Tag Archive | monty python

Great Writing in Movies

Yesterday I had the privilege of venturing to the movies with my best hubby to watch Star Trek into Darkness which, being a fan of the original series, I adored. I especially loved Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance but that’s nothing new because I adore him too. His delicious performance actually made me smile and I thoroughly enjoyed hating the villain while cheering for the heroes. That got me thinking. It’s rare that we go to the movies because there never really seems to be anything out there that makes movies today very memorable. Terrific special effects and music score are wonderful things but they can only take a movie so far. Terrific acting skills are also beneficial to the story especially when coupled with good meaty writing that presents moviegoers with memorable lines, speeches and scenes.

Now I’m going to refrain from including great infamous lines like Chief Brody’s “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” and “Come down here and chum some of this shit” from Jaws, “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn” from Gone with the Wind or memorable speeches and moments like Network’s “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” Today I’ll be covering lesser thought of, but still great lines and scenes from movies throughout the years in the hopes that it’ll bring you memories of those great films and the people who wrote them as well as introduce you to movies you haven’t seen or haven’t considered seeing:)

Moonstruck

If you’ve taken a stroll around my blog, you already know that Moonstruck is one of my favorite movies of all time so of course one of my favorite lines and movies come from this movie and no, I will not be covering the slapping scene, sorry. In this scene, the family has sat down to dinner and is trying to talk about Loretta’s upcoming wedding except Cosmo doesn’t want to do anything but eat and guzzle wine. Rose is already dealing with the fact she think’s her husband is screwing around on her and his behavior at the table is stressing her out. Throughout the scene, Cosmo’s father keeps leaving the table to feed his spaghetti and meatballs (I think that’s what they’re eating) to the pack of dogs he takes with him everywhere he goes. Finally, Rose has had enough.

The Ten Commandments

I’m not a religious person but I grew up loving Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments. The movie showcases why the cast was so legendary (although I personally believe Edward G. Robinson was seriously miscast) and has lots of great scenes, speeches and lines. My favorites both involve confrontations between Anne Baxter’s Nefretiri and Yul Brynner’s Ramses.

For some reason I can’t find the scene featuring another confrontation between Ramses and Nefretiri where he informs her “You will be mine, like my dog, or my horse, or my falcon, except that I shall love you more – and trust you less.”

Steel Magnolias

This movie made me laugh and cry and is packed full of great lines and scenes. The following clips are at the cemetery when my favorite lady, Olympia Dukakis, tries to make Maline feel better and then makes up with Ouiser.

Uncle Buck

In this movie John Candy plays the low brow uncle who turns the lives of his nieces and nephew upside down while their parents are away. In this scene he takes on the battle-axe who insists his 6 year old niece isn’t taking her career as a student seriously.

The Heiress

A fantastic old movie starring Olivia deHavilland and Montgomery Clift. She is a plain heiress alienated by her father because she didn’t grow up as lovely as her deceased mother and who is practically invisible to all eligible men. She falls madly in love with Clift who her father rightly suspects is a fortune hunter and refuses to give consent to their marriage. They plan to elope but when he discovers she’ll be virtually penniless if her father cuts her off he drops off the face of the earth only to return when the old man drops dead and she inherits it all. Now wiser and understandably a little bitter, she sets the man up to be bounced harder than Jerry Sandusky from the gates of Disneyworld.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This movie is just loaded with great lines and scenes but the following is what I consider to be the best scene in the whole movie.

Old Acquaintance

This is one of my favorite Bette Davis movies. She and Miriam Hopkins play two old friends whose relationship gets tested over a 25 year span, usually by Hopkin’s character’s jealousy. It finally comes to a head in this scene when Kit gets tired of Millie’s drama.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

A fantastic movie featuring my favorite onscreen couple, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, as well as a young Sidney Poitier. In this movie the daughter of a white wealthy couple with progressive unorthodox views announces her intent to marry a young black doctor she met while vacationing in Hawaii. While this isn’t a big deal for most people today, back in the 1960s this was actually illegal in many parts of the country (the same parts that are fighting so hard against Marriage Equality FYI). In this clip, Katherine Hepburn terminates an employee in the most epic of ways!

Double Indemnity

While this movie doesn’t really have any lines that are overly memorable (except maybe for this corny one that says how murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle) but as the movie that essentially birthed the crime/femme fatale genre I think everyone who doesn’t know about this movie should run and see it. I especially love that the concept and story was inspired by both a conversation the author of the book had with an insurance salesman one day who told him how when you work the game long enough you sometimes start trying to figure out the angles so you could actually get away with killing someone for the insurance policy and by a murder in 1927 where a wife convinced her boyfriend to kill her husband after he took out a large policy.

