Philip (Steve Martin) runs a lifeline out of a decrepit building which is due to be replaced by condos any time, but he doesn’t have the heart to tell his staff Mrs. Munchnik (Madeline Kahn) or Catherine (Rita Wilson). Meanwhile, Catherine has befriended Gracie (Juliette Lewis), a local pregnant girl whose partner Felix (Anthony LaPaglia) is an ex-con who has no job and keeps getting hurt and treated by local vet Dr. Kinsky (Rob Reiner). Then there is Louie (Adam Sandler playing his somewhat mentally lacking character by doing a stupid voice) and Chris (Liev Schreiber) a transvestite who needs to get away from his appalling family.
Perhaps in the nineties it was more okay to make fun of mental illness. I don’t recall. What I know is that this film is somewhat of a strange mix of good and bad representations – Philip and several other characters balk when they see a man in a dress, but it doesn’t take them too long to accept him – so bad then good… There are some things that kind of work in this film, but overall it is just a massive mess that, if it worked in 1994, it doesn’t hold up now.
This Martin Scorsese remake of the 1962 film has Robert De Niro playing Max Cady, just released from prison after serving fourteen years for beating and raping a young girl. Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte) was his lawyer who buried evidence that his victim had been promiscuous, concerned that this may have reduced Cady’s sentence. Cady begins to stalk Bowden and his family, wife Leigh (Jessica Lange) and fifteen-year-old daughter Danielle (Juliette Lewis). When the law cannot help him, Bowden tries to take things into his own hands.
The heavy influences from Alfred Hitchcock are most obvious in the unnerving camera angles and intense music, but for me, instead of making it a classic, strong thriller, it was fairly absurd. I’m generally not great with thrillers, but this really didn’t bother me too much at all. Although I found it a bit difficult to get past De Niro’s accent.
Cape Fear was nominated for Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robert De Niro) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Juliette Lewis).
Having seen European Vacation almost yearly (given how often it is screened on television) I’ve somehow made it this far without seeing Christmas Vacation, and I’m glad I’ve finally seen it, in all its slapstick glory.
The story is pretty typical of a Christmas film; a man wants a perfect Christmas for his family, and has little consideration of how it may affect those around him. The man is Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), and his family are his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), son Buck (Johnny Galecki now known for The Big Bang Theory) and daughter Audrey (Juliette Lewis). And all the ring-ins – both sets of parents and trailer trash brother-in-law. Clark is expecting his Christmas bonus, and has put a deposit on a pool in anticipation, however he is left waiting for a long time. Meanwhile, everything he does seems to be ruining the lives of the yuppies next door (Julia Louise Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest)
It’s fun and stupid and worth a watch, just don’t be expecting Citizen Kane. Unless you really like disappointment; or hate Citizen Kane.
Beveley Weston (Sam Shepard) an alcoholic academic goes missing, and the three daughters he had with pill-popping wife Violet (Meryl Streep) return to support her. But each have their secrets and problems leading to a massively volatile time.
I saw this as a play by MTC a few years ago and loved it. I especially loved the set, but seemed to recall that the script was very impressive. Hence, I was concerned about watching the film; would it hold up? Would it be overwhelmed by the big names in the cast? (Meryl Streep, Sam Shepard, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin and Benedict Cumberbatch as the main names)
I think it held up extremely well. It’s certainly not a happy film; if you are ever feeling that you are taking your family for granted, watch this. You will love them so much more. So many horrible people in one place.
It is surprising that the film has only been nominated for awards for acting in the Oscars and Golden Globes. With such a strong story and excellent performances, I would have expected it would at least be nominated for Best Film. It’s a far better film that The Wolf of Wall Street. But then, it wasn’t directed by Martin Scorsese, and the main performances are by women. It seems to be a bit of a pattern for the awards I’ve noticed; the films that have been nominated for best performances by actresses are less likely to appear in the best film category than the films nominated for best performance by actor. Sexist? Or are women just not getting leads in good films? Are male stories better? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
Interestingly, just after I wrote this, I was sent a link to an article about sexism in the film industry featuring Olivia Wilde. Here it is. She took part in an experiment with some male actors reading aloud from the script of American Pie, only swapping male and female parts. The ladies got the laughs, the guys got bored. Interesting. (I should note that I don’t know anything about PolicyMic. It’s just the link I read. Lazy journalism? I’m not a journalist. FYI)
August: Osage County was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Julia Roberts), for Golden Globes for Best Actress in A Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Julia Roberts) and for a BAFTA Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts).
Small town America. When Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) is not working at the small grocery store, he is taking care of his severely obese mother, Bonnie (Darlene Cates) and his mentally disabled younger brother, Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio). But when Becky (Juliette Lewis) comes into his life, things seem to change.
I think this has to go down as one of my favourite films. Certainly, I have had a crush on Johnny Depp since 21 Jump Street days (the TV show, not the film), and perhaps this was one of the main reasons I loved the film when I was a teenager. But seeing it again recently, I recalled just how good it is. Strong story, excellent performances, some humour and a lot of emotion. The sense of a small town, of people who are very set in their ways, of being trapped by circumstance is strong in many of the characters, but none more than Gilbert. He has no sense of futre; only a claustrophobic present.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Leonardo DiCaprio).