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I'm not normally into baseball movies, or sports in general, but I just watched Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) and enjoyed it very much. It's more a pal movie than a sports movie.

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An early role for Robert De Niro who plays a dying baseball player who's a little on the slow side, and his friend and pitcher played by Michael Moriarty of Law and Order fame who has his work cut out for him trying to keep his illness from the manager, Vincent Gardenia, so he won't be traded. It's not mushy or sentimental, but sweet. The performances by the three leads are great. It's also Danny Aiello's first movie. I like it enough that I just bought it used off of Amazon.

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(Warning, SPOILERS) 

ive been wanting to see THE GREAT SANTINI (aka THE ACE aka MAKING TOXIC MASCULINITY WORK FOR YOU, AT HOME AND ON THE JOB) for some time now. It aired on TCM last night. 

to get the good stuff out of the way, MICHAEL O’KEEFE, who is the true lead of the movie even though he got a supporting actor nomination, is absolutely outstanding in an unbelievably challenging part. That’s not to say that he’s perfect, he has a couple of “off” moments, but an awful lot is required of him as an actor and he delivers 99.9% of the time. I will however take you all  aside to let you know that I think Michael O’Keefe is just about the cutest thing EVER so I am prejudiced (Between this and CADDYSHACK from the same year, I really wish he had gone on to star in a whole string of sports movies, he is just so likable as an actor, I think he would’ve fit the genre like a glove)

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now the bad. 

This movie would have been better off to have had absolutely no score than the ham fisted very clumsy very distracting occasional queue of music that sounds like somebody in an AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL Is having a learning moment.

and

It is my understanding that Robert Duvall is a genius actor, and to ever miss the omnipresent genius of REDNECK ROD STEIGER  is to somehow miss the genius of ACTING! 

Whatever.
 

i’m gonna go so far as to say that DUVALL is not good in this, and that’s not just because I didn’t like his character. He’s just sort of sitting in the role, letting it play him. It is JOHNNY ONE NOTE almost all the way. Also, HE is the supporting actor in this movie, in no way is he the lead.

the singular thing that absolutely ruined this movie for me and quite frankly offended me to the core is the clumsy, ham fisted, “racial enlightenment” provided by the characters of a  black maid who works for the family and her son, who is-  forgive me for using this term but I know no other- a magical Negro who drives a Mule-pulled flower cart, has a stammer,  wears overalls, lives in a school bus down by the river, knows about fishin spots n’  honeybees, and of course teaches the lead white character about life, love, and most importantly HIMSELF by (checks notes) getting murdered by a bunch of crackers led by ROBERT KEITH (I imagine FREDERIC FORREST was busy)

Seriously, all he was missing was a couple of animated bluebirds on his shoulder and a corncob pipe. 


The movie then  goes on for another hour, where he’s never even mentioned again in the film. We never see a scene where his mother learns of his death, or mourns him, we never learn anything else about his life, nothing. It is pure plot device and he is A PROP. This black character who was murdered, serves no other reason then to teach the clean, bright, 20 Mule team Borax-scrubbed white people who are of course THE LEADS an important “THE MORE YOU KNOW” moment, Once that’s over with,  there’s nothing more to see here, folks, please move along.

**** that. 

And then when the character of the father – Robert Duvall- dies, it is of course in an act of extreme heroism saving an entire town in the process and a good 15 to 20 minutes follow where we (of course) see HIS funeral and HIS flyover  and HIS family dealing with their loss and moving on, because well, you know- they’re white.

seriously, CADDYSHACK Is a hell of a lot more progressive 40 years later than this movie has turned out to be.

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All apologies, I made the above post using my phone (the iron was hot) - so I’m sure there are some questionable capitalization and punctuation issues. If I get the chance I’ll clean it up later.
 

Seriously though- this movie p!ssed me off so much I did not want to have to wait to get back to my computer to dump on it.

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I can never figure out awards:  who is eligible, who votes, etc.  Lorna, if you are like I am, you remember movies and performances over who won an Oscar.  Frankly, I tend to forget who won last year's awards.

I think I saw The Great Santini (is it based on a novel by Patrick Conroy?) years ago.  Speaking of lifetime awards, Duvall definitely needs one.

One question I would like to ask those of you who watched the inauguration (any part), I would have liked to see some older entertainers.  Tony Bennet is still here and so are both Simon and Garfunkle (just to name two).  The question is reaction (non-political) to those of you who watched.  And, no, don't expect to see Bernie's mittens in my post (I've seen it all over Facebook).

 

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1 hour ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

I can never figure out awards:  who is eligible, who votes, etc.  Lorna, if you are like I am, you remember movies and performances over who won an Oscar.  Frankly, I tend to forget who won last year's awards.

