchy music and the way that many shows broke new ground for different faces and voices to be heard and seen by audiences.

Airing from 1975-1979, Welcome Back Kotter revolved around a teacher, Gabe Kotter (Gabe Kaplan) who decides to teach the school’s most unruly, unteachable class in a Brooklyn high school. The students, led by Vinnie Barbarino (a young John Travolta) are not the easiest students to teach. But Mr. Kotter is up to the challenge.

This show was and still is very funny. It was also ahead of time with it’s racially and ethnically diverse cast.

In the late 1970’s Three’s Company was either loved or hated, depending on the viewer. Jack Tripper ( the late John Ritter), Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers) are roommates. A straight man who has two female roommates in the late 1970’s was bound to raise a few eyebrows. So Jack pretends to be gay. Meanwhile, the owners of the building, Stanley Roper (Normal Fell) and his wife Helen (Audra Lindley) have their own problems. Stanley is not sure that Jack is actually gay and Helen wants some from her husband, but he is not interested.

This show is so full of sexual innuendo that it would have and still today raises some eyebrows. But that doesn’t stop the audience from laughing.

And then there is Maude. A spinoff from All In The Family, Maude (Bea Arthur) is Edith’s liberal, independent and sometimes loudmouthed cousin. Married to husband number four, Walter (Bill Macy), Maude’s adult daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau) and young grandson live with them.

For the 1970’s, this show really (and I mean really) pushed the envelope. Maude was unlike any female character that viewers had seen on television. But if we are to look back, Maude paved the way for the strong female characters that dominate today’s television programs.

I recommend all three.

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Filed under Feminism, New York City, Television, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-Superhero Edition-Daredevil (2003) and Fantastic Four (2005)

I’ve come to the conclusion that everything in Hollywood is cyclical. It all comes back around eventually.

With the newest adaptations of Daredevil and Fantastic Four, I was reminded, that 10 years ago, these superheroes dominated our screens.

The 2003 Daredevil film starred Ben Affleck in the lead role as lawyer by day Matt Murdock and superhero by night Daredevil.  His co stars include his now wife Jennifer Garner as Elektra and Colin Farrell as Bullseye, the film’s villain.

It was not a bad film. Daredevil is one of those superheroes where if your a comic book fan, you know the story and if your not, you need the back story. But it is an interesting film never the less.

Two years later, The Fantastic Four returned to big screen. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) are four astronauts who are shot into space. But the mission does not go as planned and they find themselves with unusual powers. Now they must use these powers to prevent Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon), from taking over the world.

The movie is a tad on the hokey side. But it’s not real life and that is why we go to the movies, to escape from real life for a short time and enter a world that is not ours.

I recommend them both.

 

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Throwback Thursday- Anne Of A Thousand Days (1969) & The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

Among the kings that ruled England, Henry VIII was unique. His appetites for everything were legendary. In his quest for a male heir, he would marry six times.

There is no shortage of dramatizations of Henry’s life.

In 1969, Richard Burton stepped into the shoes of the legendary king in Anne Of A Thousand Days. Playing opposite Richard was Genevieve Bujold as his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry has been married to Catherine Of Aragon for many years, but no son had come out of the marriage.  Extremely eager to have a son and taken by Anne, Henry divorces Catherine to marry Anne.  But the marriage is tumultuous and as history records, will be short lived.

I like this movie. Richard Burton, as a middle aged, slightly bloated and a little egotistical Henry was perfect. Genevieve Bujold as Anne, was young, passionate and more than a little eager to do whatever was necessary to secure her place as Queen Of England.

Nearly forty years later, another movie based on the lives of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn was released. But this movie was from an entirely different point of view. The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the 2002 book of the same name by Phillipa Gregory was released into theaters in 2008. The story is of two sisters, Anne Boleyn and her sister Mary who are competing for the affection of Henry VIII. Mary  (Scarlett Johansson) was one of Henry’s (Eric Bana) mistresses before she was discarded in favor of her sister, Anne (Natalie Portman).

I like this movie. Mary Boleyn, historically speaking, is not as well known as her sister. It’s nice to see her story told.

I recommend both.

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Throwback Thursday- Baby Mama (2008)

It’s not easy to be a woman these days. Despite our advances (and thank g-d for them), there is still some pressure to live a traditional life.

In the 2008 movie, Baby Mama, Kate (Tina Fey) has a very successful career.  But her love life is non-existent. With no man in her life and wanting to be a mother, Kate hires working class Angie (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate. When Angie announces that she is pregnant, Kate goes into overdrive to prepare for the birth of her upcoming child.  Then Angie moves in with Kate and Kate’s well ordered, always in control life is no longer in order or control.

This movie is incredibly funny, especially considering who the two lead actors are. Fey and Poehler have a natural chemistry, Fey playing a version of Felix to Poehler’s Oscar. This movie proves that not only are women funny, but a well written movie with fully rounded female lead characters will bring audiences into the theaters. Another factor that makes this movie an enjoyable one is how completely realistic Kate’s situation is. There are many women like Kate, who have worked very hard to prove themselves as capable professionals. But then they reach a certain age and realize that while they were so furiously building their careers, they may have missed out on the possibility of a spouse and a child.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday