These Types of Movies Rock!

 

In 1962, Sophia Loren won the Best Actress Oscar in “Two Women”…In 1965, “Shelley Winters” took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “A Patch of Blue“.  Both movies were tackling issues that a lot of writers will not touch on any longer–or if they do, they do something stupid when writing it (and/or putting the cast together–like they did with “The Women” in 2008) and it crashes on the remake. Both “Two Women” and “A Patch of Blue” were somewhat ahead of their time, I think, but were important to film history itself.

This movie rivets viewers even 52 years after it’s release…

One of the most important films of the era, “A Patch of Blue” tackles racism, abuse, alcoholism in such a way it made one think back then. This film was definitely ahead of its time in many respects. It was well before the on air kiss of Captain Kirk and Uhura on “Star Trek, too…No they don’t kiss here, but it’s obvious that these characters had some type of feelings toward each other.

I feel the same way about “Chariots of Fire”.  The reason that movie has  had so much staying power over 30 years time is that there is a universal issue it tackles that has absolutely nothing to do with religious faith of some sort, but more to the point of being true to one’s self despite what society tries to dictate.  In short,  Eric Liddel and Harold Abrahams had huge sets of cojones and did not compromise on what they stood for, period.

Ben Cross and Ian Charleson portrayed them well.  It took equal amounts of cojones to even take the parts given what society says of that sort of thing now. After reading what Ben Cross did to prepare for that role, I am convinced that he and Charleson are the other two reasons that movie will have staying power for another 30 years in film history.  Argue with me all you want, but you won’t change my mind or the minds of the fans who watch these types of films again and again. The themes are timeless and universal–and that is what is severely lacking in what is being put out today in Hollywood, so they try to remake EVERYTHING.  They need to get back to some original thought and scrap the damned remakes altogether–especially when it comes to classic movies like these.

One of the best movies in 30 years–and it has new life in it again…

Instead of tossing us bones like they would to a dog, Hollywood needs to start putting some meat out there–and NO I’M NOT talking about eye candy…I’m talking about using seasoned actors and actresses that can REALLY ACT.  It doesn’t matter if they are older–I want to be able to believe if someone is going to play a murderer, then I want that actor/actress to play said murderer well enough that I’ll believe he/she IS THE CHARACTER and is about to bolt through that screen to kill my ass!  The late Jack Palance had a knack for this–in fact he was so good, he scared a fellow cast mate once.  I believe strongly that Hollywood is going to suffer some backlash if it doesn’t stop this constant marketing to teens, ‘tweens, and those who love the bloody “chick flicks”.  Baby boomers outnumber the other audiences and they are tired of this trend, I think.  I know I definitely am.  Of the movies I’ve seen in the past year and a half, “The Help” is the best one so far.

If someone were to build competing film studios in other states that marketed to my age bracket, they would make a killing because people in those states would invest in a good film. They say non-attendance in theaters is why films are made to cater to the youthful market. That is crap in my book. If they would market to us and the entire families we have, they’d make more money.  I think that for every teen that will go to a flick, there are 3 adults that will go if the movie is worth a damn. If not, they simply leave the kids to their own devices while they use Redbox, VOD, or PPV.

There are few actors and actresses that can pull of that wonderful feat of letting that character breathe through them to the extent that it seems real.  Ben Cross, Melissa Leo, Gary Cairns II, Jessica Chastain, Dallas Bryce Howard, Glenn Close and Zachary Quinto are among that number. Just a note here:  I hated the Dark Shadows remake–totally detested it, but that kid Gulliver McGrath is going to have a good career ahead of him…Even as young as he is, he is totally believable in character.   Michele Pfeiffer also did well in that film.  They were the only good things about that fiasco.

WE NEVER Seem to Notice What is WORTH Noticing, Do We?

This is a post unlike any I have ever done, but I think it took someone else to describe what it is I tend to look for…Deeds…Not personalities…Actions do speak louder than words, don’t they?  We spend most of our youth being programmed into what others want us to be, but when do we become ourselves?

