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OK, we all have our favourite poignant movies right?....you know the
type - the ones that hold you in rapture - time and again, because it
speaks to you on a very personal level and effortlessly touches some
part of your emotions that you keep hidden from the world - evoking
deeply sad or blissfully happy memories from our own passage through
life. Biloxi Blues is that movie for me.
Which of us do not carry emotional scars from; Our first time away from home. Our first time interacting with a group of strangers in a mutual climate. Our first sexual encounter. Our fist kiss. Our first love. Our first brush with authority. Our first glimpse at death.
Biloxi Blues is a movie that embraces many of the "rites of passage" that we all face in life and deals with them using comedy as a foil to gently explore them, without diminishing their poignancy. Neil Simon is peerless in this. The casting is faultless. The acting is immaculate. The humor is intelligent.
If you haven't seen this movie, do so. You can thank me later.
Biloxi Blues is a wonderful character comedy with strong dramatic
scenes as well. Eugene Jerome (Matthew Broderick) is an anti-hero, who
is typically concerned with making wisecracks, rebelling against the
rigid drill Sergeant (Christopher Walken), and talking about wanting to
become a writer. Similar to the dark pathos of characters in Catch-22,
Biloxi Blues exposes men in the service who do not want to be there,
who are incompetent, and basically as far from battlefield heroism as
you can imagine. Mike Nichols directs, and his comedic and dramatic
pace is pitched perfectly for the film.
The movie has quotable lines throughout. But if you are looking for a typical war movie, this is not for you. There are no heros, at least in the conventional sense, as the story focuses upon the dusty boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi. The story does deal with sharp internal conflicts, and the cultural topics addressed emerge strongly against the backdrop of one of the US's most traditional institutions: the military. Although it has been over fifteen years since the release of the movie, the conflict in the movie feels timely and relevant for today's world. It's the type of tight, well-written comedy that rarely exists in current cinema.
This is a fantastic movie that you will want to watch again and again. The story is perfect, the cast is perfect and the acting is perfect. A coming of age story that combines young recruits from all different sections of life that have come together and now have to learn how to live with one another as they go through the rigors of boot camp. Neil Simon always knows how to combine that perfect blend of realism, a comic touch and something you can identify with into everything he writes and makes you feel so comfortable in his story because you feel you're in the story. He makes you want to be become a writer. This is what makes Neil Simon unique. If only every movie could be written this well. This is what great Hollywood film-making is all about.
It seems strange to say this about a movie that has very few moments of
high drama and virtually no moments of great excitement, but "Biloxi
Blues" has a strangely compelling quality to it. Once you begin to
watch, you'll stay with this through to the end. Director Mike Nichols
does an excellent job of bringing the viewer into the lives of the
disparate group of young men who find themselves suddenly soldiers in
1945, facing the prospect of being sent to the Pacific to fight and
quite possibly die for their country. From the very beginning, we want
to know about these men: who they are, what makes them tick, and, most
important - what's going to happen to them?
There are several fine performances in this movie. Matthew Broderick is excellent (he seems to have a knack for military roles, as in both this and "Glory") as Private Eugene Jerome, a young, idealistic Jewish teenager, just out of high school, who dreams of being a writer rather than a soldier. Much of the movie is seen through his eyes as we see him come of age in many different ways. There's great humour involved as he loses his virginity with the understanding prostitute Rowena (Park Overall). Eugene is simply a likable young man who we enjoy watching grow up. Corey Parker put on a strong performance in a supporting role as Private Albert Epstein, who challenges military authority from Day 1. Another scene of brief humour is when Epstein presents a note from his doctor in New York, asking that he be excused from having to eat army food. Also offering a strong performance is Christopher Walken as the slightly off-balance Sargeant Toomey, who drives his platoon relentlessly.
If you're looking for a classic war movie, you'll want to avoid this. But if you're interested in a story about genuine people, give it a try. I enjoyed this movie very much, and would rate it as a 7/10.
I must say I'm a little surprised this movie did not scoring higher
with the IMDb readers. I really expected it to be marked higher. While
the movie is a comedy I would not say it is hysterically funny, so
perhaps that is why the score is not higher. Maybe people felt it
should have been funnier. I don't know.
Regardless, this movie is very well done and funny. Not funny as in a bust your gut kind of way - but funny enough to make you smile and laugh most of the time. It has a few serious moments that tie it into the reality of war and living in the armed forced. Although it is period sensitive the writers did well to make it applicable even years later.
The acting is excellent, and Walken is brilliant as the complex Sgt. in charge of the young troops. I'm not sure Walken was ever better in a role, he is just pure genius.
The rest of the cast is wonderful as well, from top to bottom you end up liking the cast more and more as the movie unfolds. And in the end it is impossible to say anyone was miscast or uncomfortable.
I would say if you have not seen this movie, you should because it is a classic.
A wonderfully entertaining film. Everything seems to be in it's place.
