MJ’s MOVIES: STRANGER THAN FICTION

When my critique group and I go off to the woods for long writing weekends, we also bring movies to watch during the evening. One year, someone grabbed Stranger than Fiction from the library, thinking Emma Thompson would outweigh Will Ferrell. Thankfully, she did.

I actually like Will Ferrell in this movie. He plays an IRS agent who suddenly begins hearing his life being narrated by the voice of a famous author. He hunts down the author to convince her to change the ending of the book she’s writing because he doesn’t want to die the way he will die in the book. I know. Weird.

There’s a great cast to go along with the interesting premise. This movie deserves to be better known than it is. It’s not a great movie by any means, but neither is it a dud.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Network

NETWORK  is a classic.  “A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor’s ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit,” is how IMDB describes the film. Many of us who worked in TV in the late 1970’s and early 80’s found the realism unnerving.  Some consider the movie satire. Others know better.

Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, the film won four Oscars and garnered a slew of other nominations and awards.

The film is from 1976, but many parts are still relevant today.

Here’s a trailer that sums it up.

And here is seven minutes of something that should make you think about the world today.

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Plan Nine from Outer Space.

Plan Nine from Outer Space  makes nearly all of the Worst Movies Ever Made lists. It remains my benchmark for the kind of campy monster movies I love.  Written and directed by Edward D. Wood Jr., this movie is both delightful and dreadful.

Bela Lugosi died during the filming of Plan Nine. Wood replaced Lugosi with his wife’s chiropractor (who in no way physically resembled Lugosi) for the remainder of the movie rather than refilm Lugosi’s scenes.

Space aliens, zombies, even a vampire or two populate this  ambitious movie. It is a classic film, but not in the way Wood intended.

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Love in the Afternoon

My husband wanted to clear out his DVR player, and this 1957 classic was on there. I mostly loved it.

Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier–a very nice cast, although Cooper was a little too old to be playing the love interest. There was an ick factor there. Other than that, it was lovely romantic comedy.

Hepburn was stunning and amazing as always. I prefer Chevalier as an older actor than a younger one, so I thought he was marvelous here as Hepburn’s father.  Cooper is a wonderful actor and didn’t disappoint in this…except for the age thing.

Chevalier plays a private detective who is investigating an American playboy (Cooper). His daughter, played by Hepburn, becomes fascinated with the subject of her father’s investigation.

The film does offer the requisite happily ever after ending.

Four stars.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies: The Mark of Zorro

I went on a long writing retreat in May. We were gone on May 4 (Star Wars Day) and May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). Being the total geeks we are, we decided to cook corresponding meals and watch relative movies on those two days.

Star Wars went off without a hitch.

We planned to watch The Mask of Zorro (with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones) from 1998 for Cinco de Mayo, even though the movie has nothing to do with Mexico or the battle commemorated on that date. But someone accidentally grabbed a colorized version of  the 1940 The Mark of Zorro (Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell) from the library. We decided to watch it anyway.

Parts of the movie  reminded several of us of The Scarlet Pimpernel. At one point, someone shouted, “Look! It’s the Dread Pirate Roberts!” (The Princess Bride).  Regardless, we laughed and enjoyed this gem of a motion picture. Tyrone Power was a dashing hero. Linda Darnell was insipid, but because the character was written that way.  Basil Rathbone was a delightful villain.

If you get a chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it.