30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 19} Steve Martin – Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Several years back, Hunny was on a Steve Martin kick. We were in Target when he saw a great impulse buy – three Steve Martin movies on one disc. The one I was most interested in watching was Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, a parody and homage to film noir and the detective movies of the 1940’s.

Eighteen movies were spliced with footage shot for this film. Eighty sets were built. This was Edith Head’s final movie! You don’t know Edith Head? She was the genius costume designer who has been quoted to have said:

I also think she was the inspiration for Edna E. Mode in The Incredibles.

It’s incredible that a cohesive storyline was created and executed using so many different films. Carl Reiner is a genius. Obviously. He created The Dick Van Dyke show.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 18} Holiday Movie – Young Frankenstein

Yes, I love Christmas. I have been known to celebrate it in July. But I don’t want to be predictable. I want to keep you guessing and keep things interesting, so instead of talking about my favorite holiday, we’ll be sharing a Halloween movie.

Although I didn’t see this movie as a child, I do remember my Mother quoting Young Frankenstein, “It’s Frunkensteen!” followed by hysterical laughter. I enjoy the premise of this movie: Frankenstein’s grandson inherits his grandfather’s castle and tests his grandfather’s experiment. If you’ve never seen black and white films from the 1940’s, then you’ll miss the humor of the production. This is a satirical film poking fun at the early horror movies. Transitions from that time,which were no longer being used when Young Frankenstein was filmed, were added for comedic effect. The set used to bring the monster to life is the same set used in the original Frankenstein movie.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 17} Movie Starring an Athlete – Steel

Hunny and I do not have cable television. We barely get the free stations with our antenae. One time when we were trying to get ABC or CBS, I searched the channels to see if we were picking up anything. What came to us was, in fact, a gift. A station appeared that was showing Steel, a movie starring Shaquille O’Neil.

It was glorious.

There are some movies that are so terrible that they’re enjoyable. Kind of like when you see your reflection in a funhouse mirror. It’s funny because you know you don’t really look like that, but in the mirror you do. We know movies aren’t supposed to be like this, but here it is.

The best part is that Shaq shines as the best actor in the movie. He was the most believable person and delivered his lines in the most realistic way. He really did! And he had to do his own stunts because the studio couldn’t find a 7′ 1″ stunt double. Do you think they legitimately attempted to find one for him? Or did they just say, “Look, we’re not going to find a giant to be your stunt double. Sorry, dude.”

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 16} Bill Murray – What About Bob?

With Ghostbusters being rereleased in theaters for its 30th anniversary, I thought Bill Murray would be an appropriate subject to have on this 30 Days, 30 Movies series. He’s also been in the news as of late with various antics, my favorite being telling a person getting married that they should travel the world together first. I wish he had given Hunny and me that advice. I would have definitely been to France by now.

What About Bob? is a spectacular movie about opening yourself up to possibilities. It is one of my Mom’s favorite movies. “I’m baby stepping to the elevator” was frequently quoted in my house. The most hilarious part about this film is that the character who seems to have it all together is the one who does not and the character who seems the most damaged is the most normal. I also secretly love that Richard Dreyfuss said that he and Bill Murray did not get along during filming.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 11} Jerry Lewis – The Nutty Professor

I chose Jerry Lewis as a subject for 30 Days, 30 Movies for two reasons: my Hunny loves one of his movies and he’s revered by the French, and we all know how I feel about France. The movie Hunny loves is called Cinderfella, and I had never seen it. What better way to be productive with my limited movie watching time than view a beloved childhood film with my boyfriend/husband. Sadly, this did not work out. We were unable to obtain a copy of Cinderfella. Our local movie rental house had The Nutty Professor instead.

This movie is a sad treatise on the view of what women want in men. Jerry Lewis’ Professor character is smitten with his student, Stella (It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Everyone looks to be in their 40’s). He notices that she likes athletes and his boss is giving him problems. He resolves to get physically fit with no results. Since he has scientific knowledge, he decides to make a formula to change himself. He turns into a brash jerk, Buddy Love, all the ladies love and all the guys fear. Stella likes him, but she can’t figure out why. In the end, he’s forced to expose himself for the gawky guy he is and Stella loves him anyway.