The only thing that one could grab at as being off somewhat, are some
of the Simon jokes/funnies, which tend to sound too dated, corny or ill
fitted. One must take into consideration on that point that this is a
film and a story of an earlier time. A period piece and a script from
quite a few years ago. Because of some of the tried for laughs, it
seems that none of the Simon plays as they stand or the adaptations for
screen will stand the test of time. A bit of re working on the
script/dialog would help immensely Even with that BIG flaw that sticks
out like a sore thumb, this film is wonderful. One might refer to or
call these imperfections in the dialog,New York City Corn. Being form
New York City myself, perhaps it's just the way it plays to me, but I
doubt it. Most of today's viewers would have the same problem with some
of the lines.
The characters could not be more interesting or endearing. The scenes are right on track as one follows the other in perfect harmony. The acting and casting is superb with standouts being just about all of the main characters. Christopher Walken continues to take command. But it's also the great by play and perfect casting of his buddies of all religious persuasions that are just as marvelous. Terrific performances by Matt Mulhern, Corey Parker, Park Overall, and of course Matthew Broderick are all great. A perfectly cast movie I would say. Everyone was terrific but what stands out so nicely about this work is that we don't want the relationship that Simon creates between our beloved characters to ever end. There is always a Bully right? Matt Mulhern is cast as the lovable, honest, Bologna sandwich slamming cretin. Yet he is wonderful in the part he plays, and becomes my favorite. Then their is the enigmatic, always unearthly Christopher Walk en who endears himself to both the audience and to his boys that he makes into pretty good soldiers.
The interplay between the different characters is what makes this work so well. There really isn't a single one in the group that we don't end up liking, at least to some degree. I really think this is where Simon's genius lies, what makes his plays so popular, so likable. We like both Oscar and Felix (opposite personalities) in the Odd Couple, right? Well, despite mostly minor bickering some major which is predictable among a bunch of guys from mostly different backgrounds and religions, in Biloxi Blues, the guys end up liking each other. They even end up realizing that St Toomey is a good guy. They understand that he is raking them over the coals in order to save their lives if and when they are shipped over seas during WWII The adventure really doesn't leave much out. Matthew Broderick goes through all or most of the adventures that we would expect. I found myself easily fitting into the group as the same kinds of things happened to me as I was growing into manhood. Somehow they grow together, they move threw some of life's more difficult moments as young men. In the end, Simon's or should I say Sgt. Toomey's bunch makes it, and we love it. I kept thinking that they really didn't have a care in the world. It was of course, a time of great anxt and worry as the guys wondered what in the world would ever happen to them. However, I couldn't help but go along with Broderick at the end, when the war is over, when none of the guys is actually sent over seas to fight. He states to the affect that as he looks back (narrating in talk over), it was the best time of his life that he seemed to bond with every one of those guys.
I was surprised to find that there is no Sound Track available of any kind. Yet, the choice of songs, taken from the era, the WWII songs some refer to as a wonderful time for Romantic Tunes are perfectly placed throughout the film. I gave this movie a 10 despite the mentioned imperfections because it simply is one piece of great entertainment, and every time I decide to watch it again, it brings me home, home to the comfort of those great characters that I just love to watch and hear.
Well I'm disappointed. :-( This film deserves much more than a 6.6 rating! If you watch Brighton Beach Memoires you will love this film. Personally the 1st film was better but maybe because I could relate to a younger Jerome. But this film, oh yes! Christopher Walken you are my GOD! He is so funny in this film in my view! The way he makes the wise-cracking Jerome (Broderick) and fellow NY boy Epstein (Corey) is great. Ok he is a nut but that is Walken- he would be the worst Army officer I would want! Great film- the scene with the 'escort' is great! "You're not breathing! Breathe!" Unbelievable! It is also heart-warming and I love it! Overall I must give it a 8.5/10. Give it a try dont let the 6.6 rating fool you! HO NO!
Biloxi Blues is directed by Mike Nichols and written by Neil Simon. It
is based on Simon's semi-autobiographical 1985 play of the same name.
It stars Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken, Penelope Ann Miller,
Corey Parker and Matt Mulhern. Music is by Georges Delerue and Bill
Butler is the cinematographer.
The second part of Neil Simon's Eugene Morris Jerome trilogy, the plot centres around Eugene's (Broderick) draft into the United States Army during the last year of World War II. Sent to training camp at Biloxi, Mississippi, Eugene is thrust in amongst people from all walks of life. Here he will not only learn about life, but also have it changed for him.
Straight from the off I have to say that this has become one of my favourite films of all time. From the moment I first caught it back on release, where I only went to see it because it was written by the guy who wrote The Odd Couple, I have been humoured and charmed every year since without fail. On synopsis it seems to be yet another run of the mill coming of age picture, or just another tales from the boot camp time filler, but with Simon holding the pen and Nichols painting the narrative with careful nostalgic splendour, Biloxi Blues is much better than it's often given credit for. A film that is that rare old beast that strikes the right balance between laughter and sentiment.
