Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Image result for three stooges movie
The Three Stooges

Peter Farrelly (along with brother Bobby) has come up with some of the most outrageous and popular comedies of the last twenty or so years, including: There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin (a personal favorite of mine). I realized that I  had somehow missed the Farrelly Brothers recreation of The Three Stooges from 2012. . In it, Moe (Chris Diamontopoulos), Larry (Sean Hayes), and Curly (Will Sasso) re-created these iconic characters perfectly. The plot involves the boys attempts to save the orphanage where they were raised, but the plot really isn't that important in a Three Stooge comedy, is it? What's important are the gags and they come a mile a minute and usually involve punching, tweaking, pulling hair, throwing someone out a window or running someone over in a vehicle. Stupid? Yes. Funny? Yes.

I have to admit the only reason I decided to watch The Three Stooges was to pair it up with Peter Farrelly's Oscar nominated film, Green Book. That's right, the director of Shallow Hal has taken a dramatic turn and met with success! The only previous award listed for Farrelly is a Razzie for the infamous Movie 43.

Green Book

Green Book is based on the real life story of jazz pianist Don Shirley's (Mahershala Ali) travels on a musical tour through the South with his driver, bouncer Tony Lip (Viggo Mortgenssen). The pair seem to have little in common, but form a bond and the tour turns out to be a great learning experience for them both. The film has been criticized for playing loose with the facts or being a bit of a rehash of Driving Miss Daisy or not properly "woke." Eh...I think Farrelly's venture into more serious fare was a success...Certainly a box office success...and won Academy Awards for Screenplay, Supporting Actor and the big prize of Best Picture! Farrelly wasn't nominated for Best Director, but I'm thinking he's not losing much sleep over that.

Related image
Peter Farrelly celebrates his Best Picture Oscar

Should Green Book have won over BlackkKlansman, Roma or The Favourite for Best Picture? I'll have to think on that one, but I will say the owner of my local movie house The Crescent said several hundred people came to see the movie while it played there and almost everyone he talked to loved it. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019


The Spirit of the Beehive

 The Spirit of the Beehive is an unforgettable film, touching on many bases but refusing to congeal into any one genre or intention.-Adrian Martin, 1001: Movies You Must See Before You Die

This lack of congealing into one genre or intention may have frankly hindered me from getting into The Spirit of the Beehive as much as I perhaps could have. It is set during the Spanish Civil War. The father is obsessed about his beehives. The mother is obsessed with a long lost love. The two young sisters in this family piece become obsessed with the movie Frankenstein, which has just come for a special viewing to their small town. However, the reality of war is also about to come to their home and the girls will experience true horror up-close. The film has been lauded as one of the greatest movies ever made in Spain. 

I think I may need to give this one a second viewing.

Young Ana dreams of an encounter with the Frankenstein monster
in The Spirit of the Beehive

If Universal's Son of Frankenstein isn't the silliest picture ever made, it's a sequel to the silliest picture ever made, which is even sillier.-B. R. Crisler, The New York Times, January 30, 1939

Son of Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) confronts his...brother, maybe?
in Son of Frankenstein

I decided to pair my Spirit of the Beehive viewing with an actual old Frankenstein movie and I chose one I haven't seen for awhile, Son of Frankenstein. This is the third and final appearance of Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster. Basil Rathbone is on hand to play the Frankenstein offspring trying to shake off his father's past. Bela Lugosi has one of his best roles as Ygor, the gravedigger/hanging survivor.

The Times review quoted above sees the film as being pretty absurd in its premise. If Frankenstein wants to escape his past, why go to right into the bowels of Transylvannia where his father did his experiments that caused all this trouble in the first place? I guess the only answer is so the plot will move ahead and give the young Frankenstein the fever to get those old "Frankenstein playing God juices" flowing again.

The plot point that really bugged me was the villagers reaction to the young Frankenstein. They are ready to string him up when he returns. Their fears turn out to be justified, when the monster is brought back to life by the doctor and kills at least two people. The young Dr. Frankenstein does push his creation into a sulphur pit at the end of the film and this is apparently enough for the villagers to now give the doctor a hero's farewell as he leaves their little town with a couple of dead bodies left behind because of his actions. Where is the doctor's accountability? Shouldn't the villagers still want to put his head on a pike? I guess not.

Ygor (Bela Lugosi) plans something sinister with
the monster (Boris Karloff) in Son of Frankenstein

And speaking of young Frankensteins...Mel Brooks clearly used Son of Frankenstein for a lot of his plot for the 1974 comedy classic Young Frankenstein. The plot follows the basic premise of Son of Frankenstein but for comical purposes. The most striking similarity is the character of the one armed Inspector Krough (Inspector Kemp in Young Frankenstein), whose mannerisms and actions are almost identical in both films, but are somehow not suppose to be seen as humorous in the original!

