Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dear Jodie - E. T.

Dear Jodie,

When you gave me the first choice of Graham's top 10 (11 . . . E.T. was an add-on . . LOL) to review, I immediately gravitated toward E. T.  To be honest, it took some courage to make that choice.

As I mentioned to you, I saw E. T. once back in 1982, and not again until . . . now.  It just ended five minutes ago as I write this.
And here I am wondering why in hell did it take me 32 years to watch it again?  Let's see if I can figure out why, because I will proclaim, with tears rolling down my face, that E. T. (technically titled E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial but does anyone really care anymore?) is one of the best movies ever made!
In 1982, I already had my Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and was working on my Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre (yes, with an "re" rather than the usual American "er") at the age of 24.  There is no room for sentiment when you are pursuing a degree in "THEATRE."  Or when you're 24 struggling to fit in . . . somewhere.
We studied Ibsen and Chekhov and O'Neil and went DEEP into human depravity and tragedy and failure and lust and gluttony and all of the seven deadly sins.
One day, my mother asked me to accompany her, my brother, sister, and . . . OH NO! my grandmother . . . to see E. T.  NOOOO!  I can't like this movie!  I just can't!  It's not Ibsen!  It's not Chekhov!  It's not that brilliant American playwright Eugene O'Neil who brilliantly managed to write a brilliant four-hour play (A Long Day's Journey Into Night) without one speck of humor, not one smile's worth!
I liked E. T. in spite of myself, and had the audacity to mention it to a couple of theatre buddies.
They indulgently shook their heads with a smirk, "There are no real actors in this movie!  There's no Olivier!  There's no Gielgud!  There's no Guinness!"
I reached out so hard, "There's a Barrymore!"
That went over like a fart in Church.
Later, my jaw dropped when my grandmother wanted a video copy as soon as my brother could make one for her.  I loved her dearly, but my maternal grandmother was one of the hardest human beings I've ever known.
Really!  E. T.?  You want E. T, Mama Drue?  You, who had never liked a movie that didn't have Roy Rogers or Gene Autry in it?
The decades slipped by Jodie, and I never watched it again, despite the fact that it's a movie right up my alley . . . as you know from reading my reviews.
I'm watching it again this afternoon (to make up for lost time), and I will laugh just as loud and ridiculously, I will cry just as hard, and fist-pump just as enthusiastically.
I started writing this review an hour and a half ago, and have since found an interesting perspective on E. T. (keeping in mind that I have not yet read your take, Jodie).  Apparently, in 1997 my favorite critic Roger Ebert sat down with his grandkids to watch it.
Oh!  What is my take on the acting?  Simple.  It was what it needed to be . . . and that, by definition, is perfect!  :-)  Especially E. T.!!!  And Henry Thomas as Elliott!!!  And Drew Barrymore as Gertie!!!
And, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the amazing movie is from the imagination of Steven Spielberg.
I will not presume to offer a rating since this is one of the best ever made!

Please link to Jodie's review here, and I can't wait to read it!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dear Jodie - Here's to the late Shirley Temple

Dear Jodie,

On February 10 of this year, Hollywood lost a legend, Shirley Temple. I'm sorry I didn't see this until a week ago.  I am saddened, not just because Hollywood lost its darling of the 1930's, but because the US lost one of its great citizens.

We all know "On the Good Ship Lollipop," but how many knew that she was the US Ambassador to countries such as Ghana and Czechoslovakia working closely with Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

All under her name "Shirley Temple Black."

How many remember that Shirley Temple was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972, and that after her modified radical mastectomy announced it to the world.  The magazine McCall's interviewed her in February 1973 making her one of the first prominent women to openly speak about breast cancer.

When my sister was born, my father longed for her to be "the next Shirley Temple."

A number of times, my father would wake me early on a Saturday morning to catch a Shirley Temple movie on the late show.  Though I longed for the sleep I'm glad to say that was one thing I could share with my father.

You can find the CNN tribute here.

RIP Shirley Temple Black. You will be missed!