#191- 42nd Street

Quick recap: Director Julian Marsh has been hired to put on a musical, even though he is very close to a nervous breakdown. Of course, nothing goes right and hilarity ensues.

If there's one thing I love, it's a stereotype about over-stressed directors

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a stereotype about over-stressed directors

Fun (?) fact: A line in the song ‘Shuffle Off to Buffalo’ says ‘I’ll go home and get my panties’, which is sung by the male lead. Back in the 1930s, ‘panties’ was a synonym for ‘underwear’, so men used the word too.

probably thinking about his panties

probably thinking about his panties

My thoughts: 42nd Street is the chicken noodle soup of movies-comforting, well known, satisfying and also a little bland. It’s the kind of film I could probably watch a few times without getting bored, but not one of my favorite movies I keep coming back to. And that’s ok sometimes.

When I think of the musical genre, 42nd street is the kind of film that pops in my head- something all-American, with a bunch of theatre stereotypes and big, flashy numbers. No songs stuck out particularly for me, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. This isn’t really your typical movie musical though, because no one bursts into song at the drop of a hat. Instead, all of the dancing and singing is isolated into the rehearsal, which I loved because the movie was about the making of the musical and so the musical itself didn’t really have to make sense. You do get to see a few numbers at the end, to see how everything comes together, but I liked not knowing what the musical was supposed to look like. It all felt like a hot mess, just like director Julian Marsh saw it.

The plot and acting was a little bland for me, but maybe it’s because I’ve seen the situation play out on so many sitcoms and kids’ television programs. Basically, a small town girl, Peggy, is cast into a tiny role but through various circumstances, ends up as the lead and does a perfect job. Meh. The star of the musical, Dorothy Brock, was temperamental, but not necessarily evil. She is dating the financier of the musical, even though he is clearly not her type because if she loses him, there will be no show. That part of the plot seemed the most familiar to me for some reason…..

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Final review: 4/5. The dancing was phenomenal and the rest of the film was decent enough to watch again.

Up next: Last Year at Marienbad

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#184- Gigi

Quick recap: A young girl has foolish ideas of marrying instead of going into the family business of being someone’s mistress

from a scene where a creepy old man sings about how much he loves little girls because they grow up into women he wants to date

from a scene where a creepy old man sings about how much he loves little girls because they grow up into women he wants to date

Fun (?) fact: The cat in the film hated Leslie Caron, who played Gigi and had to be drugged anytime it was in a scene with her. Considering that the cat had nothing whatsoever to do with the plot, I’m not sure why director Vincente Minnelli didn’t just let it go.

I couldn't find a picture for Gigi's cat, but this came up and I liked it better

I couldn’t find a picture for Gigi’s cat, but this came up and I liked it better. That cat looks like it knows something.

My thoughts: Without knowing anything about Gigi, I was fully prepared for it to suck. I ran across a list a few months back that ranked Best Picture winners and Gigi was at the bottom. I assumed from the synopsis Netflix provided  that maybe the writer of the list just didn’t like musicals but 5 minutes in, I realized that no, this movie is in fact terrible and messed up.

Before I get into my rant, and believe me there will be a rant, I’d like to admit that I really loved the musical portion of the movie. The songs were catchy and witty and I found myself humming them the next day. The actors also did a fine job with their characters, although the heavy French accents got on my nerves. It felt like they were over the top, but when I looked up trivia I learned that they were genuine so I’ll give it a pass. The setting and costumes were also wonderful and reminded me of something Disney might put together to showcase Paris long ago.

