Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Top 10 Movie Scenes of All Time: An Invitation I Could Not Resist

Frank, a fellow alum of my alma mater, Kalamazoo College, who is also a Facebook friend and interested in my Friday movie reviews, invited me to come up with "my top ten movie scenes, not necessarily from a top movie."

Well, Frank, thanks for the invitation.  I will RSVP by saying I accept, but it has actually turned into a challenge because right away I came up with almost 20, so paring my list down to the top 10 was indeed a challenge.

And "my top 10" is the catchphrase rather than "best," because this is indeed a subjective list and no doubt there will be controversy. Already Hubby and I have argued about whether I should include Jack Nicholson - the scene in the restaurant in "Five Easy Pieces" or "Here's Johnny" from "The Shining" or "You can't handle the truth!" from "A Few Good Men."

Sorry, Hubby, I have my favorites and you have yours.

So what makes a memorable movie scene?

It's one that speaks to us directly.  It moves us. It makes us cry.  It makes us laugh. It's quotable.  We can't get it out of our minds.

So here they are, not in any particular order, but with my usual cheeky, though trenchant (I hope), comments.

And I invite YOUR comments and what YOU think are the top movie scenes of all time.


1. Gone with the Wind (1939) - Frankly my dear...

I read "Gone with the Wind" when I was 12 and I was still reading the last few pages sitting in the theatre as the lights went down and the movie began.  It's difficult to believe there was a time that if you didn't see the movie in the theatre when it came to town, it was lost forever.  No VHS tapes, no DVDs, you couldn't even expect it to turn up on TV.  Must be why I became so obsessed about seeing movies! 

I had actually seen "Gone with the Wind" with my mother when I was five.  I believe it was my first movie memory.  That's when I decided I wanted to be an actress.  No, I hate to say, I didn't want to be an actress at five because I wanted to pursue my art.  I wanted to wear those gorgeous dresses Vivian Leigh wore. 

But seeing "Gone with the Wind" at five is one thing; seeing it at 12 is another thing altogether. I was hooked.  I already thought Clark Gable was a handsome god.  I remember watching the film in the theatre and at the beginning of the movie when we first catch sight of him at the bottom of the stairs, women in the audience literally swooned (and I am using "literally" correctly), well, I did anyway, and when he told Scarlett he didn't give a damn, no matter how much of a bitch Scarlett really was, I wanted them to be together.  I cried my eyes out and made up a happy ending in my mind.  She would think about it tomorrow and being the smart, crafty bitch that she was, SHE WOULD GET HIM BACK!

2. Citizen Kane (1941) - Marriage montage

"A marriage like any other marriage" is how Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotton) described Charles Foster Kane's (Orson Welles) marriage.  Welles directed this film and captured the joy and desire of early marriage through its complete disassociation in a montage of less than four minutes. Brilliant.

"Citizen Kane" is one of my favorite films and is recognized for its many innovations. 

Can you believe "Citizen Kane" was nominated for Best Picture in 1942 and lost to "How Green Was My Valley?"  How green was my what?  Exactly.

3.  A Place in the Sun (1951)-
Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift love scene

I believe Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most beautiful women who ever lived.  Here she is 18 and at the height of her beauty.  Montgomery Clift was also a handsome guy who lost his looks after a horrendous car accident, ironically on his way home from Elizabeth's house.  Her line in this scene "Tell mama" is a classic and the close-ups are about as "juicy" as you can get.


4. Dumbo (1941) and his mother

Dumbo's mother didn't like the idea of being separated from her baby so she made a fuss and you know what happens to circus elephants who make a fuss. She was separated from her baby and locked up.  Dumbo is briefly reunited with her.

OK.  I need a minute.

Thanks. I can't watch this without losing it. One of the great all-time mother-child moments.

5.  The Way We Were (1973) -
The last scene

Again, give me a minute. 

Katie (Barbra Streisand) and Hubbell (Robert Redford) meet by chance some years after their divorce.  He is with a woman and Katie, now remarried, invites Hubbell and her to come for a drink, but he declines.  Their meeting again is bittersweet.  Hubbell seems content and Katie has remained true to her political causes. But there is a subtle acknowledgement that Hubbell will never have anyone in his life who believed in him as much as Katie did. When Katie brushes the hair out of his eyes, there is a fleeting memory of "the way they were." 

Ok, hand me a hanky please. This last scene in the film is a real tear-jerker, anyway, but add that iconic theme song and...give me another hanky!

