What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Hard Way from 1943 with Ida Lupino, Dennis Miller, Joan Leslie and Jack Carson

    They packed a lot into this classic story of a struggle to escape a hardscrabble existence. Older sister Ida Lupino sees her talented teenage singer/actress younger sister, Joan Leslie, as their ticket out of a dreary steel town. So, she leaves her reasonably decent steel-worker husband - nothing gets in Lupino's way in this one - and takes Leslie on the road to start her career.

    There, they meet the struggling vaudeville team of Dennis Miller and Jack Carson. Seeing an opportunity, ruthless Lupino steers Leslie into a marriage to Carson. Miller, a good-guy playboy - he has a fun woman in every town - sees through Lupino, but can't stop the ill-fated marriage nor Lupino's passive-aggressive efforts to push him out.

    While palliated for the code, Lupino, who is physically attracted to handsome Miller, has - and this is the phrase for - hate sex with Miller, but she's still hurt when he brushes her off afterwords. And he's not wrong, as she's been awful to him and Carson, so he leaves Lupino and the act.

    Worse still, later, as Leslie's star starts to rise, Lupino manipulates a separation for Leslie from, now, not-needed Carson even though the marriage is working (spoiler alert) causing Carson to commit suicide. Again, nothing will get in Lupino's way to turn her sister into a star.

    Next up, Lupino, effectively, destroys the last career chance of a fading Broadway star just to create an opportunity for her sister. It's a gut-wrenching scene as Lupino "befriends" the older actress and, then, gets this battling-alcoholism woman drunk before her key rehearsal: old star out, sister in.

    Finally, though, after being her sister's pawn all these years, Leslie pushes back and takes a vacation without Lupino at a resort where she accidentally meets Miller, who has, since their split years ago, become a successful bandleader. We are now at the movie's money moment as the man Lupino pushed aside to advance her sister's career, the same man Lupino slept with and was hurt when he, then, brushed her off, has a genuine love affair with Lupino's sister.

    By the time Lupino gets to the resort, Miller and Leslie plan to marry, which sparks one last successful machination from Lupino. She guilts her sister back to the stage and away from Miller with the old saw about "how much I sacrificed for you," and she reminds her sister that all their money is tied up in the new show.

    But the spell's been broken and Leslie, after one night where she collapses on stage, quits the play and marries Miller. Phew, as noted, a lot happens, but really very little could be a spoiler alert as the movie opens with Lupino - well dressed - attempting suicide. Then, dying in a hospital, the story is told through flashbacks until, in the very final scene, we learn if Lupino makes it or not.

    It's a shame that the suicide construct begins and ends the movie as this solid, albeit, well-tread story stands on its own without the awkward suicide framing. Regardless, it's a good almost two-hours of watching a ruthless woman pull her sister and herself up from poverty by mercilessly ploughing down every obstacle in their way. And as she does, your sympathies switch several times - as happens often in real life.


    I can't call this a post script or a nota bene as it's too ugly. Early in the movie, there is an almost tossed-off line delivered by the manager of a theater who offers to help the struggling vaudeville team of Miller and Carson out even though he has to let them go as they aren't drawing a crowd.

    The manager is trying hard to strike a fair balance between his business needs and being a good guy to the team. But when the team rejects his offer of help - not in anger, but pride - almost to himself, the theater manager says (paraphrasing), "when this gets out, people will say 'dirty Heb'," clearly referring to himself.

    That's it, the movie moves on without any further note of that comment. But you know, that line didn't wander into the movie by itself, so someone - a writer, director, producer - wanted to make a point about antisemitism. Even under the Motion Picture Production Code, some poignant social commentary made it into movies, often, in a quiet but effective way.


    @AmateisGal, I believe you are a fan of Dennis Miller and think you would enjoy this one as, of the movies of his that I've seen, this is one of his best.
     
  2. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Having to play catch up:

    Monster House, one of our favourites.

    Hubie Halloween, a fun Adam Sandler family romp on Netflix. Lots of cameos.

