The idea of not just one, but two movies coming out of a Saturday Night Live skit may seem like an impossible task. How does a writer take characters who are only seen for a few minutes on television and create a full-length film narrative?
It was done successfully in Wayne’s World (1992) and its sequel, Wayne’s World 2 (1993). Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) are dealing with two major issues at the same time. They are trying to put on a rock concert. While the concert is in limbo, Wayne’s rockstar girlfriend, Cassandra Wong (Tia Carrere) has caught the eye of a record executive, Bobby Cahn (Christopher Walken). Bobby wants more than a professional relationship with Cassandra.
Like its predecessor, it is incredibly funny and remains true to its small screen roots. The references may be over the head of someone who was either too young or not yet born, but that can be overcome. I just get a kick out of watching a movie that is almost 30 years old and still makes me laugh.
My favorite part is the end scene which is essentially a throwback to The Graduate. It’s both true to its source while still being in the world of this narrative.
My only complaint (which is with many movies, both then and now) is that the women are confined to either romantic or sexual roles. While Wayne and Cassandra are dealing with their issues, Garth meets an older woman, Honey Hornee (Kim Basinger). Her name invokes everything the audience needs to know about her.
Family history is a curious thing, especially when it inspires a well-known story.
In the 2005 film, Rumor Has It…, Sarah (Jennifer Aniston) and Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) are a newly engaged coupled. Sarah introduces Jeff to her family when they go to California for her sister’s wedding. During the visit to California, Jeff infers that Sarah’s father, Earl (Richard Jenkins) is not her biological father. Enter Beau (Kevin Costner), a successful author who may have had affairs concurrently with Sarah’s late mother and grandmother Katherine (Shirley MacLaine) back in the day. This leads Sarah to believe that the 1967 film, The Graduate is more than fiction. Like her mother and grandmother, Sarah falls for Beau’s charms, but she may end up losing Jeff in the process.
This film is an interesting one. It’s not exactly the typical romantic comedy, but it also does not use it’s source material as much as it could have.
There are some movies that are, for lack of a better term, so forgettable, that you walk out of the theater almost immediately forgetting that you saw the film.
Then there are some films that are loved and cherished, that decades after their premiere, they are still being talked about. This year celebrates the anniversaries of three memorable and loved films: The Graduate (1967), celebrating its 50th anniversary, Annie Hall (1977), celebrating its 40th anniversary and A League Of Their Own (1992), celebrating it’s 25 year anniversary.
The Graduate (1967)
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is a young man in his early 20’s just trying to figure life in general, as many of us do at that age. While dating Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross), he is sleeping with her mother, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft).
What makes this film brilliant is that Benjamin Braddock speaks to all 20 somethings who are just trying to figure out life in general. Included in the recipe for a film that stands the test of time is the immortal soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel and a narrative that would have never even seen the light of day ten years before. The Graduate represents a small, but important change in not just Hollywood, but the overall cultural shift that was slowly changing the world.
Annie Hall is the romantic comedy. Ditzy Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) is dating neurotic Alvy Singer (Woody Allen). That is until they break up and Alvy is reminiscing about their relationship.
I love this movie for a number of reasons. It is one of New York City’s most iconic films. I also love that neither Annie or Alvy are the ideal romantic comedy leads and the ending is not the typical Hollywood/fairy tale ending. Instead of a glossed over, predictable narrative, Allen and his co-screenwriter, Marshall Brickman write about a real relationship and are not afraid to show the bumps in the road that sometimes occur in a romantic relationship.
A League of Their Own (1992)
During World War II, while the men are away fighting the Axis powers, the woman occupy the roles the men left behind. Sisters Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty) join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a baseball league made entirely up of female players. While the league gains fans and popularity, a rivalry erupts between the sisters.
A League Of Their Own originally hit theaters when I was a kid. I loved it 25 years ago and I still love it today. I love the quotable dialogue, I love the complicated and real female characters (which today are still not seen as often as they should be) and I love that these women paved the way, in their own small way for the success not just in sports, but in life for future generations of women. I also have a little bit of an obsession with music from the 1940’s, the soundtrack of this film makes me very happy.
The films above were meant to stand the test of time. Many films are forgettable, these films will live forever in the minds of fans and critics as films that will always be watched, talked about and cherished.
Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has recently graduated college. He has started sleeping with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of his father’s business partner. The affair is short, but it comes back to bite Benjamin in the behind when he falls in love with Elaine (Katharine Ross), Mrs. Robinson’s daughter.
Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) and George (Richard Burton) are a middle aged married couple who seem to never stop arguing. Their arguments are fueled by alcohol and the fact that Martha’s father is the president of the university where George works as a history professor. They invite Nick (George Segal), a young, ambitious biology professor and his mousy wife, Honey (Sandy Dennis) out for a night cap after a faculty event. That’s when sh*t gets real and the underlying issues between Martha and George come to light.
While both of these movies are very different, they are both very good and worth another viewing.