On my flight home I got to see the delightful Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. How did I escape this film? Well, I was born too late, that’s one reason.
The story revolves around free spirt Mame, who becomes the guardian of her nephew Patrick, who’s orphaned. She’s a smart, unconventional, vivacious woman who lives life to the fullest. When she enrolls Patrick in a school with clothing optional, the bank trustee ships him off to boarding school.
Too bad. While she’s unorthodox, she does love Patrick and there was never any signs that he’d become a danger to himself or society under her watch. He would have wound up much less of a stick in the mud if he stayed with her. Yet their relationship continues and they remain connected as Mame travels the world, marries and is soon widowed.
The film is smart, funny and entertaining. Few comedies, if any, nowadays strike the notes Auntie Mame does. It’s a real treasure.
I’ve just discovered Jerry Seinfeld‘s 2012 web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The premise is simple. Jerry introduces a stunning car, perhaps a 1960 Rolls Royce or a rusty old VW truck. As the camera shows every detail Jerry describes the fine points of the week’s vehicle. Then he calls a comedic legend and picks him (so far there’s only been one woman, Sarah Silverman) up and they go for coffee (or breakfast or tea). All along the way they crack wise about life and examine what makes great comedy work. Often you’ll hear
So far I’ve seen the webisodes with Michael Richards, Larry David, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. The short (17 minutes or so) episodes feature sleek cinematography, elegance and a relaxing, friendly vibe. But if you watch too many, and I’ve decided my limit is two, and the smooth jazz and elegance gets wearing. I mean who’s life is that smooth and easy. So limit yourself.
The 2013 season has just begun with Sarah Silverman.
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Chicago's Wrigley Building
It’s been a whirlwind, a lovely cultural whirlwind the last few weeks in Chicago.
I loved the Japanese Woodblock prints from the 1960′s and 70′s.
Modern Japanese Print
Modern Japanese Woodblock
Wandering downtown lead me to the Chicago Cultural Center, which has interesting exhibits. Their Project Onward, a gallery that sells art created by artists with disabilities charmed me. Lots of whimsical and thought-provoking work.
At the Chicago Cultural Center
I loved Showboat at the Lyric Opera. Anyone in the city must take this in! I had no idea how much I’d like this musical or how many of the songs were well known.
Although I was leaving for China on Tuesday morning, I couldn’t pass up tickets to Showboat. That was a wise choice. The Lyric put on an excellent production, which knocked me off my feet. For days the songs lingered in my head. By all means go see this if you can.
I just saw that this meme has been closed. Oh, well. I’ll find another or just keep up with these Sunday reviews on my own.
“Slow down and take the time to really see. Take a moment to see what is going on around you right now, right where you are. You may be missing something wonderful.”
- J. Michael Thomas
The most hilarious, smart sitcom I’ve seen in a long time is the BBC’sOutnumbered. Each week the parents Pete and Sue valiantly try to survive the chaos inherent in raising precocious children: Jake, Ben and Karen. The plots are loose and the dialog brilliant. Like Curb Your Enthusiasm, much of the dialog is improvised, which is probably why what the kids say seems so real, unlike the average show where the jokes are clearly written by 27 year olds and mouthed by 7 year olds.
I’ve just seen six episodes and the main thread is that the father, a secondary school history teacher, bumbles his way around the disaster he created by making a joke at the expense of one of his heavier students. Sue is a stay at home mom, who’s often overwhelmed, but never comes across as the nincompoop say the mom in Modern Family can be. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it’s because Sue’s smart kids often do have a good point when they argue, whereas the Modern Family kids are clearly reading from a script.
A few realistic, serious problems are woven into the series. Pete’s worried that Jake is a victim of bullying. The issue’s handled better than it would be on many sitcoms. Like in real life, Pete tries to open lines of communication, Jake denies there’s a problem. Then at the end of an episode, once you believe Jake, you see him washing his hands and his forearms are badly bruised. Another issue is caring for an elderly parent in decline. Sue has been the local go-to person for her father while her sister galavants. The sister returns and the relationship is rocky. Sue’s glad for the relief, yet has to hide her jealousy that Angela, her sister succeeds with the father – at first. So as in real life competing feelings exist in one person.
Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives, is witty and fresh, though it was made in 1992. It’s fresher than his recent films that I’ve seen (N.B. I haven’t yet seen Midnight in Paris, and many have said that’s good.) With a great cast including Judy Davis, Sydney Pollack, Mia Farrow, Liam Nielsen, Juliette Lewis and Allen, Husbands and Wives begins with Allen’s two friends announcing they’re divorcing after 15 years. As the plot develops, all the characters question marriage, their wants and needs, their partner’s personalities and ticks, with various degrees of accuracy as the bungle along searching for authentic relationships. Allen plays a writing teacher who, surprise, surprise, falls for the most promising student in his college writing class.
The story has a similar theme to Whatever Works, but this film does work far better. Allen’s character does say something towards the end about his heart wanting what it wants . . . but you can see from this film that that doesn’t lead to a fulfilling life. The film was absorbing so it wasn’t till the end, where thoughts of Allen’s own choices in his marriage with Farrow, diverted my attention. Guess that’s bound to happen. Still it’s a well acted film with a natural plot rhythm (i.e. not glaringly influenced by Syd Field et al’s formula). This film stands the sands of time.
In Web Therapy Lisa Kudrow plays a psychologist, who could use a few sessions herself. Kudrow’s character Fiona Wallis provides 3 minute sessions because in a 50 minutes session there’s so much time wasted on dreams, feelings, past experiences, and what not that don’t add up to much in her book.