Monday, August 25, 2014

Cas & Dylan (2013)

“Let me drive.”
“Over my dead body.”
“You know there’s a sad irony to that.”

            There have been so many movies where two completely opposite people meet, are forced to spend a great deal of time together, and eventually they both learn from each other about how to live life and be a better person. That plot is so clichéd and overused like so many other plots. However, there is one movie I found that uses this plot and actually made it different, funny, touching, sad, and very entertaining. The movie is called Cas & Dylan.
            Dr. Cas Pepper (Richard Dreyfuss… and yes he is Dr. Pepper) has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He has lived his life alone for some time with his Pug Winston. Poor Winston dies one night and Cas decides he needs to head west to get away. The next day he goes to the hospital. He is sitting in his car trying to write something when a girl named Dylan Morgan (Tatiana Maslany) comes over to him. Dylan has been wandering around the hospital trying to get material for a book she is writing. She has seen Cas a few times. He recognizes her when she comes to his window. Cas tells Dylan he is heading west and she gets him to give her a ride home. He sees her as a pain who talks too much and is invasive but he decides to give her a ride anyway.
            After he drops Dylan off, Cas sees that she has left her notebook in the car. He throws it out the window but immediately feels bad, gets it, and brings it back to her. When he gets to her house Dylan is running out and away from her boyfriend who has a shot gun. Dylan and Cas run into the car and as he is pulling away Cas hits the boyfriend with the car. Dylan yells at him to go he hit someone with his car they have to get away. Thinking he killed the boyfriend Cas ditches his car and buys a small classic Volkswagen Beetle.
            They spend the night at a motel. Cas has been trying to write something but he cannot write what he wants and has thrown out multiple pages. Dylan picks up two pieces. The next day she confronts Cas about his planned suicide. Dylan tells him that since she is a writer she can help him write a note.
            At a rest stop Dylan gets a call from the publishing company she had submitted her book to wanting to schedule a meeting. She gets Cas to drive her to the meeting since it is on the way to where he wants to go. When she gets to the company it turns out that they called the wrong Dylan. Cas tries to help her. He goes into the office and tells the secretary that Dylan is sick and he is trying to help her out and he even grabs the phone from the secretary who is not listening. They get in to see the publisher but she tells Dylan her book is not good it seems as if she cannot relate to the subject. The poor girl is beyond crushed. Crying and upset she tells him she wants a better life she does not want to end up like her parents who are losers. Cas consoles her and tells her she is just an apprentice she has time to learn and become a better person.
            Cas becomes really sick and has to be brought to the hospital. He keeps telling Dylan he wants to leave he needs to get to his house out west. Dylan is afraid she wants him to stay to get better so she takes his wallet and keys out of his reach. He pleads that he does not want to spend his last days in a hospital. When they get to the house Cas keeps saying that it was supposed to be easy it was not supposed to be difficult. Dylan asks him what he is talking about. He replies that his plan to come to the house and die was supposed to be simple but then he met her.
            With Cas’s help, sometime later Dylan is going to school and finally happy with her life.
            Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany were perfection together. They had such a good rapport and good chemistry. You can tell they had fun working together. Dreyfuss was great as this old doctor who was so set in his ways and just wanted to be alone and he got this young vibrant girl as his travel companion. Cas could have been a mean nasty old bugger but Dreyfuss played him with a warmth that was not out in the open but underneath yet you could still see it. I enjoyed him in this role a lot. Alright onto Tatiana Maslany….
            Holy crow this girl is so damn talented! Maslany was incredible. Like Cas, Dylan could have been a typical character. She could have been this truly annoying young girl who lies about everything in her life and cannot get her crap together. Maslany made Dylan wonderfully vibrant and sympathetic. You root for Dylan to better her life and admire her for wanting to do so. Maslany was fantastic at playing the comedic scenes and then heartbreaking in the sad scenes. This may sound weird but I have a crush on this girl’s acting. Maslany makes her characters so believable and more than what they are supposed to be. The more movies and shows I see her in the more I am amazed at how ridiculously talented she is. Richard Dreyfuss commented on her talent: “She was so talented and so exciting! She is gonna be the Meryl Streep of her generation. And she is a fantastic actor and she’s fantastically fun to work with.”  It is interesting to watch Maslany in this movie knowing she got the part on Orphan Black while she was making this.
            Much praise goes to Jason Priestly who directed the movie (yes the actor from 90210). Along with the acting his direction made the plot not stereotypical. His direction enhanced the scenery of the roads and buildings and even the Volkswagen. He made the scenery and the car supporting characters. Priestly filmed Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslany in such a way that showed the depth of their characters and even added more depth to them.
            Cas & Dylan is a very enjoyable, well made, and well acted movie. The story is familiar yet different. What I loved about this movie is it was not a stupid love story between a guy and a girl it was a story about a man who has lived his life and at the end has met someone who brightened his life and along the way he helped her. Dylan definitely helped Cas see life in a different way but it was not profound. He was the one who left a more profound and meaningful impact on her life. It was not the young teaching the old how to live it was the old teaching the young that they are just beginning to learn about life. The story is a perfect balance of comedy and drama that is severely lacking in so many movies today. I highly, highly recommend watching Cas & Dylan.