"It was hard to believe these guys had mothers and fathers who were worried about them"
Although this is primarily Eugene's story, film is propelled by the bubbling concoction of a group dynamic. At training camp Eugene and the other lads have to face up to a number of challenges, not just growing up into men, but learning about bigots, bullies, homosexuals and intellectuals, all while under the borderline crazy command of Sergeant Merwin J. Toomey (Walken). They may all be different, from different backgrounds, but one thing binds them together, none of them want to be there! In other hands this group would have consisted of annoying stereotypes, but Simon and Nichols, courtesy of the writing and the garnering of acting performances, ensure this isn't the case. The audience isn't short changed with these characterisations because they are stripped down to being survivors by way of humour and naive honour. Thus it never feels false.
"I wasn't in on that Pearl Harbour thing"
One of America's most celebrated film critics said Biloxi Blues contains limp dialogue! That's something which I certainly can't begin to comprehend. For the film is an advertisement for witty retorts, where often responses are used as a survivalist tool, to de-heat a flare up or to hide nervousness. In this respect Biloxi Blues pays big on revisits, each time another little one-line gem registers where previously it had been missed, maybe because we are too focused on the airy sound track first time around? Or most likely because we are too lost in a "Eugene" or "Toomey" facial moment. One of the best passages in the story concerns a last week on Earth game the lads play, the writing is sharp, yet tender, funny, yet telling, it really is a case of laugh whilst being drawn into the frightening reality that these boys are a long way from home, and possibly soon to be fighting for their lives in some muddy trench.
The cast are uniformly strong. Walken delivers one of his quintessential mania turns, marking Toomey out as being one click away from either sane or insane. Broderick holds court and narrates with earnest style, while Corey Parker is a revelation as intellectual Arnold Epstein, a guy who no matter how much he is persecuted by Toomey and the other rookies, refuses to be shaken and lose his principles. Miller and Park Overall get the two female roles of note, both memorable in short appearances, with the latter deliciously dry as a hooker with a heart. In the support there's macho mirth from Mulhern (stomach of a goat) and Markus Flanagan (he calls his mother Louise), homespun mystery from an excellent Michael Dolan, and wistful tunings from Casey Siemaszko as Don Carney (can anyone count on him?).
The ending doesn't quite have the dramatic impact that many would expect, and there is indeed some mellow periods of tinted nostalgia that will have some viewers urging the pace to go faster. But these are mere fly specks on a mound of horse droppings. Biloxi Blues, a wonderfully rich comedy drama, and to my mind the best thing Simon has written. 10/10
In one of the many looks at days gone by, Neil Simon's alter ego Eugene
Morris Jerome (Matthew Broderick) and friends go down to Biloxi,
Mississippi, in early 1945 for basic training. Once there, they have to
cope with one bad-ass sergeant (Christopher Walken) and a status quo
totally unlike the one in New York. But we also see how the experience
turns Eugene into a very different person, partially due to his
relationship with local babe Daisy (Penelope Ann Miller).
"Biloxi Blues", in my opinion, is far from Mike Nichols's best movie. I find it having strength in showing these young men's coming of age and wondering what to do with their future. But still, it's fun to see the environs of the WWII-era South. And I really liked Eugene's fake name when he met that one woman; I couldn't have come up with anything like that! Worth seeing, along with "Brighton Beach Memoirs".
When Matthew Broderick played Ferris Bueller, who ever would have guessed that he would later play the guy - or the alter ego thereof - who wrote "The Odd Couple"?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Matthew Broderick plays a Jewish youngster named Eugene Morris Jerome, who goes to the army in 1945.This young intellectual wants to be a writer so he writes some stuff down to his journal about his army buddies.He, for instance, writes about his suspicions about this also Jewish guy Arnold Epstein (Corey Parker) that he might be a homosexual.When Arnold gets to read what Eugene has written about him, Eugene wants to rip and destroy the page.Arnold stops him and delivers this great line; "Once you start compromising your thoughts, you're a candidate for mediocrity."That's very well put.There are many other great lines and this is overall a well written movie.That's not any wonder since it's written by Neil Simon.The great director Mike Nichols directed it in 1988.The movie is full of terrific actors and characters.Christopher Walken is the somewhat obnoxious Sgt. Toomey.Matt Mulhern is the somewhat obnoxious recruit Joseph Wykowski.Michael Dolan is the much more sympathetic recruit Hennesey, who actually turns out to be homosexual and is sent to military prison.Casey Siemaszko is Don Carney, who Eugene can't count on according to his journal.Penelope Ann Miller is Daisy, the girl Eugene fancies.Park Overall is the prostitute Rowena, who delivers the boys some joy.There are lots of scenes to remember in the movie.One of the most memorable ones must be in the end where Arnold makes the drunken sergeant do 200 push-ups.The movie deals with some important themes, like racism, anti-semitism and homophobia.I truly recommend Biloxi Blues for each and every one of you who read this.
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