Pfeiffer Blogathon – Frankie and Johnny (1991)

Happy 60th birthday to Michelle Pfeiffer!

And thanks to Paul S.  – a dedicated lover of Meg and Michelle – for a kind reminder. Here’s to Pfeiffer Blogathon!

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Michelle is Hollywood’s classic blonde bombshell that won me over with many of her eclectic roles – the very deranged Selina Kyle (Batman Returns), the very challenging Laura Alden (Wolf) and of course, the very secluded Frankie – the protagonist of my review.

Frankie and Johnny (1991) is a movie I’ve watched time and time again, and will probably continue watching time and time again. It triggers my interest every single time because it’s not another sappy romance, but rather a long shot love affair between two heroic underdogs. Middle-aged Johnny meets younger Frankie in a local New York diner he just started working in as a cook. Strongly infatuated with Frankie, Johnny manipulates every single attempt to woo the reluctant waitress and hits a brick wall every time. Frankie is very cautious when it comes to men. After a series of bad relationships she’s now deeply accustomed to the quiet life of her one-bedroom apartment and a VCR she can’t even work.

Directed by Garry Marshall (Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, Pretty Woman), the 1991 movie was originally adapted from Terrence McNally’s two-character off-Broadway play, ‘Frankie and Johnny and The Claire De Lune’ set in a one-bedroom apartment.

Marshall’s intelligent and very well crafted version confines the lovers in Frankie’s small New York apartment in the last sequence, with into-the-night dialogues, intimate gestures, fathoming each other’s fears and a final serene truce. Spoiler! Claude Debussy’s Claire De Lune hits the final scene at Johnny’s request when he’s right on the verge of giving up his courting. Frankie comes out of her bathroom offering a toothbrush as a white flag and the two brush and brush and brush away, in love and in a perfect position to start their lives together happily ever after.

Much like in Pretty Woman, Garry Marshall shows that the process of finding one’s knight in shining armor is a lot more problematic than it used to be. No side comes into this convergence with a clean slate and it’s definitely not your Disney fairy tale – Frankie’s traumatic relationships, Johnny’s failed marriage and jail time – which results in a very successful and often humorous warm romance.

The rest of the cast is wonderful, an ensemble of simple characters who support a very realistic urban story; Nathan Lane as Frankie’s gay neighbor, Jane Morris as old and bitter co-worker Nedda, Kate Nelligan as Frankie’s free-spirited bestie, and Hector Elizondo as cafe owner and Frankie’s boss. 

Pfeiffer and Pacino already proved they can manipulate a very convincing on-screen couple. 25 year old Michelle’s big break was in 1983 classic ScarFace as Tony Montana’s love interest. You might recall the iconic hot Miami club dancing scene?

In 1991 the duo reunites for a rather mellower motion picture, but good ol’ Pacino never stops being A Pacino. Still very much loud and strong-willed.

FYI, 5 days ago, DailyMail announced another reunion for 35th ScarFace anniversary celebration.

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Deeply Unsettling

Playlists of Psychopaths

Movies have tricked us. They made us believe that Classical music and psychopaths are strongly intertwined, when in fact, it’s actually R&B and Hip Hop that scratch that psychotic itch.

Perhaps I’m tapping this perplexing news piece a bit late – The Guardian and Independent already covered this on September 2017 – but the thought of this vile connection came up to me while enjoying a classical piece on the radio last night which naturally evoked Alex in A Clockwork Orange and Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs.

The gist of the research as described on both magazines:

The researchers at New York University named Eminen’s Lose Yourself and Backstreet’s No Diggity as two favourites amongst those with the highest psychopath scores, The Guardian reports.

In a study of 200 people who listened to 260 songs, those with the highest psychopath scores were among the greatest fans of the Blackstreet number one hit No Diggity, with Eminem’s Lose Yourself rated highly too.

Psychopaths have sensitive souls. However it’s not Bach that helps eradicate their inner demons, but Blackstreet and Eminem.

Love this song? You’re probably a psychopath.

So what can we say about classical music and psychopaths in films?

A myth?

Scene: A person enjoys a blood covered glass of milk while relishing over a 10 minute symphony –  a Slim Shady symphony.

Which brings us to…

Milk 

Another deeply unsettling complexity. Adults drinking milk in movies is deeply unsettling. Milk associates us with childhood innocence, the most tender times of our lives. So what the hell is an adult doing with a glass of milk?

A Clockwork Orange, No Country for Old Men, Hitchcock’s Suspicion, and Inglorious Bastards all use the act of drinking milk as eerily as possible.

 

According to culturacolectiva.com , showing an evil adult drinking a glass of milk also represents evil consuming or destroying innocence (i.e. SS colonel Hans Landa asking for a glass of milk when offered wine in Inglorious Bastards).