    1922, another NF offering. Creepy re-telling of a man and his son murdering the wife/mother in, you guessed it, 1922.
     
  3. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Last night's horror double feature was "Trick R Treat" and "Night of the Living Dead"!
     
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  4. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Little Boy (2015) about a young boy whose father goes off to war during WW2 and tries desperately to get him back with the "faith of a mustard seed." Made me bawl. A feel good movie!
     
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  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Natural from 1984 with Robert Redford, Glen Close, Robert Duvall, Wilford Brimley and Kim Basinger
    • It's the fourth or fifth time I've seen it and, while I enjoy it, I'm, also, always a bit disappointed
    • It has the look and feel of (nostalgic) classic baseball
    • It also has a story about corruption, money, gambling and throwing games that echoes the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal
    • But instead of telling that fascinating and true story, it tells an opaque fictional tale about a brilliant young prospect who is shot in a hotel room by a mysterious woman, which takes him out of baseball until he attempts a comeback sixteen years later - huh, what?
    • And that's the fail as the story is never fully explained and feels pointless, so you're always scratching your head a bit
    • Watch it for the beautiful period details and nostalgic-baseball vibe, while paying only enough attention to the story to follow its outline


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    The Human Comedy from 1943 with Mickey Rooney, Frank Morgan, James Craig, Donna Reed and Van Johnson
    • Based on the excellent William Saroyan book by the same name (comments here: #8443) the movie is faithful to the book, but struggles a bit to capture the novel's whimsy, pathos and spirituality
    • As a slice of life story about a California family during WWII - father passed away, traditional mother, older brother off to war, middle brother (Rooney) takes a job to help the family out, sister is coming of age, youngest brother still in the wonderment years - the movie is propaganda in a "we're fighting for this wholesome way of life" approach, but is also a warm picture of a modest family doing what all families do - live, love, argue, make up, go forward
    • And perhaps that's why the movie struggles a bit as movies prefer traditional story arcs with a conflict followed by resolution, not touching vignettes evoking an uplifting feeling
    • What little traditional story there is here centers around the middle boy's job as a messenger for a telegraph office, which allows him and us to see all the highs and lows of life
    • But we also see schools where teachers are, basically, respected, kids raised "free range" style, a kiss being a big deal to teenagers and religion questioned but still woven into the daily life of the community
    • No surprise, the book is better, but after a bumpy start, the movie finds its legs and is worth the watch (with a particularly impressive and nuanced performance by Mickey Rooney - not a line I write often)
    • N.B., look for (1) the reverse snobbery scene where the "radical" telegraph business owner expects to hate his fiance's upper-class family but comes to realize that his prejudices and not theirs are the problem and (2) the sympathetic portrayal of an older alcoholic (Morgan)
     
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  6. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

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    The Current War, in which Tom Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) battle over whether the world will be wired for DC or AC electricity in the 1880s/90s. Cumberbatch and Shannon are always a hoot to watch... but this is essentially the History Channel's The Men Who Built America with better acting, more elaborate production values, and a little bit more of their personal stories. It's an okay casual watch, but don't expect a masterpiece.
     
  7. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    The Boy, a suspense type thing, flatters itself a thriller, but really just a mildly creepy low budget thing we watched for 1) Lauren Cohan and 2) the filming in Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC and the grounds of Hatley Castle near Sooke.
     
  8. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    I agree completely. I like the movie, but it's a bit like watching The Big Sleep--somewhere along the way the actual plot has been lost, mishandled, or simply dissmissed, so you have to just watch it because you like to watch the cast do what they do.
     
