Classic of the Week: A Taste of Honey (1961)

A Taste of Honey is a 1961 British film adaptation of the 1958 play of the same name by Shelagh Delaney. The film is directed by Tony Richardson, who also directed the play on stage.

The film follows a teenage girl named Jo and her mother Hellen as they moved their few belongings across Manchester on a bus. Jo’s mum is an alcoholic who becomes engaged to a much younger and wealthier man. Jo meets an older fellow who works on ships and they eventually fall in love and and have sex, before having to set sail. He assures he’d be back soon, but never comes back. She ends up moving into a ramshackle home with a gay friend and finds out she is pregnant.

This film is so realistic, you almost feel as if you’re watching a documentary and not something fictional. The acting is great from all the main stars, but much of the movie is so slow, it’s boring. This is an extremely depressing film as well, mostly just sad scenes and a few somewhat happy ones. Although the acting is superb, the main characters are all hard to like. Helen is a heavy drinking, money spending and self centered lady, Jo complains too much and ends up with a baby as a teen, Jimmy is far too nice at first, then gets Jo pregnant and leaves, Helen’s fiancé is a jerk and hates Jo and Geoffrey (Jo’s roommate) is not too bright and far too sweet.

Even though this a a rather dull film, it is still relevant in this day in time with today’s “Teen Moms,” only without much of the trash that’s seen on TV and in movies. This movie is raw and straightforward. It shows the life of a teenage mother who is forced to decide wether to have the baby or not.

I cannot imagine this story ever being a stage production, because it was hard to sit through much of this film without yawning. Despite this, it is a powerful learning tool in the life of a teen parent and the struggles they go through. There is not one ounce of humor or glory, only short lived romance and much extremely heartbreaking scenes. This movie was controversial fr the time, being the use of single mothers, homosexuality, inter-racial kissing and underage parenting. It was banned in several countries, despite bing a critical success and award winner.

If you want a movie about underage motherhood that’s more uplifting try Juno. If yo want want a serious one on the subject, try this one, you’ll either love it or hate it. You’d think with such a strong message and raw storyline, this film would have been better to me, but I was thoroughly bored throughout. The writers and directors could have done a better job with this piece. 18 & up 3/5

Classic of the Week: Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

 

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Drugstore Cowboy is a 1989 American crime drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, based on the autobiographical novel by James Fogle. It stars Matt Dillon,  Kelly Lynch, Heather Graham and William S. Burroughs. At the time the film was being Mae, the source novel was unpublished and later published in 1990, by which Fogle had been released from prison.

The film follows Bob Hughes who leads a group of drug addicts in the 70s – his wife Dianne, best friend Rick and Rick’s teenage girlfriend Nadine- traveling across the Pacific Northwest, robbing pharmacies and hospitals to help their drug addictions.

This film has an indie feel to it and takes you into the life of a crew of drug addicts and dealers and does it so well. Parts are very slow, so the film is boring at times, but you get to take a trip into a life of drug related crimes and health issues. Every single character is both alike in their dope obsession bot also very different. Matt Dillon is great as Bob Hughes the ring leader of the bunch, Kelly Lynch is equally great as Dianne Hughes, his wife. James LeGros is excellent as their best friend Rick and Heather Graham does a fine job as his girlfriend Nadine.

This film stakes you for a long dope filled ride into a an intense world of drug addiction, theft and drug dealing. The characters are so addicted the most feed their habits all the time and in order to do that, they must beg, borrow and steal. At first, they are very clever at being sneaky and stealing the drugs and hiding them, but then they are eventually caught and sent to prison.

This movie is filled with of course with drugs and substance abuse, crime, homelessness, money issues and illnesses. It is done quite well, although much of the movie is a bit boring. Some scenes have .little or no dialogue, but it fits the story. There is nothing exciting about this film at all, it is one horrible event after another.    Despite being rather dull in some scenes, the acting is fantastic, the soundtrack perfect, but the cinematography is rather dull so much of the time, making it seem like a cheap documentary, rather than a drama movie. I guess this was got make it seem more realistic, although it is an independent film. This is only Gus Van Sant’s second film.

