Blogathon

Gunslinging Dentist?

Doc Holliday, gunslinger, deputy marshal, gambler and forever connected, through his friendship with Wyatt Earp, to the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Before I go on…if you are looking for historical accuracy, you won’t find it here. Just a look at Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993). So, where was I?

Oh yes. So…having watched him in Tombstone played by Val Kilmer, you probably know that he was suffering from tuberculosis. You’ll also know that he was an avid gambler (which I believe was a respectable profession back in the day). Doc Holliday, born John Henry Holliday, continues gambling and drinking despite his illness.

oie_yqU5SVcKigzSWhat never fails to amaze me (and, I really admire him for it), is that, no matter how ill he is, he is there for his friend Wyatt. As for Val Kilmer, to me he is the star in this movie portraying the sickly, and later dying, Doc so convincingly. What a fabulous character both externally and internally. A man, who claims he wasn’t as ill as he looked so he could face Johnny Ringo rather than have Wyatt take the risk. Or, who got out there to ride posse and did what needed doing despite feeling dreadful. “I’m in my prime” he proudly announces when Johnny Ringo questions if he has also retired from the law despite his obvious suffering.

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“I’m in my prime”

What I appreciate is that he doesn’t rely on the excuse that he is sick and therefore has no need to put himself out there…quite the contrary, I think he knows his days are numbered and therefore makes sure he puts himself out there. What does he have to lose, after all? I think his last scene emphasises this in that he asks Wyatt to leave before he dies – the Doc Holliday doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable.

But, can you imagine him treating your pearly whites? Didn’t think so. Yes, he was also a dentist, having been admitted to the degree at the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He even worked in a dental practice before heading to a warmer climate because of his tuberculosis. While Tombstone doesn’t mention this directly, there is reference to the fact that he is an educated man in the wonderful bar-scene “duel” with him and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn, also fantastic in this role) showing off their Latin and gun-spinning talents.

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Quite an interesting character this Doc Holliday. Isn’t he? And perfect for this Medicine in the Movies Blogathon as he is both a patient and doctor.

As for Tombstone, if you haven’t watched this one, it’s high time you do. A wonderful movie narrated by Robert Mitchum and starring a host of well known actors including Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Booth and many, many more.

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The Lost Boys (1987) – Decades Blogathon

We’re onto Day 3 of the Decades Blogathon – ‘7’ edition – hosted by myself and Tom from the brilliant blog Thomas J. The blogathon focuses on movies that were released in the seventh year of the decade. Tom and I are running a different entry each day (we’ll also reblog the other’s post) and […]

via Decades Blogathon – The Lost Boys (1987) — three rows back

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Tissues and Tears with a Walk to Remember

What list of tearjerker movies would be complete without a Nicholas Sparks adaptation? OK, OK…give me a chance here…I know not everyone likes the multitude of books-turned-movies….however, I must admit there are some that aren’t bad. But, there is only one that I really find good, very good…and one that has me watching through tears every single time. A Walk to Remember (2002).

The story seems very cliché…bad boy falls in love with good girl…but so what? It’s the emotional experience that counts. The fact that you end up caring so much for these two characters that  you cry! And, for the readers amongst you, the book achieves the same…I remember reading from beginning to end one night and going to bed in the early hours of the morning with bloodshot eyes from crying. I barely managed to see the last few chapters so teary-eyed was I. Three guesses as to what I looked like the next morning…

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The story is very simple yet sweet. Due to some silly teenage initiation/prank gone wrong, Landon Carter (Shane West), the school’s bad boy and cool dude is forced to join the drama club, give extra lessons and other community services rather than get expelled from the school. Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), the school’s good girl who doesn’t care that she gets teased, is voluntarily and happily part of these extra-curricular activities. Through these circumstances, Landon is forced to set aside his pride (or arrogance) and interact with Jamie. Gradually, his preconceived ideas and perceptions of her start changing and he becomes a more likeable guy by being around a positive influence. Of course our two characters are jinxed when she says “You have to promise you won’t fall in love with me” when Landon asks her for help. His arrogant reply is “That’s not a problem”…but need I go further with this? Of course they will! And how lovely their love is. It is so tender and sweet. Genuine. Heart-breaking. Beautiful. True. I get all emotional just thinking of some of the beautiful scenes and dialogue they share. My favourite being one where he is there to “catch” her as his former cool friends play a nasty joke on her.