I learned early on that life for me was one cage evolving into another. I spent most of my life watching shows and movies looking for heroes to save me from the hell I called my life from the time I was a child.  Then I came to a harsh realization.  No hero was coming.  No one was hearing me crying from the time I was 11 to the time I was grown–except me, a mouse named Brutus (at one point) and the air.

Until anyone can tell me what it is like to be so scared to leave one’s own room that they crouch over a hole in the floor to piss under the house rather than risk sneaking to the bathroom, then nobody can tell me what fear really is.  I learned early on what it is, but I never learned how to do anything but to mentally escape from those awful memories.

One of the movies I love the most now is called “The Shawshank Redemption“. When I watched that, it was the day I realized I had escaped and I felt very empowered by the fact.

When I watch movies, I look for things that CAN play out in life.  Because I knew there were no heroes, I hated the Marvel comics and such my brother loved.   I hated cartoons like Johnny Quest and such because, again, they weren’t real.  It was the musicians that caught my attention then. Many sang about things I wanted to feel.  If there  was anything I wanted to feel it was to feel loved for the person I was inside….

Most of those same cartoons depicted good winning over evil, but in my home it seemed that it was the evil winning. It was eating at the heart of my family like a cancer.  I endured a lot and survived.  I truly did live in a war zone.  Any step I took could result in all hell being unleashed.

As a result I grew weary of Hollywood and all the fake heroes being put out–but I still had a thing for “Fast Times at Ridgmont High” and (as I have discussed before)  “The Breakfast Club“.  I can also assure you that the tale of each kid in that latter movie in some way mimicked my life–except for Claire’s. I related most to Ally Sheedy‘s character who (she says) was ignored.  Nobody really knows what went through her head…

However by then, for the most part I stopped  spending  money on movie tickets because I realized that much of what was coming out was hype more than substance. The one movie I SHOULD have went to see was “Chariots of Fire”.  At least the two main characters were real and did exist.  Ian Charleson and Ben Cross brought the two men to life for me in that film when I finally saw it a few years ago.  In hindsight, not many will dispute the idea that Ben Cross should have gotten an Oscar (or at least the nod) for how he brought Abrahams to life in that movie, but for whatever reason, that did not happen for him.

He played a bigger role a few years before that and very few people took note of this during an interview he did–but they damned well should have.  The man stood up for what he felt was right and that, in my book is more worthy of being book material and/or put on celluloid than this bloody trash Hollywood keeps throwing at us as of late…Ben put himself on the line and could have ended up in a Russian prison for it years ago.  I hope he writes that story soon.  That is the type of story we need out there…Not this Depp/Burton “Dark Shadows”  fiasco  or the “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” crap!

If you’re interested in knowing what the hell I am talking about, I will refer you to an interview he did in 1982–the year my son Eric was born.  Had I read this interview then, the man’s picture  would have been right up on my wall next to John Lennon’s for having the guts to stand up for what he believed was right in a time when the political turmoil was immense.  That is a person worth looking up to.  Too bad I never knew about this until YESTERDAY because to me, THIS  is what heroes are really made of. If actions do indeed speak louder than words, then the words he spoke in this interview should have resulted in his actions screaming at an entire generation or two.

I remember going to NYC in 1981 and seeing Russian subs off of the coast so I know if I had seen this, I’d have done a double take!

Mr. Cross, you can be as humble as you want to be, but this is one story that does need to be shared. I am glad the interview was still available…

Here is the link:

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20081839,00.html

I know the action he took to help a Russian couple trying to leave Communist Russia (which was a prison cage in itself) screamed at me quite loudly–and while he has such a knack for bringing these characters he plays to life, it is this time that should be shared with the world because there is a message in it worth hearing and seeing–and it is real.

Sometimes it takes conscience and a bit of unbridled individualism to do the right thing.  He certainly did so, and for that he has my utmost respect.  Right now he plays a villain called “Mr. Rabbit” on the Cinemax show, “Banshee” and he is doing an excellent job.  I hope this opens many doors for him to come, as he certainly deserves that after all these years.

Yeah…I’m talking about the same guy who played Harold Abrahams in “Chariots of Fire”! This guy is probably one of the bravest people I have NEVER met!

And here is a link to a performance the Galina and Valery Panov did after their defection…They were so marvelous!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMMbdG6eB-8