Three Movies on the Small Screen

Home Again (2017):

Reese Witherspoon has been in some fun romantic comedies over the years, so I was looking forward to a new one. Unfortunately, Home Again is not good at all. It starts with Witherspoon’s voice-over narration rife with vocal fry, which is really annoying in a 40-year-old woman playing a 40-year-old woman. (Here is a link to public speaking expert Allison Shapira demonstrating vocal fry and its effect in a job interview.) The movie goes on with acting that made me say, “Did she actually forget how to act?” Then, with bad dialogue and a silly plot where nothing really happens, even Michael Sheen and Candace Bergen can’t save the movie. I kept watching, even though it got only slightly better, because, regrettably, I had already paid $6 to watch it on Video on Demand. If you were thinking of watching it, best to just save the 6 bucks. (But check out the vocal fry in this trailer.)

Sense and Sensibility (1995):

Hard to believe, perhaps, but apparently I had never seen this! A side benefit of watching Berlin Station is that I now have Super Channel (which apparently I could always have had for free, if only the cable company had told me). I’ve been exploring their on-demand catalogue of movies that come with the channel and found Sense and Sensibility. This wonderful screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s book was directed by Ang Lee and won Emma Thompson an Oscar for writing. Thompson and Kate Winslet (so young!) were both nominated for their acting, being quite perfect as the sensible always-in-control sister and the let-it-all-hang-out sister, respectively. Hugh Grant plays the romantic love interest character he used to do so well. And I never could understand how “Professor Snape” had captured the hearts of so many in his earlier career, but in this movie Alan Rickman is very dashing and a character who is easy to root for. I was also really surprised to see a very young “Dr. House” in the movie, although you can certainly recognize Hugh Laurie’s signature sardonic tone! I thoroughly enjoyed Sense and Sensibility and would recommend it if you haven’t had the pleasure.

Postcards from the Edge (1990):

A movie I’d always intended to see but somehow hadn’t until now, Postcards from the Edge is also available on demand from Super Channel. Written by Carrie Fisher based on her semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, this is a funny movie about an actress’s struggle with an addiction that threatens to ruin her career. It also focuses on the sometimes destructive but always loving mother-daughter relationship between Doris Mann (Shirley MacLaine) and Suzanne Vale (Meryl Streep). Because the characters are based on Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, the movie is fascinating for fans of either or both actresses. Something that struck me in light of the current #MeToo movement was the portrayed behaviour of a producer and a director character towards the young actress, with comments and hugging that might be more likely to raise eyebrows nowadays. Dennis Quaid is amusing as the self-involved love interest, and I also got a laugh looking at the style of jeans that Streep wears in the movie! Postcards from the Edge seems a bit dated now and some of the acting is a little over-the-top, but overall it is fun to watch.

As a side note, seeing Meryl Streep sing in Postcards from the Edge lead me to look into whether the real Carrie Fisher sang — and in fact, she really was quite a good singer! Not surprising, really, with Debbie Reynolds for a mother and Eddie Fisher for a father. Here’s Carrie Fisher singing in character to Hugh Hefner in an episode of Laverne and Shirley.

15 thoughts on “Three Movies on the Small Screen

  1. I watched ‘Sense & Sensibility’ yesterday too! I’ve seen it many, many times and always enjoy it. the ending with Elinor & Edward, OMG! her hiccup-like sobbing brings forth the tears for me, every time! (I wanted to name my daughter Elinor, specifically for Emma’s portrayal, but Husband loathed the name) and Willoughby, Ugh. I love him & hate him in equal measure (seems Emma loved him more though, since she married him in real life 😀 ). Colonel Brandon with his deep voice, patient manner, and puppydog love for Marianne…yes, a very good movie all the way around.

    regarding Reese Witherspoon forgetting how to act: I wonder the same thing every time I see those Crate & Barrel commercials she has on tv now 😛

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    • It’s funny… I actually thought I’d seen it… but, no! So nice to watch a good period drama I hadn’t seen. Yes, the Elinor & Edward scene is so good. She’s been holding it all in and then it comes out in sobs of astonished relief. I don’t know that Emma married “Willoughby”! He was very cute, but oh so fickle (the character, of course).

      What happened to Reese? She maybe can’t quite find her niche as she becomes a more mature woman.

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      • I think something similar is going to happen to Reese Witherspoon as happened to Meg Ryan – she made her name in a certain kind of film and those roles become very scarce for characters who are forty or over. I don’t know if it’s that she can’t do serious dramatic roles, or that casting agents don’t believe she can, but I suspect she’s going to disappear from our screens except as a producer.

        re: S&S — Alan Rickman was sooo good. I really enjoyed that film despite thinking Emma Thompson was too old for the role and finding the scene where she sobs ridiculous (sorry, KellyDS 😦 ). Armitage connection: that’s the scene Dawn French is referring to in VoD: A Handsome Stranger.

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        • I will concede that the sobbing went on too long but within context it was so emotional & I found myself so relieved at the turn of events that I was crying along with her (I saw the movie before I read the book, so I didn’t know the ending yet). it’s kind of like the kiss in N&S: on it’s own, it’s a really good kiss but within the context of everything leading up to it, it was an out-of-this-world kiss!

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          • I’m sure it makes a difference to have read the book before seeing the movie. (I think it also depends a lot on the extent to which one wants to accept the popular culture reading of a lot of these texts from the 19th c., i.e., we load a lot of romance onto our interpretation of them. I don’t really enjoy this but I accept that that is how we read them nowadays and that is what sells film tickets.) I’d probably say the opposite re the N&S kiss — it’s a great kiss on its own but given context it’s totally out of place.

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        • I thought Witherspoon was really good in both “Wild” and “Walk the Line” (although not as good as Joaquin Phoenix), so I think she has been able to do drama in the past. But whether the parts will come is another story. It seems to even happen with the men. Hugh Grant seemed not to be getting roles for a while. And Pierce Brosnan has mainly done independents. Then there was a preposterous romantic comedy “How to Make Love Like an Englishman” aka “”Some kind of Beautiful” aka “Lessons in Love” which matched Pierce with Jessica Alba and the Salma Hayek… I’d rather watch these older actors in something non-mainstream and have it make sense.

          Yeah, I really liked Alan Rickman of the men and I also thought Emma Thompson a bit too old… but she pulled it off. And I guess she’s the same age as Hugh Grant.

          I wasn’t even thinking about the RA connection. Now I’ll have to watch the sobbing scene one more time!

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          • Meg Ryan had at least one serious turn that I remember: When a Man Love’s a Woman. But I suppose we have to note, too, that the odds of any woman’s career surviving in a strong way on the big screen after 50 is vanishingly small. And on top of that, for every three roles, Meryl Streep gets two of them.

            re: S&S — Elinor is supposed to be 19. Grant was too old, as well; Edward Ferrars is supposed to be 23.

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            • I don’t think I ever saw “When a Man Loves a Woman”… might see if it’s on the Super Channel roster. (Meryl is everywhere!)

              I haven’t actually read S&S, so had no idea they were that much older than the characters!

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  2. I adore S&S, I have seen it countless times and could watch it again anytime! 😊
    I remember quite liking Postcards fron the Edge as well. Cool that you caught up on those.

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