Always (1989)

5 Kernels

Stars: Holly Hunter, Richard Dreyfuss, John Goodman, Brad Johnson
:Reaches back to the old movies on VHS:

“Always” will always been one of my all-time favorites for romantic movies. I still own it on VHS, and really need to update to DVD.

With all of the recent fires in Colorado and the pictures of planes dropping fire retardant chemicals upon the raging forests below, it’s a good time to dust off this movie and watch it again. It takes you into a world of aerial firefighters, who risk their lives to save the forest.

The story revolves around not only their jobs, but the love between a hot-shot pilot (Pete, played by Richard Dreyfuss) and his girl, Dorinda (played by Holly Hunter), who works with the crew. The analogy that love can either be a flash fire that burns quickly, or one that burns slowly and lasts forever, is part of the message buried within the story.

Steven Spielberg directed the movie, and it’s sort of a rehash of “A Guy Named Joe” from 1943. Instead of being set in WWII, it’s set in a war of a different type. The movie is a great comedy, with Goodman playing Al, who is another pilot who doesn’t take the fool-hearty chances that Pete does. Between the two of them, there are some great laughs when they taunt each other as best friends.

Pete is a terrible risk taker. Dorinda knows if Pete keeps up his antics of taking chances, one day his number is going to be up. She has that premonition and asks him to quit and take a job as a trainer instead. Reluctantly, Pete finally agrees, but not before one last flight that takes his life in a blazing explosion.

The remainder of the story is a fantasy-filled adventure of Pete haunting Dorinda and Al. Dorinda, can’t move on, and Pete can’t seem to let go. Al is crazy Al, only now he’s smart and teaching the younger generation to fly the planes above burning timber, rather than doing it himself. Audrey Hepburn plays an interesting role in the afterlife, which is actually her final film appearance.

It’s a moving and funny movie that I’ve liked for many years. Dreyfuss is at his best. Goodman is funny. Holly is heartfelt in her grief, and her cutesie new lover boy (Brad Johnson) is definite eye candy. The life and atmosphere of the men and women who risk their lives to put out forest fires is an educational watch and well worth the time on a recliner or couch.

Favorite Lines: (Dorinda) He’s too beautiful. He’s too much twisted steel and sex appeal. I can’t be with a guy that looks like I won him in a raffle. (Speaking of Ted Baker, her new love interest.)

(Pete) [Speaking to Dorinda after he’s dead] I know now, that the love we hold back is the only pain that follows us here. (Wow! What a line to think about.)

 

My Mom’s New Boyfriend (2008)

2 Kernels

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Meg Ryan, Colin Hanks, Selma Blaire

Type: Movie
(Straight to DVD in the US)

There was a time when Meg Ryan was America’s sweetheart on film. After seeing her in this movie with her Botox lips (some say implants) and a smile that makes her look like the Joker, I want to cry.

When the movie first started, I thought it interesting that the camera didn’t focus upon her face for a very long periods of time. Some shots were glancing seconds or side and back views. Now I know why. Even with makeup head on, and hair that kept falling into her face and obscuring her looks, it didn’t help to hide what had happened to Meg Ryan’s face. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and cry “why?” It’s obvious that the cover for the DVD box has been Photoshop altered to repair the damage.

Looking beyond the physical changes to Meg, I cannot say that this movie had very many redeeming qualities rather than being a mildly entertaining romantic comedy. It played very limited worldwide, no doubt flopped, and then went straight to DVD in the United States. You’ve probably not seen it in theaters, that’s why.
It’s about a fat woman with low self-esteem, who has a dead husband that was a sod and in prison. One day her son, who turned out well and has a career with the FBI (played by Colin Hanks-Tom Hanks’ son), leaves on a hush-hush mission. Marty (Meg) flops on the floor of the airport after saying goodbye to drown herself with food and drink. Suddenly the light goes on that she needs to change after someone drops a quarter in her coffee cup as he walks by thinking she’s homeless. As a result of that one incident, she changes her ways and turns into a skinny rail with a protruding rib cage (the new look of beauty).

Her son, who hasn’t seen his mother in three years, returns home to find a changed body and a mother who is gone off the deep end. Rather than finding herself through traveling the world and studying various religions, as she tells him over dinner, I thought she lost herself instead. The woman has a loose screw. She’s running around dating various men, out at all hours of the night, and humping an 18-year old in her own home, who looks like he’s 16 with a mentality of a 14-year old. Frankly, it was crass.

Enters Antonio Banderas (Tommy), who we are led to believe is the “bad boy” art thief. He meets the family by accident, and suddenly becomes involved in their lives. Marty and Tommy fall in love, and supposedly have a hot scene in the bedroom playing itsy-bitsy spider. Well, I’d play anything in bed with Antonio myself, but the scene fails big time and is far from a tender moment of romance between two lovers – its’ a joke.

