William Shakespeare solves his writer's block with an affair, inspiring him to write Romeo and Juliet.
Directed by John Madden
Starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow
Initial Review by Jon Kissel
A film that persists in the culture due to its upset win at the Oscars over presumptive favorite Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love is one of those works that Oscar voters love. Featuring a romance between one of history's great playwrights and a co-lead who'll put her life and position to risk if only to get on the stage, John Madden's film flatters the work of producing and staging theater, something plenty of Oscar voters are going to be far more familiar with than fighting in heavy combat. Combined with the aggressive marketing and lobbying of Harvey Weinstein, the big win becomes less surprising. If it makes sense that Shakespeare in Love could win Best Picture almost twenty years ago, that leaves whether or not it's one of those winners that is largely forgotten as soon as the envelope's opened (The Artist, Million Dollar Baby, A Beautiful Mind, Driving Miss Daisy) or a film that holds up and lives on long after its release date (Unforgiven, Titanic, The Silence of the Lambs, Amadeus). The latter is a much smaller group, and alas, Shakespeare in Love isn't making it any bigger. Madden and company are able to depict the creation and production of a primal work of art, but the greatness of Romeo and Juliet only serves to remind the viewer how mediocre the film surrounding it is.
There are few times in history where I wish I could be at certain points in my life. And to be in my mid – twenties during the beginning moments of the grunge rock revolution and the craze over coffee in 1992 Seattle, Washington, is one of those times. Automatically, Singles got off to a great start with footage of its scenery and soundtrack. The music in this film was sublime but more on that later.
The story of Singles was nothing new as it has been played numerous times from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to The Wedding Singer to nearly any Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock film. What sets Singles apart from them was twofold. One was its time and relevance. These characters talked about sex and dating in an honest and open manner. The tide was turning in our culture around this point on sex’s open discussion and Singles aided in that effort. Nowadays, viewers see this discussion and do not flinch. We view it as a commonplace but it was not that way in the early nineties.
Welp. I think in general my picks have been well received, but I apologize for this one. There was good reason to pick this. I google searched best films on Netflix and many of the movies we've watched were on there - Short Term 12, Blue is the Warmest Color, Snowpiercer, White God, etc, etc... I can't seem to find the link, though.
Initial Review by Sean
As I continue to choose movies that are recognized as classics that I’ve never seen before somebody veto the next time I pick something from the 70s. Annie Hall isn’t a bad movie but to borrow from Sonny Carolla it just didn’t move the needle for me. The first half hour is the strongest of the movie and we get to see some of Allen’s wit while at the same time his neurotic jittery nature hasn’t worn you out yet. My first attempt to watch Mindy made me turn it off because she couldn’t handle him anymore and I totally get it. I also get why some people really enjoy it. I think you have to be in the proper mindset and setting to maximize Woody Allen. I finished it last night while tired and running the dishwasher in the nearby kitchen. Tired and noisy is not ideal for Woody Allen, you need quiet and focus to catch his phrasing while he is ranting to be able to catch the jokes. Because of that I may try to watch another of his movies in a better mindset, Tom recommended Manhattan Murder Mystery the other day.
Let’s break down a couple of takeaways- the 4th wall. I’m not a guy who is firmly pro or con on breaking the 4th wall but I hated it in this movie. It was ok in the intro where he describes himself but once he got into the story it didn’t fit- more annoying than that was when things would happen and he would talk to random strangers on the street about what they think about his situation, most annoying of that is the extras would get in line to provide their commentary and sometimes they’d be used sometimes not every time he did it is pissed me off with 1 exception. When he was in the movie line loudly complaining about the guy standing behind him who teaches at Columbia, it was funny that he went over to the actual person who shut down the expert. This worked for me because it reminded me of the movie Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield. In that movie Rodney plays Thornton Melon the owner of a chain of Big and Fat stores who joins his son in college and joins the diving team. He hires experts to do his homework including Kurt Vonnegut himself to write a paper about Kurt Vonnegut, his love interest/professor fails him for obviously having someone else write it for him while saying, whoever wrote it doesn’t know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut. It was funnier when Dangerfield did it although I would say he was inspired by Allen.
2nd big takeaway/question. I’ve not seen any other Woody Allen films, does he always play a caricature of the New York Jewish male? I get it he’s Jewish and from New York but does he have any other qualities? Is it his age that pushes that onto screen for him being a young child during WWII?
Lastly and to set up Kissel’s research, the loudest laugh came unintentionally when he compared politicians to child molesters. Granted in 1977 we were 25 years away from controversy with him but damn.
C+ is the meh grade right?
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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