Milk is used for lighting contrast, meshes well with blood and creates the best contradiction to antiheroes –  drinking it means overpowering the good.

Alongside manipulation, ‘innocence’, smooth-talking, uncanny sense of normalcy and niceness, it seems that psychopaths, in and outside the film industry, have a rather surprising taste in music and love milk.

 

I’m ready to NOT give a fuck! 🖕

This is, by far, the best gift ever!

#MarkManson

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Now, here’s me. A person that tends to takes practically everything personally and worries over the shittiest things that don’t deserve an ounce of my attention. But, these shitty insignificant matters somehow find a way in and suck the energy out of me, and I can’t seem to block.

I was way worse before. As I get older, I learn how to get my shit together and better bullet proof my over-sensitivity. Because otherwise, it’s going to be pretty impossible to sleep at night! #NyQuil

So… my good friend just brought back this book for me from Amsterdam (because you just can’t get it here in Israel). Two copies for both me and her. Because, let’s face it. She needs to learn how to give a fuck as well, although she’s doing a MUCH better job than I do. I had my eye on this book for some time now and I though “damn, I think I need to read this!” And I’ve had my fair share of self-improvement books and whatnot, but if it has the word Fuck in it, it must be better than those politely written other ones. Someone just needs to say it like it is, and this guy, Mark Manson, is doing just that. I just started reading his blog too. Good stuff on there, let me tell ya!

A colleague pissing me off at work, drivers over-honking their horns in a traffic jam from hell at the crack of dawn, an impatient cashier anyone, my fucking asshole of a neighbor… can’t let those get to me… but, they do!

So, fuck yes! I’m going to self-improve. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to care, because that’s not what he’s talking about. He simply says, make room and care about things that really matter like Friends. Family. Purpose. Burritos. The guy loves his burritos. For me it’s chocolate cakes. Definitely chocolate cakes.

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I know myself better than anyone. I can’t not give a fuck at all and that’s not the purpose anyways. The thing is, I have to learn to allot my fuck-givings. And that is work, my friends. That is work. But, I’m willing to do this work for the sake of my sanity.

“Fucks are cultivated like a beautiful fucking garden, where if you fuck shit up and the fucks get fucked, then you’ve fucking fucked your fucks all the fuck up.”

And to this I say, hell yeah, Mark.

Introducing Liam Brandon Murray

Ok… I saw this awesome post on my Facebook wall the other day and thought it was absolutely amazingly macabre.

I’m taking a slight detour from films today and flipping over to fashion and costume couture. As a former costume designer and an advocate of all things strange and unusual, passing on this Facebook gem would be a mistake.

I mean, look at this. I’d get married in this.

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So, the man behind this is Liam Brandon Murray, a UK sculptor and artist that crafts baroque-like garments formulated from deeply layered urban elements and fabrics creating an overwhelming wearable artwork.

You can even dare put this in a washing machine.

There’s so much thought put into each garment, an almost microscopical attention to every detail, stitch, and finish that make each piece one of a kind. It’s not unnoticeable that Liam often incorporates religious elements and iconography into his designs, claiming he wanted to be a religious artist as a small boy. If you look closely, you’ll see Jesus on a cross, cherub angels, and church edifices. And there’s a hidden meaning behind this, you bet.

Not only does religion take a significant part in his designs, there’s eccentric glances of what would humans wear when they come to terms with their alien origins and star heritage. Liam’s wearable pieces cover the human form top to bottom, leaving no area untouched, from gowns to hats, shoes to coats and even wedding dresses.

If you’re looking for a little steampunk in your wardrobe, you found your guy.

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So, how does Liam make his pieces?

Liam uses a mix of different formulas he calls “a cauldron”, containing an interesting mix of materials, including liquid foam for stretch, latex, stretchy fibers, and stretchy paints, among other things.

Once it’s on the fabric, he injects the back so it seals and becomes watertight.

I’ll get you my prettyand your little dog too!”

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“Liam Brandon Murray fine art wearable sculpture. still in progress/not finished. Creator and founder of this art genre. All rights reserved. all under copyright.”

Moving like a spider…

 

Liam’s goal is to get the art world to recognize costume and fashion as fine art.

https://www.worldofwearableart.com/2017/06/liam-brandon-murray-garments-as-intricate-as-cityscapes/

Lord Maharaja & Star Bride on stage in the 2016 WOW Awards Show

 

This is rare fine art. Not often do I come across such brilliance so fit for the hottest galleries and couture runways in the global “Big Four” fashion capitals of the 21st century -Paris, Milan, London and New York.

I don’t know Liam personally, but stumbled across these beauties on Facebook and absolutely had to take a sneak peak at his page and see what other treasures he’s got in there.

