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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Film Club

Howdy folks!

Wow, it's February already, January seemed to fly by, now, if only the cold and gray would fly by as well and get on with Spring, but such is life in the Midwest.

In keeping with past February Film Clubs, I thought I would show another romantic film.  Some of the past years have included: Casablanca, (500) Days of Summer, and The Purple Rose of Cairo.  This year (and kind of coincidentally) I have chosen another film directed by Rob Reiner.  We will be watching The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic fantasy-adventure comedy film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner, and starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, and Christopher Guest.  Adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name, it tells the story about a farmhand named Westley, accompanied by befriended companions along the way, who must rescue his true love Princess Buttercup from the odious Prince Humperdinck.  The story is presented in the film as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage), thus effectively preserving the novel's narrative style.

In 2016, the film was inducted into the National Film Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."  The film received critical acclaim.  On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 97% certified fresh rating based on 64 reviews.  Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film "two thumbs up" on their tv show, and Ebert gave the film 3 and a half stars saying this in his review, "The Princess Bride reveals itself as a sly parody of sword and sorcery movies, a film that somehow manages to exist on two levels at once:  While younger viewers will sit spellbound at the thrilling events on the screen, adults, I think, will be laughing a lot.  In its own peculiar way, The Princess Bride resembles This is Spinal Tap, an earlier film by the same director, Rob Reiner.  Both films are funny not only because they contain comedy, but because Reiner does justice to the underlying form of his story.  "Spinal Tap" looked and felt like a rock-documentary-and then it was funny.  The Princess Bride looks and feels like Legend or any of those other quasi-heroic epic fantasies- and then it goes for the laughs.  Part of the secret is that Reiner never stays with the same laugh very long.  There are a lot of people for his characters to meet as they make their long journey, and most of them are completely off the wall.  The Princess Bride was adapted by William Goldman from his own novel, which he says was inspired by a book he read as a child, but which seems to have been cheerfully transformed by his wicked adult imagination.  It is filled with good-hearted fun, with performances by actors who seem to be smacking their lips and by a certain true innocence that survives all of Reiner's satire."

We will be meeting Thursday, Feb. 16th at 6:15 pm

I hope you can come on out and join us for this wonderfully fun and funny film.

Here's the trailer:

Saturday, January 7, 2017

January Film Club

Happy New Year everyone!

2016 is finally dead and 2017 is here to take its place.  Rejoice as we dance upon its grave.

Now, down to business.  A new year means a whole new slew of films for Film Club!

I've decided to start off the new year with one of my favorite comedies of all time: Rob Reiner's masterful, This is Spinal Tap.

This is Spinal Tap is a 1984 American rock music mockumentary comedy film written, scored by, and starring Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer.  The film portrays the fictional British heavy metal band Spinal Tap.  Directed by Reiner, the movie satirizes the wild personal behavior and musical pretensions of hard rock and heavy metal bands, as well as the hagiographic tendencies of rock documentaries of the time.  Reiner and the three main actors are credited as the writers of the movie because they ad-libbed much of the dialogue.  Several dozen hours of footage were filmed before Reiner edited it to the released movie.  The three main members of Spinal Tap-David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls and Nigel Tufnel-are played by actors McKean, Shearer, and Guest, respectively.  The three actors play their musical instruments and speak with mock English accents throughout the movie.  Reiner appears as Marty Di Bergi, the maker of the documentary.  Other actors in the movie are Tony Hendra as group manager Ian Faith, and June Chadwick as St. Hubbins' interfering girlfriend Jeanine. Actors Paul Shaffer, Fred Willard, Fran Drescher, Bruno Kirby, Howard Hesseman, Ed Begley Jr., Patrick Macnee, Anjelica Huston, Vicki Blue, Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, Brinke Stevens, and Linnea Quigley all play supporting roles or make cameo appearances in the movie.  In 2002, This is Spinal Tap was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry.

The film holds a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 61 critical reviews.  Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars, later adding it to his list of "Great Movies".  He said this of the film in his review: "There are a lot of great visual jokes, which I don't want to spoil, but there also are moments of inspired satire aimed at previous styles in rock films, as when we get glimpses of Spinal Tap in its earlier incarnations.  The film assumes that audiences will get most of the jokes.  I think that's right.  "Entertainment Tonight" and music TV and Barbara Walters specials have made show-business trade talk into national gossip, and one of the greatest pleasures of the movie is that it doesn't explain everything.  It simply, slyly, destroys one level of rock pomposity after another.  This is Spinal Tap, one of the funniest movies ever made, is about a lot of things, but one of them is the way the real story is not in the questions or in the answers, but at the edge of the frame.  There are two stories told in the film: the story of what the rock band Spinal Tap thinks, hopes, believes or fears is happening, and the story of what is actually happening.  The reason we feel such affection for its members is because they are so touching in their innocence and optimism.  Intoxicated by the sheer fun of being rock stars, they perform long after their sell-by date, to smaller and smaller audiences, for less and less money, still seeking the roar of the crowd."

Come on out and turn the New Year up to 11 with this wonderfully funny film.  Hope to see you there!

Here's the trailer: