Flashback Friday: Feud (2017)

For every great movie, there is a great behind-the-scenes story.

The F/X 2017 miniseries Feud tells the story of the making of the 1962 movie, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Playing the film’s leads are Susan Sarandon (Bette Davis) and Jessica Lange (Joan Crawford). Manipulating the actors while directing the film is Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina).

As the series goes on, it becomes more apparent that the feud between Davis and Crawford has been partially manufactured by the press and the male heads of the movie studio as they play the aging actresses against one another.

Wow. Though I’ve never seen the film that the series is based on, I might be tempted to watch it. Lange, Sarandon, and Molina are fantastic in their roles. One of the points that were made was that while men are allowed to age, a woman has a shelf life. Once she is on the figurative shelf, she is automatically replaced by a younger model. The number of older women that are still allowed to be active is often limited and pitted against one another because G-d forbid a woman of a certain age is active and vital as her male counterpart.

Like other Ryan Murphy-headed projects, there is a message built into the story. There is also a subtle level of campiness that allows the audience to laugh while observing that the superficial bullshit that is the backbone of the narrative is still alive and well today.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Advertisement

Throwback Thursday: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The truth about life is that it is complicated. We are often juggling multiple things at the same time, making decisions as to what is important and what can be put aside for the moment.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) is the sequel to the 2002 film, Spider-man. Since we last saw Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) has dealt with a series of personal disasters. While continuously saving the world, his grades are falling fast, he cannot keep a job and he is being attacked in the press as a criminal. On top of all that, Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is no more.

All signals are pointing to the end of his career as a superhero. Then an accident turns Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) into the villainous Doc Ock. Instead of putting his mask away for good, Peter has no choice but to do his thing and stop Doc Ock before he destroys the city.

This one is not bad. The narrative flows nicely from the previous movie, creating more trouble for our leading man. Moving from adolescence to early adulthood, Peter is learning how to keep several figurative plates spinning in the air at the same. The problem with this is that one or more of these plates will eventually fall to the ground and crack into pieces.

My problem with his movie is the usual issue. The women in this film are constrained to the love interest/damsel in distress/spouse and maternal figures, not giving them room to stand on their own two feet.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Throwback Thursday-The Little Traitor (2007)

Our children are not immune to the world around them. They can be amazingly perceptive and active, despite appearances.

In the 2007 movie, The Little Traitor, based off the Amos Oz book, Panter In The Basement, Proffy (Ido Port) is a young boy living in Israel just a short time before the British secede power to the Israelis. Caught up in the fervor of the potential of independence from Britain, Proffy is caught after curfew making trouble. Instead of arresting the boy, Sergeant Dunlop (Alfred Molina) takes him home. What transpires is an unlikely friendship. But when Proffy is caught by his friends with Sergeant Dunlop, he is put on trial for fraternizing with the enemy.

I found this movie to be very appealing. Not just because of my faith or the history of my people, but because these characters are human. Both Proffy and Sergeant Dunlop find a common ground and are able to maintain a friendship, despite the barriers that keep them apart. It is a reminder that at the end of the day, we are all human and we have much more in common than we think we do.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday- Chocolat (2000)

Is there anything better than chocolate? There is something about this dessert that gets taste buds going all over the world.

In Chocolat (2000), Madame Audel (Juliette Binoche) is a single mother who moves to a rural French village with her daughter a few years after World War II. The town and it’s citizens, led by Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina) is a conservative one. Madame has the audacity to open her chocolate shop on Sunday, which happens to be across from the village church. While it arouses the curiosity of some of the town folk, others are hesitant and unsure about the latest addition to the town.  When a floating caravan of gypsies led by Roux (Johnny Depp) enters the town and befriends Madame, things really begin to stir.

This movie is one of the best of the early 2000’s. With an all star cast and an engaging story, this movie is enjoyable.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday Part II- An Education

When we are young, we can’t wait to grow up. And then when we grow up…… and we find out that it’s not all that we thought it was.

An Education made it’s debut in 2009. It’s the story of Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a teenager in 1960’s London. Her father (Alfred Molina) has a goal of seeing his daughter receive her college degree from Oxford.  Her life changes when she meets David G0ldman (Peter Saarsgard), a man twice her age. David is very much the gentleman, to Jenny and her parents. Their relationship begins to turn romantic, but David may not be what he seems.

This movie is a very quiet movie, but in that quietness is the power.  Mulligan as teenage Jenny, represents the anxieties and pressures we all faced as teenagers. Molina, as Jenny’s father represents all our fathers when we were teenagers. He wants the best for her, but still does what every father of a teenager girl does. Saarsgard as David, represents the fantasy of being a teenager and taken away from the restrictive life to the freedom of being an adult.

This cast is full of actors who have played characters in Austen adaptations, with a Jane Eyre subplot.

What else does one need for a good movie?

%d bloggers like this: