La Cage aux Folles (1978) – I’ve seen the American remake (The Birdcage) quite a few times, and I love it—for the most part. Hank Azaria, a straight white man, playing yet another person of color, and gay to boot, is problematic, to say the least, but at least he’s funny?—but seeing the source material (or at least an earlier adaptation of the source material), it seems the Americans didn’t add much to the story.
Not that there’s anything wrong with any of the performances. Nathan Lanes shriek of “I’ve pierced the toast!” is one of my favorite lines to quote from any movie, and the original scene, where Michel Serrault’s Albin crushes several pieces of toast in sequence is… well it’s just okay.
Another major difference I noticed: the son comes off as much less offensive in his requests to his father in the French version. Maybe it’s more about the significant differences in the cultures in which they’re operating, but man do I ever want to strangle the American version of that kid when he asks his father to throw everything away in order to impress his fiance’s parents.
It feels unnecessary to compare the two productions, but I guess that’s what I just spent 200 words doing, and I have no regrets. Altogether, I think I prefer the 1978 original, if anyone was wondering, but both are fine films.
Boomerang (1992) – For what essentially amounts to a rom-com from the early ’90s, I was impressed. Maybe my expectations were set low after Valentine’s Day and Soapdish, or maybe I’ve never expected much from Eddie Murphy for some reason, but Boomerang is funny and engaging. I actually cared who the characters end up with, the jokes were actually funny, what more could you want.
By the way, this is the best acting I’ve ever seen out of Halle Berry. Then again, I’ve also seen her in Catwoman, so maybe my expectations are skewed.
Soapdish (1991) – There’s a lot I should like about Soapdish, mostly the cast, but I can’t. The twists aren’t subtle–though maybe that’s part of the joke–and the final major twist is needlessly… let’s call it “dated”, to be generous. I do wonder how the cast and crew feel about that ending now, especially given how outspoken some of them are now in support of the LGBT community. Whatever they think now, there will always be a filmed record of them making a ham-fisted joke at the expense of marginalized people.
Valentine’s Day (2010) – Well, we’re off to a
good start. I’ve been angry at some movies before, but I think the thing that makes me the angriest about this is that it could be at least watchable if they got rid of about half the plotlines. It would still be pretty bad, but at least some of the characters would be given some time to get more than a superficial development. When the outtakes over the closing credits are the best part, maybe just let your actors ad lib a script.
January 6 is the Epiphany, a holiday on which I start planning for Lent. Lent, of course, being a six-week period in which I watch a bunch of movies.
Ash Wednesday this year is February 14.
Easter is April 1.
I haven’t decided on anything I’ll watch yet, but your suggestions are welcome. Since Lent begins and ends on days which are recognized holidays in their own right, I might pick something thematically appropriate for those days, but no promises.
The only requirement or theme I set is that I must not have watched the movie before. Apart from this site documenting what I’ve seen for Lent, you have no way of knowing what I’ve seen, so all of your suggestions are welcome.
And, as always, I must note that January 6 is also the birthday of my father and my father-in-law, so happy birthday to both of them.
King of Kings (1961) – Twelve years of this, twelve gospel and passion movies, you’d think I’d learn anything about the story. Nope. Happy Easter, whatever that is. Happy tax day, pay unto Caesar and everything, see you next spring.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016) – I was tired, and I had been drinking, so what better movie than a celebration of tired old drunks. If you’re at all familiar with the tv show, it plays like an extended episode, but with a bigger budget and more celebrity cameos. If you like Absolutely Fabulous the tv series, you’ll like the movie. It knows what it is, it succeeds at what it tries for, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
April and the Extraordinary World (Avril et le monde truqué, 2015) – Through a lack of planning and deliberate effort, I didn’t get as much foreign film into this year’s Lent as I would have liked, but what I did get was lovely. I’m not deeply familiar with steampunk as a genre, but it seems that Paris is an ideal setting for it, at least aesthetically. All the most iconic views we have of Paris are from the era being romanticized, and lend themselves so well to being a backdrop for fine restaurants in airships and fanciful elevated railways with elaborate wrought-iron supports.
And the story is excellent, taking the premise and extrapolating a logical conclusion from the–well I guess just the definition of alternate history. And unlike futuristic sci-fi, at least here we don’t get a story about the inherent dangers of technology (what if phones, but too much?), but instead a celebration of the potential of technology to make life better.
Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) – There are times you need to relax after a long week. Sometimes you need to sit down with a glass of wine and an hour and a half of creepy puppets in space. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay a lot of attention here, so I won’t waste your time or mine. I have a couple more movies to watch before the end of this whole thing. This still counts.
Magic Mike (2012) – I’m not going to pretend Magic Mike is anything it’s not, it doesn’t really try to be more than it is, but we could talk about the automatic extra disdain it gets in the mainstream because it’s this kind of movie, but geared toward women (but also not so secretly to gay men). Let’s not get into that, though; plenty other, better critics have delved into that. Let us just say here that Magic Mike is very well cast.