This isn’t the most engaging film. In fact, I found much of it to be very dull, almost to the point of nt wanting to continue watching it, but it does get better not outstanding but a lot better. But what do you expect from a movie based off a book with this story? Not a musical that’s for sure.

Overall, this movie is very good, but not great. For a story like this, I was expecting a bit more action. There is violence is some parts, but much of this film just plain slow. They spend too much time in one setting in some scenes. I wasn’t expecting a wildly entertaining motion picture, but definitely not one that bored me nearly to sleep at times. Great plot, well done film. Adults only 3/5

The Night Clerk (2020)

The Night Clerk is a 2020 American crime drama film written and directed by Michael Cristofer. It stars Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas, John Leguizamo Abdul Helen Hunt. The film follows the story of front desk clerk at a hotel that is suspected of a murder that happens after his shift.

Bart Bromley is a twenty- three year old man with Aspergers Syndrome who lives with his mom, Ethel. He works as a front desk clerk at night at a local hotel. He studies guests staying at the hotel with hidden cameras to help with his social skills. At home in his room, he has several screens set up to watch what he records from work. The videos start out innocent, but take a dark turn when he witnesses a man hit a woman and the murder of another female guest.

He meets a young lady, Andrea Rivera, who is a guest at the hotel and after spending hanging with her for the next few days, he becomes infatuated with her, even going the length to buy a new a car, get a haircut and dress clothes. But his work goes down the drain when he sees her with another man and becomes jealous. He soon forgives her after she cones to him at the front desk saying it was over with the man. She leads him, first acting a friend, then flirts with him and leaves with another man, that Bart knows is the murderer of the other lady.

Bart is found sitting on the bed of crime scene room when his coworker finds him and tells him not to touch anything, he’s going to call the police. Bart disobeys him, touching the blood of the dead woman, taking the chip out of his hidden camera and other things, leaving his fingerprints as evidence, as wel as the blood on his shirt. Because of this, police consider him a likely suspect.

Bart loses his job, confronts the man Andrea has been seeing, after catching him hurt her in her hotel room. Andrea and Bart escape to his house, where he shows her the hidden camera footage. She decides to play it safe and stay the night with Bart. Bart awakes to find her gone.

There have been many films involving autistic characters, some better than others. Some hit the nail on the head as far as mannerisms, lifestyle, etc., but many stereotype. This film gets Aspergers almost perfectly. Tye Sheridan is outstanding as Bart Bromely, portraying a socially awkward, autistic young man so well, making him seem like a real person. Helen Hunt is great as his mother Ethel Bromely, who is a little bit of sheltering mother, but also protective and loving. Ana de Armas is also great as Andrea Rivera, who plays with Bart’s mind throughout the film. John Leguizamo is fantastic as Detective Espada, who at first is iffy about making Bart a likely suspect, because of his disability, but is forced to do it.

Autistic people have trouble reading people’s emotions and the often have trouble understanding what a person has said. The often act or say inappropriately as well. Bart is prime example of that. He knew it was wrong to tamper with the evidence, but he wanted to get the camera and the footage out. He didn’t realize that Andrea was just playing him and trying to frame him until closer to the end of the film.

While the acting is superb in this movie, it does focus a little too much on Bart, his condition and him being likely guilty by police, rather than trying to find more evidence and reasons to arrest or not arrest him. This film starts out rather slow, but does pick up, other scenes are pretty slow too. You want Bart to get over Andrea, but he can’t, that’’s the way he thinks. He tries so hard to be more social, but it doesn’t always work.This isn’t action packed, but some scenes are pretty intense, some disturbing

You don’t have to relate to Bart or know anyone with Aspergers to enjoy this film. Although I don’t think is movie is fantastic, it is pretty good. It makes you wonder about howe disabled people get accused of crimes they didn’t commit. The acting is great, but there could have been a little less Andrea and Bart’s crush on her, could’ve been focused on less, it’s a crime drama, not a romance. I didn’t love this film, nor did I hate it. It was only petty good, because it did need some changes to be excellent. 18 & up 3.5/5

Classic of the Week: Diner (1982)

Diner is a 1982 American comedy drama film written and directed by Barry Levinson, in his film directorial debut. It stars Mickey Rourke, Steven Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Paul Reiser, Kevin Bacon, Timothy Daly and Ellen Barkin.