 Lionel Atwill as Inspetor Krough
in Son of Frankenstein

Kenneth Mars as Inspector Kemp
in Young Frankenstein

Saturday, April 20, 2019

JANE EYRE (1943), JANE EYRE (2011)

Jane Eyre 1847

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (the novel) is written in dense, wordy detailed prose. The narrative is in first person and does seem to divide readers on whether or not they like the style. Personally, I think it is so expertly written that Bronte can get away with going into such excruciating detail. The audiobook version I listened to clocked in at a robust 22 hours!

But how do you make it into a film? The style of a movie is vastly different than a book, maybe more so in this case. For example, you can't, or don't need to describe a person's appearance over and over again in a movie because we can see what they look like!

You also have to decide how to structure the plot.

I break down the plot of the book into these sections:
1) Jane's childhood and her unhappy upbringing from Sarah Reed, her miserable Aunt.
2) Jane's time in Lowood school (mostly at age ten), often under the guidance of the tyrannical Mr. Brocklehurst.
3) Eighteen-year old Jane leaves the school to play governess at Thornfield Hall. The master of the house is Edward Rochester, whose complicated relationship with Jane slowly blossoms into love.
4) But before we get to the love part, Sarah's Aunt is on her death bed and Jane has to leave Thornfield and go tend to her for awhile.
5) After returning to Thornfield, Rochester proposes and the couple declare their love for each other and are about to get married, but...it is exposed that Rochester has a crazy wife who has been living in the attic the whole time!
6) Jane decides she can't stay and wanders on a journey that almost kills her. She winds up in the house of St. John and her sisters. It goes well for awhile, until St. John wants to marry her and take her to India with him on a missionary trip. Jane won't stay under those circumstances and leaves.
7) Jane returns to Thornfield and finds much of the estate damaged by fire. It turns out that Rochester's wife tried to set the house on fire before jumping to her death. There are no other casualties, though Rochester was blinded during the fire. Jane and Rochester reconcile and get married.

 Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine in
Jane Eyre 1943

So how does the 1944 version of Jane Eyre (screenplay by Aldous Huxley and John Houseman) run the plot?
Part 1 we have. Jane (Peggy Ann Garner) has to deal with her Aunt (Agnes Moorehead) before being sent off to Lowood.
Part 2 we have. Jane has to deal with the travails of the school, but does have one friend named Helen (a young Elizabeth Taylor) who tragically dies during Jane's stay at the school. Fast forward to Jane at eighteen (now played by Joan Fontaine) and she makes the decision to break away from the school and become a governess.
Part 3 we certainly have. Jane becomes entrenched as the governess of the little French girl at Thornhill. We meet Mrs. Fairfax and of course the complicated Edward Rochester (Orson Welles). This is the main part of the movie and this section ends with the crazy wife and Jane leaving. The difference is we have Part 3 followed by Part 5. We then got to part 4 as Jane only goes to her Aunt's deathbed after the wedding debacle.
After than we go to part 7 and the finale. Section 6 with St. John is eliminated  from the story all together.

Michael Fassbinder and Mia Wasikowska in
Jane Eyre 2011

The 2011 version (screenplay by Moira Buffini) actually starts out with Jane's wanderings at the beginning of Part 6! We then go through the movie in flashback starting with Part 1. The rest of the sequences in the movie are pretty faithful to the book, though at under two hours, we do get abbreviated versions.

This version features Michael Fassbinder as Rochester, Mia Wasikowska as Jane. Judi Dench plays Mrs. Fairfax, the head housekeeper at Thornhill.

Both of these versions are in fact under two hours. I haven't watched any other adaptations, but there is a 2005 mini-series (3 hours, 50 minutes), and a 1983 BBC adaptation (4 hours).

And there are plenty of other versions of Jane Eyre out there, including an opera and a Broadway musical!

Still from the lost Jane Eyre silent film from 1910 

Monday, April 15, 2019



Meet the Parents
I will bring you down to Chinatown!

The top comedy from 2000 may have been Meet the Parents, a comedic farce about the nightmare that comes from falling in love with a woman with an overly intimidating father-in-law. The chemistry between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro may be the best reason to see this, but let us not forget the witty script from Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg. After all, someone had to come up with the Puff the Magic Dragon thing or the wonderful pre-dinner prayer at the first meeting with the in-laws and De Niro's mother on the mantle.

I like the sequel Meet the Fockers as well, though it has a lot more detractors. The sequel to the sequel, Little Fockers, was critically panned but it found an audience, too. I guess we've met everybody at this point as there haven't been any more additional sequels.


Steven Soderberg won a Best Director Oscar for this film that takes on many different stories about the war on drugs. It is insightful in that we see aspects of the drug trade through the big time dealers, small time dealers, law enforcement, lawyers, politicians and even the drug czar's daughter. The film also won Oscars fro Screenplay, Editing and Supporting Actor (Benico del Toro). My favorite characters in the film were the undercover cop team played by  Don Cheadle and Luis Gomez.

Should it have beaten out Gladiator for Best Picture? Maybe, but I guess the storyline may not have been to the Academy's liking for the top award.

