One of the things I’m most proud of about the kid is that she loves movies like I do. I can’t believe that she can quote them better and with more precision than I can. The movies we quote back and forth now are Shakespeare in Love, A Fish Called Wanda and Burn After Reading. We seem to get no end of pleasure from Burn after Reading. There are so many great quotes:
“I’m writing a sort of a …. memoir.”
“Did you get the cheeses? Oh, for fuck’s sake Ozzi.”
“I have a drinking problem? Fuck you, you’re a Mormon! To you we all have drinking problems.”
“It was just lying there. On the floor there. Just lying there.”
“In many ways, I’m much happier now.”
“I have a ginormous ass and a gut that swings back and forth in front of me like a shopping cart with a broken wheel.”
And on and on it goes. My daughter kindly omits the curse words — she says “eff” for fuck. And with the Coens, you know, fuck is almost every other word. We can’t hide curse words from our kids forever, though, can we? Hell, not a trash mouth like me.
The movies we recently watched: All About Eve, Strangers on a Train and Sleeper. I don’t think much got Sleeper but I did the chance to explain to her what slapstick comedy was. Sleeper is so much better to me now than it used to be. I especially enjoy a young and not fully formed Diane Keaton. She is so naturally funny – her gestures, her way of delivering his jokes, and even her shallow poetess-turned-revolutionary who gets to do a Brando impression and an old Jewish grandmother. Woody is cute, and still have the remnants of the “earlier, funnier” Woody, where the jokes were on him. That stopped being the case later — he stopped making fun of himself as much and started taking himself more seriously.
Emma laughed a few times at Woody’s jokes but for the most part if you aren’t a Woody fan already you might not be that into Sleeper. The orb is always funny.
Strangers on a Train fared a bit better because it not only has so many great characters, but it’s Hitchcock. And no one can hold an audience better than Hitchcock. She even proved the Hitchcock theory that the audience is “with” a character, even if the character is “bad.” She wanted Bruno to get the cigarette lighter that fell down the grate. Strangers on a Train is a near-flawless film. Emma has already had a few doses of the great Hitch with The Birds, Psycho and Vertigo (although that one requires a longer attention span, as does Rear Window). Strangers on a Train anyone can watch and be enthralled by.
Finally, All About Eve was the biggest success of all. That is due to Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn, because Emma is already ruminating on this idea that Marilyn is considered one of history’s great beauties. Who hears Marilyn’s story and doesn’t fall in love with her? But she’s great in All About Eve – it’s her best role probably, next to Niagra perhaps. She has some great lines and she delivers them so well one would never know she would have so much trouble acting later on.
But Bette Davis – every line of dialogue is a zinger. What a great character. The kind you’d never see on screen today. They don’t make movies like this and they don’t build stars like this. Stars now are either forced to sew up their faces to make them look like swollen puppets, or else they do it on their own because they can’t stand to age. Either way, how sad. But Ms. Davis, she lets it all hang out.
All About Eve is a movie about an older stage star whose position is threatened when a younger, very ambitious actress injects herself into their lives. I told Emma that this is a prototype film – the kind that just got made over and over again in various other films and TV shows. It is iconic and forever imprinted on our psyches. Everyone knows or has dealt with an Eve in their lives and they don’t necessarily have to be female. They come along all admiring at first. Then they study you to become you and eventually they overtake you.
What makes All About Eve great is the writing and the acting — George Sanders is fantastic, especially in the last scene. But the film belongs to Ms. Davis.