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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Playing Catch Up!

Wow, it has been a long week, and now I’m totally behind in my movies.  OK, so in order to be able to keep up, I will forgo my previously chosen movies, and give you the “short, short” version of a handful of flicks I have seen before.  Tomorrow, I should be able to give you a legit post…

I count The Fighting Sullivans as a movie, since I recommended it and all on Sunday.  So, that was #357.  Up next…

#356: Summer Magic (1963).  This was a Disney Haley Mills vehicle, and boy is it fun!  It’s about a family, the Carey’s, who lost their patriarch and are forced to move to a tiny little apartment across town (Boston), but little schemer Nancy has already written to the Postmaster of idyllic Beulah, Maine, about a house they once saw while on vacation, affectionately known as “The Yellow House”.  The Postmaster (played brilliantly by Burl Ives) tells a little lie (as does Nancy – actually a TON of little lies to get the house) and lets them live there.  There’s city slicker-turned-country mouse hilarity, as well as genuine heart and, yes, schmaltz.  The songs are from the Sherman Brothers, so you know they’re awesome.  Check it out - it’s a harmless little piece of fluff.  This is my favourite song from the movie: (couldn't find a clip of the actual scene, but the song is a gem, and I want it played at my future wedding!)

#355: Truman (1995).  This made for HBO Biopic about US President Harry S. Truman (played by the always brilliant Gary Sinise) probably could have been a theatrical film.  Then again, HBO is known for its excellence in movies.  It’s a pretty straight-forward biopic, and does show Truman in a fairly favourable light, but then again, he was a pretty decent guy to begin with.  There’s not much on his life as a youngster, but then we would have had a John Adams length series, and this was before Tom Hanks teamed up with HBO.  The only weak link casting-wise I can think of is Amelia Campbell, who plays Truman’s daughter Margaret.  But her role isn’t really that big, so it doesn’t really take away from the rest of the movie.  It should be noted that this biopic is based off of David McCullough’s book Truman, which is why it’s so damn good.  Check it out, even if only for the greatness that is Gary Sinise.


#354: Isn’t She Great? (2000).  No, she really isn’t… This is another biopic about the late, great author Jacqueline Susann.  Susann is most well-known for Valley of the Dolls, also my favourite book.  Don’t judge.  It’s awesome.  Anyway, the biggest problem here is that Susann actually led a crazy interesting life, most of which is glossed over.  The movie is cartoonish at the beginning, but calms down a little as the film progresses.  Even Susann’s breast cancer is handled with a seemingly light touch.  The thing that kills me is that Susann is played by Bette Midler, who I know is a terrific actress, but the overall tone of the film just doesn’t work.  She over does it in almost every scene.  Yes, Susann was a character, but she wasn’t the cartoon character created here.  It doesn’t help that Nathan Lane plays her manager/husband, Irving Mansfield.  Susann deserves better, so I say hold off until they make a more fitting film about her.


#353: The Love Letter (1998).  OK, just to clear this up: there was an utterly charming movie called The Love Letter that came out in 1999 starring Kate Capshaw and Tom Selleck.  This is not that movie.  I am saving that movie for a full-on post, because it is just that awesome.  No, this version is a made for TV Hallmark movie.  It’s about a guy named Scott who buys a Civil War-era writing desk, and discovers a secret compartment with an old love letter written by the desks previous owner, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth lived during the Civil War.  On a whim, he writes her back using vintage paper, ink, and even a Civil War-era stamp.  He even mails the letter from a post office that was in existence back then.  His letter time travels to Elizabeth, and they begin writing.  Oh, and Scott’s totally engaged to a very nice, but obviously not meant for him, woman.  So, yeah, he’s carrying on an affair with a woman who’s been dead for about a hundred years.  Scott works in publishing, and Elizabeth is a writer, so he finds and publishes her poems and stories, thus able to make her dream of being a published writer come true.  There is a happy ending, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  This really is a charming movie, I say check it out.

Tomorrow: a real post!  WHEEEE!  That’s a wrap, folks!

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