The semi-autobiographical film is set in the northwest section of Baltimore, Maryland during the last week of 1959 and tells the story of a circle of friends, now in their twenties, who reunite for the wedding of one of the friends in the group and the title makes reference to their late night hang out, the fictional Fell’s Point Diner in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point neighborhood. The film follows the changing relationships among these friends as they become adults.

This is a film with a simple plot, that most group of friends can relate to. The friends in this movie share a celebration of one getting married. They reunite at the diner they hung out at as kids over food, coffee, music and laughs, they party, dance, drink until they’re drunk, talk about life growing up and as adults, go to the wedding, share tears, hugs and toasts and dance some more. They drink lots of coffee and smoke lots of cigarettes, but nearly everyone smoked back then.

Each character is unique one is getting married, one fears marriage, one has a semi-pregnant girlfriend and one has a high paying job he hates. This film might have inspired other movies as well as television shows featuring groups of friends at their favorite hangout like the films The Big Chill and Grosse Point Blank and television shows Seinfeld and Friends. There are laugh out loud and touching moments in this film.

For such a simple plot, with such simple, (yet relatable) characters, you’d think this film would be completely boring, but it is far from it. It shows a group of buddies getting together again to be there for a member of their circle’s wedding. After being apart, (though they kept in touch), for so long, they still shared a close bond, a brother type relationship that so many, even today, don’t have. It was great how they seemed like they hadn’t been apart for a long time.

Yes, this is pretty much a “guy” comedy, but me, being female, thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very entertaining for the most part, because several scenes are a bit slow, but I know that is for dramatic effect, so can’t really complain when it’s necessary to the plot. This is both a happy and not so happy film. There is a wedding for one character , but their is also the other character who is too afraid to propose to his longtime girlfriend and the one guy who complains about his job. You don’t have to be male, or even in your twenties to relate to any of the main dudes. You don’t have to like football, or even sports, or 50s music, to enjoy this movie, nor do you have to be a fella.

This both a happy and a not so happy film. Some parts are pretty slow, but that’s for dramatic effect, so can’t complain if it’s necessary to the plot. Although the guys are young, many times in the movie they seem much older, because the screenplay is smartly written, making each character have a sense of maturity, unlike most twenty something characters from today, who act more like wasted immature junior or high school students. The guys in Diner are wise beyond their years. A great motion picture from beginning to end. 18+ 4.5/5

Classic of the Week: Baby Doll (1956)

Baby Doll is a 1956 American black comedy film directed by Elia Kazan, starring Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach. It was adapted from the Tennessee Williams play 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. The film centers on a feud between two rival cotton gin owners in rural Mississippi; after one of the men burns the other’s gin down. The owner fights back by trying to woo the arsonist’s nineteen-year-old virgin bride hoping to receive an acknowledgment of her husband’s guilt.

This film was highly controversial upon its release, largely due to its overly sexual themes. The Roman Catholic National League of Decency, tried to get the film banned, though the responses to the church’s disapproval of the film were varied with Catholic Church and other religious organizations. Despite moral opposition of the film, it was vastly well received by critics and many movie goers. Culturally, the film has been credited with the conceiving the name and making popular of the babydoll nightgown, which derives from the costume worn by Baker’s character.

Although this film was and still is very controversial, it still stands as one of the best “Lolita” type films, where a much older man falls for or becomes infatuated with a much younger girl, tricking by at first asking her to do kind things for him, then he starts to be kind, often fatherly or husbandly, them eventually becomes abusive to her.

