Count me as one of those who dislikes the TV show Girls.
I’ve tried watching it, albeit sporadically. The verdict: Yuck.
Creator Lena Dunham has talent; there’s no doubt about that. I don’t always care for her work; Tiny Furniture was, in my opinion, tedious and unconvincing. But she does have a certain style and, well, je ne sais quoi. She can write.
If only Girls used her talents better.
There’s something about the program that seems off-the-cuff, in a bad way. It feels forced, uninvolving. I’m not invested in the characters, who generally aren’t compelling. And the whole thing smacks of navel-gazing, to the extent that it’s hard to watch. I may be in the minority on this, but I strongly believe in what I say. Girls, to me, is artificial, plastic. I bounce off it, as a viewer, rather than get absorbed by it.
So why am I watching it? Well, it’s a not-so-long story. My wife enjoys it greatly, and when it’s on, I tune in. Then tune out just as fast. Without an engaging storyline, it doesn’t drive me to stick with it. I invariably end up checking out clips of wacky animals on my cell phone.
A good TV show won’t give you the chance to do that. A good TV show will force you to watch and avoid those charming YouTube videos.
I need a good TV show in my life. I don’t need Girls.
OK, maybe there has only been one remake of the “classic” Ira Levin tale. But still. The most recent iteration of Rosemary’s Baby (from 2014) just plain stunk.
So why did we watch it? Well, the blame for this falls on Trudi (love ya, Trudi!), who ordered this magnificent piece of garbage from Netflix. Hey, it has Zoe Saldana, Carole Bouquet and Jason Isaacs in it; can’t be bad, right?
A plodding, tiresome wreck of a film, RB slouches along interminably, stopping on the way to showcase tedious dream sequences, a bit of fake blood and bland dialogue. Unconvincing stuff, methinks, which is sad because the original 1968 version directed by Roman Polanski was so involving.
It just goes to show you: Some things do not need a remake. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And so on.
Apparently, this latest version of the story was made for TV, but in this day and age, that’s not necessarily the kiss of death. Plenty of quality television hits the airwaves in this era, much of it on cable, and so there’s no excuse for not churning out a good product on the small screen.
In other words, this flick should’ve been a lot better … especially given its bloodlines. Maybe they should’ve remade Robot Monster instead.
I would’ve watched that.
I always thought Damn Yankees! was a severely underrated musical.
It has fun, catchy songs. Great, inimitable turns by Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston. And an amusing, baseball-centric story relating to the Washington Senators’ Devil-assisted quest for the pennant.
Now that baseball season is nearly upon us, this film should be on the plates of cineastes everywhere.
I’m not sure why it isn’t. For some reason, it’s hard to find on TV these days, despite the fame of many of its numbers (“You Gotta Have Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants” included). There are laughs and charm within this piece of celluloid. Someone should schedule it for the telly more often.
I admit that my thoughts do turn to baseball when February and March roll around, and though a wealth of film choices pertaining to the Great American Pastime is available year-round, musical options are limited. That’s one of the reasons why Damn Yankees! is so valuable. It’s unusual, an anomaly. And good enough to be a standard.
I, for one, can’t wait to see it again.
Last night, I had the opportunity to see the legendary Tommy Tune perform live at the New York City Center in a production of George Gershwin’s scintillating musical Lady, Be Good … and I have to say, it was worth squeezing in the tight seats to do so.
The shimmering Gershwin numbers, which included “Fascinating Rhythm,” were played in a sparkling manner by the small, on-stage orchestra (which nevertheless featured two pianos) and were complemented by singing and dancing from the towering Tune and a terrific, talented cast. Yes, Tune, even though he’s in his mid-70s, showed excellent range and a solid, well-maintained voice, along with lively feet that didn’t miss a beat. He’s still got it.
Strangely, Tune’s career in feature films has been sporadic, though he’s had a number of onscreen appearances, as well as quite a few turns on TV. If movie musicals were more prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, I wonder if his career path would’ve been different. I’m not lamenting anything … just wondering.
Anyway, it was a treat to see him and everyone else perform the effervescent material the way it was supposed to be done. Kudos to Tune and City Center for making this wonderful evening come to fruition.
It’s hard to go back and dig the movies you loved in childhood as much after becoming an adult, but I’d say Meet Me in St. Louis stands the test of time. This favorite of old has a real evergreen quality, with charming, tuneful songs, able performances and vibrant direction.
So why haven’t I seen it that often?
It’s not always on TV; there’s one reason. And the fact is, I chanced upon it last night on the telly. For some reason, I don’t seek it out like I do other movies. I guess that’s too bad. It’s really worth looking for.
Of course, it’s Judy Garland’s movie, and she’s terrific in it. The film basically glows, and it’s mostly because of her; she sings the marvelous tunes with such feeling that you’re likely to join her in regaling your loved ones with the catchy melodies. I did, despite the fact that my pipes are nowhere near what Garland’s were.
