Some of my faithful readers have been sending in some questions. Some have left their names and some have been anonymous. But Monday seemed a good time to answer some of them.
Terry writes regarding John Wayne:
I would argue with THE ALAMO. I don't dislike it (even though the story has almost nothing to do with the history of the battle, which annoys me), but I think Wayne had better performances. I would suggest, for instance, IN HARM’S WAY, the Otto Preminger war picture. Wayne shines as a naval officer demoted after Pearl Harbor, who redeems himself in battle. It also has an incredible all star cast.
Thanks, Terry. I like IN HARM'S WAY (1965) but think it’s much too long and Wayne is just average in it. The ending is pretty downbeat too. Kirk Douglas plays an interesting character with a very dark side. And it is fun to see the grown up Brandon De Wilde from SHANE as well as the grown up (and rather sexy) Jill Haworth from EXODUS. Wayne and Patricia Neal don't seem to have any chemistry though.
Did you see JAWS when it first came out? What do you think of the sequels?
I did not see JAWS when it came out in 1975. Because of the violence, the MPAA’s ratings board wanted to give it an R. Universal appealed and the MPAA allowed the PG rating as long as the posters and commercials carried the warning “May Be Too Intense For Younger Children.” That was good enough for my mother to say I could not see it. I finally saw JAWS when Universal re-released it in the summer 1979.
As for the sequels (all totally unnecessary IMHO) I like JAWS 2 (1978) (***). It isn’t
great but still entertaining. I like the personalities of the teenagers. JAWS 3-D (1983) (**1/2) is fun in a cheesy kind of way. I like Dennis Quaid and Bess Armstrong. And this is the movie that made me a lifelong Lea Thompson fan. So I
can forgive film’s many flaws. JAWS: THE REVENGE (1987) (**) is just horrible.
I hope they’ve permanently closed the books on JAWS. Even though rumors persist that they want to remake the original. NO!
Have you ever fallen asleep in a movie? Have you ever walked out of a movie?
Yes and yes. I used to never fall asleep in films until I had to start taking my son to family movies. The first movie I slept through was SHARK TALE, though I have also slept through BACK TO THE BARNYARD, and DOOGAL. Did manage to nod off for parts of ALIENS IN THE ATTIC and PARANORMAN.
The only movie I have walked out of was ISHTAR (1987) only because I was on a date and I knew if I did not leave, the date would be ruined. So, yes, that night I picked love over movies.
Anonymous writes: How can you like XANADU (1980)??? That movie is BAD BAD BAD!!!!!!!!
First off, there are no rational explanations for liking a Guilty Pleasure. You realize how horrible it all is but you like it anyway. That’s why it is a GUILTY pleasure.
But in terms of the movie XANADU, as I wrote in my Friday column, I love the soundtrack, hate the movie. I saw it on opening night in 1980 with a full house at the Clarkston Cinema and the audience just sat there saying nothing for the whole screening. It was one of the first shockingly bad films I can remember seeing in a theater.
Where to begin? Michael Beck is miscast as the lead. Director Robert Greenwald doesn’t seem to know how to direct a musical. Olivia Newton-John shows none of the talent and promise she had in GREASE.
The only thinks it has going for it are: 1) Gene Kelly making his final appearance in a musical. His dance number with Olivia is one of the few highlights, 2) Don Bluth’s
animation. He and his associates had just been fired by Disney (that’s another story) and they do a good job here, 3) Olivia Newton-John is very beautiful. A movie can be forgiven a world of sins if the leading lady is gorgeous. Thanks for writing. And leave your name next time! Don't be a stranger.
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