            You can watch Cas & Dylan in full all thanks to the lovely tumblr blogger Cosima Hella Baked who uploaded it. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Silent Sundays: The Perils of Pauline: Chapter One (1914)

Imagine going to movie theaters in the early 1900s when movies were still new. Every story idea was fresh, every idea and camera angle were new and inventive. They were a great adventure, a great romance, a great comedy. They were all still innocent and sweet and exciting. There are so many films that make me wish I could go back in time and see them in the theaters. One series of films I would like to travel back in time and see is the very first chapter of The Perils of Pauline that was first released in 1914.
            Pauline Marvin (Pearl White) has been left in the care of an older man named Sanford after her father died.  Pauline is set to inherit a large fortune but while she waits for her inheritance Sanford looks after her money.
            Sanford has a young son named Harry. Harry is madly in love with Pauline but she is in no rush to get married. She wants to live her life and travel the world.
            The old man has a secretary named Koerner. One day Koerner is approached by a man he used to run around with. The man wants money from Koerner or else he will tell Sanford that Koerner was once in jail and escaped. He tells the man to wait that Sanford will likely die soon and leave him something.
            Sanford does eventually die. He places Koerner in charge of Pauline’s money. The secretary relays this information to the man he knows. The man comes up with a plan to have Pauline go up in a hot air balloon at Pallisades Park and fly away. The man bribes a few people at the park to put his plan of killing Pauline into motion.
            Pauline is thrilled to be going up in the hot air balloon. Of course her ride does not go over as she had hoped. When the rope to the air balloon is cut Pauline finds herself sailing over the Palisades cliffs. In a smart move she climbs down the rope and lands on the cliff side.
            Harry and Koerner had been following Pauline. Harry gets to Pauline first and attempts to pull her up by tying the rope to his car. He climbs down to get her. When he gets to her to rope falls. Koerner and the man have cut the rope. Pauline comes up with the idea to inflate the balloon again and fly back up. Koerner comes down. He knocks Harry down and carries away Pauline. Koerner takes her to an abandoned house. He has Pauline tied up, places her on the floor, and sets the room on fire.
            Luckily Harry arrives before the house can burn down and saves Pauline. Back at the house Koerner calls the police to report Pauline missing thinking she is dead. Pauline comes walking into the house with Harry. They are both a bit shaken but they will alright.
            The last few seconds literally end with a question mark since Koerner walks away with the other man. The last title card tells the audience to come back the following week to see another chapter of Pauline’s story.
            I had first heard about the Perils of Pauline through the Betty Hutton film of the same title. That film is good especially because Betty Hutton is hilarious and her Rumble, Rumble, Rumble number is one of my all time favorite musical numbers in a film ever but it barely has anything to do with the real story of the film series or Pearl White. Ever since that time I have been interested in seeing the original Perils.
Fire was put under my behind to watch the series after I began interning at the Fort Lee Museum in Fort Lee, NJ. For those of you who might not be aware Fort Lee was where the motion picture industry really took off. The motion pictures studios in New York would send their troupes over the Hudson River to film outdoor scenes. Soon studios such as Goldwyn, Selznick, World, Solax, Universal, and Éclair built studios in the town. Many films from the various studios filmed along the Palisades Cliffs. At the museum I have seen and handled several photographs and pieces of memorabilia from The Perils of Pauline and also those pertaining to Pearl White. Every few years the museum shows one of the chapters from the series along the cliff side of the Palisades where White filmed many of her famous scenes. The museum even uses a famous photograph of White, camera man Arthur Miller, director George Seitz, and Antonio Moreno on their business cards and other professional signs and posters to advertise. The Perils of Pauline hold a special place in the heart of the local cinephiles in Fort Lee with its view of the Palisades but I believe they take more pride in that Palisades Amusement Park is featured (PAP, even though it closed down, is a huge part of the area’s history).

I greatly enjoyed watching the first chapter of The Perils of Pauline. It was cute and I must say it was even exciting. It is definitely a film and a series I would have liked seeing had I been alive one hundred years ago. Pauline Marvin would have been my hero and someone I admired. 
If you live in New Jersey or would like to take a trip to see some silent film memorabilia please come by The Fort Lee Museum. Also, please visit the Fort LeeFilm Commission’s website for more information on the early film industry.