Wow, this will be my 100th post! Thanks for tagging along, loyal readers! I apologize for being a little less prolific lately, but the young lady now living in our house takes up a lot of time, as you might imagine. Fortunately, she usually sleeps for the night after about 7:30 or 8 pm, so we do manage to watch a movie every now and then, mostly on the weekends. Here are a few we’ve enjoyed recently …
Darling Lili, 1970
This spy comedy, directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews (the missus) and Rock Hudson is really cute, and worth watching if you’re a Julie Andrews fan. She plays Lili Smith, a British entertainer who is really a German agent, tasked with getting to know Major Larrabee (Hudson). While she’s passing on his secrets, they’re falling in love. Features an excellent performance by Ms. Andrews, and Mr. Edwards signature physical comedy. I was somewhat unimpressed with Rock Hudson, but not so much that it took away from the picture. He wasn’t as dashing as he perhaps should have been, but he did have great chemistry with Andrews. Set during WWI, the costumes are great, the French countryside is lovely, and several scenes featuring the biplanes flown by Major Larrabee and The Red Baron are very well done.
Teenagers at a performing arts camp find strength in themselves and each other, and bring meaning back to the life of a washed-up composer in this rather odd little film, which features a very young Anna Kendrick in her film debut. If you know anything at all about theater, you’ll be amused by the stereotypes and treatment of that world, but you’ll also be touched by the struggles of some of the teens as they learn to embrace their sexuality and stand up to their parents. The subplot with the composer gets short shrift, and it’s hard to say that it would have been particularly necessary in the first place. The musical performances are pretty fun to watch. In the final reckoning, afterward I looked at my husband and said “So, in order for a kid to really get into the arts, etc., they pretty much have to be really screwed up? Hmmm.”
The Nanny Diaries, 2007
I know, I know. My husband was a long-time Scarlett Johansson fan, but recently he’s become less interested, because let’s face it: she’s not really that great an actress. We decided to go ahead with The Nanny Diaries, though, and overall I’d say it was a reasonably enjoyable movie. This is mostly due to the fact that ScarJo is backed up by Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti as the awful Upper East Side parents for whom she becomes the titular nanny. Linney in particular is utterly fabulous. The rest of the supporting cast, Chris Evans as the love interest, Alicia Keys as the sassy best friend, Donna Murphy as the mom, and Nicholas Art as the young charge, all acquit themselves tolerably. It’s a cute movie, very nice to look at, and the framework of the narrative as an anthropological field diary makes for a nice touch. There are worse ways to spend an evening.