So, why is this movie so bad? Basically, Gigi, who is a 15 year old girl (very important. Don’t forget this detail) has been born into a family of courtesans. She lives with her grandmother and mother but visits her great aunt once a week for lessons on snagging a rich guy to sleep with. Yeah. Gigi is naturally against the whole thing, but is seen as a girl in need of a makeover so that MEN WILL SLEEP WITH HER. So, in comes Gaston, a rich guy, who likes to hang out with this family but not sleep with any of them. He is particularly fond of Gigi, but sees her more like a child BECAUSE SHE IS. After a weekend with him at the beach, the Great Aunt and grandmother decide that poor Gigi needs to be transformed so Gaston will want to sleep with her. When he sees ‘grownup’ Gigi for the first time, he is repulsed (maybe because she’s 15?) but then sings a song about how he thought she was a baby but seeing her in that dress reminded him that he can totally hit that now. So he does. Gigi isn’t too happy about the whole thing but whatever, that’s the family business. The movie ends with Gaston returning the girl to her grandmother and running away, as the audience thinks he’s a jerk. But then he comes back and announces that he doesn’t want her as a mistress but instead as a wife. Awww. Except not, because she is freaking 15 years old.

There's a scene at the beginning of the film where Gigi and Gaston are playing around and he threatens to spank her. Knowing how this would end only ups the creepiness factor.

There’s a scene at the beginning of the film where Gigi and Gaston are playing around and he threatens to spank her. Knowing how this would end only ups the creepiness factor.

Final review: I’d love to give this movie a 1/5 but I was thoroughly entertained in a car crash sort of way, so let’s go with 3/5 and then never speak of it again.

Up next: Fantastic Planet

#145- Four Weddings and a Funeral

Quick recap:  Hugh Grant plays Charles, a man who, during the course of attending several weddings (3 in fact), falls in love. Will the fourth wedding be his own, or will it in fact be his funeral?

BAM. I just made this movie infinitely more interesting than it actually was. EVEN BETTER. The funeral could’ve been his own and then he could’ve had a zombie marriage. Zombie marriages are the best kind of marriages, you know.

Don't let the quirkiness fool you. This movie is in fact quite boring.

Don’t let the quirkiness fool you. This movie is in fact quite boring.

Fun (?) fact: Hugh Grant, the star of the film, hated Four Weddings and a Funeral while filming. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all.

That would've been nice.

That would’ve been nice.

My thoughts: It’s really no surprise that the ‘romantic comedy’ genre is one of my least favorite. Everything is so sappy and there are too many scenes that try too hard to be funny. Still, despite knowing better, I had hope that Four Weddings and a Funeral would somehow, some way, not completely suck.

This movie did not completely suck. Yay! But only because there was so much wrong with this movie that it kept me entertained the entire time. Boo! So here are the things that irked me most about the film:

1) Who the hell are all these people? I spent way more time trying to figure out who was related to whom only to later realize they were all just a big group of friends with that one really old guy in the center of it all. A little bit of a back story would’ve been nice .

2) Everything was entirely too predictable. Granted, the title already gave away that there would in fact be 4 weddings and 1 funeral, but I didn’t realize that that was the entire movie. It at least helped me know that when I got to the 4th wedding, the torture was almost over.

3) Stop doing that, Hugh Grant! All of it- your bumbling, ‘aw,shucks’ attitude, the way you continually put your glasses on, only to take them off OVER AND OVER AGAIN, your over the top ‘poor pitiful me’ puppy dog looks whenever you are sad. Just stop.

4) The jokes. I felt like I was watching a SNL parody of how stupid romantic comedies are and how they put in the most generic not funny gags. For example: the bridesmaid who walks down the aisle with her underwear showing, the priest who officiates his first wedding and mixes up everything ( he says Holy Goat instead of Holy Ghost. Comedy gold!), the main character has to sit with his exes at the reception and it is so awkward. It was like the writers were promised pizza if they completed the script in time, so they just threw in a bunch of generic stuff and called it a day.

It would be cruel for me to go on, so I’ll stop for now. After all, I was the girl who laughed throughout A Walk to Remember while everyone was sobbing into their popcorn buckets. It’s just not the movie for me.

Final review: 2/5.

Up next: Steamboat Bill, Jr.

#118- Muriel’s Wedding

Quick recap: In this ‘comedy’ (more on that in a bit), Toni Collette plays Muriel, an overweight, socially awkward woman who still lives with her parents and does nothing for a living. She’s obsessed with weddings and also ABBA because why not?

