Friday, January 30, 2015

Cousins (1989)

 “You've got only one life to live. You can either make it chickenshit or chicken salad.”

            Before you go crazy and think “Ew is this about cousins falling in love with each other? That’s gross.” Yes, Cousins is about two cousins falling in love but they are only related by marriage. Maria Hardy’s (Isabella Rossellini) mother married Larry Kozinski’s (Ted Danson) uncle. Maria and Larry meet for the first time at the wedding.
            Maria is married to Tom (William Petersen) who is a bullshitter hot head car salesman who sleeps around with other women. Larry is married to Tish (Sean Young), a younger woman, and has a teenage son Mitch. During the wedding Tom and Tish take off somewhere and cannot be found leaving Maria and Larry to wait around for them. Tom sees what he believes his wife and her “cousin” flirting and that makes him extremely jealous. After that he goes around to all the women he was sleeping with and tells them he has to break it off.
            Over some time Maria and Larry become close. They enjoy each other’s company where they can each have an intelligent conversation and be the center of each other’s affections and attention. The more time they spend together though the more Tom and Tish become jealous. Tom and Tish both believe their significant others’ relationship is more than just a friendship.
            One day Larry and Maria run away to a cabin out by the water where their relationship becomes more than just a friendship. Maria realizes that she has not been paying attention to her daughter who has been acting out at school because of her lack of attention from her parents. She also wants to focus on Tom who she believes wanders all over the place because she does not pay attention to him either. Tom still fools around and even does so for a while with Tish.
            Maria and Larry finally see each other after a while at another wedding. Tom gets jealous yet again because he can still see his wife is not over another man. Larry comes up to Maria to ask her to dance and to also spend the rest of her life with him. Tom freaks out and tells her they are leaving and if she does not go with him than he is leaving her. Well Tom is a dick so of course Maria decides to dance with Larry.
            The cast was very good. What I want to know is how Isabella Rossellini does perfect. She is perfect. She was, and still is even at the age she is at now, totally gorgeous and she is a very good actress. I definitely watched this movie for Rossellini and in no way does she disappoint. Ted Danson was good he is just not an actor I think is that great. William Petersen will always and forever be Gil Grissom from CSI to me. It was so weird seeing him so young and play such a dick character! He did a great job though because I really hated his character! Sean Young was also very good. I actually felt bad for her character. Tish loved Larry but she was younger than him and acted out in a bit of a childish manner. Beau Bridges plays Larry’s dad. He was hilarious as the comic relief.
            Cousins was not a bad movie. There were parts that kind of dragged but for the most part I liked it. I liked seeing how there were two characters that made each other feel good. They both meant something to each other. My somewhat romantic side likes the idea that there are people that just make another person feel so great to be around. Also my somewhat romantic side would love to have a person in my life like that. The movie is a remake of a French film called Cousin cousine. I have definitely heard of the French version and would like to see it now since seeing it American remake. Cousins is a movie I would gladly sit through again.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Torch Song Trilogy (1988)

“Give yourself time, Arnold. It gets better... But, Arnold, it never goes away.” 

            Not too many movies have ever left an emotional impact. Sure plenty have left an impact with their artistry or storytelling or direction but never really emotionally. Well, I should not say “never” I recently really connected emotionally with The Giant Mechanical Man. For the second time I have emotionally connected with a movie with Torch Song Trilogy.
            Arnold Beckhoff (Harvey Fierstein) is a female impersonator. He is a man with deep feelings who love fiercely and just wants someone to love him back unconditionally. After a show one night he feels he has found the man he has been longing for in Ed. But it turns out Ed is not as comfortable with his sexuality as Arnold is. Ed has never told his parents or his roommate that he is bisexual. When Arnold confronts him one night and makes him choose and Ed decides to go the way the world wants him to go.
            Arnold is left heartbroken for a while until he meets a young man named Alan (Matthew Broderick). Alan is the man Arnold has been waiting for. He loves Arnold and unlike Ed is comfortable with himself and comfortable with Arnold. They plan on spending the rest of their lives together and put in to adopt a child.
            Just when Arnold’s life seems to be going how he imagined it everything gets taken away from him. Ed comes back into his life as a friend and even asks to get back together. His mother (Anne Bancroft) has never embraced his lifestyle and sees it as blasphemous that he mourns for Alan when she had been with his father for thirty-five years before he died. Arnold has it out with his mother once and for all.

            There is a lot more to the story. It is very emotional and sentimental. There was not one weak moment in the entire the movie. Harvey Fierstein wrote an incredible story. You can feel all of Arrnold’s hurt and heartache and love. I watched Torch Song Trilogy for Anne Bancroft (and let me tell you she does not in any way disappoint she was flawless. And for the first time ever I did not like a character she was playing! She was that good!). I had no idea what the story was about. Even if I did read the back of the DVD before hand or looked up the plot it would not have stopped me from seeing it. But I am glad I did not know the story. I am glad I just went into this movie without knowing anything about it. I had no preconceived notions or expectations for it (For quite a few of the movies I have been watching lately I have had no idea what their plots were and they have been so much more enjoyable to watch) and I believe that made me connect to the story and characters a bit better than I would have.  
            Torch Song Trilogy has a story that resonates today. I feel terrible for men and women in the LGBTQ community who struggle with who they are because of society or their families. I felt terrible for Arnold how he only ever had one person in his life who fully accepted him for who he was. I am not part of the LGBTQ community and to feel for Arnold and his situation and his want of love and relate to his story you do not have to be. You just have to be human. If you are human or even if you simply enjoy a well written and well acted movie absolutely watch Torch Song Trilogy

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Silent Sundays: Kid Boots (1926)

“Some girls crave good men- I just want ‘em reliable.”

