Saturday, March 28, 2015

Legally Blonde notes

I just saw the Upper Moreland (Pa.) High School's production of "Legally Blonde," and though  I'm not going to review it (the girl who sang while jumping rope though should just get an honorary Tony), it made me think of a character point from the film that bothered me.

Why are we rooting for Elle? She's perfect. She's one of those beautiful, perfectly coiffed, perfect-in-every way, affluent sorority sisters who could have any guy or career she wants. We laughed when John Belushi spit mashed potatoes on this character in "Animal House," and now we're rooting for her. It's kind of like wishing Margaret Dumont gets the best of Groucho Marx.

My other problem was  the film's sequel, which, like Home Alone 2, was really just a remake. The part of the first film in which she's actually cracking a case was the best part. I thought the sequel would be more of that, some actual Perry-Mason-in-Prada courtroom theatrics, but no.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Old timey film review: The Animal Kingdom

I'm a fan of Myrna Loy, it's on YouTube, what's not to love?

Well, this is pre-Thin Man Myrna Loy, and Hollywood still had no idea what to do with her. Here she's the bitch who makes Leslie Howard ditch all his friends within 15 minutes of their engagement. She also puts her nose in his business dealings.

Leslie Howard puts up with her and you just want to slap him. Ann Harding is the long-suffering former gal pal/ friend with benefits, who tries to stay noble while being shut out. The only other film I saw her in was "Double Harness." Good actress, but she played a martyr there, also.

It's all very talky, and stagy and you just know it was based on a drawing-room drama that might have been controversial in the day, but now it's kind of dreary and dated. And all the characters talk like they're in a drawing room drama from the '30s.

The negligees are skimpy and again I'm amazed that the negligees are wasted on really flat-chested women. Did bigger boobs evolve over the past 80 years, or is it Hollywood today won't cast you unless you wear a DD cup?

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

What a great way to binge watch.

Ellie Kemper has such an expressive face, and her character's constant optimism are such fun, a viewer can't help but love her. And the jokes come very fast.

As everyone knows, Kimmy has spent the last 15 years held hostage in a bunker by a cult leader. This  could have been "Hogan's Heroes" level tasteless, yet, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock made it all work. Kimmy is starting life fresh, it doesn't matter where she came from. This is Mary Richards leaving her failed relationship and moving to Minneapolis. It's really all the same, just more absurdist humor.

Speaking of which, UKS takes place in the same absurd New York City where "30 Rock" took place. Lots of fortuitous running into each other, and no part is too small to not be hilarious.


Jane Krakowski is pretty much playing the same character from "30 Rock." She's vain and glamorous and deep down very insecure. Still, funny is funny.

Her roommate Tituss has been carrying most of the B plots, this is a little jarring because we shift from stories about fish-out-of-water Kimmy to Tituss going on auditions. "30 Rock" had A and B stories, but all the characters had the same employer. There's a disconnect between these characters' stories.

Recurring themes from "30 Rock" are turning up, a wolfman, an old man with dementia used as a plot device, the 15-year-old nemesis.

The last three episodes, tying up the arc that started with the first episode are probably the best. Tim Blake Nelson's Barney-Fife-only-dangerous, was hilarious, as was Fey's hapless Marcia Clark.

Still, as it took about a season for "30 Rock" to get into its groove, I expect UKS to only get better.