6. Easy Rider (1969) - The Last Scene

It was Christmas break, senior year in college.  My roommate had invited me to spend Christmas with her and her family in Oregon.  I'm not sure I even knew that much about this film before seeing it, but we went to see it at the local theatre there.  I know that I let out a huge scream in the movie theatre and my popcorn went flying when the redneck shot Dennis Hopper. That film illustrated the huge gap between the youth culture and what had gone before and many of us Baby Boomers were never the same after (this film also brought Jack Nicholson to the forefront).

7. Taxi Driver (1976) - You Talkin' to me?

Many critics feel this film is one of the greatest films ever made. Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a unstable Vietnam War veteran who drives a taxi at night. Director Scorsese captures the grittiness of New York City at night and shows Bickles' unraveling in this short iconic scene. Ever since, how many of us have stood in front of the mirror saying "You talkin' to me?"  C'mon, you know you have.  Admit it.

8.  Psycho - The Shower Scene

This is when Hitchcock REALLY started scaring us! Taking a shower has never been the same since!  I have to lock the bathroom door when I take a shower and never take a shower when I am home alone.

9.  No Way Out (1987) - Limo Scene

This scene was so hot I couldn't even find it on YouTube. Suffice it to say...this is when I decided that Kevin Costner was going to be my next husband.

10. Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972) -
Woody Allen as a sperm.

This movie is classic Woody humor. 

I couldn't decide between this scene or "The Fool and the Queen" where Woody plays a court jester in medieval times trying to bed the queen.  He gets impatient and says to her "Before you know it, the Renaissance will be here and we will all be painting."  For some reason, I thought that plus Woody in a jester costume shaking a little jester rattle that looked just like him, glasses and all, was so funny.  However, couldn't find that scene on YouTube so will go with this one, which is equally as funny.  A sperm in training with glasses?  How funny is that? 

OK, I know I already have 10 but after you see this clip, you will see that it sometimes has to go to 11.

11.  This is Spinal Tap (1982)-
it goes to 11.

I could have chosen any number of scenes from this hilarious pseudo-documentary about a rock band, but I can't tell you how many times Hubby and I say "it goes to 11," so I had to pick this one. 

If you haven't seen this film it's a must.  It nails the rock band ethos as well as the documentary film genre so well that I remember a couple of friends came home from the film saying they didn't like it.  They didn't think a rock band would really act like that.  They thought it was real!

It also started the whole Christopher Guest satire films ("Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," etc.)

Well, if I had to pick ten (or if it goes to 11), those are my picks.  I am sure they are controversial and you have your own.  If so, share them here.  Let's get a discussion going!


Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"The Age of Adeline" 

The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer

Friday, April 24, 2015

"While We're Young" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "While We're Young" and DVDs "The Informers" and "Maps to the Stars."  The Book of the Week is "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good."  I also bring you up to date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project:  "Killer of Sheep"]

While We're Young

A forty-something couple in a contented rut meet a twenty-something couple, who invigorate their lives and relationship.

Is it really in our forties that we start having regrets and worshiping at the altar of youth?  It seems so from this movie about Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts), a childless married couple in their mid-forties who for the most part are content with the choices they have made, though the burdens of mid-life (arthritic knees and lack of spontaneity) are making them feel old. That is, they are content until they meet hipster couple, Jamie (Adam Driver, who you may recognize from the TV series "Girls" - he is a hot commodity right now) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) whose twenty-something enthusiasm and all things retro make Josh and Cornelia question their contentment.

Josh is a documentary filmmaker and Cornelia is a producer. Her Dad is Leslie Breitbart (Charles Grodin - I remember when HE was young!), a successful documentarian, and though Josh has had one successful film, he has been working on another for the last 10 years. Josh and Cornelia decided not to have children, but now all of their friends have kids and they don't seem to fit in anymore. 

While teaching a filmmaking class, Josh is approached by Jamie and Darby who are "monitoring" his class, something Josh points out is impossible since it's a continuing education class, as in it costs money. Jamie is also a documentary filmmaker and a free spirit and flatters his way into Josh's life.  Right away they go out to dinner where Jamie has no problem letting Josh pay (red flag right there), and Josh is taken with Jamie's and Darby's original enthusiasms for walking through subway tunnels at night, making their own ice cream and furniture, collecting VHS tapes and eschewing technology.  Where Josh is obsessed with finishing his film and gaining the success of Cornelia's more successful father, Josh is impressed that Jamie, despite also being a documentarian, seems to not care about success as a pursuit.  Both Josh and Cornelia fall under Jamie's and Darby's spell of youthful hipster coolness and are invigorated by it.