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  9. steve u

    steve u One of the Regulars

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    Three Christs(2017)
    To Me, I thought the movie was very emotional. The extreme pain the characters endured was wonderfully brought to life. Although I'm not a big Richard Gere fan I think this part was great for Him. The other Actors (James Monroe Iglehart, Peter Dinklage, Bradley Whitford, Kevin Pollak, Charlotte Hope, and Walton Goggins) were a GREAT supporting cast. THREE thumbs up
     
  10. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    "Godzilla" - The biggest and the baddest, the O.G. Kaiju that laid the ground work for all the rest. Only this first film in the original Japanese though... not that Americanized bastardization with ole stoneface Raymond Burr. Nope, no fun and games here.. just a 20 story (depending on what frame of the film you're in) fire breathing nightmare. Tokyo set ablaze, women and children killed and/or poisoned by radiation, all arms sent against him/her destroyed. Godzilla is first and foremost a city killer NOT some savior of humanity or defender of nature. America blew it out of it's habitat with H-bombs and gifted it with atomic breath... it's coming to kill us all! Deal with it!

    Worf
     
  11. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Take Care of My Little Girl from 1951 with Jeanne Crain, Dale Robertson and Jeffery Hunter

    While this rich-kids-at-college movie never rises much above the level of a made-for-TV movie, it does throw some hard punches at the, as presented here, cliquish and snobbish world of sororities.

    Sorority legacy student, Jeanne Crain, is enthusiastic to join her mother's sorority. Pretty, from the "right" family and with the "right" wardrobe, she's a shoo-in for the best sorority. However, some of her friends - a lifelong bestie and a new friend she just met upon arriving at college - are less-certain candidates owing to family background, finances, personalities, etc.

    Additionally, Jeanne starts dating a decidedly not-fraternity boy, Dale Robertson, who, having deferred college owing to the war, serves as a voice of reason and maturity to Jeanne's newbie enthusiasm. However, she is also dating one of the big fraternity boys, Jeffery Hunter, who boosts her chances of acceptance.

    And just when you think this is all fluff, the fraternity boyfriend asks her to help him cheat on a critical final (since it's still rush-week, the timeline is inconsistent, but heck, they had a point to make), which, surprisingly she does and is lauded by the sorority for "beating the system."

    It's surprisingly callous and immoral that the sorority girls just laugh cheating off - so much for the "wholesome fifties." Even when I went to college in the '80s, there was still a vestige of the "honor code" left as cheating was seen, rightfully, as a major offense that could lead to expulsion.

    The climax of Take Care of My Little Girl comes as the "pledges" are hazed and pushed out (asked to depledge), voted out or like Jeanne, accepted. Still struggling a bit with her decision to help her boyfriend cheat and, now, seeing good friends rejected for not having the "right" clothes, background or "just so" personality, Jeanne has the epiphany moment you knew was coming.

    (Spoiler alert, I guess) After much thought and discussion and amidst plenty of pressure from the sorority (and her mother) to just say "yes" and join, Jeanne turns the sorority down as she no longer wants to be part of its (our modern term for it) elitist world.

    Okay, it's a message movie that completes its mission with gusto. Heck, if accurate, these sorority girls can be so mean to each other and, worse, to those not in a sorority, that any rebuke they get seems earned.

    But there's also this: at one level, you do feel bad for the girls who get emotionally crushed when they get rejected as, yes, teenagers are impressionable and insecure, but part of "adulting" is learning to take rejection while keeping things in perspective. Even teenagers should be able to realize that not getting into a sorority is a bump in the road, not a dead-end.

    Unless it's your specific cup of tea, I'd recommend passing on this one, but would encourage you to see a much, much better variation on the sorority theme in 1939's These Glamour Girls (comments here: #24172)
     
  12. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

    The title pretty much says it all. Watched it with the girls, Hallowe'en Cavalcade of Horror continuing in the absence of the Blu-ray player still.

    I first saw this on board ship my last deployment, and recall it being so bad it's almost good. That is still the case.

    Jeremy "Hawkeye" Renner and Gemma "How can we get her in leather pants" Arterton are the titular heroes.

    Not one for the disk library, but I have spent ninety minutes watching worse.
     
  13. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    I knew the original Gojira would be somewhat different from the American version (Godzilla: King of the Monsters) with Mr. Burr, but I was still surprised the first time I saw it by how different it is. Much darker in tone with very little humor (if any). Which version is "better" is, I suppose, dependent upon the viewer's tastes, but I agree with Worf that the original Japanese version is the better of the two.
     
