Friday, March 20, 2015

Summer Stock (1950)

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“We're trying to tell a story with music, and song, and dance. Well, not just with words. For instance, if the boy tells the girl that he loves her, he just doesn't say it, he sings it.”
“Why doesn't he just say it?”
“Why? Oh, I don't know, but it's kind of nice.”

            I think that quote perfectly sums ups all musicals ever made. Even had that thought though if you watch musicals why doesn’t the boy just tell the girl he likes her instead of singing it? I will agree that the singing is nice but then I think if musicals were in the real world and some guy broke out into song for me I would probably get really embarrassed and slap him the damn face. I am so romantic aren’t I?
            Anyway, Summer Stock is about Jane Falbury (Judy Garland) and the time her freewheeling sister brought the theater troupe she was with to the family farm.
            Jane has taken care of the family farm for several years. It has fallen on some hard times but she is still optimistic the farm can make money. Unfortunately, two of the old family farm hands do not share Jane’s optimism and they leave to go somewhere to get paid. Jane believes if she had a tractor she can take care of the farm herself. She goes into town to the local store and nervously orders a tractor. She gives her order to Orville (Eddie Bracken) who happens to be her fiancé of four years. Orville is a nervous guy with all kinds of issues. He is deathly afraid to tell his father. The father freaks out a bit and then comes up with the idea that the tractor can be a wedding present for her. Jane does not in any way take the tractor as a gift she tells the father she will work hard and pay the tractor off.
            When Jane returns home there are hundreds of people walking all over the farm. She has no idea where they have all come from. A guy named Joe Ross (Gene Kelly) bumps into her. Joe informs Jane that is a friend of her sister Abigail and that they are going to put on a show in the barn. Abby failed to make any mention of her plans to Jane so she is not too happy. She wants them all gone by the morning. The whole troupe is upset especially Abby. When Jane sees how upset she changes her mind and lets them all stay but on the condition that they all wake up early and help around the farm.
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            The following day Orville comes to the farm to tell Jane that his father wants to see her because there is a rumor that there are actors staying on the farm and they want to put on a show. Jane goes with Orville and the father explains that her own people passed a rule that no shows can come through the town because they are a peaceful farming community. On the other hand though there is a dance held at the barn every year for quite a few decades. The father shoots back that the dance has been supported by the town’s historical society. The dance that night is dull. It accidentally picks up when Joe tries to find Jane to tell her about her busted tractor before a group of boys tells her. The rest of the troupe think Joe has joined the dance even though they are not supposed to. They follow their leader and take over the dance. Needless to say the old farts are not happy about the actors taking over and Jane doing a dance with Joe.
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            Of course Jane finds out about the tractor. The next morning she has it out with Abby that everyone has to go and she has to stay home and be a help on the farm. Jane goes outside to start the day and sees the actors have bought her a brand new tractor. Joe sold his car to get the tractor. Again she has a change of heart and everyone can stay. Not long after Orville and his father come by. Jane is in a bit of a stupor and she agrees to marry Orville as soon as the actors leave the farm. She really loves Joe but does not want to admit it to herself.
            At rehearsals Abby is not doing too well. Joe yells at her to get her to focus. Jane hears this and tells Joe to take it easy with her sister she is trying to do her best. Outside the show’s backer, Keath tells Abby he may have something for her in New York City. They up and leave for the city that night. To make up for her sister leaving Jane takes Abby’s place in the show. Orville comes by and is not too happy to see his fiancé has become an actor. He yells at her to get off the stage and come with him. Well Jane yells right back and gives Orville a piece of her mind. Orville goes back to his father who then yells at and belittles him and Orville yells back that he will put a stop to Jane doing the show. He drives all the way out to the city and picks Abby up so she can come back to her part.
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            Jane has a great time performing in the show. She does a few numbers with Joe and one great performance by herself. Orville comes back with Abby. Jane freaks out and yells at both of them and then turns around and kisses Joe.
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            Happy musical ending all around.

            Summer Stock is not a bad musical but it is not one of the best. Judy Garland and Gene Kelly made a wonderful screen pair. All their dance numbers together were perfect. You can see they were friends off screen they carried that chemistry on screen. One of my all time favorite musicals numbers comes from Summer Stock: “Get Happy”. I love this number so much. I love Judy Garland singing it and I LOVE her outfit. She was fantastic, totally killed the song and dance. (If you would like to hear a great rendition of this song, look for Zoe Birkett’s version from the Pop Idol Big Band album. It’s the reason I love the song so much). Although Summer Stock is alright it is still worth watching especially for “Get Happy” and Judy Garland and Gene Kelly’s pairing.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Mummy (1999)

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“You heard the man no mortal weapons can kill the creature.”
“Then we’ll have to find some immortal one.”
“There goes that ‘we’ again.”