Everyone has secrets, it appears. Her son ends up investigating Tommy and is part of an FBI stakeout to watch his movements. The movie ends revealing he’s really not a bad boy after all. Ah, love. He kisses Meg’s Joker smile, and they live happily ever after.

I almost want to apologize for my lack in liking the movie. Instead, the only message I came away with it is this: Watch out for plastic surgery. It can kill a career.

On the lighter side, I’ve seen more recent pictures of Meg. She seems to be looking better as she embarks on her 51st birthday, and I’m not sure if that’s due to corrective surgery or not. However, she was so pretty to begin with, that I don’t understand why she had to mess with perfection and not choose to age gracefully like other stars.

What do you think ladies?


Favorite Lines:
None.

Favorite Scenes: The Credits

Serendipity (2001)

4 Kernels

Stars: John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale

Okay, okay. Every once in a while I get sucked into a sappy contemporary comedy. I even run out and buy the soundtrack. I will admit, this one rates high on my sap list.

There are a few harsh reviews on Amazon regarding the believability. Is it because in today’s society the idea of “soul mates,” “fated as lovers,” “you are my destiny” and “made for each other,” is pretty much dead? I suppose if they really existed, I don’t think the divorce rate would be as high. Serendipity, though, wants you to believe and have faith.

When a movie like Serendipity comes along and presents the notion there is more out there than what you’ve settled for, you have a choice. What if something in your gut tells you the chance of a lifetime slipped through your fingers on one cold winter’s night? You can ignore the tug upon your heart or make sure you’re not hallucinating. It’s a fantasy-filled love story of possibilities; or a bunch of idiotic trash depending on whether you wear those rose-colored glasses or not.

Where do I stand? I’m one of the disenchanted in the realm of love, but I still believe in soul mates, fated lovers, and the made for each other mentality. I do believe something can spark in the heart of two people who meet and instantly know they’d be good together, even if it’s only in one night. Enter Serendipity – that fortuitous happy accident, when the stars align and all is right with the universe.

However, like all movies there is a need for conflict to keep the ball rolling. Their fateful moment slips away, and years later they are attached to others and about to be married. Haunted by the possibilities, as they accept the less-than-perfect mates they are soon to wed (let’s hear a cheer this happens before they are married), they embark on finding that elusive individual they met years ago. Impossible? Probably. Hard to believe they did find each other? Yes. Yet, this is make-believe. It’s a movie, not reality, and is meant to leave you warm and fuzzy inside or disgruntled over the load of crap you just watched.

John Cusack, as usual, is terrific. The comedy is sweet. The frustration believable. That crazy book with the inside cover you’re waiting for him to flip over and see fated writing inside – priceless. Especially, when he receives it as a wedding present from his fiancee. Yes, two people get hurt, but better yet saved from marrying someone who carried doubts and unresolved “what if’s” into a marriage that probably would not have lasted anyway.

My Favorite Lines: (Sara) You don’t have to understand. You just have to have faith. (Jonathan) Faith in what? (Sara) Destiny

 

Cheri (2009)

3 Kernels


Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, and Kathy Bates
Type: Movie

 

Since I’ve written a book myself about 19th century legalized prostitution in France and the way things were, an acquaintance recommended I watch this movie. After all the research I’ve done on prostitution, mistresses, lorettes, and the like, it was interesting to see the life of an aging, though gorgeous, woman in that profession. Of course, let’s be honest ladies, Michelle Pfeiffer never ages. :inserts sneer of jealousy:

Cheri, based on a novel of the same name, is set in 1900 France. Lea, the aging courtesan, falls in love with the son of another courtesan. Both ladies are rich from their years of sexual trysts with high society men and aristocrats. Factually, that’s quite true that courtesans were showered with gifts from their benefactors of money and jewels.

The question remains — what happens to those women when they age? Well, Cheri, is a good example of one woman clinging to her youth through a man (named Fred, but nicknamed Cheri), who is old enough to be her own son. She let’s herself fall in love, when she really knows better than to get emotionally involved, and he falls in love with her against his better judgment. A six-year affair ensues, even when he marries another. The outcome of their relationship is heartbreaking.

I thoroughly understand the desperate attempt of a woman who wants to keep their attractive youth and need to be desired. After all, she’s spent the majority of her life been desired, sought after by important men, and pampered. Yet it was quite sad to think after all she’s attained monetarily in life, she’s never obtained the true riches of a lasting love and relationship. She may die rich and good looking, but no doubt she’ll die alone.

The premise was interesting, the acting so-so, the pace a bit tiring, but Michelle’s wardrobe was to die for (along with her figure). Rupert Friend portrayed his character quite well, and good old Kathy Bates is always great in whatever she does.

Favorite Lines: (Lea de Lonval): I’m probably making a fool of myself… but then again, why not? Life is short!

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