During a great girls’ night out with Miss M last night, I realized that I like to write. I like to watch movies, too (but this is not new information to anyone who knows anything about me). Sitting in the theater, waiting for our chosen film to start, it hit me like a punch to the throat with brass knuckles (props to you if you know what movie we saw based on that single scene): quit being lame and write about movies.
I grew up in a family that loves film. I was raised on the classics: James Bond, the Duke, Disney, Monty Python. I have been among those taking flight from New England to avoid attacking aviaries, laughed along with Richard Dreyfuss’s drunken monologue about fruit salad after a disastrous rendition of Richard the Third, and grinned maliciously as Jedediah Nightlinger and the boys take revenge on Bruce Dern for a brutal slaying of Mr. Andersen. I love everything about Cary Grant, and think that Guy Ritchie has an incredible mental vision and brilliantly portrays the city of London as a character in his films. Movies make me happy (even when a sweeping score by Zimmer or Horner turns me back into a hormonal waterworks machine).
That being said, I’m going to attempt to share some of that happiness with you, and you can take my perspectives however you choose: if you think I’m a crappy writer, keep it to yourself. If one of my daily ramblings tempts you into trying a new movie that you would never in a MILLION years dreamt that you’d be interested, then whatever I’m really doing here (read: satisfying my need to voice my thoughts and opinions and maybe have someone else read them) is working. So sit back, grab some Twizzlers and a hugely overpriced soda, and enjoy the show. If I’m writing about it, you know I did.
Thanks to IMDb.com for the basics that I will be using to put my spin on so many amazing (or not so terribly fantastic, but fun and silly) films. Best app ever.
I know I stated in my “About” section that women are weepy. Own it girls: we are. So I’m starting things out right—I’ll share my thoughts on a chick flick.
Today’s Perspective: The Goodbye Girl
1977 (yes, older than me, but you can’t knock it on that fact alone)
Richard Dreyfuss as Elliot Garfield
Marsha Mason as Paula McFadden
Quinn Cummings as Lucy McFadden
Written by Neil Simon
Brief Synopsis: Paula is a mother and former dancer with a 10-year-old daughter who gets “dumped on” by yet another in a string of actors. She’s in a rough spot as another actor, who knows the most recent dumper, is arriving to take over the lease on her apartment, which she shared with the dumper. She learns to accept that not everyone is out to get her and ruin her life by gradually letting people in, and is helped along the way by her insanely precocious (and brilliantly acted) daughter Lucy. Elliot is the new roommate who helps Paula gain some perspective while trying to improve his career, which puts him on the same path as Paula’s string of dumpers.
This is quite possibly one of the most fun emotional chick flicks ever. First off, Neil Simon is an incredible writer, and he made the characters so believable that you feel that you’re in a real apartment in NYC, and you can empathize with the lives of the people you watch. Secondly, it’s adorable in that you truly hope that the two leads will get together by the end of the movie, and you’re rooting for both of them as they work through their trials and differences. Thirdly, who doesn’t love a brilliant child actor? Lucy steals the show.
I like to watch Elliot and Paula interact because he is able to show her that trust can exist between two people who are just getting to know each other. She’s been hurt a LOT in the past, and so accepting the idea of trust from a total stranger is very difficult, but she gets some wake-up calls (some of them not what she wants to hear at all) and begins to trust again. I think all of us can relate to that, and it shows her flaws as a character, which helps us empathize. They’re also an odd couple: she’s a former dancer, single mom, broke, and living on the good graces of another human being, which really checks her pride; he’s NOT the most attractive man to play off-off-off Broadway, and he’s totally different from all of her preconceived notions about what an actor is like in real life.
Get past the soundtrack; it’s definitely from the seventies. Supporting cast is fantastic (especially Mark, Elliot’s OOOB director with a very bizarre take on classic Shakespeare), and the dialogue between mother and daughter is sharp, sarcastic, and just what you’d hope two women could share in their day-to-day survival in the city.
Scene of note: Elliot is hanging out of the window, proclaiming the verbally violent reviews of his most recent stage endeavor to the streets below. So many hilarious things happen in these few short minutes that you have to restart the scene.
Weepy meter: 2/10 You’ll only cry if you’re like me and cry at practically everything. Man meter: 4/10 All thanks to Richard Dreyfuss; how can he turn down the “little fella” from Jaws?
Overall rating: 7/10