On The World of WearableArt editorial piece, Liam said that: “It’s my goal to get the art world to accept that as a piece of fine art. It’s just as good, if not more so, than a standing sculpture. This thing has to work, it has to move. [Costume and fashion designers] deserve more credit in the art world, I think.” 

Best of luck, Liam, and keep indulging us with your genius.

Liam Brandon Murray

Liam Brandon Murray

Four Rooms – THE HAPPY NEW YEAR BLOGATHON!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Bring on the confetti, campaign, and festivities – 2 days to go!

As we bid 2017 farewell, It’s time to make a joyful entry into 2018 with this cool blogathon hosted by Movie Movie Blog Blog – Choosing “any movie that has any kind of theme related to the last day of the year.” To celebrate the many great things to come this year, I reviewed one of the quirkiest New Year’s movies ever made known as FOUR ROOMS. A masterful 22 years old movie always acclaimed for its first-rate cast, Lounge-Exotica melodies, shit-show of short films and crackerjack performance by Tim Roth.

Here goes…

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Set around New Year’s Eve, Mon Signor Hotel bellhop Ted, Teddy, Theodore, is having the first shift of his life hopping between four very unusual rooms:

Room 1 – The Missing Ingredient (directed by Allison Anders)
In this room, Ted becomes the final solution/ingredient to a reversed spell ceremony conducted by a coven of witches (Madonna, Sammi Davis, Lili Taylor, Alicia Witt).

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Room 2 – The Wrong Man (directed by Alexandre Rockwell)
In this room, Ted finds himself caught up in a sick role-playing game between an armed man (David Proval) and his tied-up wife (Jennifer Beals).

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Room 3The Misbehavers (directed by Robert Rodriguez) 
In this room, Ted is paid $500 to check up on two misbehaved children while their parents (Antonio Banderas and Tamlyn Tomita) go out celebrating New Year.

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Room 4 The Man from Hollywood (directed by Quentin Tarantino)
In this room, Ted meets Flamboyant film producer (Tarantino) and his Hollywood friends who make a rather strange bet.

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I’m not sure what triggered my interest most in Four Rooms. The decaying Mon Signor hotel, the loopy bellhop, the brilliant Combustible Edison score, or the shady characters Ted bumps into. Altogether, Four Rooms is a clever and sexy as hell mixed bag of kooky stories with one element linking between them – Ted. Wrap them up in a Tarantino co-production (Ted smoked Red Apples) and you get a masterpiece.

It’s not to be taken for granted that 4 completely different directors in both vision and style, could create such an intact ensemble. Only, these four do the job when put together as a whole. Separately, not as much. It all boils down to Ted and his reactions to things in the goofiest manner possible. Tim Roth is a delight to watch due to his masterful physical performance alone. I do think it’s his most memorable Tarantino role so far. Tim Roth sheds a comic light on what otherwise would be a bunch of horrifying circumstances. Working at a once-famous Los Angeles hotel that has fallen from grace and becomes a haven for criminals and creeps, Ted hops between floors with an uncanny will to help and be of service only to find out that this is perhaps the worst night of his bellboy career.

If I had to choose a favorite segment, I’d go with The Misbehavers. A Robert Rodriguez directed little gem, starring Antonio Banderas as a Latino gangster and Tamlyn Tomita as his passive wife, and their two mischievous children. This segment is perfectly odored with Rodriguez’s trademark direction style (mixed with the smell of a dead corpse hidden under a bed). It’s sexy, darkly humored and hilarious. It’s a clear-cut Cry Wolf scenario. The two children nag Ted for all sorts of things until they accidentally find a dead woman under the bed. The odd smell in the room, thought to be of feet and shoes, gave her away eventually. That end scene with Ted and the two children says anything but “Did They Misbehave?”. Brilliant.

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New Year’s Eve mentions

As this is a blogathon set around New Year’s Eve, I think it’s important to add that Four Rooms begins with the song “Auld Lang Syne” which is most commonly associated with New Year’s Eve, right when Ted inherits the bellboy hat from his predecessor. On The Wrong Man segment, Ted receives a call from room 404 / 409 where New Year’s drunk celebrators are in need of ice. In Room 3’s The Misbehavers the parents go out to celebrate New Year’s and in Room 4 The Man from Hollywood (Tarantino) glorifies a fine bottle of Chrystal to celebrate New Year.

Four Rooms is a bit ahead of its time. It’s filled with an excellent cast and talented filmmakers and I definitely say it’s a favorite of mine.

I hope you share my love for this movie.

Have a fabulous New Year 

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Movies & TV Shows That Made My Childhood Awesome – Part 2

Part 2, straight up!