Baby Doll ends up being forced to marry Archie Lee Meighan, but he makes an agreement with Baby’s father to wait until her 20th birthday to be consummated. But in the meantime, she sleeps in a crib, wearing short childish nightgowns and sucking her thumb, while Archie, an alcoholic spies on her through a hole in the wall of their dilapidated antebellum house, Tiger Tail. Baby Doll’s crazy Aunt Rose Comfort also lives in the house and is tortured by Archie Lee.

During the era and setting of this film, young girls getting married to wealthy older men was quite common. Some as girls as young as fifteen got married to men in thirties, forties, fifties, maybe even older than that. Young girls getting pregnant was also quite common. Men during this time in the early 20th century (1910’s-30’s), had higher power in most aspects of living, from marriage, to better jobs, higher pay, parenting, etc. Women (or girls in this case), were mostly either schoolteachers, seamstresses, secretaries, or housewives or stay at home mothers. This film shows how life was then in a real southern town.

Sadly, this kind of story really did happen quite a lot during that time in south, especially in small towns. Females, normally didn’t go college unless they were wealthy, lots didn’t even have a high school education. Baby Doll in this film was manipulated by her father and her husband. Her husband forces her to act like a nineteen year old baby and frequently ignores her. Her Aunt Rose is of no help to her because she is senile, so she is oblivious to what is going on with Baby and Archie. Baby and aunt Rose eventually escape from Tiger Tail and Archie is taken to jail, but their lives before that is a living nightmare.

This controversial story is much like a southern version of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” although much less humor in my opinion than Stanley Kubrick’s film version of the Nabokov book. Even though this movie is called a black comedy, it’s far too serious to be called that. The film deals with underage marriage, terrible living conditions, mental illness, alcoholism, vandalism, money issues and abuse, none of which is a laughing matter. Not once did I laugh out loud, so this is really a drama film one hundred percent.

The acting is superb from the main stars. Though this film is really slow and drawn out in some scenes, it is still very well done. Not an exciting film at all, in fact, the majority of it, is extremely depressing, like the way Baby Doll is treated throughout. The only real happy moment is when she and Aunt Rose escape Archie Lee and the police pick him up.

There is no nudity. There is lots of sexual moments though, like Silva making Baby horny and she wears childlike “lingerie” during the majority of the movie. There is some pretty violent scenes, lots of smoking and drinking, but not a whole lot foul language, just the “n-word” used a few times, but that fits the time period and location. Some things in this movie might make a more modest or conservative person overly uncomfortable. This isn’t a film that could be watched over and over because of the theme and adult segments. It is still a work of art despite it causing feather ruffling even today. 18 & up 4/5

Classic of the Week: American Graffiti (1973)

American Graffiti is a 1973 American coming of age comedy film directed by George Lucas starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron HOward, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy WIlliams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Bo Hopkins and Wolfman Jack. The film is set in Modesto, California in 1962 and follows the story of the early rock ‘n’ roll and crushing cultures that were poplar among teenagers at the time over the course of a single night.

This film shows how cars, music, friendship, cruising and hooking up were popular among teenagers during the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. You see the different types of vehicles, hear the popular songs, see the types of hangouts and the fashion from that era. This is fun filled film. The teenagers are out passed their curfews, cruising around with their buddies, and/or their boyfriend or girlfriend, or they’re looking for a hookup.

Some of the characters are supposed to be at a school dance, but have skipped out on it. Others are shown hanging out at Mel’s Drive-In. Other ones are shown making out, a few playing pranks on a car of bullies and few more in another scene steal a car from a dealership. There are a few slapstick type fights, lots of mischief, flirting, driving around and rock ‘n’ roll and Doo-wop music from the mid 50’s – to early 60’s.

Each character in this film is unique, yet several of the boys are trying to find a girlfriend, just like serval girls are looking for a boy. Some of the older characters try to flirt with the younger one. A couple of girls in particular are much younger and are inappropriately hanging out with ones much older, who try to kiss them, have sex with them, or get them to drink or smoke, in one scene, all that occurs.