I think I saw The Great Santini (is it based on a novel by Patrick Conroy?) years ago.  Speaking of lifetime awards, Duvall definitely needs one.

One question I would like to ask those of you who watched the inauguration (any part), I would have liked to see some older entertainers.  Tony Bennet is still here and so are both Simon and Garfunkle (just to name two).  The question is reaction (non-political) to those of you who watched.  And, no, don't expect to see Bernie's mittens in my post (I've seen it all over Facebook).

 

Yes, THE GREAT SANTINI Was based on a novel by Pat Conroy.

The last time I saw Tony Bennett perform live, it was at the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade and he almost fell off the float. I think Miss Piggy had to grab him.

im being 100% serious

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"Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea - Deadly Creature Below"  haven't seen this in DECADES!  Episode is the one on View Master.  

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcOiLK-_gZ_YzEsGPW_5E

 

Another ingrate(s) who turned on someone after rescuing them.  (That's now 3 within a month)

Help me, please help me.

deadly8.jpg

 

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9 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I started watching I, TONYA (2017) with every intention of HATING IT. 
 

it’s actually pretty good!!!!

I, Tonya was awesome.  Of course, having grown up in Oregon during the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal, where this story was front page news for like a year, this movie brought back good memories.  In the early-mid 90s, my mom and I were really into watching figure skating and we knew all the skaters: Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, Katrina Witt, Elvis Stojko, Viktor Petrenko, Brian Boitano, Nicole Bobek, my girl Surya Bonaly (who often performed the illegal backflip, LANDING ON ONE FOOT) and child sensation Michelle Kwan.  We were there for all of it.  The 1994 Lillehammer Olympics were the greatest Olympics ever. 

Not that Nancy Kerrigan deserved to get whacked with the metal rod (the original plan was to break her leg! Yikes), but she was such a snot.  I didn't care for her. I was happy that newcomer Oksana Baiul beat her for the gold. 

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2 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

(And ALLISON JANNEY is INCREDIBLE!)

The real star of that movie was Allison Janney's Crimson-bellied conure. 

I Tonya bird interview: Allison Janney was a 'diva' | EW.com

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9 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

The real star of that movie was Allison Janney's Crimson-bellied conure. 

I Tonya bird interview: Allison Janney was a 'diva' | EW.com

I Genuinely wish that she had worn it on her shoulder when she won supporting actress.
She really owes that bird at least a tiny piece of the Oscar.

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24 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

Not that Nancy Kerrigan deserved to get whacked with the metal rod (the original plan was to break her leg! Yikes), but she was such a snot.  I didn't care for her. I was happy that newcomer Oksana Baiul beat her for the gold. 

wasn't she the Ukrainian who flipped her car over the snowbank while drunk like a month after winning the gold?

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

wasn't she the Ukrainian who flipped her car over the snowbank while drunk like a month after winning the gold?

I think it might have been a little bit after that, but yes.  She's apparently turned it around since then though. 

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Last night, watched some of what I missed several days ago on Adam's Rib.  All the food that Judy Holliday eats (offscreen) without having turned to fat makes me laugh.  There is so much to like about the movie (and it ties me to my Mom who knew her).

Tonight, I will probably do some channel surfing.  I like The Rookie.  I also will be one of those who won't be watching tonight's football game (speaking of food - Buffalonians get a kick out of ranch over blue cheese with those wings).

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I saw about the last half hour of Splendor and wished I'd seen the whole thing. This isn't one of Miriam Hopkins' best performances, but the art deco design was great, and oh my, those costumes by Omar Kiam! Forget what's going to happen next; what matters is what they're going to be wearing next. 

I had also seen Design for Living again when it was on recently. One of Miriam's best performances, and just as funny this time around. Eventually I was laughing every time someone said the word "Eaglebauer." In case anyone should wonder if there is something sexy going on between Gary Cooper and Fredric March, the film brings in a couple of real he-men, Edward Everett Horton and Franklin Pangborn, to restore our faith in the red-blooded American male. Fredric March has never looked this handsome--it's as if he has to compete with Cooper, and surprisingly he does. Gary Cooper turns out to be adept at this kind of comedy, which no one would ever imagine after his wooden performance in, say, Morocco--just as if Cooper knows he has to compete with March as a light comedian, and he does.

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Cooper learned to be a comic actor, at least learning how to be deadpan in the face of everybody/everything around him.  He's great in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and possibly the best thing in his scene in It's a Big Country.

And, of course, he's great in Ball of Fire, which is more traditional comedy.