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Fun (?) fact: There’s a line in the film when Muriel is shopping for a wedding dress and the attendant asks when she is getting married. Muriel replies, ‘September’ and the attendant says, ‘spring!’. I’ve always known that Australia has opposite seasons than the US but still, that line made me think about all the many things that are weird about Australia. Australia is weird, you guys.

weird.

weird.

My thoughts: If I were ever kidnapped and tied up, I can think of no worse torture than forcing me to watch movie after movie with the ‘romantic comedy’ label. Thankfully, Moonstruck is the only movie I’ve had to watch with that label on this list so far, and it wasn’t that bad once I realized I would have Nicholas Cage for entertainment. After sitting through so many war movies recently, Muriel’s Wedding seemed like an appropriate change for a bit. And it was Australian, so that seemed a little classier than most romantic comedies. I thought it might be a nice change of pace to see my thought process as I watched the movie instead of just commenting on what I observed:

Title sequence: My prediction is that this is going to be a movie about an unattractive girl who has a make over and then falls in love and marries.

1:42: These beautiful women are all berating Muriel for catching the bouquet. I guess the director didn’t want to beat around the bush to let us know Muriel isn’t well liked.  *pops open a beer*

4:49: Muriel is arrested and led out of the wedding party for stealing a dress. I mean, I know it’s wrong but she looks so sad and embarrassed.

9:58: Muriel’s family is at a restaurant,listening to their father mock them and call them all useless. I’m beginning to see that this isn’t a typical ‘ugly duckling’ story but instead one about a girl with serious problems.

13:32: Oh, good! Muriel has friends! These are the same girls who made fun of her at the wedding, but that’s what friends do sometimes. All in good fun!

16:41: Nope! They are kicking her out of the group for being weird, fat and ugly. And now Muriel is crying. Oh my god, this is awful. *finishes first beer, throws the can in a corner and cracks open a second. Starts chugging immediately.*

ironically, Muriel is showing exactly how I feel right now

 Muriel is showing exactly how I feel right now

20:57: Oh, Muriel. I know it was harsh to be kicked out of a group but then to show up on their vacation is just asking for trouble.

21:15- They throw a drink in Muriel’s face. Why are you doing this to me, Muriel??? Stop it! *on 3rd beer now. This one won’t last long*

25:00– Muriel has found a friend! Oh, thank god. And this friend also likes ABBA and hates the girls. Things are looking up.

35:48: Muriel’s dad found out that she stole his money to fund the trip and she has now run away to Sydney. And she looks good! I’m ready for the comedy part.

42:04- Muriel brings a date back to the apartment she shares with Rhonda but freaks out when the boy starts taking her clothes off. I’m still going to count this as a success for Muriel.

46:29– After drunkenly falling down, Rhonda  (Muriel’s only friend) is diagnosed with cancer. *Quickly finishes 3rd beer and grabs the vodka bottle*

54:20- Rhonda finds out Muriel has been trying on wedding dresses for fun because in her mind, she will have truly changed if she can find someone who loves her. Don’t do this to me , Muriel!

mw1

59:50- Rhonda’s cancer is back and she will never walk again!

1:01:53– In an effort to stay in Sydney, Muriel has answered an ad to marry a guy so that he can get on the Australian swim team. Dude is visibly grossed out by her.

1:08:27- They get married, but dude is still visibly grossed out. Muriel’s dad has divorced her mom. Mom shows up to wedding carrying a gift but isn’t noticed because of course not. She looks more sad than Muriel ever has.

1:19:23- Muriel’s mom tries on a pair of shoes because her current ones hurt her feet so much. She forgets to pay for them and is arrested.

1:21:17– Muriel’s dad yells at her mom and makes her feel awful.

1:22: 54- Muriel’s mom kills herself! *throws empty vodka bottle into corner with other beer cans*

End of movie: Muriel realizes she needs to start being honest with herself and breaks off the Not Marriage to the swimmer, but after having sex with him. Good job, Muriel.

Final review: 4/5. This was in no way a comedy. Most depressing movie ever? Maybe. Worth watching just for Toni Collette but don’t make me sit through it again without expecting some sort of alcohol poisoning. 

Up next: Out of Africa