January 28th, 2019

I re-watched an old friend this past week with When Harry Met Sally… the 1989 romantic comedy that explores the wonders of relationships, as well is being a first rate homage to New York City (which acts as another character).   This was my first time ever watching the Featurettes as part of the Extras in the DVD.   They were added in 2008.  There are interviews with Rob Reiner (director), Nora Ephron (writer), Billy Crystal and others.   Meg Ryan was noticeably absent.

The film is a classic.   The story behind it too is interesting as Rob Reiner speaks about it being really his story as a single guy for 10 years after his divorce from Penny Marshall.  He talked with Nora Ephron, and they began an ongoing dialogue about men and women’s attitudes towards relationships.   This became various scenes within the film.   Billy Crystal, a good friend of Reiner’s, was not initially cast by the Director but came along later.   Neither Crystal nor Ryan were headline stars before this film, and so it was a chance taken to given them the roles.   Crystal incidentally was crucial for many improv bits added to the existing screenplay.   He added the line “I’ll have what she is having” after the scene in Katz’s deli which was delivered by Reiner’s Mom.  He also ad libbed the Central American voice in the Metropolitan Museum below

It is a very funny scene, and you see Meg look over to Reiner after he says “pecan pie” and he is motioning her just to go with it, and she does.

I can watch this film over and over and laugh at it each time.  The proclaimed attitude from Crystal early on about men and women never being able to be friends is an interesting one.  The film takes places over many years, from a first meeting leaving Chicago to drive to NYC, to further chance meetings at airports, book stores etc. until a final New Years Eve scene.    You get to see both the male and female perspectives, which is more unique, and really hadn’t been done until that point.   The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, and it is sad to see and note from the added features that Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia herself), high-pitched voice Bruno Kirby (many films including The Godfather Part II) and Nora Ephron are all gone now.   Gone way too soon.   This is a movie I have in my DVD collection and I thoroughly enjoy it every time I see it.

On Netflix, I have been watching a number of series, some based on Golden Globes and others just to check out what they have done.   Generally speaking I have to say that there is just an overwhelming amount of content out there.  Far too much for anyone to see that is not a professional viewer.   Perhaps I can save some of you some time if you only have limited time or desire.

Based upon the Golden Globe nomination of Michael Douglas, I watched the entire The Kaminsky Method.  Douglas won for his portrayal of an Actor and more recently an acting coach who’s best friend is his crusty agent, played by Alan Arkin.   In many ways I feel as though this series was a vehicle to get much older and unemployed actors some work.   We have in various episodes Nancy Travis (who I haven’t seen memorably since So I Married an Axe Murderer), Ann Margret (who since Grumpy Old Men has been quiet), Elliot Gould (who I think of in the original M*A*S*H movie and that’s about it), Danny Devito and musical personality Eddie Money who is just scary.   But the story is alright, with the best speech being that delivered by Arkin late in episode 2, which speaks about what I think relationships can be all about.   Beyond that, there are far too many jokes and references to peeing and prostate.   There isn’t enough new and interesting material.    So despite having maybe two or three episodes worth of material, it goes on for six.   I cannot recommend and I wonder about the wisdom of the Hollywood Writers who reward these performances.

Watership Down is a bunny series.  I read this in grade school back in the days when they handed out books to read.   It is animated and reflects accurately from what I can recall about the story of survival for these rabbits in a warren.    They live on an chunk of land that is on the verge of being developed.   There are rabbits of different skills, like fighting, digging and storytelling etc as well as does (female rabbits).   The rabbits are well drawn, and move well.   The story is told effectively as you can see the human attributes of hierarchy and also deception as the animals interact with the human world (and other animals as well).   They seem to fight amongst themselves more than they likely should given all of the real dangers that surround them.   Do you need to go seek it out?   No.   But if you like animals, and if you recall this story from your youth then you may want to check it out.   It was alright.

The Sinner is a Jessica Biel series, also produced by her, that is taking on an initial surprising event which isn’t fully explained, and then has Bill Pullman acting as a detective, trying to piece together what was occurred and why.  One learns more as he pieces things together.   Pullman was nominated for a SAG award.   He didn’t win.   I have only gotten through a couple of the episodes, but I am feeling as though I have seen this before, or at least I have seen enough films that I think I know where this is going.  Maybe it will surprise me, but I doubt it.

Finally, the Oscar nominations came out this week.  I  guess I can’t be all that surprised in the fact that I wasn’t surprised.   I thought that the Academy would be opening up some nominations to those I felt were deserving.   It was not to be.   So sadly, there wasn’t any recognition for Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place for Supporting Actress (even though she won the SAG Award for it).  No love for WidowsFirst ManBurning or Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), and altogether too much love for Roma, previously address last week.  The awards are at the end of February, and as always I will send out an email for a No Cost, Fun Only officepools contest to pick the winners.  Alison is our resident two-time champion at the picks.

Oh, and I watched yet again Arrival on Netflix.   Everytime I watch this film, I pick out something different.  Like Alison has said, it is better and better with each viewing.   For me, who I rolled my eyes when the time travel aspect reared its head, it’s nowhere near as offensive than it was at the time sitting in a movie theatre in La Jolla CA.



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