These two people are perfect for each other. Each one having a profound and everlasting effect on the other, present and future.

So, if you want a good cry…put your judgement of Nicholas Sparks adaptions away and give this one a go.

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Stormy days in Sweet Home Alabama…

When Movie Movie Blog Blog‘s announcement of the April Showers Blogathon came up, I naturally thought of all the great romantic rain scenes (because there’s something about that ultimate declaration of love just as the rain starts coming down) and to mind came Sweet Home Alabama (2002). But then I read the announcement again. Hmm, not simply any scene but one that is important to the plot. Oooh, yes, my selection still holds. Yaay. Why?

(The next bit may spoil things for you, so, don’t carry on reading if you plan to watch this one for the first time).

Here goes…

The opening scene is of two children, Jake and Melanie, running on the beach during a lightning storm. They are looking for the glass formations caused by lightning striking the sand and…they end up sharing a kiss. At this point Melanie asks Jake why he wants to be married to her to which he replies “So I can kiss you anytime I want” and lightning strikes them.  A present-day Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is awoken from this flashback dream. We soon find out that she is a successful fashion designer and in a relationship with New York Mayor’s son, Andrew (Patrick Dempsey). When he proposes to her (and she accepts), she heads off to Alabama to tell her parents in person. However, the real reason she goes there alone is to finalise the divorce from her estranged husband…Jake (Josh Lucas). While in her hometown, she is reminded of her past and who she really is. Anyway…back to the rain…

The rain serves more than just a romantic backdrop. Firstly, we learn that Jake had, in fact, followed Melanie to New York shortly after they split up and at which point had realised that he needed to make something of himself before he could win her back. The sand formations, and subsequently a range of exclusive glassware, are his means of “conquering the world”. This would never have been possible without the rain, more specifically the lightning.

Secondly, it serves an important role at Melanie and Andrew‘s wedding. Normally, you’d expect sunny skies at such a special day, however, in this case, the rain brings the smiles. As soon as Melanie decides not to marry Andrew (I did warn you about spoilers), the heavens burst open. Like a huge sigh of relief (even if a little cliché). A washing away of the past and secrets to bring a new, fresh beginning. But, it also brings the story back to the two children we met in the opening scene, now adults, still in love: while Jake is gathering his glass formations (to avoid the wedding) and Melanie comes to the beach to collect her husband, there isn’t just lightning as in the opening but also rain. To me, a symbol that finally, he has made something of himself and she’s being herself. The storm almost shows their stormy relationship stage is over and they can move forward together. It is now his chance to ask her why she wants to be married to him to which she gives the same line he gave her as a child: “So I can kiss you anytime I want”

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All About…First Impressions of…Eve

I’m going to say this very softly so nobody hears me but….*whisper* I’ve never seen All About Eve….in fact, I’d never even heard of it (yes! that’s totally and utterly unacceptable, I know, I know) until last year’s Bette Davis Blogathon. And…to make things worse, almost a year is over and I still haven’t watched it…but…all that is about to change…I’ll be back a little later…

…ok, me again…not a little later…still now. I just want to get my thoughts down on what awaits me first. From the bits and pieces I’ve read from other bloggers, it must be brilliant. Wow, IMDB gives it 8.3/10, puts it down as number 112 of the 250 top rated movies (as at today), and I see it even won 6 Oscars (and there are a whole lot of other “stats”). I hope my expectations aren’t too high. I hate disappointment. To be honest, and don’t shoot me down just yet, the story line that IMDB gives wouldn’t normally attract me to this one. It almost comes across a bit dull (you’re probably thinking “How could she????” or “oh just you wait”) but, let me to go see what the hype is all about before I dig myself into a deeper hole. See you later…

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…now that I’ve finally watched it, what are my thoughts?

Oh…ok…hmmm…Bette Davis wasn’t Eve as I’d automatically assumed. In fact, the opening scene (at the awards presentation) also had me convinced Bette Davis was Eve…initially, that is. When it turned out I was totally wrong, I knew that this was going to be a good one.

