Love & Mercy (A Review of Sorts)

Oh my word, you guys. Hunny took me on a date June 29th, over a month ago. My plan was to share our movie experience with you the following week. It is somewhat terrifying to me that I let 33 days slip through my fingers. Does that frighten you to your very core? If not, it should!

33 days ago, the plan was to see Love & Mercy and then watch I’ll See You in My Dreams, a Doris Day / Danny Thomas movie. I can’t even explain how excited I was to see a biopic followed by a movie made in 1951. Two types of films I love with the man I love?! Life does not get any better than that.

When we arrive at the film house, we do not see a Danny Thomas movie poster. Doris Day’s enormous smile is nowhere to be found. Hunny asks the girl behind the concessions stand about the movie. She tells us I’ll See You in My Dreams is an old person movie about old people and we did not want to see that. Undaunted, we went on to watch Love & Mercy.

I went into this movie looking forward to peeking behind the scenes at the Beach Boys and completely uninterested in Brian Wilson. You see, growing up I believed I would be involved in music. I would be a singer/songwriter for some band or just myself and that would be my life and livelihood. I watched Behind the Music incessantly. It did not matter if the bands were ones I didn’t know full of people I had never heard about, I watched to learn about the ins and outs of the music business and how they found inspiration for music. Unfortunately, the show was mainly how their lives were a train wreck: affairs, drugs, thieving managers, tragic diseases, and tragic accidents involving planes or trains. I vividly remember watching the one on Wilson Phillips where Carnie Wilson talked about what a horrible father she had and how mean he was to her. I don’t know why this burned into my brain, but I felt so sorry for her. And it made me not like her dad. I couldn’t stop loving the Beach Boys, but I knew that guy was a bad dude.

When the film ended and I emerged from the emotional roller coaster, I felt terrible for Brain Wilson. Again, great writing paired with amazing acting can change a person. For the record, I still am not a Brian Wilson fan and I will always be a Beach Boys fan. I didn’t care that Paul Dano and John Cusack look nothing alike, because their mannerisms and speech patterns were similar. They were both heartbreaking and completely genuine in expressing the pain they were independently experiencing. Paul Giamatte is legitimately horrifying as the psychotic psychiatrist Eugene. This is not a movie you want to see when you’re feeling overly emotional. It is definitely worth seeing.

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30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 23} French Film – Populaire

God really loves me (and you, of course!). I mean, He really loves me. If He didn’t, this movie would not have been made.

Populaire is everything I love all rolled up in one great movie: a based on true events romantic comedy, a period piece no less, with 1950’s fashion set in France that stars a PINK TYPEWRITER (Ok, ok. The pink typewriter comes into the storyline towards the end, but still)!! Seriously?! Seriously? Best. movie. ever.

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30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 22} Dark Comedy – The Cable Guy

I don’t even want to review this movie. When Hunny and I first started dating, he asked me if I saw this movie and if I liked it. I had not and I was not interested in watching it. I did come across some interesting information about The Cable Guy. Ben Stiller was originally meant to star in the film, but he found directing and acting was too difficult. Chris Farley was the first choice, but was unable to commit due to scheduling conflicts. Jim Carrey won the role and got an unprecedented 20 million dollar salary for the role.

The only funny line from this movie is: I learned the facts of life from watching The Facts of Life.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 21} Robin Williams – Aladdin

When I was preparing for this series, it was before Robin William’s tragic suicide. I was planning on reviewing Father’s Day. It is a less than stellar movie and I thought it would be encouraging to see that even someone as legendary as Robin Williams makes mistakes. Now that he’s gone, I feel that would be in poor taste.

We did not go to the movies very often growing up. Most of the movies we did see in the theaters starred Robin Williams: Jumanji, Hook, and Aladdin. I was at UNC-Chapel Hill for Journalism Camp and saw part of the filming of Patch Adams. The movie I want to revisit is Aladdin.

Aladdin was a huge hit with my entire family. We saw it in the theater and bought it on VHS when it came out (no DVDs then). My mom still has our Aladdin Christmas stockings. When we went to Disney World, the best part for us was watching the Aladdin parade.

Robin Williams did so much ad libbing as Genie that the script was turned down for a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award. He improvised so much that there was 16 hours of material. He was even asked to improvise the merchant role, but most of what he said was unsuitable for the Disney audience.

 

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 20} Broadway Hit Turned Movie – Jersey Boys

Broadway hits becoming cinematic gold was the norm in Hollywood 60 and 50 years ago. Now it seems to be the opposite. Movies such as Legally Blonde and Spiderman are turning into Broadway hits. I’m pretty sure Beauty and the Beast was the first animated movie to become a Broadway hit.

I remember the first time I heard about Jersey Boys, the Broadway musical. I was watching Regis and Kelly with my Mom, and Regis animatedly said, “Jersey Boys! You gotta see it!” I don’t know why I remember this, but I do. I thought that sounded interesting and I thought it was crazy that Regis was friends with Frankie Valli.

Nine years later, Hunny hurries me out of my Mom’s minus the Littles saying that we need to go to the store. I thought it was strange that we were going to the store alone, but any alone time with Hunny is welcome. Especially since we can’t afford dates outside our house. When we got in the car, he turned to me and said, “We’re going to the movies.”

I cried.

Hunny hadn’t taken me to the movies in years. The last movie I saw in the theaters before Jersey Boys was The Great Gatsby and I saw that with a friend. I asked him what we were seeing and when he said Jersey Boys, I was a little disappointed. We also missed the beginning of the movie, which is irritating.

But the movie was perfect. I loved the four narratives telling the same story. I loved the characters breaking the fourth wall in a natural way that wasn’t cheesy or goofy. Director Clint Eastwood even snuck himself in the movie by having the characters watch one of his movies on TV. I especially loved the music and learning the behind the scenes information about them. I grew up listening to music from the 1950’s and 1960’s, so in a weird way, watching this film was listening to my childhood. I don’t think any of the other audience members, all at least 50 years older than Hunny and myself, had a more enjoyable time than we did.

Now it’s at the dollar theater, and I’m hoping Hunny will take me to see it again!

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 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.”