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

But trees give life. They make the clouds, the water, the air.” Crysta

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All it takes is a whimsical animation, an enchanting musical score and a moral lesson to bewitch me. And that is exactly what FerGully is – magical. This one also goes straight in to my “if I watch this today, I’ll probably cry” list. I loved Crysta and was always so envious of her ability to fly and FernGully seemed like the perfect place to live in. What else do you need in life more than a cool pair of wings, a cute little red outfit, a funky short hair and a hot Zak, eh? I used to go overboard with emotions every time I heard “A Dream Worth Keeping” sung by Sheena Easton as the two oh so lovingly float and skip through waterfalls and lit fountains and fall in love… Oh man, I need to watch this like, TODAY.

 

FernGully has one of the best voice-over cast starting with Samantha Mathis as Crysta, Tim Curry as Hexxus, Christian Slater as Pips, and the legendary Robin Williams as Batty Koda. They say that this movie cannot hold a candle to Disney’s animators, producing a deeper, multilayered animation, and yet the FernGully’s filled with an aura of enchantment. I’ll always have this one in mind when someone mentions childhood favorites. And I’ll gladly introduce it to my kids when the time comes.

 

The Goonies

“Hey, you guys!” Sloth

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Remember Chunk, Sloth, Mikey and Data? A very young and handsome Josh Brolin? The Goonies was my ultimate summer vacation flick and I own the DVD for an occasional flashback.

Pirates, treasure hunts, gold-digging villains, swearing, and a heroic group of kids that want to save their homes from foreclosure – The Goonies has the right receipt for a children’s adventure. The Goonies joins the list of the typical cliques that could be found at every 80’s high school or a John Hughes movie. You have the optimist Mikey Walsh, his older brother Brandon, the nerdy and inventive Data, the cheerleader Andy, her sidekick Stef, the chatty smart ass Mouth, and the overweight klutz Chunk. Together they’re rummaging through damp tunnels and derelict scary underground paths to explore the location of One-Eyed Willy’s lost treasure only to stumble across the Fratellis, a family of criminals after the same treasure.

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I can’t remember this movie word-for-word as I do with the others which calls out for a re-watch. I do still listen to the theme song written and performed by 80’s icon and  favored singer Cyndi Lauper. From me to you…

 

The Neverending Story

“Never give up and good luck will find you.” Falcor

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The other day a friend challenged me to remember the name of the wolf-like creature. Cracking my brains I roared “G-M-O-R-K!”.

Wow, there’s so much to say about The Neverending story, starting with a breathe-taking story-line, avant-grade characters, imaginative setting, and one great theme song. Unlike The Goonies, the adventurous voyage takes place in the fictional world of Fantasia with only two heroes replacing a group of ambitious kids.

In Fantasy, the land of Fantasia is on the verge of destruction by a vengeful force called The Nothing and only one person can save it – a young Purple Buffalo hunter named Atreyu who’s sent to find a cure for the ailing empress. In reality, troubled and teased Bastian Balthazar Bux skips his math test to hide in the school’s attic and read. As the hours go by and the story climaxes, Bastian realizes he’s not just reading the story, but has a significant part in its development and outcome.

Amazing movie!

Favorite character?

Easy!

Morla the Ancient One.
This is one giant kooky turtle.

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Beetlejuice

Adam: What are your qualifications?

Beetlejuice: Ah. Well… I attended Julliard… I’m a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT… NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU’RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY… NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I’m qualified?

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Death, afterlife, a haunted house, creepy city-folks turned suburban and one obnoxious ghost named Betelgeuse (pronounced “Beetlejuice”) are tangled up in a 90 min comedy / horror / Gothic / timeless movie. Beetlejuice first introduced me to Tim Burton’s insane and morbid trail of movies which resulted in a lengthy period of admiration for that director with the hairstyle worn far beyond the excusable ’80s window.

Not enough words for Beetlejuice. To say it’s a favorite would be saying too little. Beetlejuice was and still a love at first sight for me – a masterpiece with the best portrayal of dark humor I’ve seen so far – recently deceased newly-weds Adam and Barbara Maitland find their now-vacant home invaded by brash new inhabitants, and hire the “professional” services of a sleazy ghost to scare them away. Filled with cleverly sarcastic dialogues, fantastic music score and an all-powerful cast, this movie is way way ahead of its time and still kicks ass ’til this very day.

“My whole life is a darkroom. One. Big. Dark. Room.”

For our charming protagonists Adam & Barbara Maitland we have Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. As the iconic run-down ghost we have Michael Keaton in one of his best roles (some would say it’s The Founder but I beg to differ), For the dry-witted smart little girl we have the fabulous and a then a Burton regular Winona Ryder. Her snotty parents Charles and Delia Deetz played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara, and of course Otho – the world’s most pretentious interior decorator – played by Glenn Shadix. 

And this brilliance of a movie wraps up my Movies & TV Shows That Made My Childhood Awesome – Part 2.

Still thinking of great shows and movies for Part 3.

Feel free to recommend.