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  14. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    I never saw the Japanese original for most of my adult life... Because of the later films I always thought of Godzilla as a joke. But when you see a mother huddled in a doorway with her three kids telling them that they'd "all be with their father soon" just as Godzilla flattens a building on top of them, whoa... you know that this is no kids film. Or when a doctor passes a Geiger Counter over a child's body then shakes his head as it goes crazy... sadly then you know that chit just got real. No they played this one straight from the chest and it hurts.

    Worf
     
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  15. RudyN

    RudyN One of the Regulars

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    It has been 10 years since I went to a moving picture, but it was called "The Conspirators" which was about the assassination of President Lincoln.
     
  16. 1967Cougar390

    1967Cougar390 Practically Family

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    Shadow of Suspicion

    I stumbled across Shadow of Suspicion while looking classic movie listings on Amazon Prime. This movie stars Marjorie Weaver, Peter Cookson, and Tim Ryan. While this is a rather short movie, it has its fair share of twists and turns. The movie starts with a man calling himself Everett Northrup setting up a new bank account and then later attempting to buy a diamond ring from a Chicago jewelry store managed by Frank Randall. After checking with the bank, the jewelry store manager becomes suspicious and decides to hold the check. After calling the main jewelry store office (or so he thinks) another man, calling himself James Dale, arrives from the store’s New York home office to investigate Northrup. The movie plot revolves around a priceless rare necklace and everyone, except Randall’s secretary Claire Winter, seems interested in the fabled necklace, particularly because a valuable emerald was recently stolen from Randall’s branch. After many twist and turns of who’s who, this lighthearted detective comedy starts to make sense.

    This movie is well plotted and fun to follow. Shadow of Suspicion also provides roles for Carla Blandick, better known as Dorothy’s Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz, and John Hamilton, The Adventures of Superman’s Perry White.

    Steven
     
  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Play Girl from 1932 with Loretta Young, Norman Foster and Guy Kibbee
    • A fast sixty minute pre-code about a smart young woman (Young), with no desire to marry, trying to make a career for herself in a department store
    • She then meets a charming salesman (Foster) and, after a setback at work, agrees to marry him only to learn he's really a gambler who pings from being broke to "in the money" regularly - the opposite of the stable life she wanted and he promised
    • Then, of course, she gets pregnant, he says he'll get a real job, a misunderstanding leads to a split and Young is back at the department store, but with a baby on the way
    • Things then get really crazy as Young, all along against gambling, kinda gets hooked on gambling herself, loses her job and is all but destitute until the forced ending, which we'll leave unsaid for those who want to see the movie
    • A few fun things to look for are the great time travel to a 1933 department store and an even neater look at an illegal gambling joint complete with tote boards, cashier windows, touts and a police raid
    • These fast, low-budget pre-code movies are really more like one-hour TV dramas than motion pictures, but looked at that way, they are quick, enjoyable stories where you can see young actresses, like Loretta Young, before they became major stars
     
  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Purple Rose of Cairo from 1985 with Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels and Danny Aiello

    The creative idea employed here of having an actor, in a movie within a movie, "walk out of the screen" and into the audience to interact with real-live people is cool and innovative. And, in some scenes, director Woody Allen leverages this stratagem for all its comedic and plot potential, but the overall story still falls flat.

    A Depression-era wife, Mia Farrow, now supporting her layabout and abusive husband, Danny Aiello, by working in a diner, escapes her weary reality by regularly going to the movies. There, she sees a world of wealthy, well-dressed and well-fed beautiful people living in luxurious homes and penthouses, driving shiny new cars and taking exotic vacations. [Side note: the massive number of movies made during the Depression about people living wealthy, luxurious lives argues that Farrow's character was a quite common reality in the '30s.]