Or does she?

Stella is portrayed as an average girl who is clueless when it comes to people. She doesn’t recognize the high pitched voice of the Professor when the formula wears off Buddy Love. She doesn’t recognize the peculiar way he holds her hand or when the two characters show signs they are the same. She spends the movie loathing Buddy’s actions and treatment of her, and yet she doesn’t leave him and obsesses over him constantly. She can’t even take an exam because she’s sitting in her seat in a trance thinking about Buddy Love.

The final scene shows the Professor and Stella walking away arm in arm with a marriage license and Stella has two bottles of the formula hanging out of her back pockets. What does that mean? Is she going to take it? Is she going to give him the formula so he’ll be the jerky Buddy Love personality? Is this movie saying women will marry a nice guy, but prefer a bad guy?

Again, I’m not sure what this story is trying to say, but the Professor does make a speech at the end that everyone should accept who they are because if they don’t, no one else will. I think that’s what he was trying to express with this movie. Jerry Lewis is not a “cool” guy like his Rat Pack former partner Dean Martin, but he is a funny, intelligent guy and he likes himself.

 

Lucky

I have NEVER, never, ever had anyone anywhere tell me to my face that they think that I’m lucky. Evah. It’s a good thing, too. Because I’d loose a friend. I’d laugh in their face, and they would never speak to me again. Not to be insulting, but there is nothing lucky about my existence. There is nothing envious about me. When friends would tell me that someone else didn’t like me because they were jealous of me, I’d say, Why? I legitimately don’t know why anyone would be jealous of me or consider me “lucky.”

An amazing friend of mine emailed me. She’s an accomplished freelance journalist and she’s working on getting another degree. She created a humor magazine in college over ten years ago that still runs and she spearheaded a comedy festival that was the first of its kind at the University. She, above all people, told me in the email that I was lucky. She thinks I’m lucky because I have a family of my own.

Lucky?

I’m lucky because I have diapers to change, never ending laundry, no privacy, no time to myself, piles of dishes, a house that is never clean, and am barely able to pursue my passions? No. She considers me “lucky” because I share the same last name with my best friend, two people depend on me for their well being and care, and I share my life with them.

It is beyond easy to look at everything that is wrong with our life and everything that is wrong with ourselves. It’s practically human nature to see things negatively. Every now and then we should look at our lives as someone else looking in. We would be quicker to see what was going right, what was working, and we would think of ourselves as “lucky.”

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 24} Murder Mystery or (The Thin Man)

This is my third William Powell movie to be featured in this 30 Days, 30 Movies series.  The first one was How to Marry a Millionaire.  He’s only in two or three scenes, but it still counts.

The Thin Man was based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.  He wrote a series of novels with the characters Nick and Nora Charles, a husband and wife detective duo.  The title of the movie and book does not refer to Nick Charles, but since moviegoers kept calling Nick Charles “the thin man,” the studio used the name in the sequels.

My favorite part of this movie is the relationship between Nick Charles and his wife Nora.  I love that they are always lovingly teasing each other.  When they disagree, they don’t scream at each other.  It closely resembles the jokey relationship Hunny and I have, but Nick and Nora are much more witty.  I read that Dashiell Hammett based Nick and Nora’s relationship on his relationship with his girlfriend and fellow writer Lillian Helmann.

Johnny Depp is in talks to do The Thin Man remake.  I think there is a possibility that it could be phenomenal.  Who wants to join me in a campaign to make me Nora Charles?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Reminder: The contest is still on!  It will close on Friday (9/9).  I will choose and announce the winner on Saturday (9/10).

Favorite Line: Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people.

Favorite Character: Asta

Favorite Scene: The dinner scene

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 23} Original vs. Remake or (Father of the Bride)

Normally, the original movie is far and beyond the better film.  That a fast and firm rule.  When I find out that a movie is a remake, I automatically watch the original for comparison.  I always think, Why can’t they just make it the same or better?  Why ruin a perfectly good movie? 

