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Don't Touch My Daughter (1991)
One of the Worst
This movie has got to be one of the worst I've ever laid eyes on. The amazing thing is that in spite of the awful acting, terrible, cliche-ridden script, amazingly stupid characters and general air of incoherence, I stayed with it until the end. Sometimes you see a film that's so bad it exerts a certain charm that emanates from its cruddiness. That's this film. If you like movies that are so bad it hurts, this film is for you.
The Producers (1967)
In Love with Springtime for Hitler
What do you get when you mix a little Hitler with a little music with a totally off-the-wall story line with Zero Mostel with Gene Wilder? Why one of the funniest movies ever made, of course. Zero was at his peak. Just a look at that expressive, slightly crazed, absolutely lovable face of his...that alone is worth the price of admission. The stage version is nice, but I still love the movie more. As they say, "Enjoy!"
Orfeu Negro (1959)
One of My Favorites
I love this movie for its incredibly gorgeous music, actors and landscapes. The children are delightful and natural. There are scenes that will make you cry. To see the movie on the big screen in the original Portuguese is heavenly.
If You Love Hank, You'll Love the Film
I've loved the songs and the singing of Hank Williams for many years. When I saw this film I felt as though I were watching Hank himself. The actor who portrays him is excellent, the songs wonderful. My only criticism is that the film could have been an hour or two longer, with a lot more songs. Any Hank Williams fan would have to love this movie.
Joe and Max (2002)
Preaching to the Converted
Joe and Max is an okay, upbeat movie that seeks to put across a message: Brotherhood is Nice; or perhaps Why Can't We All Just Get Along? It's a film in which it is clear who are the good guys and who are the bad. Hitler, Goebbels and all those folks strutting around Heil-Hitlering, doing the goose step and wearing the swastika armband are bad. Hiss. The good guys are Joe Louis and Max Schmelling and pretty much everyone who doesn't do the things mentioned in the previous sentence. Yay.
The problem with message films like this is that they need a little more than that to retain the viewer's interest. Things like character development, sex or good scenery. Joe and Max has none of these things, so it's a matter of preaching the message of brotherhood to those who already believe in that, else they wouldn't be watching the picture in the first place.
Everybody in the film seems to be earnestly acting their hearts out, and I must say the guy who plays Hitler is great: his Hitler is really creepy and scary-looking.
All in all, it's not a bad film, but maybe you could spend your time doing something more worthwhile than watching Joe and Max bonding with one another.
The movie manages to insult just about everyone. What's really astonishing is how it manages to make black people look dumb, tacky and annoying. Truly a movie to be avoided like the plague.
Latcho Drom (1993)
Beautiful Gypsy Music
Latcho Drom is a cinematic survey of Gypsy music from several countries. It is touching, sad and joyous. Most of the segments appear to be completely unstaged, unrehearsed. The music, ranging from the sensual flamenco music of the Spanish Gypsies, to the melancholy music of the Central European Gypsies, is exquisite. If you love Gypsy music, you'll find Latcho Drom absolutely beautiful.
Finian's Rainbow (1968)
Thumbs Up for Music; Thumbs Down for Story Gimmick
I hadn't seen Finian's Rainbow for years. I knew the music was glorious, especially "How Are Things in Glockamorra?" Not alone the music, but also the fairy-tale plot evokes a pleasantly sentimental, gloppy glow.
But I had forgotten just how dopey the anti-racist subplot was. Don't get me wrong: I'm with the sentiment all the way, minus the "patronizing and dated" elements referred to by Stefan Kahrs, in his comments. And making poor Keenan Wynn such a jerk in the idiotic politician role was just about the meanest thing I can imagine anyone doing to a sweet fellow like Mr. Wynn.
Then there's the matter of the tobacco/mint hybrid subplot. Remember? There's this African-American scientist, who spends all his life working on a hybrid combination of tobacco and mint. And the cheering that breaks out at the end of the movie when there's a fire in the lab, and sure enough, you can just smell that mint flavor drifting in the air from the burning tobacco! Eureka! Truly inspiring stuff. Not.
And yes, Petula and Fred are a little long in the tooth for the roles they were playing, but...and it's a big but: that music is enchanting.