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.