    And then, one day, it happens: a character - a handsome explorer, Jeff Daniels - walks right out of the screen and up to Mia Farrow because he's seen here in the theater watching his movie, The Purple Rose of Cairo, so many times. Mimicking movie romance, these two immediately fall in love, but have to navigate both the obstacles facing a movie character, now, living in the real world and Farrow being married.

    When movie-character-now-in-the-real-world Daniels discovers his movie money isn't any good and that restaurant reservations don't just magically happen or when he notes how, of course, his hair is always perfect even after fights or adventures, the movie's charm and whimsy quotient takes off. Similarly, when he accidentally finds himself in a real-world bordello, his square-jawed, movie-hero-innocence view of the world's oldest profession is movie gold.

    Further, when the producers of the movie back in Hollywood get word that a star has walked off the screen, they acknowledge they had always worried about this and begin a plan to pull the movie from all theaters before it becomes "a thing:" what would they do if actors everywhere just walked out of the movies? Real business Hollywood metaphors are easy to see as the "money" people in the studio era are forced to acknowledge the value of actors.

    And why would a character walking out of a movie to live in the real world become a thing? Well, the other actors in the movie - who now are just hanging around waiting for Daniels to return before the movie can resume - discuss it as an option, but most seem to prefer the safe predictability of their movie universe. Compared to living in the real-world Depression at that time, they might just be right.

    All this kinda crazy parallel-world stuff is the movie's joy and energy, but it gets weighed down by a plodding love story between Farrow and movie-character Daniels that becomes a plodding love triangle when the real-life Daniels - the actual actor and not the one that walked off the screen - shows up in town to try to coax his character doppleganger to return to the screen. He, like his character, falls immediately in love with Farrow and has to compete with his screen persona for her affections.

    The movie devotes its main energies to this uninteresting real-life man / movie character / real-life woman love triangle, which is really just two takes on the same metaphor about those who try to escape their humdrum lives through movie-inspired daydreams. Because of this, the unique tale of a movie character "escaping" the screen to live in the real world gets less attention and development than it deserves.

    The climax and ending are disappointing as the settling of the love triangle feels rushed and forced; while at the same time, the true charm of the movie - a screen character attempting to live in the real world - is tied up neatly but without any clear explanation. And the movie's big message that studios are just dream factories seems hardly worth the effort.

    Being a 1980s movie, the period details are uneven and the film quality has already deteriorated, but still, the cool plot innovation provides so much fun when it's the focus, that it's worth seeing this movie at least once even if it did too little with its smart idea. I know it's been riffed on since (The Truman Show is one variation), but there still seems to be an opportunity to take Woody Allen's fun idea and develop it into a more engaging movie.
     
  19. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Last night I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas, as it'd been a couple years since I'd watched it in whole, then watched a triple Hammer Horror marathon on TCM: Horror of Dracula, The Mummy, and The Curse of Frankenstein. All starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, two of my favorite actors. May they both RIP.

    Currently taking a short intermission from Spielberg's "War Horse" to visit you fine people at the FL. Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  20. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    A little whiles back, it was Impact (1949) with Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, and Charles Coburn. I thought I had seen it years ago, and it wasn't until Ella makes her appearance as a spunky auto mechanic that I remembered it. Equal parts deliciously rotten unfaithful wife, mixed with courtroom drama, and a swell dose of redemptive small town living to keep you entertained. Catch it for Donlevy not playing a tough guy.
    Then, The Racket (1951) with Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, and Lizabeth Scott. A Hollywood attack on the pervasive spread of organized crime. Mitchum is tough police captain McQuigg after Ryan who is the barely under control psycho gangster Nick Scanlon. Scott is around to play a night club canary who get drawn in to the conflict. Ray Collins is the gangland puppet running for judge. William Tallman, who would work with Collins on Perry Mason, is an honest, dedicated patrolman. We liked it.
    Finally, Mogambo (1953) with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, and, billed well below the title, Grace Kelly. Directed by John Ford, who allegedly never saw Red Dust, the inspiration for this remake. Cool location scenes, hefty dollops of travelogue wildlife, and jarring studio sets.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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