However, Josh is a purist when it comes to documentary filmmaking.  He believes it all must be truthful.  Jamie, on the other hand, is a little more fluid with the truth, which tests their friendship. In fact, we realize that the different generations have very different ways of looking at things and Josh realizes he "can't go home again."  He can't be young again and he can't be a member of the Millennials. Shades of "All About Eve" abound here as well as an exploration of getting older, our obsession with youth, and the gap, and resentment even, between the generations.  And it's funny!

Ben Stiller has made a career out of playing neurotic and hapless schmoes and his deadpan face is funny all by itself.  He reminds me of a younger Woody Allen when he was acting.  I now forgive Ben for the egregious third installment of "Night at the Museum."  Naomi Watts is always good and not afraid to give a role her all, which she does here, especially when accompanying Darby to a hip hop class.  It's a great ensemble cast with Driver and Seyfried holding their own and Peter Yarrow of "Peter, Paul and Mary" fame playing a cameo.

Writer/Director Noah Baumbach, with whom Stiller has collaborated before ("Greenberg") has made some funny yet thoughtful movies before, most notably "The Squid and the Whale" and "Frances Ha."  This is his most accessible and humorous film yet.

Rosy the Reviewer says...whether you are 25 or 75, you will get this film and enjoy it.


You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
It's Hollywood Week!

The Informers (2008)
Brett Easton Ellis' take on the decadence of Hollywood in the 1980's.

Everyone in L.A. is an actor, even the bellman who says that to make it in Hollywood, you have to do "terrible things."  And that's what inevitably happens. Unfortunately, this film is one of those terrible things.

We have fathers seducing their son's girlfriends, sham marriages, sham friends, a disease that has yet to be named and cocaine as a panacea - all in interweaving stories.

Brett Easton Ellis wrote the screenplay which is based on his 1994 collection of linked short stories so you would think that the screenplay at least would make sense, but it doesn't. You might remember his "Less Than Zero."  This one is sorta like that but not as good. 

It's Los Angeles, 1983 and you know what that means:  Decadence with a capital "D."

Billy Bob Thornton is a movie executive, Wynona Ryder is his girlfriend, Kim Basinger his estranged wife.  Sad that Kim has never lived up to her potential, despite her Oscar.  Here we have her lusting after the pool boy. 

An almost unrecognizable Mickey Rourke makes an appearance (with vestiges of his early foray into plastic surgery) as a redneck, the Bellman's Uncle, who indeed tries to get our Bellman to do something terrible. 

Lots 'o drugs, lots 'o sex, lots 'o boobs that are so full of implants that they don't move, lots 'o entitled twenty-somethings and no one cares about anything.  And you won't care about any of this either.

This is all gritty hopeless trashy stuff and it's not even trashy enough to be good trash.

Rosy the Reviewer says...sad commentary when the best part of a movie are the clothes. Loved the 80's clothes, hated this movie.

Maps to the Stars (2014)

A grasping therapist father, a spoiled child star son, a disfigured psychotic daughter and unhappy wife. Stir in some incest and you have your typical Hollywood family, David Cronenberg-style.

John Cusack stars as Dr. Stafford Weiss, a successful therapist with his own cult status TV show called "Hour of Personal Power," who won't forgive his own mentally ill daughter, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) who was disfigured in a fire, for being mentally ill and whose son, Benjy (Evan Bird), is an insufferable child star (aren't they all?).

Julianne Moore goes back to her early over the top roles as a nutty, spoiled actress, Havana Segrand, who takes her clothes off a lot (we've forgotten that she did that a lot in the old days) who is worried that she is getting old.  Her own mother was a star but died young and now they are making a film of her life and Havana wants to play her mother.  (See "Still Alice" before you see this or you might have a tough time with "Alice").

The film begins with Agatha taking the bus to LA and hiring a limo when she gets there (at first, we don't know who she is, where she came from or why she is here).  And if you wondered what ever happened to Robert Pattinson after the Twilight movies, here he plays an American limo driver, Jerome, who is also a screenwriter (everyone in Hollywood is hoping for a job in show business), who picks Agatha up. He tells Agatha he might convert to Scientology as "a career move." Agatha appears to be star struck when she asks Jerome for a map of the stars' homes.

