Wednesday, February 10, 2016

He Said, She Said

Year 8, Day 41 - 2/10/16 - Movie #2,242

BEFORE: Now I'm really getting into the basics of this whole "Battle of the Sexes" thing, as tonight it appears to be quite literal.  Elizabeth Perkins carries over from "About Last Night..." and I bet you can probably guess who'll be carrying over to tomorrow's film.

Now here's the TCM line-up for tomorrow, February 11.  Seems like a bit of an "off day":

Adolphe Menjou carries over from "Step Lively" to:
"A Farewell to Arms" (1932) with Gilbert Emery carrying over to:
"The Life of Emile Zola" with Gale Sondergaard carrying over to:
"The Letter" (1940) with Herbert Marshall carrying over to:
"The Letter" (1929) with Reginald Owen carrying over to:
"The Great Ziegfeld" with Herman Bing carrying over to:
"Maytime" with Rafela Ottiano carrying over to:
"She Done Him Wrong" with Louise Beavers carrying over to:
"Imitation of Life" with Warren William carrying over to:
"The Gold Diggers of 1933" with Ginger Rogers carrying over to:
"Top Hat" with Eric Blore carrying over to:
"The Moon and Sixpence" with George Sanders carrying over to:

"The Son of Monte Cristo" with Joan Bennett carrying over to:
"The Man in the Iron Mask" (1939)

Damn, and I was doing so well up until this point, staying just under the 50% mark, when you compare what I've seen to what I haven't.  Though I guess I was fooling myself with the numbers - just because the number of seen films was half the number of the unseen ilms, that doesn't mean I've seen half of all the films being shown - in fact it means I've only seen about a third.  Out of today's 13 films, I've only seen one, "She Done Him Wrong".  So my stats are going to plummet now, down to 38 seen, 88 unseen, with 2 added to the list.  

I probably should record "Top Hat", I've been remiss in watching the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - but maybe I should wait for TCM to run a bunch of them in a row, and you know they will.  Recording one film by itself, even if it's one of their best, doesn't do me much good in the long run.  Now, speaking of couples dancing around each other...      

THE PLOT: A television producer gives two journalists working in the same office their own program where they can give their opposing views on various issues.

AFTER: It was brought to my attention yesterday that sometimes married people, especially people who have been married for a while, tend to be a little judgmental when it comes to giving out advice to single people.  Some of them act like they've got it all figured out, when in fact nobody does.  I try not to be that type of person, but I was reminded of this fact from an anecdote told about someone else, who was married for a long time, but then got divorced.  I've been through that myself, it can be a humbling experience, and that's why I don't claim to have all the answers, and why I try not to advise people directly on relationship matters.  

For fictional couples, however, all bets are off.  I can easily pull out a NITPICK POINT if I see someone in a movie acting in a way that they shouldn't, pulling one of those relationship "no-nos" like having sex on the first date or moving in together before working out some of their major issues. 

But I don't see relationships as a "battle" between men and women thinking differently, I think it's always about two people who think differently, because any two people could think differently.  Because if you're always going to divide it along gender lines, then logically you could conclude that gay couples never fight or disagree, and I don't believe that's a correct assumption.  But for people who date a lot of people, or who practice "serial monogamy" with several people over time, I think there's always going to be a relationship based on reactions, naturally each partner's going to be different in some ways from the last one.  People in long-term relationships do have things a little easier, I believe, only because once they get on the same page with someone, things based on little differences do sort of smooth themselves out, provided both partners are willing. 

What makes it quite difficult to analyze the relationship in this film, however, is the fact that we're shown many of the significant events twice, once from Dan's perspective and then again from Lorie's.  And there are differences - I don't watch that cable show "The Affair", but I read about it using a similar contrivance.  Unfortunately, by the end I didn't really know which portrayal was more accurate, so I'm left not really knowing how to feel about things, or whose fault any relationship missteps might be.  

Also confusing things was the fact that the narrative jumps around in time quite liberally, even her flashback scenes, which are supposed to clarify his earlier flashback scenes, jump around between the period where the two people were single newspaper columnists, the time-frame after they moved in together and appeared on TV, and the time-frame after they broke up due to various differences and mis-communications.  (Umm, I think.)  Apparently I was supposed to pay attention to the bandage on Kevin Bacon's head - any scene with the bandage was happening in the "present" while any scene without it was set in the "past".  Yeah, that helps only to a point, everything still has to be assembled in order inside an audience members mind - it's a DIY timeline.

I'll admit that I didn't help matters by falling asleep at the mid-point of the film, for about two hours.  The rules of the project state that if this happens, when I wake up I make one last attempt at finishing the film, but if I fall asleep again I have to either finish the film after work or take a mulligan for the day.  So this one might be my fault, when I watched the second half of the film, her remembered version of events, it was difficult for me to remember his spin on things, because I had a two-hour nap in-between. 

NITPICK POINT: Late in the film, it's stated that our young lovers can no longer stand to be in the same studio, so their opinion segments are taped separately.  So he records first, but then when she gives her opinion, we see a number of people out in the world watching it in real time, as if it's being broadcast live.  So, were the segments taped, or not?  Why would they tape one half of the show and then do the other half live, which would only allow for unforeseen results?  If the two segments are going to be edited together to create the illusion that the two people are sitting next to each other, it makes much more sense to tape both of them and then at least there's a safety net of the controlled edit.

Also starring Kevin Bacon (last seen in "Flatliners"), Nathan Lane (last seen in "Nicholas Nickelby"), Sharon Stone (last seen in "Stardust Memories"), Anthony LaPaglia (last seen in "Betsy's Wedding"), Stanley Anderson, Steven Gilborn, Charlayne Woodard, Rita Karin, with cameos from Erika Alexander, Phil Leeds, John Tesh and Leeza Gibbons.

RATING: 4 out of 10 Caesar salads

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