This is a simple film, but not one that is so simple, it’s boring, it’s far from that. It is fantastic from the car chases, to the laugh out loud humor, the vehicles, the characters and the great soundtrack filled with golden oldies to sing along to. Though this film takes place in just one night, it seems so much longer, because so much goes on. Not one time in this movie is it slow. It takes you back in time on rockin’ and rollin’ rides from beginning too end

This movie is one that can make you laugh, cry, angry and sing and tap your foot. It’ll have you wishing you were at Mel’s in the days of soda fountains, checkered floors, jukeboxes and Doo-wop playing DJ’s. A fun, yet naughty and music filled film that didn’t need anymore than it had to be perfect, it was just aa it was. Lucas drew inspiration from his own youth during that era in California.

This film has become a cult classic in the U.S. as well as other countries like France. Fantastic, entertaining, hilarious and clever film with one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. 13 & up 5/5

Classic of the Week: 12 Angry Men (1957)

12 Angry Men is a 1957 American courtroom drama film directed by Sidney Lument, adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. The film tells the story of a jury of 12 men as they debate on the conviction or acquittal of an 18 year old defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt, forcing the jurors to question their own values and principles.

This film is almost completely filmed in the jury room, with the jurors debating, getting angry, bickering, pounding table, yelling, pacing and getting in each other’s faces. They take breaks, then go back to deliberating. The acting is great. Some may find the it boring that the film is filmed in one room and the jurors just get mad and debate for an hour and thirty-six minutes. They may also find the plot not very unique or gripping. Younger people especially, may not appreciate this movie much, if at all and will probably find it very boring.

This film isn’t exactly exciting. It’s a bit boring at times. There are moments when the movie is getting very slow, then suddenly it gets interesting when a juror yells or pounds his fist on the table. This film would have been more compelling if it had been filmed in more than one room, wasn’t just about the jurors but the other people in the court during this case. But then again, it wouldn’t be called 12 Angry Men.

This isn’t the most boring movie, but it isn’t the most moving either. Hearing the men debate and their take on the conviction is the most intriguing thing about this film. This is a simple film with a deep storyline, that just needs to be simple, but not so lackluster set.

The men get angry from being cooped up for hours at a time in one room together having one big debacle over whether the defendant is guilty or not of stabbing his father. If the boy is found guilty, he will receive a death penalty. Many jurors argue against whether that is ethical or not.

I can’t say this movie is well done, because it’s so basic the way it was filmed, but it’s not awful. Good, not great is all I can say about it. If had been filmed more detailed, as in sets, not just a set, maybe seen the actual trial going on, then it would have probably been outstanding. Just because the acting is great, doesn’t always mean the film is excellent too. You have to have a balance of everything being really good and this motion picture maybe an oldie, but it’s definitely not a goldie. 17+ 3.5/5

Classic of the Week: Ordinary People (1980)

Ordinary People is a 1980 American drama film directed by Robert Redford, in his directorial debut. It his based on the 1976 novel of the same name by Judith Guest. It stars Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch and Timothy Hutton. The story follows the dissolve of an upper middle class family in Lake Forest, Illinois, after the accidental death of one of their two sons and the attempted suicide of the other.

Judging by the title of this film, it sounds like nothing more than just the story of an average American upper class family, but it’s so much more. It deals with love, tragedy, depression, suicide and marital issues. It is very slow for a good portion of the film, but some scenes are quite intense, especially when it shows how Jordan died and when Conrad is attempting suicide. This is a movie that many families, even today can relate to. So many families go through these things.

This film isn’t really heartwarming much at all, in fact, it is mostly heartbreaking. It is depressing, but truly moving and inspirational. It shows how a family copes with tragedy, how death has an impact on people and how suicide is never the answer. It also deals with marital problems, realizing that sometimes a person falls out f love with their spouse and that separation may the key for two people to be truly happy again. This movie also deals with mental illness, not just someone wanting to kill themselves, because of guilt, but also depression, anger issues, anxiety and insomnia.