            We all have those movies in our lives that we count as classic and cherished family memories. In my family we have several but one that is oddly very near and dear to us is The Mummy from 1999. I was eleven and a half years old. I remember going to see this in the theaters. It was my first “scary” movie in the theaters. My youngest brother would not be born for another few weeks when this was released. He is actually the reason why this movie holds so many good memories for all of us because as he got a little older he would watch The Mummy on repeat almost every single day! He got into The Mummy when he was around two because of The Mummy Returns. He had all the toys that came out for the second movie. My entire family teases my brother to this day (he will be sixteen soon!) about his love of the movie and how he would watch it constantly.
            In a cheesy sentimental way I am dedicating this write up of The Mummy to my brother… and I am doing so because he will never read this!
            The story begins back in Ancient Egyptian times. A high priest named Imhotep is caught messing around with the queen Anck Su Namun. For his treachery Imhotep is condemned to the worst punishment: he has his eyes and tongue ripped out and then buried alive. Imhotep and his priests are placed in Hamunaptra for all eternity.
Image result for the mummy 1999
Image result for the mummy 1999
            Thousands of years later in the 1930s the French Foreign Legion is fighting an Egyptian force called the Medjai for control of the ancient desert site of Hamunaptra. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is an American fighting for the French Legion. He gets far into the ancient. He is standing in one particular spot when all the sudden he hears a voice speaking in Egyptian and then the sand kicks up around him as if on the attack. Rick runs away and a face is revealed in the sand.
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            In the city of Cairo is the Cairo Museum of Antiquities. A young scholarly English woman named Evelyn Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) work as a librarian. She desperately wants to join a professional group of scholars but keeps getting rejected despite the fact that her father was a very famous explorer. Her brother Jonathan (Jon Hannah) comes to the library one day to show her an object that he supposedly found on a dig. Evelyn reads the ancient Egyptian text on the object and says he may have found something. She presses a button a piece of papyrus comes out. She believes it is the location to Hamunaptra. When they take it to her boss he dismisses Hamunaptra as a legend to amuse tourists and burns off a part of the map. Jonathan then reveals to his sister that he lied and stole it off a guy who is in jail.
            The guy stole the object from turns out to be Rick O’Connell. When Evelyn and Jonathan go to the jail to see Rick, they find out he is about to be hanged for some kind of crime. Rick is a mess of a man and very rude. He tells Evelyn that he knows the location of Hamunaptra by heart since he was fighting for it and if she wants to go there he has to get her out. Evelyn manages to bribe the jailer and Rick is set free.
            On the same boat as Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan is a group of American men who are also traveling to Hamunaptra. While Evelyn wants to go to the ancient city for scholarly reasons the Americans want to go purely to find treasure to become rich off of. Rick knows there is only one other person who knows the location of Hamunaptra and that person is a little weasel of a man named Beni that he had fought with in the French Legion. That night the boat is burned up by the Medjai who are trying to keep both groups from continuing on to the ancient city.
            Despite the setback on the boat both groups manage to make it to Hamunaptra. They almost kill each other fighting for spaces to explore and dig. Evelyn finds another place to go further under the ground. In their exploration Evelyn, Rick and Jonathan find the sarcophagus of Imhotep. They see he was alive when he was buried from the scratch marks inside the coffin and Evelyn reads that he suffered the worst of all ancient Egyptian curses. The Americans, in the meantime, have found The Book of the Dead and canopic jars with ancient body parts inside. That night Rick steals The Book of the Dead from the Americans. She reads on the surface under the night sky while below under the sand in his tomb the mummy of Imhotep comes back to life.
Image result for the mummy 1999
Image result for the mummy 1999
            Now Imhotep’s mummy is looking for the canopic jars the Americans stole and taking their lives in order to regenerate. It is now up to Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan to stop Imhotep from gaining power and destroying Egypt.
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Image result for the mummy 1999
            I fucking love The Mummy so much! It is so cheesy and silly and I love it the more I watch it. When I was little I was totally obsessed with Ancient Egypt. I was that weird kid that loved history with an insane passion and Ancient Egypt was where that insane passion went towards. The Mummy was like my dream. I wanted to be like Evelyn Carnahan who was an awesome female Ancient Egyptian Scholar and I still would love to be like her! My history loving heart will never fade I have a degree in Art History and museum studies for crying out loud! The story and adventure is also a lot of fun and entertaining. There are so many great scenes and lines I cannot even say what my favorite scenes and lines are. As I mentioned, I have great memories attached to The Mummy from going to see it in theaters when it was released to watching it all the time with my little brother. Maybe he will read this review one day and appreciate how happy the memories of him watching The Mummy over and over again when he was small makes me feel. That would be nice.

             If you have not seen The Mummy… what have you been doing with your life for the past fourteen years?! It is like one of those movies you have to watch. It is such a silly entertaining movie you will have so much fun watching. 
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