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Never saw "I, Tonya" but to me Margot Robbie was badly miscast.  Now, Margot Robbie is awesome.  But the whole deal with Tonya Harding was that she didn't fit the pretty little princess image that was the stereotype of figure skaters back in the day and for the most part still is.  But here was this woman who came from a distinctly working-class background, sometimes earned money fixing cars, sewed her own costumes.  And despite being pretty clearly the best female figure skater in America for a while (first to do a triple axel!) she got passed over by Nancy Kerrigan because Kerrigan fit the pretty princess image exactly.

 

Of course there was more to it than that.  But to take the tall, drop-dead gorgeous Margot Robbie and cast her as Tonya...

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I just watched, off of TCM Underground, "Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw", or as it is actually known, "The Film Where Lynda Carter Takes Her Top Off".

 

It's the sort of cheesy, grainy 1970s car chase and shootout movie that Quentin Tarantino homaged with "Grindhouse".  Unmemorable, which is probably true of most of those movies which is why we remember the style but not any particular film.  Unmemorable, except for oh my goodness, the glorious physical specimen that was Lynda Carter.   She was a pretty terrible actress so you can see how her career really didn't go anywhere after "Wonder Woman", but holy cow, her body was strong evidence for the existence of a benevolent God.  Apparently they were only able to talk her into shooting one sex scene, so they just repeated it in the second half of the movie.

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Okay, I've got one. Here are 1000 words on, appropriately, The Other Side of the Wind, by Orson Welles

The story about this movie is as entertaining as the movie itself, and knowing a little of it made the history a part of the narrative for me, maybe to the point of distraction. If you decide to give this one a look, I recommend waiting until after your first viewing to study the backstory.


When I pressed play I found the Netflix account was set up with subtitles activated. While reaching for the remote to turn them off I decided they might actually be helpful. They were. Without them, much of the off-camera chatter and mumble (and not a little of the on-camera chatter and mumble) would have been lost to me. 


John Huston plays Jake Hannaford, a 70-year-old director who is throwing a party to raise money to finish his work in progress, The Other Side of The Wind (a title which, it occurs to me now that I write it down, may be a comment on pretentiousness in art films). The first thing we learn about Jake is that he is dead, and there is an open question as to whether his death was the result of an accident (plausible) or a suicide (also plausible). The story that follows is told with a pastiche of various bits of film shot by Jake's aspiring movie maker party guests. Among them are Henry Jaglom, Paul Mazursky, and Dennis Hopper (whom I was hoping to see more of) and many other familiar faces, along with many who are less familiar but whose names you may have heard. 


This approach to story telling means we see different film from different cameras with different audio, mostly in black and white, all interspersed with Jake's vivid and unedited color footage, which we see first in a screening room as it is played to an unimpressed producer modeled on Robert Evans, then at the party in the home of a long-retired leading lady and possible former love of Jake's played by Lilli Palmer (because Marlene Dietrich couldn't or more likely wouldn't do it - and how I wish Jeanne Moreau had, though she wasn't really old enough at that point) and finally at a drive-in theater after the party changes venue due to power outages.


Peter Bogdanovich is prominent throughout as Jake's would-be biographer turned fellow director, Brooks Otterlake. (I think I read or heard somewhere that that name is a play on the name of a real person but I can't confirm it now.) Orson's - and I call him Orson simply because I have developed an affection for him and I don't think he'd mind - Orson's actual biographer Joseph McBride appears as a luckless movie geek named Mr. Pister. (See? This kind of thing. I can't help but think there is a LOT of wordplay going on here.) Edmund O'Brien, Mercedes McCambridge and Cameron Mitchell appear as long time cronies and loyal crew members of Jake's. Gregory Sierra plays a convincingly menacing antagonist who needs his a$$ kicked but knows there is no one in the room who will try it. (Orson was friendly with Hemingway, but others say John Milius may have been in mind here.) Susan Strasberg appears as a critic on a mission, and when she speaks you can't help but think of Pauline Kael


Bob Random, five years after his role as Gidget's TV boyfriend, plays John Dale (though his real name is said to be Oscar and somehow that matters) the leading man in the movie-within-the-movie, wherein he wordlessly portrays a kind of doomed moth attracted to the flame that is The Actress (also referred to as Pocahontas) played by Oja Kodar, Orson's own flame then and after. Orson is very generous to the viewer in presenting his lady love, who appears to be well ahead of her time in particular visual respects. Feminists will cheer her Girls Rule attitude toward her obsessive pursuer, which is depicted by heavy-handed symbolism up to and including castration, but they will flinch at the nudity, before finally pressing the stop button after the Mustang speeds off. I have to say though that, nudity and sex aside, watching some of their scenes together put me in mind of the early 1970s television ads for perfumes.

All the Wellesian touches are here, including overlapping dialogue and crosstalk, subtle humor where you don't expect it, (Head fake: "Is the camera eye a reflection of reality or is reality a reflection of the camera eye?" Then a left hook: “Or is the camera merely a ph@llus?") an improvisational feel to the action though there was a script, and throughout a unique look that you just won't find elsewhere, even if he is imitating (no, ridiculing) much of contemporary cinema and criticism. 