But Agatha takes Jerome to a burned out ruin.  She has clearly been here before.  Agatha also gets a job as Havana's personal assistant (Havana calls a PA a "chore whore") and her story unfolds.

Benjy is 13 and already has been to rehab. His attitude and image threatens his "Bad Babysitter" series.  He is one troubled and jaded kid.  He goes to visit a little girl fan in the hospital to help his image and is disappointed to find out she doesn't have AIDS, only cancer.  When she dies, he is haunted by her ghost.

Stafford is not happy that Agatha is back.  He is haunted by her and what she knows.

Everyone is haunted  by their past and has something to hide.

I have always been a big fan of Cronenberg.  No matter the topic and no matter how over the top, I find his films mesmerizing and often enjoyable, but sometimes in a train wreck sort of way.  You know how you know you shouldn't look at a train wreck but you just can't resist?  "Eastern Promises" and "A Dangerous Method" were mesmerizing and enjoyable.  "Dead Ringers" and "M. Butterfly" were mesmerizing train wrecks but still enjoyable.  "Cosmopolis" and "Naked Lunch" were just train wrecks.

Here is has directed a biting satire written by Bruce Wagner that focuses on Hollywood and fame and those who seek it: child stars, aging actresses, and everyone else.  And it falls into the mesmerizing enjoyable train wreck category, despite the usual things that make it a Cronenberg film: strange story, sex, frontal nudity, some disgusting scenes and blood.

Though maps to the homes of the stars is a tourist draw in Hollywood and serves as a metaphor here, this film should not be confused with the 1997 film "Star Maps," where selling maps to the stars' homes was a front for child prostitution.  Here it serves as a metaphor for the road map needed to navigate the crazy world of Hollywood stardom.  And then there is fire, a metaphor for wiping away all of that crazy Hollywood sin.

The last twenty minutes of this film is cringe worthy but nobody does cringe worthy like Cronenberg so enjoy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...typical Cronenberg.  Incest, blood, crazy characters, lots of huh? moments...I liked it!


***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***


266 To Go!

Killer of Sheep (1978)

It's 1970 Watts and Stan (Henry G. Sanders) is an unexceptional man who works in a slaughterhouse to support his family. 
Written and directed by Charles Burnett, this film arrived on the scene during the Blaxploitation era of "Shaft," "Foxy Brown" and "Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song" and before Spike Lee.  And it's influences on Lee are apparent. 
Considered a masterpiece of African American filmmaking, it was chosen for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress and named one of the 100 Essential Films of the National Society of Film Critics, and tells the story of a family going about their hardscrabble lives, accepting their lots with quiet resignation, and without giving up their values. It's an unsparing slice of life that shows how, no matter how difficult one's life is, it is still possible to find some beauty and moments to savor. Unlike many films on the "black experience," this probably is more true to life as most people, no matter what their race, live quiet, routine, predictable and often hard lives.
However, despite the accolades now, no one saw it in 1977. Filmed by Burnett for under $10,000 as his masters' thesis at UCLA, the film was little seen, mostly because he could not get the rights to the songs used in his soundtrack.  However, in 2007 UCLA restored the film, secured the rights to the music in the soundtrack and released the film (for more information on that journey click here).  And the soundtrack really is amazing.

The actors all seem to be amateurs, or people caught in a documentary, except for Sanders, who went on to have a successful acting career, most recently in the acclaimed "Whiplash."  He only got the role because the original actor chosen couldn't get parole.
Why it's a Must See:  "Shot in raw black-and-white stock... [this film] is astonishing for being an American film in which black characters are not metaphors for something or someone else...Burnett's camera pierces behind facades and public personas of American blackness to show the human beings beneath them...Burnett slows things down, peels back layers, creates settings that are purposely banal...He takes your breath away by not trying to take your breath away, but not trying to dazzle or overwhelm...with a weighty political treatise---and yet his film is an example of the most radical, subversive art.  It forces you to question all else you've seen or heard about blackness; it forces you to see and hear in all new ways."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"
If you are looking for a fast-moving action film or one that is plot heavy, this is not for you.  But if you value a leisurely pace that highlights small, real moments, such as a husband and wife sharing a slow dance in their living room to the Dinah Washington song "This Bitter Earth," and if you seek insight into the real lives of ordinary working class African Americans, then you will appreciate this film.
Rosy the Reviewer says...the soundtrack to this film is astonishing and reason enough to see it.