Here are a few other films I have seen released in Y2K that didn't make the 1001 book:

Since I try to team movies up on many of these blog posts, I'll try to come up with some appropriate double features for these films that I have seen.

Best in Show
One of the best of the Christopher Guest/Eugene Levy largely improvised films of that decade.
Best in Show

What film should Best in Show go with?
How about A Dog's Life, a 1955 film from the perspective of a Bull Terrier?
It's a Dogs Life
Cast Away
Tom Hanks is stranded alone on an island after a plane crash.
Cast Away
What film should Cast Away go with?
How about Five, a 1951 film about five people stranded...on earth alone!

The Cell
Jennifer Lopez movie that reminded many of Silence of the Lambs, just not as good.
The Cell
What film should The Cell go with?
Might as well watch with Silence of the Lambs with it and get it over with.
Related image
Silence of the Lambs

Chicken Run
Fun British stop motion film about a group of chickens planning an escape from their unhappy farm existence.
Image result for chicken run 2000

Chicken Run

What film should Chicken Run go with?
The Great Escape might seem like an appropriate choice, but let's go with the pro-union classic Norma Rae instead!
Norma Rae

Dr. T. and the Women
Underrated film from the Robert Altman canon.
Dr. T. and the Women

What film should Dr. T. and the Women go with?
How about another underrated Altman film, the 1988 TV movie, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial?
The Caine Mutiny Court Martial

The Emperor's New Groove
Off-beat, but funny Disney fair
Image result for emperor's new groove
The Emperor's New Groove

What film should The Emperor's New Groove go with?
I'm not sure why, but I want to team this with the 60's stop-motion monster mash, Mad Monster Party. (Mad Monster Party could also be teamed with Chicken Run).
Mad Monster Party

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Jim Carrey is the Grinch in Ron Howard's adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

What film should How the Grinch Stole Christmas go with?
How about the 1953 Dr. Seuss creative concoction The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (Though by the title, you might be tempted to team this with Dr. T and the Women.)
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

Miss Congeniality
Sandra Bullock goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant.

What film should Miss Congeniality go with?
How about the Michael Ritchie's vastly underrated 1975 ode to small town beauty pageants, Smile?

Pay It Forward
Depressing movie with a good heart.
Pay It Forward
What film should Pay It Forward go with?
Since you are already in a bad mood from Pay It Forward, might as well cap it off with a Bergman classic like Winter Light. Or if you want something depressing, but not in Swedish, just pop Old Yeller in the VCR.
Winter Light

Pokemon: The Movie 2000
I sure remember taking my son to see all those strange Pokemon movies at the theater.
Pokemon: The Movie 2000

What film should Pokemon: The Movie 2000?
I also remembering at the time of my viewing that Pokemon seemed as strange in it's on way as Naked Lunch. So let's team it up with that one.
Naked Lunch

The Road to El Dorado
Jaunty Elton John songs enliven this animated epic about two con men looking for the gold of El Dorado.

What film should The Road to El Dorado?
I'll go with my first instinct and team this with Aguirre, the Wrath of God, though that one features a much less lovable protagonist.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Scary Movie
The first of the Wayans Brothers horror movie satires.
Scary Movie

What film should Scary Movie be teamed with?
I seem to be in the minority of liking the 1982 horror satire Student Bodies.
Student Bodies

Shadow of the Vampire
Was Max Schreck of the silent film Nosferatu actually a vampire?
Shadow of the Vampire

What film should Shadow of the Vampire be teamed with?
Watch the original Nosferatu to see the real Max Schreck in action. Spoiler: He wasn't a real vampire.

I recently did watch this 2000 British gangster film...

And already teamed it with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, so I see no reason to change that pairing. http://1001afilmodyssey.blogspot.com/2019/03/lock-stock-and-two-smoking-barrels-1998.html
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

The Three Stooges
Not the more recent Three Stooges from 2012, but a TV movie which depicts the real life issues of the Howard, Howard and Fine comedy team.
The Three Stooges

What film should The Three Stooges be teamed with?
The 2012 Three Stooges? No, a more appropriate pairing is the 2018 film about the later days of Laurel and Hardy, Stan and Ollie.
Stan and Ollie

What Lies Beneath
Crazy supernatural underwater happenings with sexy Michelle Pfieffer.
What Lies Beneath

What film should What Lies Beneath be teamed with?
How about exciting underwater happenings with sexy Jane Russell in the 1955 Howard Hughes film, Underwater!

What Women Want
Women's thoughts go into the mind of male chauvinist pig Mel Gibson.
What Women Want

What film should What Women Want be teamed with?
The original women's lib movie from 1972, Stand Up and Be Counted.
Stand Up and Be Counted

The first screen adaptation of Marvel's most popular mutant team.

What film should X-Men be teamed with?
How about 1984's campy but fun mutant epic The Toxic Avenger?
The Toxic Avenger