Michel Legrand provided the score, but I don't really remember much about it. Somebody said Orson wanted a jazzy score. It sounded contemporary to the time and didn't get in the way. I do recall a sort of lyrical interlude in the club scene from the movie-wiithin-the-movie that featured a bass-driven rock piece worthy of Iron Butterfly, complete with a brooding baritone vocal.


The movie-within-the-movie was shot in 1970/71, and much of the party footage was shot in 1974. Because of all kinds of issues I don't fully understand,  this final edition was not begun until 2014, then released in 2018. In many ways it is like opening a time capsule and I enjoyed it in that frame of mind. Huston as a flawed hero is worthy of sympathy, and he makes an appealing stand in for Orson, whose voice can be heard in one or two spots only because he never got around to recording Huston in his place. Peter Bogdanovich, too, presents believably and does a fair Jimmy Cagney in a role begun by Rich Little, who himself gets a little screen time, though why he didn't keep the bigger role is another matter of whom you choose to believe, and is probably a good thing.


These are initial impressions after a single viewing. I'm going to take another look soon, and I'm certain to notice things I missed last night. It is streaming currently on Netflix but be cautioned, there is a lot of skin in a few parts, especially the opening. Wait till the kids go to bed. 

the-other-side-of-the-wind.jpg

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"The Other Side of the Wind" was hit and miss but it was certainly interesting.  I really liked the art film that Jake Hannaford is directing, which is a spot-on parody of Antonioni's art films like "Zabriskie Point".

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6 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

Okay, I've got one. Here are 1000 words on, appropriately, The Other Side of the Wind

I thank you for your insightful impressions. I have this on "my list" but just haven't gathered up the energy for it yet. Good to know there's some comedic moments in it.  I'm currently wallowing in lighthearted  pre-codes & screwball comedies trying to keep myself out of depression.

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8 hours ago, Vidor said:

Never saw "I, Tonya" but to me Margot Robbie was badly miscast.  Now, Margot Robbie is awesome....of  course there was more to it than that.  But to take the tall, drop-dead gorgeous Margot Robbie and cast her as Tonya...

I did not realize until I went to wikipedia that TONYA HARDING is only 5'1!

I was a little split on ROBBIE's performance, I came close to turning off the film in the first third because she is supposed to be playing Tonya at 15 and she looks IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM a day under 34. her wig is also terrible. but the charms of the film pulled me through (it has a great, SPINAL TAP-like mockumentary feel and every time a character broke the fourth wall, it 100% won me over. )

[i think they realized there was an issue with Robbie's physicality, because they have a scene where her TROG MOTHER tells her that she looks young with her hair pulled back and Tonya replies with "I'm 23, Mom."]

she won me over in the end though, she has a very JUDY GARLAND-A STAR IS BORN "SMILIN THRU THE TEARS" in front of the dressing room mirror scene that was good.

I-Tonya-Redband-Trailer1-700x300.jpg

[ROBBIE was also an executive producer on this, so the film is filled with gifts to actors- ALLISON JANNEY has one particularly outstanding scene where the two confront one another and she admits that she HAD to be AN EVIL MOTHER because if she hadn't, TONYA would not have worked SO HARD at her skating. in the hands of lesser actors, it could've killed the whole movie, but JANNEY really knocks it out of the park.

the screenplay was very good and the director is a talent, he has a real ear for incorporating music into the soundtrack at just the right times- everything from SLEEPING BAG by ZZ TOPP to DORIS DAY'S version of DREAM A LITTLE DREAM (OF ME)

I will readily admit that I am EXTREMELY PREJUDICED AGAINST MODERN MOVIES- i have probably only seen about 15 movies made since 2007 because they are just so SOUL CRUSHINGLY BAD, and 9 times out of 10, I end up turning them off, and I was FULLY PREPARED to really dislike this, but no- it was a solid movie and one I heartily recommend.

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2 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I will readily admit that I am EXTREMELY PREJUDICED AGAINST MODERN MOVIES- i have probably only seen about 15 movies made since 2007 because they are just so SOUL CRUSHINGLY BAD, and 9 times out of 10, I end up turning them off, and I was FULLY PREPARED to really dislike this, but no- it was a solid movie and one I heartily recommend.

And on that note, I have been watching CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2018?) in 10 minute installments over the last 5 days, ducking out every time the languid pretension gets unbearable and i don't think I am going to be able to finish it.

it sucks.

interestingly enough, as I have been watching it THIS DELICIOUSLY SALACIOUS news about ARMIE HAMMER has broken.

[ he is also, I note, a terrible terrible actor.]

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