Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Starting Over

Year 8, Day 159 - 6/7/16 - Movie #2,358

BEFORE: OK, I recovered from that wrap party, and the trip to McDonald's that followed it.  No more talk about Big Mac shame spirals, it never happened, OK?  (That said, if you have to eat there, that new deal where you can get a Big Mac AND a Filet-o-fish for 5 bucks is pretty sweet.  Those are my go-to sandwiches when I've been drinking, or forced to eat at a highway rest stop.)  

Daniel Stern carries over from "Blue Thunder", and I'm finally opening up the Burt Locker, 12 films in a row with Burt Reynolds, sometimes with the mustache, and sometimes without.  Tonight looks like it's a "without".  

THE PLOT:  A divorced man falls in love, but somehow he can't get over his ex-wife. This affects his love life in comic ways.

AFTER: I'll sometimes refer to an actor as a "Friend of the Blog", and often I'm being facetious, or perhaps calling someone who recorded a line or two of dialogue for my boss a "Friend" is overstating things.  Maybe I handed them or mailed them a check, or perhaps they came to our booth at Comic-Con and hung out for a few minutes, maybe even posed for a picture.  Honestly, if you see me use the word friend, it probably means "I met this actor one time" or perhaps "This actress stood in front of me in a Starbucks line".  Tonight there are no less than four people who appeared in this film that I've met or interacted with in the real world, which seems like an odd convergence.  I guess maybe it's not so weird, because I'm in the film business, or at least adjacent to it, so I've encountered a lot of people over the years. 

Kevin Bacon?  I once saw his band, the Bacon Brothers, play at the Bottom Line in NYC, and he passed about two feet from me at Comic-Con 2 years ago.  Jay O. Sanders?  He recorded a voice for this animated film "Hair High" that I produced, so I got to meet him at a record session.  And Wallace Shawn I've seen a few times, at a post office and a FedEx office in a certain neighborhood, which I won't reveal.  Even helped out a fan who wanted her picture taken with him, one day at the FedEx.  But another actor here, seen as the young basketball player near the end of the film, happens to be my newer boss' boyfriend, and I've watched him work very hard over the last month, doing carpentry work and moving furniture as she relocated to a new studio.  So I've gotten to know him, and I don't know why he's not a bigger star, but I guess he's done more theater work than movie work, and now he's co-produced an animated feature, so a shout-out to Sturgis Warner.  

Sturgis is seen playing basketball in what I assume to be the old Boston Garden, since much of the film was shot in the Boston area, I spotted Quincy Market, but not many other landmarks that I know.  But I went to Boston Garden a few times as a kid, if the circus or the Ice Capades was in town, my parents would take me (and a busload of underprivileged city kids, but that's another story...).  

But the story is really about a divorced man finding love again, I'm starting off the Burt Reynolds chain with a film that really should be programmed for February, but my plan is still to not be doing this by the time February rolls around again, so I'm not going to save it, just in case.  Still 122 films left on the Watchlist, but I also still have 142 slots.  So I can at least pretend for the next month that I can finish whatever this is within calendar year 2016.  

We don't find out until about midway through WHY Burt's character is divorcing his wife, but does it really matter (well, yeah, kinda...)?  Heck, if it was just because of her singing voice, that would be reason enough.  That's sort of a truism about relationships, there could be little things that attract you to someone at the start of a relationship that a few years later, you just can't stand any more.  It's only natural, it's part of life, which is a long series of hellos and goodbyes when you get right down to it.  And there will be accomplishments and setbacks along the way, stressful times like divorces and then learning how to live as a single person again, and then facing the nightmare of getting back out there and dating again, hoping to find someone you can relate to for the next however-many years.  

The encounter group for divorced men has a few different types - the old man who got divorced after 40-plus years of marriage, the one who keeps re-marrying his ex-wife, and so on.  At least Reynolds' character, Phil Potter, still has his sense of humor, or maybe it's just an admission that everything in life is rather ridiculous.  When he gets together with his new girlfriend, there's a real attempt to cut through all the B.S. and the hokey dating rituals like flowers and such, and I feel this sort of rings true.  When you've gone through a few relationships, an attitude like this probably develops, like "Can we just go to dinner, and have it just be dinner?"  I mean, like, who doesn't like eating dinner?  I know I'm a big fan.  

And the new relationship has its ups and downs, but it seems to go pretty well, except for the times when it appears to be very fragile.  Hey, it happens.  But it's during one of these fragile times that Phil's ex-wife shows up at their apartment, and wants to reconcile.  Since he never really got over her, this presents him with a tough choice.  Maybe we always want what we can't have, so the minute we get it, maybe we want something else.  That rings pretty true as well.  

I guess I'm lucky because it's not an issue for me, plus there's zero percent chance of ever reconciling with my ex, since I'm no longer her type, or the proper gender.  But I did find an interview she once gave about her success running in marathons and triathlons, where she spoke about how she took up running to relieve stress (read between the lines: the stressful marriage).  Apparently in her bio, I've been reduced to "the man she met in film school" that she was married to as she was "struggling with her sexuality".  I don't recall her struggling a lot with it, I think she kind of gave in to it.  I know that I struggled with it, probably more than she did.  So yeah, those words sting, but I'll get over it. 

Also starring Burt Reynolds (last seen in "Deliverance"), Candice Bergen (last seen in "Gandhi"), Jill Clayburgh (last seen in "Love & Other Drugs") , Charles Durning (last seen in "The Front Page"), Frances Sternhagen (last seen in "Doc Hollywood"), Austin Pendleton (last seen in "Catch-22"), Mary Kay Place (last seen in "The Rainmaker"), Jay O. Sanders (last seen in "The Odd Couple II"), Wallace Shawn (last seen in "We're No Angels"), Charles Kimbrough, Sturgis Warner, with a cameo from Kevin Bacon (last seen in "Quicksilver")

RATING: 5 out of 10 countries that border Costa Rica

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