And finally here’s a famous skit from the movie Naughty Nineties: Who’s on First with Abbot and Costello

Advertisements

Book Review: Her Highness, My Wife by Victoria Alexander

Ladies and Gentlemen, for the first time in my life I have found a book that I did not like yet did not feel compelled to fling across the room. Mainly, I think, because I was just too damn BORED! This book was absolutely terrible! It opens with a letter written by a mother to her daughter and from that letter we find out the little country of Greater Avalonia is involved in an insurrection that killed the daughter’s husband and her father and brothers lives are in danger so she takes her baby daughter and runs to England for their safety. Fantastic! This is a story I can get into. Then we see the daughter is writing a letter back to her mother explaining that she has a duty to her country and will not just sit idly by while her father and brothers do all the fighting. The princess, oh excuse me, hereditary princess as she keeps reminding readers, her friends and whoever else she comes across over and over again, then drops in on a man who she’d left suddenly after about a year. No wait, 15 months, 3 weeks and 4 days as he keeps telling her over and over again. After a while I started hearing that song from Rent playing in my head.

Sixty nine million three thousand four hundred thirty six miiinutes….

At this point I found myself getting really distracted. First, the date of the mother’s letter was 1767 but the story opens in 1819. As Princess Tatiana is talking to Lord Matthew I’m wondering where’s the baby and how come neither of them are mentioning her daughter? When they both start talking about her disappearance of over a year I’m wondering where the hell she’s been the rest of the time. Mind you I haven’t actually done the math between the two dates because the last thing I want to do when I open a romance novel is start working on my math skills!

I JUST WANT TO READ!!!

Then I realize it’s not even the same friggin person! The letter is from the Queen to Tatiana’s Aunt Sophia. What makes this really confusing is that Tatiana also lost her husband to an insurrection and her father and brother are still fighting the enemy and she too was exiled to England for her safety except there’s no baby. She comes back to Lord Matthew asking for his help because she wants to document Sophia’s story for her family’s history. She doesn’t want to travel around the country as a princess because “people are intimidated by royalty” so she wants Lord Matthew Weston to come with her posing as her husband because you know, the same people who would get tongue tied around royalty will just open right up and feel totally comfortable speaking to a Lord and Lady, right? Matthew questions the idea not because of her absurd logic but because he never figured her as the scholarly type. To this she goes into a tirade about all the things she knows including his hobby of ballooning.

So despite being hurt by the fact she just up and disappeared one day, breaking his heart in the process, he’s intrigued and tells her he’ll think about it and we find her talking to her cousins and closest confidants about the fact that she’s not actually interested in writing her aunt’s history but she’s searching for some royal jewels that Sophia may have had with her. So yeah, looks like ole Matt was right about that. When cousin Dimitri remarks about how she’s become much more assertive, aka a bitch, over the past year she goes into bitch mode and threatens to have him shot. In the next minute though, she’s all kind and soft again and tells him he could speak freely with her any time. We now discover that her new habit of being a bitch started when she disappeared in Paris for six days. Dimitri has a moment of clarity and realizes the disappearance coincides with the time she met Matthew.

I am a hereditary princess and I will CUT YOU!

So, Lord Matthew is getting bent out of shape and carrying on like a little girl because the mysterious woman he knew for SIX DAYS disappears again and doesn’t reappear for a year (Seasons of Loooooove…). I don’t know what happened in those six days but apparently she managed to discover he was estranged from his family, dreamed of inventing a balloon that didn’t send the operator careening to the ground in a fiery death and wanted to invest in a ship that would finance his balloon dreams. Seems to me they had one good roll in the hay and he opened up like a prank can of peanut brittle.

My friends, this was all before you get to chapter three. I have a rule when reading books. If you don’t get my attention by Chapter one, you’ve had it. If your characters or premise are mildly interesting in chapter one you need to capture my attention by chapter three. Well folks, this book gave me a migraine by chapter three and I find I’m really not that interested in finding out the rest of the story. The introduction is annoyingly confused, the heroine is irritating and needs to take her meds and the hero is a soft whiny little schmuck who today would be engrossed in games of three dimensional chess and rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock!

But we had sex, in my balloon, that means she loved me!

And so I say, avoid this book like the plague. I understand it gets even more confusing before all is revealed and everything starts falling into place. It’s a real shame because judging by what Alexander is going for I think it could have made for a great story but the execution just sucks out loud!