Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Writing/Writers of Novels


It was a dark and stormy night. No, that's not it. Once upon a time there was a blogger named Wanderer. That's not it, either. In the beginning Sigh, I've heard that  somewhere before. It was the best of times...

Oh, hey! Didn't realize you were here. How long have you been there? Never mind. I was working on this post and uh, as you can see, struggling with my opening. Instead of droning on with some inane story like I usually do, I'll just talk about movies about people who do this writing thing better than I. Well, maybe they do. Thing is, these films can't be about real life writers. Hmmmkay. Thanks Wanderer, our wonderful host from Wandering Through the Shelves, for this topic. Yeah, thanks a lot. No, really. I mean that in all sincerity since it kept me away from exploding hookers, imploding vampires, and evil-sadistic-lesbian prison guards. Oh well, YOUR loss. I've already seen those movies. Let's move on. Shall we?


I Spit on Your Grave
(1978)
AKA Day of the Woman
Jennifer (Camille Keaton, Buster Keaton's grand-niece) is a young novelist who took a vacation at a secluded house to work on her book. Soon enough, some local yokels sniff her out and proceed to gang rape her. She then sets out to get revenge on her tormentors. I'm going to assume you took my recommendation from a few weeks back and watched 2016's Hush. Take that movie and multiply it by a thousand...to the third power. Roger Ebert opened his review of it by calling it "a vile piece of garbage." In other words, it's damn tough to watch. If you can't handle it, try the 2010 remake of the same name. Or don't. That one goes anal.


The Lonely Lady
(1983)
I could put an AKA for this one, too, as in AKA the movie that sank Pia Zadora's acting career. If you're wondering who Pia Zadora is, that's my point. She was once hailed as the next great triple threat, in the mold of Liza Minelli. Well, no. Rather than go into her bio, I'll get into the movie at hand. She plays Jerilee, an aspiring screenwriter who gets raped pretty much right at the start of the movie. Her life gets even worse from there. No worries, (spoiler alert?) due to her immense talent as a writer, there is a happy ending. By immense talent I actually mean she has none whatsoever. That doesn't stop the film from trying to pass her off as the greatest thing that ever happened to Hollywood. You have to see it to understand what I'm babbling about. By the way, Roger chimed in on this one, too. He said "If "The Lonely Lady" had even a shred of style and humor, it could qualify as the worst movie of the year. Unfortunately, it's not that good." Now THAT sounds like fun, don't it?


Basic Instinct 2
(2006)
I'm guessing one or two of you who participate in Thursday Movie Picks will pick the original Basic Instinct. I get it. It's a watershed moment for American made, sexy thrillers. It also contains the most iconic scene in the cinematic history of vaginas. The owner of said vagina, none other than Sharon Stone, is back for the sequel. Yes, I've set a site record by using the word vagina twice in the same paragraph. Three. Anyhoo, Stone again plays erotic novelist Catherine Tramell. This time, without Michael Douglas to pick on, everyone is fair game. By the way, this is another movie that starts off with a rape. Sorta. Catherine is the passenger in her dude's sports car as he's driving in excess of 100 miles per hour. She gets so turned on, she actually mounts him while he is still driving. I love sex as much as the next guy, but no. Just no. Not surprisingly, the car goes over the side of a bridge, he dies, investigations and way more of Catherine's antics ensue. Trust me, it's far crazier than it's predecessor. And better...because it's worse. Makes sense, no? I'll let Roger explain. "It's a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. I cannot recommend the movie, but ... why the hell can't I? Just because it's godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a movie? Godawful and boring, that would be a reason." Amen.



22 comments:

  1. Basic Instinct 2.... yeah, that was awful and just flat-out stupid. Plus, I found myself not being attracted to Sharon Stone anymore and she was a real turn-off in this film. I also hated the way they wasted Charlotte Rampling and David Thewlis who are so much better than this bullshit.

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    1. Stone is so much sleazier in this one, and she was already sleazy in the original, lol.

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  2. Is Basic Instinct that good to merit a sequel? I might have to put it higher on my watch list. I haven't heard of the second movie, but I did not know that the 2010 I Spit on Your Grave was a remake.

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    1. That's a complicated question. It is "good enough" in my opinion. It was certainly successful enough, and it is a highly influential film (long string of clones). The problem is the story is completely done when that movie ends. No real need for a sequel.

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  3. Yeah, I noped the hell away from I Spit On Your Grave when I read the synopsis years ago. Definitely not for me. I haven't seen any of your picks this week.

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    1. Lol. I get that. It's not for everybody. If there is one of these that's "fun" it's BI2. That's definitely a so bad it's awesome experience.

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  4. Oh Dell you do find the ones. I've heard of all three but have only seen one. I've had multiple opportunities to see I Spit on Your Grave but both the title and the movie's rep have kept me away, something that will continue. I saw the first Basic Instinct and thought it was vulgar, poorly made trash so when the sequel came out to even worse reviews I gave it the skip but the Ebert quote makes me think....well maybe.

