Category Archives: Retrospective

Father of the Bride as it should be watched

Leo approved.

For those of you keeping track (me), I still haven’t finished watching “Afternoon Delight” but I did get to revisit “Father of the Bride” as it should be watched – on VHS and with a glass of Miller Lite at my side.

Let me be clear, I am talking about the classic 1991 (the year that brought us the equally nostalgic “My Girl” and me the lakeside house in Wisconsin where I have watched it many, many times) version of this film starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams and Martin Short as Frank, “It’s pronounced FRAHNK Dad.”

I understand that my critical acclaim for this film may be a product of nostalgia and anyone in my generation watching it for the first time now (although I assume this is not possible) would not appreciate the countless “It was then I realized” monologues from George Banks, but I still think it holds up among other films I watched in my formative years.

“Career Opportunities,” which I remember LOVING as a kid, however, does not.

I am sure “My Girl” is also among the films from my early years I would still like, but honestly I think it’s too sad to watch again. Hey, bees, you’re the worst.

Luckily I can see Anna Chlumsky on “Veep” and “Father of the Bride” has a scene set to the song “My Girl,” so I don’t need to go down the road of watching that movie again.

Besides, this week I am actually going to see some new movies screening during the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

Demetri Martin’s directorial debut “Dean” is screening Wednesday and I am seeing a Finnish film “Little Wing,” on Thursday.

Martin is one of my favorite comedians and I already know I like his movie. Now he just needs to start a podcast. Oh no, maybe he has one. I am not allowing myself to look that up because there are 87 episodes on my podcast playlist. Help.

I picked “Little Wing,” (similar to my wine selection strategy) because of the name. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young girl who sets out to find her father and the lead actress in the film will be there for the screening on Thursday.

I am not sure I will be able to see any other films as part of MSPIFF, but luckily the Cannes schedule has been announced and I can just jet off to France to see Sofia Coppola’s new film, “The Beguiled.”

While the film looks really dark, it’s one of the things that’s making me happy this week (stealing from my friends over at Pop Culture Happy Hour) as is the fact that “Mustang” director Deniz Gamze Ergüven has a new film, “Kings.”

I still go back to “Mustang” as one my favorite films from the 366 movies in 366 Days challenge last year so I am intrigued by his next project related to the Rodney King trial in 1992.

Among other happiness-makers, I am going to Marc Maron’s show on Saturday and I learned – because of a mention from my other friends over at Indiewire – that Matt Damon has a new movie, “Downsizing.” I can only imagine that it’s a spin-off of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”

Here is the actual description of the film, “A social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself.”

I always thought my chosen super power would be to be invisible, as long as I don’t inherit any of the fatal flaws that come with having said power, but this makes me rethink my decision. Basically, I just want to shrink down and hang out with Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig (she’s also in the movie) and have Alexander Payne tell us what to do.

(Weird) happiness defined.










seven“This is beginning.”

I can’t really say what prompted me to revisit “Se7en” again (because it’s such a depressing story) but the film came up in the news recently due to its 20th anniversary and being recognized by its peers as one of Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films of all time.

For the most part, it was just as I remember it and “Se7en” is a flawless film that stands the test of time.

It has been long enough since I watched the film that a few of the scenes presented their original fear factor for me. Spoiler alert – the sloth victim is not dead!

Also, according to ShortList’s 30 Facts about “Se7en,” he has three arms.

As the story plays out the first case for David Mills (Brad Pitt) at a fictional city homicide department and the last for William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) their dialogue is a reminder of how heartbreaking the ensuing events are for both characters.

Some of Mills’ one-liners provide a little comic relief  — “Ladies and gentleman, we have ourselves a homicide ” — but it’s no question David Fincher and his team were set on keeping the story as a dark, sad and suspenseful thriller.

Perhaps Somerset says it best with, “This isn’t going to have a happy ending.”

But Fincher, Pitt and Freeman wanted to keep it that way. The studio pushed for a different ending after some test screenings, to no avail, because Pitt and Freeman refused to promote the film if that happened.

I can’t imagine “Se7en” without Pitt and Freeman as the detective duo but that could have happened, too. William Hurt and Al Pacino were in line for Freeman’s role while Denzel Washington and Sylvester Stallone passed on the part of Mills.

I’ll stop with this wormhole of facts about “Se7en,” but what I learned just shows the amount of heart and work it takes to keep the creativity and purpose of a project intact in Hollywood — especially one everyone involved knows is going to be dark and hard to watch.

That is why “Se7en” holds up after 20 years and you should — brace yourself — and watch it again.

“Punch-Drunk Love”

imagesIt turns out that “Punch-Drunk Love” was a perfect movie to watch in remembrance of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

To be honest it is one of the few films he is in that I could find on Netflix streaming and I am not quite ready to commit to revisiting “Capote.” I haven’t seen nearly enough of Hoffman’s performances, but his portrayal of Truman Capote is one of my favorites. I easily could have played the DVD tonight, as it sits on the shelf next to my desk, but I needed something a bit more uplifting.

“Punch-Drunk Love” fit the bill for the most part, even though it is at times unsettling to watch the internal struggles of Adam Sandler’s character (Barry Egan) on screen.

As Egan works through psychological problems and the unexpected aftermath of calling a phone sex line, he falls in love with Lena (Emily Watson).

Hoffman steals scenes as Dean Trumbell, the owner of a mattress store that is a front for the phone sex line. It’s hard not to love him in the role and laugh in the few scenes where he is screaming expletives and “shut up!”

“Punch-Drunk Love” was Hoffman’s second-to-last film with writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson, who most recently cast the late actor in “The Master.”

I obviously didn’t know Hoffman, but I think he’s the type of actor who builds a connection with his fans through becoming each character on-screen and bringing his own ideas and experiences to each role.

Sadly, he had many more projects in the works that will never be complete.

Since his death many critics have said Hoffman, even with his catalog of acting, writing and directing dating back to the early 1990s, was just getting to his prime and definitely had a lot more to offer.

All that can be done now is to appreciate the gift he shared with all of us and respect the person he was.

“That’s that.” (Dean Trumbell)