And wow…the superb acting. I was totally blown away by Bette Davis. I think I’m an instant fan. Definitely going to watch some more of her works (any suggestions for my second Bette Davis movie?). In fact, the entire cast was fantastic. But Ms Davis had this special screen presence about her. And that worked so well for her role, you know, the one about stage presence?

With an excellent story, this classic was well worth watching (and about time I did so). I kept thinking how clever some scenes, dialogue lines, angles etc. were. Really fantastic film-making which requires at least another watch, not only to process it again, but for the experience.

So, to In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood I thank you for having introduced me to Bette Davis. I’m so glad I signed up last year with my “She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes” post and that you tempted me to join again this year with my All About Eve bit. I would never have watched this movie if it wasn’t for you (and all the other All About Eve fans out there)

My last year’s post “She’s Got Bette Davis Eyes” can be found here.

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Ultimate 90s: The Last of the Mohicans

Catherine from Thoughts All Sorts joins us for the blogathon today. Catherine gives her thoughts on all sorts of topics on her blog, from movies to music to books. She also takes part in every blogathon she can get her hands on! Go check her site out to see everything she has to say. Today, […]

via Ultimate 90s Blogathon: The Last of the Mohicans (1992) by Thoughts All Sorts — Drew’s Movie Reviews

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Deserving…The Piano

Being a pianist myself, of course I was going to rush off to watch The Piano (1993) as it came out on the big screen. Having no real idea what it was about (the days before YouTube and where trailers were pretty much only seen at the cinema) I was totally blown over by this wonderful movie. So much so that I bought the soundtrack sheet music (for piano, naturally), the soundtrack CD and even the book. This is one superb movie. Regardless of the Oscar nominations and wins. But, those too, it is absolutely deserving of:

Best Picture: oh wow…yes! Yes! Beautiful. Different. Totally engrossing. Sadly, no win but that’s fine because we’re still left with this work of art to watch over and over and over.

Best Director: Jane Campion was nominated for doing such a sterling job. Not winning this one though, she did win for…

Best Original Screenplay: The story is wonderful (See Best Actress for a very brief overview). To come up with such a unique tale requires great skill and creativity. No wonder this was a win for Jane Campion!

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Best Actress: Holly Hunter plays mute Ada who is married off to a man she has never met and so is sent to New Zealand from Scotland with her beloved daughter. Landing on a beach from which there is quite a trip by foot to reach her new home, she is forced to leave her prized piano behind by her husband (Sam Neill). Baines (Harvey Keitel) sees an opportunity (which I won’t disclose) and manages to bring the piano back to his home and the story unfolds from there. Holly Hunter is fantastic as Ada. I can’t imagine it easy to play the role she does here. And so convincingly.

thepiano2Ada‘s character naturally flows over to and probably goes hand-in-hand with…

Best Supporting Actress: Flora, Ada‘s daughter, played by a then roughly 11 year old Anna Paquin is perfectly cast with Holly Hunter. She portrays a confident child that still has a lot to learn. Her role, which in my opinion, brings the situation to a head, is deserving of the win. Without a doubt.

Best Cinematography: Receiving this nomination but not winning is Stuart Dryburgh. Without the beautiful cinematography, most of the magic and passion of this movie would definitely have been lost.

Best Costume Design: Oh wow…need I mention the amazing costumes. Beautiful. Every single one of them. All courtesy of Janet Patterson who unfortunately didn’t win.

Best Film Editing: As with the cinematography, the editing is what brings across the magic. Brilliantly done to bring us this work of art. This nomination went to Veronika Jenet.

But….The Piano wouldn’t be The Piano without the exquisite soundtrack composed by Michael Nyman. Ah….just to think of it now. I can hear it in my head. It is well worth listening to…or even playing if you can (not an easy one though, but once those fingers glide…ahhhh….). I agree with Debbie’s post (here) that it was overlooked at the Oscars.

Thanks Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club for letting me take part in this 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon again. For my last year’s entry, The Sting, click here. Hmmm….The Piano, The Sting…I’m clearly starting a pattern here in terms of titles.

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