"The Muppets" feels both familiar and wonderfully fresh. Segel, who co-wrote the film, is a huge fan of the Muppets, as evidenced by his homage in the 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” The film subtly explores how our passions shape us. Walter’s love for the Muppets has defined his life, and working with Kermit becomes the fulfillment of so many dreams. As he tells Kermit, "You’re my hero. You’re on my [wrist] watch." Though Walter seems content to help backstage, the compassionate frog pushes him to create a new act for the show. Despite having helped to reunite the Muppets, Walter feels unworthy to perform with them. When Walter discovers his talent, he finds the self-confidence to act on his dreams and become a part of the group.
Writer, director, and humorist Nora Ephron passed away last night. It was such a shock both because of the effect her movies have had on me and knowing that she’s been writing and producing plays, including “Lucky Guy” which will star Tom Hanks next year. I love her films, especially “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally.” I find her films and her, through interviews, candid, hilarious, witty, and whip-smart.
Here’s what Nora Ephron taught us.
Men and Women can be friends or fall in love or BOTH
This is a classic scene, in a classic movie, written by a classy woman. Probably the greatest modern romantic comedy. [click for video]
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ‘em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.
Men Cry At Movies Too!
I love this scene with Victor Garber and Tom Hanks from “Sleepless” when they gab at Rita Wilson’s emotional rendering of “An Affair to Remember” with their own love for “The Dirty Dozen” [click for video]
I haven’t seen “Heartburn,” but Meryl Streep is GLORIOUS in “Julie and Julia.” Sometimes I wish it was just “Julia” but I appreciate Amy Adams’ contribution. Streep never imitates the iconic chef, but imbues the role and the film with her passion for food, her humor, and the love she had for her husband.
Movies can make you do crazy, but awesome things
Annie in “Sleepless in Seattle” is a romantic, inspired by the classics like “An Affair to Remember.” I like that the film doesn’t slight her for it. Maybe it’s improbable, but hey if you love movies, you have to believe. [click for video]
Nice Guys Abound
In Ephron films, our heroine isn’t running after the bad boy or leaving a bad relationship for a better one. Usually there are two nice and decent guys in play. Take “Sleepless in Seattle” where Annie is engaged to Walter. Maybe he’s a little dull, but he’s a great guy. His only “flaw” isn’t even his fault: extreme allergies. The same can be said for Greg Kinnear in “You’ve Got Mail”. He’s a little obsessive, but a good catch. Tom Hanks is the ultimate nice guy, not bland or perfect. Hanks’ characters are genuine, friendly, and caring. He has a bit more edge in “You’ve Got Mail,” but he’s still a decent guy. Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, and Bruno Kirby all fit this refreshing mold.
Was there anything better than Meg Ryan in the 80’s and early 90’s. No!!! She’s luminous in Ephron’s films and that energy infuses other movies like “French Kiss” and “I.Q.” that had no connection Ephron. You fell for her and rooted for her.
In celebration of Women who cook and EAT
I love the scene when Paul and Julia Child discuss what she might do in Paris:
Paul Child: What is it you REALLY like to do?
Julia Child: Eat!
Paul: And you’re so good at it.
Julia: I Know! I’m improving in front of you!
"Julie and Julia" is a visual feast where Ephron shows her love for food and affection for cooking. It’s a sumptuous film that inspires you to get back in the kitchen and make everyday a lively eating experience.
Live Your Passion
Whether it’s food, small book stores, or film, it’s important to indulge in what you love and share it with others.
Thank you for this and so much more.
Rest in Peace, Nora Ephron.
The central question in my life right now, this week, is when will I see Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” I’ve been checking showtimes every day since last Tuesday. So far, it looks like the Landmark is my only play. In it’s limited run last weekend, the film broke box office records for selective release.
I know, in my bones, that this movie will change me. That’s how PTA rolls: you walk in to his films and come out reborn. I’m ready to be reborn again by “The Master”- in a non-Tom Cruise way, of course.
Saw The Master yesterday and it did not disappoint. I’m still puzzling through it and would like to see it again at some point. The score and look of the film is excellent. The film hit me in a different way then There Will Be Blood- made me question more my view of myself and how I interact with people, over questioning my view of religion and community. I thought Joaquin Phoenix was mesmerizing, but in a way I’ve never seen before on film. He plays THE most unsympathetic, degrading, unhinged, un-redeemable character. I don’t know how he did it and I don’t care to find out. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a true master. His character is so wonderfully mannered and utterly beguiling. Amy Adams kind of scared me. I thought she was brilliant and I’m going to have to think more about her role.
Anyway, another PTA masterpiece for sure.
First Trailer for David O. Russell’s American Hustle. Opens Christmas Day.
I’ve been a fan of Russell’s work since Flirting With Disaster. His films perfectly explore the dynamics within clans, whether they be colorful families like in The Fighter or folks brought together by food, football, and love in Silver Linings Playbook. With this ensemble cast (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner), period looks (hello Best Hair/Makeup award), and a guaranteed awesome soundtrack, it’s going to be an groovy Christmas.
New poster for David O. Russell’s American Hustle
Somebody hold me. this is going to be epic.
BEST FILMS OF 2013
8) AMERICAN HUSTLE
American Hustle shows grifters and con-artists can be quite lovable and noble, while the enforcers of law are petty, ambition-crazed maniacs. With an amazing cast, glamorous costumes, and amazing music, David O. Russell delivers another funny and heartwarming story of an unlikely clan in an absurd situation. Jennifer Lawrence steals every scene and we constantly miss her crazed Rosalyn. Christian Bale and Amy Adams are wonderful here as warring and loving partners in crime. Bradley Cooper’s performance as ambitious Richie DiMaso is so explosive and hilarious. Jeremy Renner wins sympathy as Mayor Carmine Polito so much, seeing him arrested felt unjust.