Thursday, February 11, 2016

She's Having a Baby

Year 8, Day 42 - 2/11/16 - Movie #2,243

BEFORE: Kevin Bacon carries over from "He Said, She Said", and I'm wrapping up the John Hughes-related "Brat Pack" romantic films of the 80's.  To celebrate, I had dinner last night at Barcade, surrounded by many of the console video-games of that period.  A couple of beers, a pork belly meatloaf sandwich, and a few games of Q-Bert and that really cool Star Wars Trilogy game that I could never quite get the hang of.  

Here's the TCM line-up for tomorrow, February 12: 

Joseph Schildkraut carries over from "The Man in the Iron Mask" to:
"Viva, Villa!" with Fay Wray carrying over to:
"The Richest Girl in the World" with Miriam Hopkins carrying over to:
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932) with Halliwell Hobbes carrying over to:
"That Forsyte Woman" with Errol Flynn carrying over to:
"The Adventures of Don Juan" with Helen Westcott carrying over to:
"The Gunfighter" with Gregory Peck carrying over to:
"Marooned" with George Gaynes carrying over to:
"Tootsie" with Dustin Hoffman carrying over to:
"Kramer vs. Kramer" with Meryl Streep carrying over to:
"The Deer Hunter" with Robert De Niro carrying over to:
"Goodfellas" with Paul Sorvino carrying over to:

Another four that I've already seen, namely "Tootsie" and the three after it.  It looks like they've started a bit of Valentine's Day programming, too (TCM just keeps copying ideas from me...) with "Tootsie" and the relationship-based "Kramer vs. Kramer".  Now I'm at 42 seen, 96 unseen, with 2 added to the list.

They've got more romances coming up this weekend, so it's especially impressive that their schedule can: 1) maintain a linked chain for the whole month 2) use a different actor as a link each time - no repeats! and 3) pay respect to Valentine's Day.  I gotta give it up for whoever's planning their films.  (Geez, how many times have I repeated myself, and used Kevin Bacon as a link?  I'm such an amateur.)

THE PLOT:  A look at the lives of Jake and Kristy Briggs, from their wedding day until the birth of their first child.

AFTER: When you get right down to it, John Hughes didn't direct that many films, just eight (and that includes "Uncle Buck" and "Curly Sue").  But he wrote a lot more, like "Home Alone" and "Pretty in Pink" and "National Lampoon's Vacation".  And in the later years, he wrote several films under the name Edmond Dantes, in a nod to "The Count of Monte Cristo" - one of those is coming up later this month.  But nobody captured the spirit of the 1980's better, or became more synonymous with this type of popular, inoffensive "coming of age" film.  

I've spotted a weird trend of people having sleep problems - "Betsy's Wedding" opened with Alan Alda having a nightmare about a tiger (they never did explain that one...) and both characters in "He Said, She Said" had trouble sleeping, sleepwalking and even wanting cheesecake.  Tonight Kevin Bacon's character has dreams where he's seduced by his fantasy girl.  But, do we ever really think he's going to cheat on Kristy?  Do we really think Kristy's going to sleep with Jake's best friend?  Nah...

The problem here, and it's probably all too easy a trap for a screenwriter to fall into, is that I didn't pick up on any reason why Jake and Kristy were in love in the first place, it's just sort of a given.  What brought them together, other than listening to Boston's "More Than a Feeling"?  You can't base a relationship on that.  OK, so the film is really about a couple becoming adults, getting jobs, buying a house and then trying to please their parents, but couldn't they have worked in a little something about what it means for two people to care about each other?  Besides just not sleeping with other people, that is. 

Instead all we get are montages of them painting various rooms in the house, trying to decide where the furniture should go, opening baby shower gifts, etc.  Then later there's the montage of getting dressed while pregnant, watching her belly grow, but this is all just surface-level stuff.  What's going on in their heads, besides fantasies?

As a result, this is mostly generic material for a film - even the title, which is just so basic.  Thank god that SHE'S having a baby, because if HE were having a baby, that would lead to all kinds of problems. 

I will say that even though Jake became a writer, and even though he wrote a manuscript with the same title as the film (ugh...) at least I wasn't tortured by long scenes of him typing, or worse, sitting in front of a typewriter, staring at a blank page.   

And what we can conclude from this film, especially from the end credits where some notable actors appear as their characters from other John Hughes films, is that all of his films are clearly set in the same universe, like Kevin Smith's films are.  The Hugh-niverse, if you will.  If you remember that Kevin Bacon had a cameo in the film "Planes, Trains & Automobiles", where he fights over a taxi with Steve Martin's character.  Later in that film, you can hear Bacon's character fighting with his wife, which is the same fight shown in this film, so it's all connected, man...

Also starring Elizabeth McGovern (last seen in "Kick-Ass"), Alec Baldwin (last seen in "Notting Hill"), Holland Taylor (last seen in "The Wedding Date"), William Windom (last seen in "True Crime"), Cathryn Damon, Paul Gleason (last seen in "Miami Blues"), Dennis Dugan (last seen in "Big Daddy"), Bill Erwin (last seen in "Under the Yum Yum Tree"), John Ashton, Larry Hankin, with cameos from Edie McClurg (last heard in "The Little Mermaid"), Lili Taylor (last seen in "Four Rooms"), Gail O'Grady, Kirstie Alley, Harry Anderson (last seen in "It"), Dan Aykroyd (last seen in "Get On Up"), Matthew Broderick (last seen in "New Year's Eve"), John Candy (last seen in "Volunteers"), Dyan Cannon (last seen in "Deathtrap"), Belinda Carlisle, Stewart Copeland, Ted Danson (last seen in "Ted"), Woody Harrelson (last seen in "Zombieland"), Robert Hays (last seen in "Cat's Eye"), Amy Irving (last seen in "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing"), Magic Johnson, Michael Keaton (last seen in "White Noise"), Joanna Kerns, Elias Koteas (last seen in "Novocaine"), Penny Marshall (last seen in "The Hard Way"), Bill Murray (also last seen in "Zombieland"), Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, Cindy Pickett, Bronson Pinchot, Annie Potts (last seen in "Pretty in Pink"), John Ratzenberger (last seen in "A Bridge Too Far"), Ally Sheedy (last seen in "St. Elmo's Fire"), Wil Wheaton and Warren Zevon.

RATING: 4 out of 10 baby name suggestions

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