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American Madness (1932)
Huston's speech early on is very relevant today to our current economic woes.
Huston's speeches especially in the early board room scene, are very relevant today. He expounds on the ways that greed causes the downfall of the economy---sound familiar? The banks that now are withholding credit after being bailed out would do well to heed his message. And, back then, mergers were still a method of making the rich even richer. Are you listening, Mr. President?
Huston is a benevolent character to his staff but neglects his wife, who apparently has to visit him at the bank to have any contact. The message is very clear there--strive for balance in your life or you may end up losing what is important to you. THe characterizations are wonderful---Sterling Holloway who raised his voice an octave later to voice Winnie the Pooh, is a bank drone with a one-liner that will crack you up. The telephone operator with the annoying voice who causes chaos is another great character. And one of the gossip callers looked so much like Joan Crawford--could it be she?
Brother's Shadow (2006)
A surviving twin nearly loses his identity in an effort to regain it
I found this movie thought-provoking, and its ambiguity refreshing in a world of quick-fix films where we are manipulated into loving the "good guy" and hating the "bad guy." Scott Cohen, a very handsome television actor, does a great job of portraying the family black sheep/lost child who aspires to gain his father's love and respect, as well as that of his widowed sister-in-law with whom he apparently has a history. Judd Hirsch plays against his usual good guy image as a father who triangulated his sons and now is left with the one he always rejected.
When I saw this at the Tribeca Film Festival, I was enchanted by the lovely way the sawdust was used to portray a family tradition, as explained by the director.
This is a fitting successor to the classic "Ordinary People." I just realized, Judd Hirsch was in that, too!
Big Fish (2003)
Father tells "fish stories" to son who belatedly understands their value
Loved this movie! Tim Burton captured a storyteller at his best, one who makes ordinary life that much more interesting. Albert Finney at his mature finest, and Ewan MacGregor at his most endearing since "Moulin Rouge."
Eloise at the Plaza (2003)
a charming story about a precocious 6-year-old who lives at the Plaza
The actress who plays Eloise cannot be only 6, but is just wonderful. She is assertive and good-hearted without being either bratty or cloying. Julie Andrews is a great lady who allows herself to look plain, but still manages to be captivating. I watched it because I loved the book as a child, but found it entertaining for adults as well. I'm looking forward to the next, at Christmastime.