Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm glad you showed up. We've been looking inside every cake in town.

Today, instead of reviewing a movie or comparing a few movies, I want to celebrate a birthday:

Happy Birthday Donald O'Connor!!

He was born on August 28th, 1925. Most people know or remember him for his performance in Singin' in the Rain (1952) as the hilarious Cosmo Brown. I have been fortunate enough to see him other roles but I haven't seen as many of his films as I would like. However, from the ones I have seen - Call Me Madam (1953), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), and That Funny Feeling (1965) - I still like Singin' in the Rain the best. Now, to be fair, Singin' in the Rain is hard to beat (it's an indisputable classic) and I really have not seen many of his movies, much to my shame and disappointment. If you are looking for a little more Donald O'Connor, I can offer my suggestions from my meager experience with his films. Call Me Madam is my favorite of the three films that I have seen (concerning him, that is). I'm not an Ethel Merman fan but the parts with Vera-Ellen and Donald O'Connor are very cute. The plot is cute and the songs are wonderful (they include "It's A Lovely Day Today" and "You're Just In Love" - two of my favorites). With There's No Business Like Show Business, you have to get through Ethel Merman's singing again, but you get some Marilyn Monroe to compensate. Finally, That Funny Feeling is a delightful Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin film but Donald O'Connor, while great, is not the witty and wacky side-kick, or the charming and clever lead, but the luckless, abused best friend (not my favorite role for him).

In any role, Donald O'Connor shines through as a brilliant performer. I highly encourage checking out his other films. And, to encourage a wee bit of dialogue on this blog and to celebrate his birthday, can everyone please comment with
a) your favorite Donald O'Connor movie
b) and/or your favorite Cosmo quote (there are so many good ones!)

To conclude, here is a classic O'Connor number. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Up with chocolate!

So... long time no see! I wish I could blame my lack of updating on a lack of time, but that would only be partially true. To make up for my terribly bad manners, I will write a more in-depth blog entry for you. I do hope it isn't too long... Okay, so that title was a little misleading, wasn't it? Those of you who recognize it, however, will likely guess what movie I'll be discussing next. The truth is, I'll actually be discussing 3 movies! Pillow Talk (1959), Sex and the Single Girl (1964), and Down with Love (2003).

Down with Love is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's quirky, it's romantic, it's hilarious, and it pays homage to the sex comedies of the 1960s. It is a common misconception that Down with Love is based on Pillow Talk. I am a firm believer that it is not; rather, it was highly influenced by it. The two movies do have striking similarities, but their differences are so important that one cannot say they are even "practically" the same movie (which I have heard

This summer, I was able to watch a good handful of new movies (thanks to Netflix!), and one of them was Sex and the Single Girl. The movie reaffirmed my opinions in the above matter because Sex and the Single Girl, like Pajama Game, has major similarities with Down with Love - but different similarities.

All three of these movies are 1960s sex comedies in style (despite the fact that one was made in the late 50s and one was made in 2003). Thus, all of them share similar story-lines and similar attitudes towards romance. They're all about the "battle of the sexes" and so they all deal with an intelligent, independent, single woman and a suave, smooth, womanizer. The plots, as I said earlier, are all pretty similar: basically, the woman, in her independent and free-spirited way, angers the womanizer to the point where he feels he must get even with her. And, as each womanizer feels that each woman needs to understand a thing or two about sex and love, they all decide to pretend to be the sort of man that could seduce the women. And there you have it, a basic wrap-up of each plot.

Now for the differences and similarities (these may contain spoilers):

Pajama Game, like Down with Love, features the female protagonist (Jan Morrow and Barbara Novak, respectively) despise the man (Brad Allen and Catcher Block) for his womanizing ways. In Pajama Game, Jan Morrow is infuriated that Brad Allen allows his social life monopolize her phone line and in Down with Love, Barbara Novak argues that Catcher Block is "the worst kind of man... men who change women as often as they change their shirts." To get back, both men pretend to be pure, innocent Southerners, the kind who like home-cooked meals, pipes, and quiet home life. Another similarity to point out is the use of split screens in both. Pajama Game includes a sexy scene where both characters are taking a bath in their seperate homes but the split screen creates the comical illusion that they are sharing a bath instead. This idea is taken to an exaggerated measure in Down with Love, where the couple (unintentionally) does several sexual favors for each other in an innocent phone conversation. Now, add in a luckless, hapless, neruotic, and rich best friend to the main male character (not to mention Tony Randall), and that about sums up the similarities between these two films. If I have left anything out, please feel free to let me know and I will be happy to edit this post accordingly.

Sex and the Single Girl features different similarities with Down with Love. Far from criticizing the man's social schedule, this female protagonist, Helen Gurley Brown, encourages it and encourages the singe girl to partake in the fun as well. Her encouragement is detailed in her controversial book, as is Barbara Novak's who, like Helen Gurley Brown, encourages women to stimulate their sex life, modeling it after the womanizer's; at the same time, however, she judges men for using women in such ways. In both of these two films, Catcher Block and Bob Weston are journalists, working on exposés to unveil the true romantic inclinations of the women.

Well, now that you've had a (somewhat) brief description of the differences and the similarities between these three zany sex comedies, you know what to expect (oh! did I mention the car chase in Sex and the Single Girl?).

So, rent these movies, grab a cocktail and, of course, some chocolate, and enjoy!