This is a film that not just psychiatrists should watch, but anyone who has gone through any like the family portrayed in this story. At times this movie is very slow, almost boring, but it is still very good. All the main stars do equally outstanding in their roles, making it seem like their characters are real and you’re watching a biopic , rather than a fictional movie. So well done, even if some parts are very slow, it does get to the point of making you think of how you’d feel in their situation. Robert Redford did great on this one. 18 & up 4/5

Classic of the Week: The Big Chill (1983)

The Big Chill is a 1983 American drama and comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan, starring Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilley and JoBeth Williams. The story follows a group of baby boomers who attended the University of Michigan, reuniting after 15 years when their friend Alex commits suicide. It was filmed in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Despite coming together for a funeral, the friends still manage to share, laughter, memories, tears, music, love, friendship, food and drinks, anger, happiness and sadness. They cook, they eat, drink, dance and still have a good time. Maybe they should be mourning more the loss of their friend who was like a brother to them in college. A suicide is not something to celebrate, but maybe they are celebrating the good things about Alex.

All the acting by every lead star is equally outstanding. Every single character is unique in their own ways, making this movie better with every viewing. The fantastic soundtrack features R&B, soul, pop and rock from the 1960s and 70s . This film is equal parts sad, dramatic, funny and moving. You want friends like these.

This film is about friendship, love, death, music, emotions and life. One character is recently divorced, another has never been married, but wants a baby, another talks about how much he hates his job, despite its high pay. Despite it being 15 years after their college graduation, they group had still kept in touch. A couple of characters fall in love. One female character asks her husband to have sex with the female character that wants a baby, because she doesn’t think she’ll ever get married. He does it. There is lots of drinking, conversation, a few scenes of fighting, some making out, some sex, but lots of music.

This film teaches that family and friends are important, suicide is a serious issue, and music and coming together can heal. This movie is as striking as it is comedic, without being over the top. Wonderful throughout. 18+ 4.5/5

Classic of the Week: Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American buddy drama film directed by John Schlesinger, based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. It stars Jon Voight as Joe Buck, a young Texan dishwasher, who quits his job and heads to New York City to become a male prostitute and Dustin Hoffman as Enrico Salvatore “Ratso” Rizzo, a poor con man, with whom Joe becomes friends and roommates with.

This film got an X rating, the equivalent of NC-17 or R today. It is the only adult film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It has somewhat happy moments, but overall, it isn’t an uplifting film. That doesn’t make it bad. Voight and Hoffman are equally fantastic in their roles.

This film is filled with adult and controversial content, sex, drugs, stealing, prostitution, strip tease, homosexual moments, drinking and smoking and nudity and violence. Even today, it still shocks With it’s powerful and controversial moments. You see everything, nothing is covered up, complete nudity (at times up close), drugs up close, extreme violence, in your face, but it is all well done.

This film is one that, though extremely adult, is done tastefully, though certain sex scenes that are full on, seem a bit porn like. This film is not for everyone. Most conservatives don’t like it. But it still has its fans and still disturbs and amazes people today. It is quite slow at times, but does pick up. Many scenes are unsettling, the sex and drugs are over the top, but that’s the point of the movie.

This film has gone down to be an adult film, that is both disturbing and wonderful at the same time. Not many movies are like that. This story of a young male hustler in the Big Apple and a con man that become friends, doing illegal things, may not seem exciting and it isn’t supposed to be. It is not one that most people will flock to a theater or television screen to watch, but it is still great. It has gone done in history as one of the greatest films of all time.

From the theme song, “Everybody’s Talkin” by Harry Nilsson, to Ratso’s famous line spoken in a New York accent, “I’m walkin’ here,” this such an iconic film. One that should be on every movie lover’s must watch bucket list. This is a film that is so obscene, but yet, so powerful in the way it was portrayed. Many mature films are all sex or drugs, or both, this one has a lot of that too, but a lot of other things that make it special. This is shocked the world win it won Best Picture and deserved it. – Adults Only 4.5/5