July 13, 2005

Some movie clichés recently viewed.

"Pieces of April" was playing on Showtime's HD channel last night just as I was in the mood to settle in for a little TV. So I gave it a shot -- especially since it had Patricia Clarkson, who'd been so terrific in this week's episode of "Six Feet Under." POA was good enough to sit through -- especially since it was pretty short. It had a gritty, indie look, but it was actually over-the-top sentimental. There were two sets of characters: the young woman cooking Thanksgiving dinner with the help of various kindly, ethnically diverse neighbors in her NY apartment building and her family traveling toward that apartment in a car. In both locations, as you might expect, the characters encounter various troubles. You can see the wheels cranking away in the screenwriters' brains: Now what tiny obstacle can we toss in their path? The oven breaks. The neighbors don't speak English. The mom in the car has to puke.

Whenever a bunch of movie characters are stuck in a car for a long enough time, there's always a scene where they stop the car, and let the actors out onto the shoulder of the road to gesticulate and argue and plead with each other about some damned thing. Count on one actor to start walking off as if they are so emotional they've lost touch with the fact that they're going to need transportation. Count on another actor to follow along after them and have an intense encounter with the first actor that culminates with them getting back in the car and continuing on.

A funny thing about this movie for me is that it's the second movie I've seen this summer where I watched the whole movie with no idea who the young actress was until it was over and I saw that it was Katie Holmes. (The other movie is "Batman Begins.") That li'l Katie is cute, but somehow I'm incapable of remembering her face. I wonder why. There are many blander actress-faces than hers out there these days.


Pastor_Jeff said...

I didn't see the movie, but your description reminded me of an incident from my teen years. My older brother and I were driving somewhere about 40 miles from home. I thought he was driving recklessly and asked him to cool it. This led to an argument wherein I said, "Then let me out!" - which he did. I wasn't planning on walking all the way home, but counting on his realization that our mom would be more than a little upset if he let me try. He picked me up a few minutes later. Ugh - now that I reread that ... what an embarassing memory.

Has anyone else ever done anything similar?

jeff said...

I haven't seen anything that Katie Holmes is in, so I can't comment on her, but I'm not sure I've ever seen two photos of J-Lo that actually looked like it was the same person...

knoxgirl said...

A great thanksgiving movie is "Home for the Holidays"

Dirty Harry said...

The greatest Thanksgiving/transportation/getting ready for a meal movie is "Planes Trains and Automobiles."

Steve Martin at the car rental counter with the "Gobble gobble" lady... I never laughed so hard in my life.

POA was better than expected. I also only bothered when I saw Patricia Clarkson was in it.

Anyone remember her in the Dirty Harry movie, "The Dead Pool?" A fairly thankless role in the weakest of the five. But she sure registered. Jim Carrey was in it too, and he did not. Ham.

Reif said...

Funny coincidence, I rented "Pieces of April" last night. I really enjoyed the scenes with her neighbors but was otherwise bored with the movie. If the DVD case hadn’t had KATIE HOLMES written straight across it, I probably wouldn’t have recognized her in the film either.

Also, Dirty Harry is right on. "Planes" is the greatest holiday travel movie ever!

Ron said...

Has no one here seen Felicity? She's not the least famous actress around.

POA was a nice sweet indie; I also love Patricia Clarkson in Far From Heaven with Julianne Moore.

Traveller said...

Patricia Clarkson I could watch in anything, or just sitting still thinking. Katie Holmes is just plain uninteresting. Ilove the idea of the Holmes-Cruise marriage , though. It's perfect.

olivia1 said...

This is in answer to pastor-jeff...I did you one better during my highschool years. My boyfriend and I were in his car and while passing under a street light ,I happened to glance back through the rear window . Well, much to my shock and then anger, I saw some letters that were written on that back window obviously from the inside that revealed my "boyfriend" (who I thought was totally loyal to me) had been fooling around with someone else.I got a little irrational and keep yelling for him to stop the car so I could get out and stomp around a bit. He slowed down but wouldn't fully stop so I yanked the door open and tumbled out. Ah, what a teenage girl is willing to do to appropriately dramatize a moment!!! Of course, I know now (40 years later) that it was a totally idiotic thing to do and I'm lucky I didn't crack my skull open. Yes, the boyfriend stopped, was suitably and abjectly apologetic. We dated for a year after that but a certain trust was broken. I knew he was capable of cheating and he knew I could indulge in craziness (in defense,I outgrew my lack of control).

bill said...

On Amazon is a list of Thanksgiving movies.

I'm not a fan of PT&A, so Hannah and Her Sisters is the best of the lot. Son-In-Law wins the prize for "not sucking nearly as much as expected." Except for all that green grass in South Dakota.

Speaking of not recognizing actresses, we were watching 7 Brides for 7 Brothers with our daughter (she's 3 and musicals are a nice change of pace from the usual children's fare) and thought Dorcus looked slightly familiar. Turned out to be a young Julie Newmar before she changed her name.

Dirty Harry said...


Superb choices. "Hannah" is a masterpiece.

You can catch Julie Newmar again in a bit in "The Bandwagon." She's one of the dancers in the sensational girl hunt dance with Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Can't miss her in that single close-up she has.

Kathleen B. said...

7 Brides for 7 Brothers is the greatest! Howard Keel is to die for. what a man! what a voice!

Finn Kristiansen said...

Several times this year I found myself not at work doing customer service in the circulation department of a major western newspaper, and instead at home, sprawled out, with snack, flipping through channels. (I was, uhm, sick).

That is where I stumbled upon Dawson's Creek in reruns (having been fortunate to miss it the first time around), and since I don't have cable, (not cause I am poor, but cause I only watch PBS... yea), I went with the underachieving flow of the moment.

It was here that I first encountered Katie Holmes (as character Joey Potter), and before Mr.Cruise got his mental paws all over her mind's body. For the life of me I could not figure out what Dawson saw in her.

I was none too thrilled when she resurfaced in my life via "Batman Begins," an otherwise outstanding film that benefited not a bit by her presence. (Oh Tom, shut up... she's no Kidman).

Of the young actresses, she seems to lack the ability to make an impression, as opposed to someone like Parker Posey, who was in the 1996 road film "Day Trippers", in which a wife (Hope Davis) discovers a love letter to her husband, and hauls her family by car into the city (that would be Manhattan) to get the truth from her husband (Stanley Tucci).

Dirty Harry said...


I'm not ashamed to admit that Howard Keel does it a bit for me as well.

Well, a little ashamed.

Maybe I shouldn't post this.

Kathleen B. said...