Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holly or Bolly? both

Last night I watched The Descendants, the new Alexander Payne movie with George Clooney.  Whenever I think about Clooney, I think about his good taste as a producer, his good work as a director, and how much he makes me think of Cary Grant.  But for some reason, I tend to forget what a good actor he is.  This was really not a glamorous role, and he was entirely believable.  He's always more subtle than I expect.  I don't know if the Oscar noms are in yet (don't think so) but I'll say he should be be up for best actor (perhaps also for best supporting for The Ides of March).  Who would have thought the handsome doctor from ER would have turned out to have that kind of talent?  

I'd had two recommendations for Dil Chahta Hai (one was actually for anything with Aamir Khan) so I watched that.  For a friends/romance/comedy movie, it was quieter and less silly and less melodramatic than many.  (No "boing!") sounds effects like in KANK.  And Aamir Khan is quite good.  I knew what he looked like but hadn't seen one of his movies before.  Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna were also quite wonderful.  All around, no one overacted, the musical scenes fit nicely.  There was a scene in a movie theater with Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Kukarni where the two of them are in a scene from a 1960s movie; I don't know the movie, but I bet the character Ali Khan was supposed to be is Dev Anand.  He had that Dev Anand look to him.

Met someone today (is that the right thing to say when it's online?) who is a great fan of James Stewart, via Alfred Hitchcock, not via Frank Capra.  I am an unrepentant hater of Frank Capra.  He's generally thought of as a great filmmaker, but I find him so sentimental and manipulative that he just makes me ill.  And it's a shame that he hijacked James Stewart into a lot of that.

But I totally get James Stewart via Hitchcock.  He's not an actor I think about all that much, though I kept flashing back on a young James Stewart, kind of Philadelphia-Story era, tripping over his own long legs, when I saw this:

No, really, not just an excuse for another Big B clip.  It really did make me think of James Stewart.

It occurs to me that if you like James Stewart (this is for Pankaj if you're there), that you'd also like Jack Lemmon.  He did great comedies (Some Like it Hot) and great dramas (Days of Wine and Roses) and great character parts when he was older (Glengarry Glen Ross).  And by the way, everyone who likes Scorsese and Tarantino and those guys should check out Glengarry, which was written by David Mamet; his stuff fits in there very nicely.  Plus the movie has guys like Ed Harris and Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin...and then Alec Baldwin shows up for about five minutes and steals the entire movie.

But back to Jack Lemmon:  to me, the contemporary actor who is most like Jack Lemmon would have to be Tom Hanks.  He went almost effortlessly from being a light comic actor to being a serious actor with real talent.  (He won back-to-back best actor Oscars for Philadelphia and Forest Gump, although I may not have those in proper chronological order.)

He's also in Apollo 13 which is one of my flat-out all-time favorite movies.  I can't even critique that movie because I'm so blindly in love with the space program stuff (which was done with painstaking accuracy) that I can't even take it apart. Great actors, especially Ed Harris.  (Ed Harris is a link to my other favorite space program movie, The Right Stuff.)

Someone found me on Twitter today and asked "Bolly or Holly?"  Both, thank you.  I'm enjoying hanging out with other film fans (again, if one can say that about online connections).  Otherwise it's fairly solitary.  Barry has not caught the Indian movie thing the way I have.

I was kvetching a bit on Facebook today about having so many movies backed up that I couldn't decide what to watch.  (Yiddish alert! Kvetch = complain.)  As I said before, two opinions pushed me to Dil Chahta Hai.  I'm thinking The Dirty Picture might be next.  Don't know if I'm up for another one tonight, though, and I'll be spending some quality time with my jewelry table tomorrow.

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