    The one I have seen is The Lonely Lady with that staggering talent and alumnus of Santa Claus vs. the Martians Pia Zadora! Having read the Harold Robbins book on which it was based (it's garbage) I was somewhat prepared for a bad film but even with those rock bottom expectations this piece of swill failed to measure up. Not that she has much to work with but Zadora is so painfully bad in the lead it made it even more of a trial.

    Coincidentally my first choice shares a performer with on of your choices, Charlotte Rampling but happily in a much better showcase. Here's what I came up with for the week.

    Swimming Pool (2003)-Writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) is blocked working on her new detective novel so her publisher suggests she get out of London to refresh herself and lends her his home in the French countryside. On arrival she luxuriates in the sunshine and solitude but that is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of the publisher’s wild child daughter Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). After a rocky beginning the two form a bond, one that is challenged by a serious turn of events. Strange, moody and captivating with a brilliant Charlotte Rampling performance.

    Wonder Boys (2000)-Shaggy dog college professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) drifts through his days in a pot induced haze avoiding the various crisis that are swirling just below the surface of his life. He’s a noted author suffering from a strange sort of writer’s block-he can’t seem to end the follow up novel to his first hot book, his third wife has just left him, his mistress, the college chancellor (Frances McDormand), is married to the chair of Grady’s department and has just discovered she’s pregnant by Grady, his editor is in town hounding him for a completed manuscript and he has a new odd wonder boy writer James Leer (Tobey Maguire) in his class stirring memories of when Grady was the hot young kid on the block. Oh and the department chair’s dead dog, accidently shot by James Leer, is in the trunk of Grady’s car! Somewhat shambling film is kept centered by Michael Douglas in perhaps his best ever performance.

    In a Lonely Place (1950)-Hot headed screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart) is considering adapting a novel he knows is trash. Rather than reading it he invites a hat check girl at his favorite watering hole to his apartment to tell him the story. After she leaves she’s murdered and Dix is suspected, however his neighbor Laurel (Gloria Grahame) is able to provide him with an alibi. Only nodding acquaintances previously they strike up a friendship which rapidly turns serious and they plan to marry. Everything seems rosy until Dix’s violent outbursts start to create doubt in Laurel’s mind. Both Bogart and Grahame are just great. Brooding nihilistic Nicholas Ray directed film is an essential noir.

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    1. All those years of staying up late to watch crappy movies paid off!

      lol, Santa Claus vs. the Martians. Such a strange and horrible movie, that is. Love it!

      I haven't seen any of your choices. That last one sounds most intriguing. Your last sentence sold it for me.

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    2. This quote from Lonely Place should whet your appetite even more..."I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me."

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  5. Poor Buster Keaton....how sad his grand niece is in this sludge. I haven't seen this film nor the Pia Zadora crappola but I remember when that flick came out. I would love to smack Pia upside the head since she is most famous now for razing Pickfair to the ground...the bitch. Ms. Vagina...aka Sharon Stone, was just bad in this film.

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    1. I'm so with you on Buster Keaton. Forgot that about Zadora. Wow. AS for Stone, I thought she gave it her all, but was working with nothing. To go back to Ebert, what he said about the matter rings true to me: "The Catherine Tramell role cannot be played well, but Sharon Stone can play it badly better than any other actress alive."

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  6. What? There's a Basic Instinct 2? I had no idea. I Spit on Your Grave is definitely not for me and The Lonely Lady doesn't sound good.

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    1. BI2 is not even close to being in the same class as its predecessor. It's more of a so bad it's awesome affair.

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  7. I can definitely say fully and truthfully that I will never seen any of these movies. But I applaud you for boldly reminding us all that Sharon Stone once played a leg-spreading "writer"...twice. I take my original sentence back. I might watch I Spit on Your Grave one day, actually. Just because I do want to see a few choice "vile pieces of garbage."

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    1. Thanks! I'll take applause any way I can get it.

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  8. Oh man, there is a lot of rape in there. Interesting that all picks are about female authors though. I still can't believe I haven't seen Basic Instinct, let alone 2. I do like a ridiculous film though.

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    1. A theme within a theme...within a theme!!! Basic Instinct and its sequel would make for quite the interesting double feature if watched back to back.

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  9. I did watch Hush based on your recommendation a couple of themes ago, and it was good especially the lead.

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  10. I kind of love the fact that you used the phrase "the most iconic scene in the cinematic history of vaginas." I'm going to just sit here and revel in that for a minute.

    I saw that movie with my mom. I made a remark about the nudity in the film, and she said if she had a body like Sharon Stone's, she wouldn't even own clothes. Mom was awesome. God, I miss her.

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    1. I've never met your mom, but that comment makes me miss her, too.

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