That didn’t stop me, however.
Meet Me in St. Louis is one of those pictures that has aged as gracefully as a fine wine, and it’s one of the few flicks that remains as good now as it did when I was a kid. I’m happy about that; it makes revisiting my childhood all the more special while allowing me to retain a grown-up’s perspective. You don’t get that chance too often. You’ve got to enjoy it while it lasts.
I’m doing that right now.
I only got the chance to see the last 30 minutes or so of Make Way for Tomorrow last night on TV, but I didn’t need any more.
This melancholy tale, starring Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi as a pair of married seniors, was quite well done … and I knew I didn’t need to watch it further to make that determination. There was part of me that didn’t want to view more anyway, as it was rather sniffle-inducing, and I was more in the mood for something lighthearted. This picture had lively moments, certainly, but it ended on a sad note. Not the kind of pick-me-up fare I was seeking.
Still, I’m wondering whether I’ll encounter it again in the future. It’ll probably be back on the telly at some point, though it’s hard to say whether I’ll be in front of it then. Maybe I’ll revisit it and start from the beginning. Or maybe I’ll just let it go. Sometimes the experience of a movie isn’t always a complete one. Sometimes it’s better to leave it unfinished.
Perhaps this is one of those times. A little bit was enough on this occasion. Whether it might do the trick for the rest of my life, I don’t know.
OMG … I actually liked a movie with Joan Crawford in it!
That film was Humoresque, which I watched for the first time on TV last night. Quite a fun, if melodramatic ride, centering on the love affair an egocentric though brilliant violinist (played by John Garfield) has with a married socialite (Crawford). Normally, I don’t care for pictures with Joan in it, but this one had a good script co-written by Clifford Odets and able direction from Jean Negulesco. Plus, simply glorious violin playing by the incomparable Isaac Stern, who did the virtuoso performances attributed to Garfield’s musician character.
So does that mean, all of a sudden, that I’m a big Crawford fan? Not at all. This film rose above the usual sordid plotlines her flicks so often seemed to encapsulate, making it altogether a more interesting work. I frequently find her acting overdone, but in this case, she kept her portrayal in check. Whether that’s due more to the direction or her own ability, I don’t know.
Certainly, any film that features snippets from Bizet’s Carmen and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde has got to be good, right?
Well … the jury’s still out on that.
Just thought I’d jump into the ring regarding the controversy surrounding the upcoming movie The Interview.
Saw a trailer for it recently. It looks pretty silly and sophomoric. And the premise – that a TV star and his producer would be recruited to “take out” maniacal North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – is ridiculous. Folks can rest easy. It’s just a movie.
Funny thing is, no one seemed to mind when Leslie Nielsen’s bumbling policeman Frank Drebin beat up world leader caricatures – including one of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini – with two-fisted aplomb in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Maybe because the context was so ludicrous, it couldn’t be taken seriously. My feeling is The Interview should be viewed in the same way. I repeat: It’s just a movie. It’s not advocating anything … right?
Which is not to say that filmmakers and their pictures shouldn’t necessarily be absolved of responsibility for the outlook of their projects. In this case, I think, the idea is so absurd that any fears about the prospect of potential political upheaval are unfounded. Case closed.
Please don’t fault me for watching Conan the Destroyer.
It’s a horrible movie, I know. But it’s something of a guilty pleasure. And in watching it last night, I marveled at a quality I hadn’t really noticed before.
The special effects. They’re just plain awful.
Rubber suits galore. Bad animation. Welcome to the world of Conan. Where things are really cheesy.
Which is not to say that the effects are so much worse than, say, the acting, which is just as horrid. Still, you have to wonder how this stuff passed muster. It looked lousy then. It looks lousy now.
Yet I always find it on TV, for some reason. Maybe there’s a market for it.
One can always hope not.
I have to admit: I’ve been staying at home a lot and watching films on TV rather than going to the theaters to see them.
That includes no-longer-first-run movies. These days, I generally wait until they hit pay-per-view to watch ’em.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t like going to the theaters. On the contrary. There’s something beautiful about viewing a film in the dark amid a host of unfamiliar people while nursing a bucket of artificially moistened popcorn and a strangely sweet diet soda. I like it. That I haven’t done it much lately is more a testament to my laziness than my desire to stay home.
That will change soon. I’m making a non-New Year’s resolution. I plan on going out to see more movies … as soon as I drop the remote.
No, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop watching films on pay-per-view or the commercial channels. It just means I’ll be in the theaters more often – where movies are meant to be shown.
I may even go see a bad flick or two, just for the heck of it. Now that’s a change in philosophy if there ever was one. You gotta be dedicated to the cinema if you make a resolution like that.
Well, I am. I’m dedicated to the cinema. And I’ll be at the theaters more. I promise you.
What channel is that TV menu/guide thingy on again?