Did you know that Father of the Bride was a remake?  I didn’t.  I thought the Steve Martin version was original.  Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor made Father of the Bride in 1950.

VS

In what may be my most surprising move yet, I have to say that the remake of Father of the Bride is better (It’s shocking, isn’t it?).  How was a movie that was almost shot for shot the same as the original version be better?  Casting.

Steve Martin is a better Mr. Banks.  He brings heart to the role that Spencer Tracy couldn’t.  I know.  Spencer Tracy is a cinematic legend and Steve Martin is a banjo player.  That does not negate the fact that Steve Martin made Stanley Banks lovable and root worthy, as in you are rooting for him.  The audience can tell that he loves his daughter and his family despite his goofy behavior.  Spencer Tracy as Stanley Banks is awful.  He’s a curmudgeon and a tight wad, and you feel sorry for his wife and daughter.  There is no empathy for the Father of the Bride, which is kind of important considering that is the title.

When talking about what makes the remake special, you cannot forget Martin Short as the wedding coordinator.  He’s amazingly hilarious. I love his crazy accent (Where is he supposed to be from?  Does anyone know?), and the fact that Mr. Banks seems to be the only one who cannot understand it makes it even more hilarious.

How was everyone’s Labor Day weekend?  Did you stay at home and watch a movie or go to the theatre?  Hunny and I were going to go to the theatre, but there wasn’t anything we felt worth our money to see…

And the original:

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 22} Elizabeth Taylor or (Life with Father)

The first time I saw this movie, I was in high school.  We had only had cable for about a year.  My mother saw that this movie was being shown on one of the classic movie channels.  She said we had to watch it because it was one of her favorite movies.  When mom was growing up, TV stations showed old movies on the weekends.

Prior to this viewing, I had never seen a movie with a young Elizabeth Taylor.  Man, was she talented!  Even at a young age, she was a natural.  The character she plays in this movie is such fun: a young girl on her first trip to New York.  I think this character is based on Clarence Day Jr’s wife.

 

Wasn’t she adorable? (Incidentally, when Cupcake saw this picture, she thought it was me!  God bless those little 19 month old eyes of hers.)

I love that this story was based on a play that was based on Clarence Day Jr’s book about his family.  I also love that the father is a hard business man who scares off maids and family members, but he has a soft spot for his wife.

I would love to be an actor in a period piece from this time.  I think it would be so cool to have my hair done like that and wear those gorgeous dresses.  I’m sure it would make me appreciate my modern clothes.  Can you imagine wearing clothes like that everyday?

Favorite Line: Gad!

Favorite Character: Vinnie

Favorite Scene: When the father is yelling about a story he read in the newspaper and the maid thinks he’s yelling at her.

Here is my other favorite scene (the money talk):

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 19} Love Triangle or (500 Days of Summer)

Are you surprised?  Perplexed even?  But Tom loves Summer and there is no other guy until the end of the film, and we don’t even get to meet him.  That is true.  However, the love triangle is between Summer, Tom, and SUMMER.  Summer is so in love with herself that she cannot treat Tom like a decent human being.  Tom loves Summer so much that he can’t see that she is desperately, completely, and solely in love with herself.

What makes this movie great is also what makes it agonizing to watch.  Who hasn’t been in a relationship with someone like Summer?  Someone we thought was so great, so perfect, so amazing, and yet even our prepubescent sister can see that they are not that great and completely wrong for us.

My most disastrous relationship like this could not even really be called a relationship because we never actually “dated.”  He liked me, but denied it to everyone and talked smack about me so no one else would go out with me.  Everyone treated me like I was his girlfriend.  He treated me like dirt.  Then he attended my college during our sophomore year because his therapist said that he needed “closure” with me.  Seriously?  He treated me like trash and he is the one who needed closure?

Is there a crazy relationship that reminds you of (500) Days of Summer?  Does it make this movie more or less enjoyable?

Favorite Line: It just wasn’t me that you were right about.

Favorite Character: Rachel Hansen

Favorite Scene: I hate to be cliche, but I love the song and dance number with the animated bird