Tag Archives: Walter Matthau

Flashback Friday-Out To Sea (1997)

There is something comforting and familiar about seeing the same actors pairing up again and again on-screen. But, the question begs, will the movie hold up to the reputation of its lead actors?

In the 1997 movie, Out To Sea, Charlie Gordon (Walther Matthau), a failed gambler, convinces his late sister’s widower, Herb Sullivan (Jack Lemmon) to join him on an all expenses paid cruise. The goal is to catch the eye of a lonely and wealthy widow. The only problem in this plan is that Charlie and Herb are not on vacation, they are working as dance hosts. But the cruise director, Gil Godwyn (Brent Spiner) is onto them. Will the plan work or will Herb and Charlie be well, out to sea?

I have mixed feelings about this film. While it relies heavily on the old Odd Couple jokes, I feel like it was the same jokes and the same narrative as we’ve seen before with this pairing. How many times can Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon play a version of Oscar and Felix? While it’s funny, it’s not as good as their previous on-screen pairings. Do I recommend it?

Maybe.

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Flashback Friday-The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

For many New Yorkers, riding the subways is an innocuous, normal part of life. But what happens when someone sees these passengers in a different light?

In the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, four men board the Pelham 1:23 train at different stations. They seems to be ordinary New Yorkers, simply using the train as a means of transportation. But they are not ordinary and they quickly reveal their plans to the passengers. Taking control of the train from the conductors, they stop the train in between stations. The lucky passengers and conductors in all but the first car are freed. The passengers and the conductor in the first car are not so lucky.

The demand is simple: they want one million dollars for each passenger and the conductor. The instructions must be followed to the letter and must be accomplished within one hour, otherwise, the passengers and the conductor will be killed, one by one. Lt. Zach Garber (Walter Matthau) is the liaison between the hijackers and the authorities. He maybe the only one who can figure out who the men are and save the lives of the hostages.

Anyone who has ridden a NYC subway train knows how cramped and closed in the car can feel. While this movie could have been the standard thriller/hijacker, the fact that it takes place within a NYC subway car adds to the already heightened tension.

In 2009, the film was re-made with Denzel Washington taking over the role of Lt. Garber.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Grumpy Old Men (1993) and Grumpier Old Men (1995)

There is something about a long time friendship. After decades of being around each other, there is a short hand that exists between the two friends. Nothing can tear them apart….until someone new and attractive moves into the neighborhood.

In Grumpy Old Men (1993), John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) have been frienemies since boyhood. Their relationship alters when a new female neighbor, Ariel Truax (Ann-Margaret) moves to town.

This movie is incredibly funny. The decades long relationship and chemistry that Lemmon and Matthau have is tangible on screen. Revisiting her screen idol goddess past, Ann-Margaret is funny, charming and age appropriate for her two leading men.

Two years later in 1995, Grumpier Old Men revisited John and Max. John and Ariel are married. The town bait shop has been closed. A new owner, Maria Ragetti (Sophia Loren) buys the bait shop and plans to turn into an Italian restaurant.  But John and Max will do anything to keep the bait shop as is. While John is happy to play along with Max’s plan, Max finds that he is attracted to Maria.

The addition of Sophia Loren to this cast is the icing on the cake.  The antagonistic love/hate relationship between Loren and Matthau is incredibly funny.

I recommend both movies.

 

 

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