Throwback Thursday: Roxanne (1987)

Love has a way of making us feel insecure. The question is if we have the courage to tell the one we love how we feel?

The 1987 movie, Roxanne, is a rom-com adapation of Cyrano de Bergerac. C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) is the fire chief in a small town. Known for his extraordinarily large nose, he likes to crack jokes about it. Behind the smartass one-liners are insecurity and fear of rejection. When astronomy student Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) enters his life, D.C. falls hard and fast for her.

Afraid that she will mock him, he uses newbie firefighter and pretty boy Chris (Rick Rossovich) as a conduit to express his feelings. Roxanne believes that Chris and the man behind the letters she has been receiving are one and the same. C.D. knows that he will have to be real with Roxanne, but will she feel the same?

This film is classic Steve Martin. Behind the humor is heart and a deep well of emotion that makes this classic tale feel both timeless and forever modern.

My only issue is that Hannah’s character is sexualized early on in the movie. I understand that this narrative is over a century old. The norms in 1897 are not the norms of today. I appreciate that she was given some depth as a character. But I feel like the scene in which she is appearing to be naked pushes her backward towards a typical female character whose only task is to be the love interest without having agency or a narrative of her own.

I also have to realize that the film is over 30 years old. Though Hollywood has not completely shaken off the idea of limiting women both on and off-screen, the celluloid glass ceiling has been cracked considerably since then.

Do I recommend it? Yes.


Throwback Thursday-Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)

Our families are at the core of our societies. It is not a stretch to say that stories about families continue to appeal to us generation after generation.

Cheaper by the Dozen premiered in 1950. Based on the book of the same name, the film starred Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, the film told the story of the Gilbreth family and their brood of 12 children. Living in Montclair, New Jersey in the early 20th century, parents Frank Sr. and Lillian both work as engineers. Their professional training extends to their home life, as everything is done to maximum efficiency. But this is starting not to sit well with their older daughters, who are eager to stretch their wings outside of the family nest.

There are certain movies from this period that modern audiences go back to again and again because they have a timeless quality to them. In a sense, this movie is timeless, but there are scenes that are definitely showing the film’s age.

Do I recommend it? Maybe. As much as I adore some movies from the ’50s, this film is not one of my favorites.

By the way, the movie was remade in 2003 starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. It is as bad as one might expect it to be.

Flashback Friday-Father Of The Bride (1991)

The two most important days in a man’s life is the day his daughter is born and the day he walks her up the aisle.

In the 1991 movie, Father Of The Bride, George Banks (Steve Martin) has just found out that his daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is getting married. His reaction is not unexpected, but what is unexpected is the cost of the wedding.

A reboot of the 1950 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy, what I like about this movie is that George is an every man. He wants his daughter to be happy, but at the same time, he cannot wrap his head around the fact that his little girl is no longer a little girl. And of course, with comedy done as only Steve Martin can, it is one funny movie.

I recommend it.

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.

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.

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