***Book of the Week***
by Kathleen Finn (2014)

Flinn shares her family history --- with recipes!
Ever since Frances Mayes shared recipes as she took us on a journey of Tuscany in her "Under the Tuscan Sun," we have been awash in travel books, books about remodeling houses in Europe and memoirs -- all with recipes.  And this book is no exception.
Similar to Kate Christenson's "Blue Plate Special," which I reviewed in 2013, Flinn recounts anecdotes of her peripatetic family as they move from the Midwest to open a restaurant in San Francisco and then to Florida interspersed with recipes that help define her family: "Uncle Clarence's Divine Cornflake crusted Fried Chicken, " "Grandpa Charles' Spicy Chili" and her grandmother's special cinnamon rolls.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like Ruth Reichl's books or memoirs featuring eccentric families spiked with recipes, this is for you (though I liked Kate Christenson's book better).

Thanks for Reading!

That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"My Top 10 Movie Scenes
of All Time"


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, 
email it to your friends and
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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.


Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 



Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  


Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How You Know You Are Not Just GETTING Old, You Are Already There!

I've written about "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Getting Old"  and I've listed "10 Signs You are Getting Old," and "The Good and Bad News About Aging."

But those posts were about GETTING old. 

How do you know when you have actually gotten there?

When you are really once and for all OLD?

Well, my peeps, I am here to tell you.

You know you are old when...

You still write checks, especially at the grocery store.
And I hate to tell you this.  No one writes checks anymore.  Only old folks.  And NO ONE likes waiting in line for you to write that check.  OLD!

You have a landline.
Practically everyone is using their cell phone for everything. Again, OLD!

You still do your taxes by hand on paper forms and mail them in.
But not before going to the library and giving the librarians a hard time about their now having all of the forms you need (The IRS doesn't even send libraries all of those forms anymore).  OLD!

And speaking of libraries, you think libraries are only about books. 
Or worse yet, you think libraries should only HAVE books, when libraries are providing a wealth of materials, Internet access and classes, not just for children and young people, but for the likes of old folks too! Materials and services that can change your life. If you didn't know or appreciate that, OLD!

Your ears have gotten really big.
I just saw Ringo Starr on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and his ears were gy-normous!  OLD!

You still subscribe to a print newspaper. 
Remember those?  If you do, OLD!

When you text, you use your index finger to poke out the message. 
Oh?  Text?  Not sure what I am talking about?  OLD!

For you guys out there, when you go to take a pee, you pull down your fly and reach in and can't find your little soldier! 
Because you put your underpants on backwards!  OLD!

You don't know how to use the Internet and are proud of that because you think the Internet would try to steal your identity
Or worse yet, you don't use Facebook because you think it would steal your soul.  And you think that Tinder is all about booty calls. 
Well, you are right about Tinder...

You think a selfie is something people do in private behind closed doors. 

And for you ladies, you think it's OK to stop wearing make-up, to wear a stained sweat suit all day and ride the motorized cart at the supermarket even though you can walk perfectly well. 
You've given up on yourself and that's about as OLD as you can get.

But you know what?

I know I'm old.  And I am guilty of some of the above (except for the one about underpants - Hubby has to claim that one- and the one about giving up on myself)!


But big ears and putting your underpants on backwards notwithstanding,
what does it really mean to be OLD?

You may have lost your hair, have wrinkles, gained weight, feel rickety, but it's all good. 

"Old" is not a bad word.  It means you have made it this far. 

Think of the "crone," from the goddess standpoint, or the wizard for men.

Whether you think "old" is 55 or 85, the longer you live, the more you are becoming an old soul, and what you have gained is wisdom. You know some stuff.

You know what happiness is.
It's not success, it's not money, it's not accolades.
Happiness is a state you can create for yourself through gratitude. It's appreciating that what most people equate with happiness is overrated.
Happiness is that small still voice within that says...I am content.

You know that getting old is not just an age.  It's a state of mind that we have control over.
We may be old but we don't have to be or feel old.
It's being self-aware and knowing yourself.  No matter what state you are in, it's being glad you got this far.

And if you live to be OLD, you get to live to be a part of all of this:





And that's not just getting OLD, that's getting happy.

Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday

for my review of the new movie 
"While We're Young"

(apropos, right?)
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before

 I Die Project."


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer