Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Fashion World


It's the second Thursday of 2017, but my first entry in Thursday Movie Picks. Sorry to our host of this weekly event, Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, but I'm fashionably late. Ha! Fashionably late. I kill me. Why? We're talking about fashion, that's why. Seriously speaking, it's something that's important to us all, on some level. Even people who claim not to care go out of their way to look like they don't care. Those people also make sure their look is right on those occasions when they need to look decent. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know much of my wardrobe consists of graphic tees, mostly of the superhero variety. What you probably don't know is I often wear suits, too. And I'm pretty meticulous about them. That's it for me - jeans and a tee, or a suit and tie. Anything in between is inconsequential.

As the topic suggests, movies venture into the fashion world, too. Some movies are explicitly about the fashion world while others are merely fashionable. I am assuming we're supposed to choose the former. So that's what I did.

Mahogany
(1975)
Legendary singer Diana Ross takes on the role of Tracy, a young girl who dreams of making it big as a fashion designer. She eventually becomes a big time model and has a tumultuous love affair with Lando Calrissian Billy Dee Williams. The movie as a whole is a bit kooky, and certainly on the melodramatic side, but Ross makes it worth the price of admission. The shadow cast by her real life singing career is so large it's made her acting career nearly forgotten despite the fact she was Oscar nominated for her work in Lady Sings the Blues, a few years before this film. She brings it, again. And yes, that's Norman Bates Anthony Perkins in the pic.

Girl Model
(2011)
This documentary is about a thirteen year old girl named Nadya and her handler, Ashley. Ashley hand-plucked Nadya from Siberia and sent her away to Japan to be a model. Nadya's family doesn't really want her to go, but their financial situation dictates they must. From there, we get a rather sad, often disturbing look at a system that is chewing up young girls and spitting them out at an alarming rate. Click here for my full review.

Fresh Dressed
(2015)
We have another documentary, but one that is a whole lot more fun than my last pick. This one is all about the history of urban fashion starting just before the advent of hip hop in the early 1970s. We start where hip hop started, in the dilapidated streets of the South Bronx. The most important segment is probably the one on Dapper Dan, a fashion icon in the hip hop world, but little known outside of it. What he was doing from his shop in Harlem defined an era, moved high end designers to get him shut down, then steal his ideas. Even Dan keeps it fun, though. He doesn't seem mad about how things went down, at all. Seeing all the fashions of the 70s, 80s, and 90s brought back lots of memories for me, and inspired lots of laughs in my children. I rank it as one of the greatest documentaries about hip hop.



20 comments:

  1. The only film in that list I've seen is Mahogany. It's not a great film but fun to watch. Especially for its ending. How can you not love Billy Dee Williams. He's a smooth motherfucker.

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    1. That, he is. If you get a chance, check out Girl Model. It's a downer, but deserves to be seen.

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  2. I like how you went the Documentary route with the last two picks. I haven't heard of either, but I'd like to see both now.

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    1. Thanks! Both are fascinating, but for far different reasons.

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  3. Haven't seen either of the last two but they look REALLY good.

    Now, Mahogany. That movie is BATSHIT INSANE. Camp classic. I LOVE IT.

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    1. It can definitely be a bit much to take.

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  4. MAHOGANY!!! What a laugh riot that mess is! Fun in its stupid and ridiculous way but totally divorced from reality. I remember how the reviewers savaged it when it came out since expectations were high for Diana Ross's follow up to Lady Sings the Blues and this certainly didn't meet them. And good heavens the theme song was everywhere!

    Haven't seen the others but they sound worth checking out.

    I did a doc too and then went to the darker side without really planning to but these two were the first ones that came to mind with a fashion theme.

    Women He Undressed (2015)-Mix of documentary and reenactments tells the story of Australian born Hollywood wardrobe designer Orry-Kelly. THE major Warner Brothers designer throughout much of the Golden Age and a favorite of Bette Davis among others he also designed for films ranging from Some Like it Hot to Les Girls and Casablanca. Covers his often rocky early life-he was seriously involved with Cary Grant before either were famous, working in mob controlled nightclubs etc. though his successes and later struggles with alcohol laced throughout with interviews with those who knew and worked with him including Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury. Directed by Gillian Armstrong.

    The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)-High fashion photography Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is much in demand for her provocative layouts that have a violent often blood splattered tinge. She is climbing ever higher until she suddenly starts seeing actual murders through the eyes of the killer and he seems to be moving closer and closer to her. Stylish, with a theme song sung by Barbra Streisand, but rather sick this provided an early spotlight role for Tommy Lee Jones.

    Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)-Italian giallo film of a leather clad and motorcycle helmeted killer who is wreaking havoc within the Albatross modeling agency systemically knocking off nearly everyone associated with it. Unsurprisingly based on the title full to the brim with nudity both female and to a lesser degree male as well grisly knife killings all in gaudily lit 70’s colors. A definite precursor to the slasher film craze that swept American films a few years later this bloodbath is set to a striking jazz score.

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    1. Haven't seen any of your picks, but I am aware of the first and last. I learned if The Women He Undressed when I was searching the topic in Google. A couple weeks ago I found Strip Nude For Your Killer when I was poking around for something to watch late one night. I settled for something more respectable, but vowed to go back to it soon. From the looks of it, you made a Dell-like pick. Great job.

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    2. I thought of you when I was writing it up! Thought for sure it was one you would have seen knowing your penchant for shall we say lower rung cinema. But good to know it's on your radar. One tidbit is that the male lead was Catherine Deneuve's costar years earlier in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg! Talk about your varied filmography.

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    3. Great tidbit! I wouldn't have thought anyone in that movie would have been anywhere near Catherine Deneuve, for any reason.

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  5. I almost picked Mahogany but it has been so long since I have seen it that I thought I better not. I just remember it being fun to watch in all its mess. I haven't seen the other 2 but would like to see the documentary since the fashion world is very cruel. I have no care about hip hop even though I think the artistry of the urban fashion is quite something.

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    1. Yes, Mahongany is quite the mess, but a blast to watch. The docs are on the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as tone is concerned, but both are worth a look. Admittedly, Fresh Dressed might not work for you if you have no interest in hip hop. Tread lightly.

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  6. My entire wardrobe basically consists in jeans and graphic tees. I have one suit though that I wear when I'm supposed to look decent so I guess I care about fashion more than I thought. Anyway, I haven't seen any of your picks, but I think I'll check out Mahogany.

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    1. A woman after my own heart. Would love to hear your thoughts on Mahogany.

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  7. Fresh Dressed sounds good - much prefer documentaries when it comes to fashion. I remember Girl Model and I agree it was very depressing. Disturbing reality.

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    1. Fresh Dressed is a fun doc. Completely opposite of Girl Model, in that regard.

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  8. You very often picks films I have never heard, the latter two sound interesting. Girl Model sounds brually touch watch...

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    1. That's what I'm trying to do. Girl Model is a tough watch, but definitely deserves to be seen.

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  9. Interesting picks, I must make some time to check them out.

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