            Samuel “Kid” Boots (Eddie Cantor) is not a very good looking guy. He has received a card with a caricature of him with his long face and big ears a poem calling him ugly. He is a sad lonely guy working in a tailor shop.
            Clara McCoy (Clara Bow) was out riding in a car with her boyfriend Big Boyle when their car breaks down. Boyle fixes the car but his suit is all messy with grease. Clara makes him buy a new suit before he gets back in the car with her. He goes into the shop Kid works in. Kid sells Boyle a suit but the suit has a hanger that will not come off of it and he places the jacket the big man. Boyle likes it and he walks out with his small suit. He proudly shows his suit off to Clara and she laughs when she sees the hanger. Boyle angrily tears into the tailor shop looking for Kid. Kid manages to get out of the store before Boyle can tear him apart. He runs into Clara outside and she rips her skirt on the car. Kid quickly stitches her skirt and they flirt a bit before Boyle comes running out of the store.
            Kid gets caught at a corner and jumps into a car. The car belongs that belongs to Tom Sterling. Tom drives away with Kid sitting next to him. Boyle somehow manages to catch up with Kid and Tom. Kid walks behind Tom like he is Tom’s friend.
            When Tom enters his apartment his soon-to-be-ex-wife Carmen is sitting seductively on his bed. She wants to come back to him because he has come into three million dollars. She traps him by having her lawyers walk in and seeing her things and her standing next to Tom in her robe. The lawyers say that they now have to stay together unless Tom has a witness. Tom opens the door and Kid comes flying through the door. He is now Tom’s witness. The evil lawyers want to get rid of Kid.
            Tom goes to work as a golf professional at a resort. He brings Kid along with him. Unfortunately Tom did not manage to hide very well. Carmen and her lawyers find out where he is staying and go out to the resort. Tom likes Eleanor the resort owner’s daughter who he has been seeing for golf lessons. Kid sees all these couples having a good time together and it makes him think of Clara. To his surprise Clara is also at the resort as a swim instructor. And sadly so is Boyle. Carmen and her lawyers see Kid acting like a love sick little boy around Clara. That gives the one lawyer the idea to have Carmen “vamp” him away from Clara. While Clara is away changing Carmen sneaks up behind Kid. Not realizing Clara is not behind him he takes Carmen’s hand kisses it. Clara sees this and gets mad at Kid. He just responds by saying women find him irresistible and that he is going to meet with Carmen for tea.
            Of course Carmen does not show up for tea with Kid. He sits by himself at a table that is partially covered by a door. He sees Clara and decides, for some stupid reason, to make her jealous. The way Kid makes Clara jealous is by making his hand look like a females, as if it was Carmen’s and moving it around as if the woman could not keep her hands off of him. He makes his actions so convincing that he makes Clara cry. Kid tries to explain that it was his hand and that Carmen is not behind the door. Of course that backfires on Kid. When he moves the door, Carmen is there having snuck in a few seconds before.
            Tom learns about Carmen being in the hotel. To get ahead of her and the lawyers he leaves the hotel to go to the city where they are to receive their divorce. He tells the bellhop to let Kid stay in his room. Tom tells Kid his plan and to stay behind. When Tom pulls away, Kid overhears the lawyer tell Carmen he will get rid of him. Kid goes up to the lawyer to come with him to a shed under the guise of wanting to ask for some legal advice. In the shed Kid hits the lawyer over the head before he can do anything to him.
            Something happens to Kid that makes him exhausted and he collapses into bed when he gets back to the room. Carmen sneaks into the room and stays there all night. Clara comes to the room the following day to give Carmen a piece of her mind. Carmen shows Clara that she was with Kid the whole night and pulls back the blanket on the bed to reveal Kid fast asleep. The lawyer comes in and tells Carmen that the hotel clerk is willing to sign something that she was in Tom’s room the entire night to use in court.
            Tom calls Kid from the courthouse telling him to get down there. He only has thirty minutes to get from the resort to the hotel. Kid finds Clara driving away. He tells her everything that happens and she tells him what Carmen did. Kid tells her she needs to come with him. Tom told him to take a plane down but the plane does not leave for an hour. Kid and Clara take horses through a mountain path that will be quick to get through. Right after they left on the horses Boyle gets to the airfield. One of the pilots tells Boyle that he thinks Clara and Kid were going to a courthouse to elope. This of course makes Boyle furious.
            Through some way too long mishaps that included Boyle and parachuting down to the courthouse from the cliff of a mountain, Kid and Clara arrive at the courthouse just in time. It takes Clara so long to tell her story of what she saw and heard that the judge, who is eager to leave and go fishing, has enough and grants the divorce. And not surprising, Kid and Clara get married.

            Kid Boots was alright. I really cannot stand plots where the ex-wife is trying to pull one over on the ex-husband and there is all this blackmail and stupid petty lies going back and forth. It was nice to see Clara Bow in a role where she was not the college girl every guy wanted or the seductress in some way. I liked seeing her as a sweet girl who liked the nerdy guy. Put it in basic terms, she was not the girl that was unattainable. This was Eddie Cantor’s first film and he had played the role of Kid Boots in the Broadway production. I have seen Cantor in later films and he drove me crazy. I liked him here though, maybe because he was not talking and his character was nice. Kid Boots is currently available to view on YouTube. It is worth seeing at least once.