Tag Archives: Judy Garland

My Favorite Movies of 2019

Going to the movies is sometimes akin to stepping onto a roller coaster. Sometimes you love the film your seeking. Sometimes you hate it.

My favorite movies of 2019 are as follows:

  1. The Farewell: The Farewell is my favorite movie of the year because it is heartfelt, genuine and thoroughly human. In the lead role, Awkwafina proves that she can play much more than the comic relief.
  2. Avengers: Endgame: If there was a perfect way to end a film series, this film is it. Balancing both action and narrative, this thrill ride is pure perfection.
  3. Judy: Renee Zellweger is an absolute shoe-in for the Oscars as the late film icon Judy Garland. Disappearing in the role, she tells the true story of the final years of Garland’s life.
  4. Downton Abbey: Transferring a popular television show to the big screen is often easier said than done. The Downton Abbey movie is the perfect film bookend to this beloved television program.
  5. Harriet: This biopic of Harriet Tubman is nothing short of tremendous. In the lead role, Cynthia Erivo is Harriet Tubman.
  6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: This final entry in the Skywalker saga is not perfect, but it ends with both a nod to the past and an open door to the future.
  7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The late Fred Rogers was more than a milquetoast children’s TV host. He taught generations of children in ways that go beyond the classroom. Inhabiting the role of Mister Rogers is Tom Hanks, who reminds viewers why we loved him.
  8. Joker: In this re imagined world from that Batman universe, Joaquin Phoenix adds new layers to this iconic character while talking frankly about mental illness.
  9. The Song of Names: Based on the book of the same name, the film follows a man who is trying to discover the secrets of a missing childhood friend.
  10. Frozen II: This sequel to the mega-hit Frozen was well worth the six year wait. Instead of doing a slap-dash direct to video type sequel, the filmmakers expanded this world in new ways, making the story even more relevant.

This will be my last post for 2019. Wherever you are, thank you for reading this year. May 2020 be bright and hopeful.

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Filed under Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Mental Health, Movie Review, Movies, Star Wars, Television

Judy Movie Review

Judy Garland was a performer with a capital P. She is an icon above icons, a movie star in every sense of the word. She was a human being whose life off camera was far from perfect.

The new movie, Judy, tells the story of the last years of Judy Garland‘s (Renee Zellweger) life. She is no longer the young starlet (played by Darci Shaw) who was the apple of the movie-going audience’s eye. At the age of 47, she is battling addiction and facing major career and financial hurdles while trying to be a good mother.

The only gigs she can get are small clubs. Then she is offered a series of concerts at London’s Talk of the Town. Knowing that it is her only option, she takes it. While in London, she marries her fifth and final husband Mickey Deans (Fitt Wittrock) and is given to Rosalyn Wilder (Jessie Buckley), who acts as her assistant.

Judy has the reputation, but can she be the performer that she is known to be or will her personal demons get in the way?

This movie is awesome and without a doubt, is Oscar bait. Zellweger completely disappears into the role, making the audience forget that it is not the real Judy Garland that they are watching. Based on the stage play End of the Rainbow, by Peter Quilter, this film is many things. It is a tearjerker, a reminder of how destructive addiction can be and a story of fighting to survive when it feels like all is lost.

I absolutely recommend it.

Judy is presently playing in theaters.

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A Star Is Born Movie Review

For every performer that succeeds in Hollywood, there are many who stand on the cusp of success, but never achieve it.

In the new movie, A Star Is Born, Jack (Bradley Cooper) is a rock star with a capital R. He also has issues with drinking and drug addictions. In a drag bar after a show, Jack meets Ally (Lady Gaga). Ally can sing like nobody’s business, but has yet to even get close to a career as a musician. She has to earn her living in a restaurant while singing in a drag bar.

Jack persuades Ally to sing at one of his concerts. Soon, their personal relationship blooms as quickly as Ally’s career. But while Ally is finally seeing her dream become a reality, she is dealing with the breakdown of her relationship and Jack’s issues getting the best of him.

Every word of praise that has been uttered for this film is entirely earned. As star, director and co-screenwriter, Bradley Cooper throws himself into the film. Unlike other actors who have thought themselves to be able to direct and star in a film, Cooper is able to do so while creating a realistic portrait of a musician who is letting his demons overshadow his professional achievements.  For her part, Lady Gaga is an exception actress. It’s one thing to play a character in a reboot, its another thing to play character in a film that has been rebooted twice since the original film made it’s debut. Stepping into the shoes of Janet Gaynor (1937), Judy Garland (1954) and Barbra Streisand (1976), Lady Gaga plays the role of Ally as if she was born to do so.

I absolutely recommend it. I would not be surprised if A Star Is Born does well come award season.

A Star Is Born is presently in theaters. 

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The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Grease 2 (1982)

Grease is a classic. A light and frothy 1950’s high school romance between a greaser and a good girl, it has not left our cultural consciousness since it premiered in 1971. In 1982, four years after Grease was transferred from the stage to the screen, the good people who run Hollywood decided that Grease needed a sequel. Grease 2 was born.

Two years after the original greasers have graduated, there is new senior class. Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) is the new kid in school.  Stephanie Zinone, leader of the Pink ladies (Michelle  Pfeiffer), can only date greasers, according to the rules the social high school hierarchy.   Stephanie is becoming unsatisfied with her relationship with Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed), the leader of the T-Birds.

Stephanie kisses Michael based on a dare. Michael becomes infatuated with her. To get her to see him, he learns to ride a motorcycle, changes into a leather jacket and faces a potential rumble with the T-Birds.

This movie tries very hard to live up the reputation of it’s predecessor. The concept is there, but this movie isn’t. There are references to the original movie, with some of the original actors coming back for cameos or smaller roles. Despite the talent of the then young cast that includes Lorna Luft (Judy Garland’s daughter), the movie is not good.

Were the critics wrong? No.

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