Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Period Drama


Welcome, Thursdonians. Look at me, creating words. Anyhoo, for this week's Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, we're taking trips into the past. Specifically, we're talking about period dramas. It's a vague term, but let's try to narrow it just a bit. For me, it means dramas, duh, set in an era earlier than the one in which it was filmed. That's still pretty vast, but it helps. What doesn't help is that in the mood to be a jerk. That means we're talking period dramas you should avoid because they suck.


The Scarlet Letter
(1995)
I read and wrote a paper on Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel of the same name in college about a year after this movie was released. A few weeks after I turned in that paper (ahem...I got an A) I decided to watch the film. I mean, it stars Demi Moore. It should be all right. At least, that's what I told myself. Nope, I was wrong. It was terrible. The best thing about it is that Emma Stone makes fun of it in the 2010 movie Easy A.


Pearl Harbor
(2001)
As you probably know, Titanic came out in 1997, took a famous historical event, slathered a sappy fictional romance on top of it, and made goo-gobs of money. That last fact meant it was no surprise that Hollywood was scrambling for another tragedy to soften and romanticize. Fresh off the financial success of the craptacular Armageddon, which followed that template, Michael Bay gives us this crap.


Tristan + Isolde
(2006)
Oh, I don't know. Sigh. It's set in England during the Dark Ages, James Franco is in it, and that's about all I got. Okay, I put it on one night and suddenly sleeping gas started emanating from the screen and I was out. Knowing that sometimes I'm just too tired to finish a movie I start, and I'll love it when I go back to it at a more decent hour and give it another shot. So that's what I did. I pressed play on it during daylight hours and...phew...I made it through. However, I was sitting there slack-jawed out of boredom the whole time. I can't tell you what it was about or what happened. And I don't care. If you want to know, go watch it yourself. I don't recommend it, though.



26 comments:

  1. To think that the man who directed that awful film version also directed The Mission but it seems like everything he did after that film were shit. Yeah, that version was horrendous. Tristan and Isolde was OK mainly because of Sophia Myles is hot.

    As for that other pick.... WORST MOTHERFUCKING FILM EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. The Scarlet Letter is not one of my favorite novels but it certainly deserved (and has received) better treatment than this awful version. It's just wrong in every way.

    I will say that Pearl Harbor is a beautiful looking movie but pretty pictures belong in a museum and aren't enough in themselves to make up an entertaining film. It seemed so promising too, I'll just return to the B&W glories of from Here to Eternity for a far superior telling of the story.

    Tristan & Isolde-Phewy what a stinker!

    It is a vast theme. I winnowed down by going with literary adaptations that I loved.

    A Room with a View (1985)-In the early years of the 20th century English lass Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter) is making a tour of Italy with her spinster cousin Charlotte (Maggie Smith). At a pensione in Florence, the pair become acquainted with the expansive Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott) and his free-spirited son George (Julian Sands). When Charlotte intuits that Lucy is too intrigued by George they depart back to England where Lucy ponders settling down with the wealthy, staid Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis). Unexpectedly George reappears in her life and Lucy must decide between a sensible marriage with Cecil or the riskier true love of George. Lush, brilliantly acted comic drama from Merchant/Ivory based on an E.M. Forster novel.

    Maurice (1987)-Another Merchant/Ivory adaptation of an E.M. Forster novel but one that was only able to be published posthumously because of the controversial subject matter. In 1909, Maurice Hall (James Wilby) enters Cambridge, where he befriends wealthy Clive Durham (a very young Hugh Grant). Clive confesses he is sexually attracted to Maurice, who realizes he is a homosexual when he begins to return Clive's feelings. The two embark on an intense but chaste affair to avoid tarnishing Clive's reputation, but eventually the relationship ends, and Clive marries Anne (Phoebe Nicholls). While visiting Clive, Maurice is drawn toward his friend's servant, Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves) and a more meaningful relationship looms for the two. Meticulously made with incisive work by the three leading men.

    Mansfield Park (1999)-In 1808 poor relation Fanny Price (Frances O'Connor) comes to live with wealthy uncle Sir Thomas (Harold Pinter), his haughty wife Lady Bertram (Lindsay Duncan) and their four children, at their country mansion-Mansfield Park-where she'll be brought up for a proper introduction to society. Indifferently treated by her relatives, except for her cousin Edmund (Jonny Lee Miller) Fanny's life is thrown into disarray with the arrival of worldly Mary Crawford (Embeth Davidtz) with whom Edmund becomes smitten and her brother Henry (Alessandro Nivola). Cunning, duplicitous and sly they cause endless complications for the entire household until a fateful event comes to pass. Solid adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s lesser known works.

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    1. Strangely, I haven't seen any of your picks. I'm not at all familiar with Maurice. Then again, they all came out during a period in my life when I avoided British period dramas like the plague. Still, I do want to check out A Room with a View and Mansfield Park.

      Fun fact: I'm not a huge fan of From Here to Eternity, either. I find it just okay. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

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    2. I won't tell anyone but you've cut me to the quick! I love that film!!!! Oh well every film isn't for everybody.

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  3. Pearl Harbour’s awesome
    ๐Ÿ’œ❤️
    ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’™

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  4. I could never sit through Pearl harbor, the 3 leads are just AWFUL

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  5. I'd never even heard of The Scarlet Letter until I watched Easy A, I've been tempted to see it ever since but now I know to steer clear!

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    1. If Easy A is your intro to this, I'd say see it then rewatch Easy A, which will then be even funnier since you'll better get what the main character in that film is talking about.

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  6. Thankfully, I never saw this version of The Scarlet Letter but I have seen the slog Pearl Harbour which is one of the worst of th films set at this momentous time. Oh gosh, I love th story ofnTristan and Isolde but just casting a smirking James Franco as the lead is enough to make me run away. Love your synopsis ofnthat Love Boat sinking film.

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    1. The Love Boat! Yes. Great comparison...and great show!

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  7. The only film of your list that I watched is Pearl Harbor. I don't remember much about it, only that it was a total bore

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  8. I know I saw Tristan and Isolde when I worked at the movie theater but I remember nothing from it. I'm starting to wonder if it was one of those where I just walked in on my break and took a nap instead.

    I agree with the other two picks being terrible. I hated reading The Scarlet Letter in school. I swear that book is responsible for so many people hating reading. lol

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    1. I'm betting a nap would be far better. To be fair, a nap is far better than just about everything.

      Fair enough. I didn't read it until college and I actually liked it. Had I read it in high school, not so sure I would feel the same way.

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  9. Oh man, not that movie where Demi Moore talks in a fake British accent and takes a lot of baths!

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  10. I haven't seen Pearl Harbor yet, so I don't know what to think of that film. Great list!

    Here’s my Thursday Movie Picks!

    Ronyell @ The Surreal Movies and TV Blog

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    1. Thanks! Do yourself a favor. Don't see Pearl Harbor.

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  11. Words that send chills down my spine: "And then Michael Bay gives us this crap." :-)

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  12. I've only seen two.

    Pearl Harbour was sooo sappy, I could not like it.

    Tristan + Isolde was ok for me. It could have been better if James Franco was not Tristan. His Tristan was like broody and crying all the time and Franco does not cry well.

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