Streaming films get a second chance part 2
I had so much fun with the first edition of “Second Chance Streaming” that I’m ready to try again. What’s this all about?
Well, like you, I have movies that I didn’t like the first time I saw them. Maybe it was my mood, the day, the popcorn, who knows? Today, seeing these movies easily available to stream prompts me to wonder if, while continuing to shelter at home, I should give them a second chance. Maybe I will have a different reaction. What about you?
Here are my new choices to “second chance stream.”
De Lovely (2004, Amazon Prime Video)
The musical bio-pic is a standard Hollywood staple. Over the years, many movies have explored the lives and careers of well-known composers. This attempt to bring the music of Cole Porter to life starts on the wrong foot and never recovers. While Kevin Kline continually engages as the famed song writer - and the musical sequences occasionally shine - the soap opera script robs the movie of any chance at authenticity. Perhaps, today, it may seem different?
The Jazz Singer (1980, Amazon Prime Video)
Few people may remember that, once, Neil Diamond tried to be a movie star. He chose a proven property - the story of a man pursuing music over his father’s objections - and wrote striking songs to accompany the script. Plus, he hired a reliable second-generation actress, Lucie Arnaz, to play his partner. But little in this muddled musical ever works on screen. And Diamond, as magical as he can be on stage and in a recording studio, falls flat as an actor. Still, I can’t wait to see it again.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018, Netflix)
When this disappointing sequel opened, I wrote in my review, “the new film is so determined to honor its predecessor that it becomes lost in good intentions. Rob Marshall has made a film that borrows from the original, sequence by sequence, song by song, moment by moment, but doesn’t add up to a spoonful of sugar.” Ouch, as my son, Jonathan, would say. Was I too harsh? Did I miss Julie Andrews too much? Or will a second look deliver a different outcome?
Molly’s Game (2018, Netflix)
I blamed the disappointment of this exploration of a woman with a gambling program on the reliance on recorded narration to connect the disjointed plot. “The film,” I wrote in my review, “features the most distracting use of voice over since Tobey Maguire tried to channel F. Scott Fitzgerald in the remake of “The Great Gatsby” a few years ago.” Poor Jessica Chastain tries to make us care about the character but it’s all too muddled. Even from Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin.
Morning Glory (2010, Hulu)
I was so disappointed when I first saw this would-be comedy a decade ago. The film offered such promise. Its strong cast - headed by Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton - seemed just right to parody the particulars of a struggling morning news program on television. But I was so frustrated by the film’s fatigue with the content, and its reliance on standard romantic banter, that I found myself wishing I could push the fast forward button. But I was in a movie theater.
My Week with Marilyn (2011, Netflix)
Usually, I love to watch Michelle Williams on screen. And she was Oscar nominated for this interpretation of Marilyn Monroe during a troubled time in the star’s life. But the film is so slight - and the look at the troubled actress so superficial - that it leaves us wishing for a real effort to examine a lady who still fascinates. Now, Williams did make me want to watch as many Monroe movies as possible. So, for that reason alone, this one is worth a second look.
Paint Your Wagon (1969, Amazon Prime Video)
Before the close of the 1960s, Hollywood seemed to make every musical possible after “The Sound of Music” became the most popular movie in years. This film version of a modest stage success creaks to the screen with two unlikely singing stars, Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Unfortunately, they choose to sing in their own voices. Few movie moments are as painful as Eastwood trying to keep a straight face while warbling, “I Talk to the Trees”. But, every movie deserves a second chance.
As you continue to stay at home, consider a fresh look at some films from your past.
You never know what you may discover.
And stay safe.