Films Worth Viewing

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"Gold Diggers of 1933"-Mervyn LeRoy-1933

The film opens with "We're in the Money" a musical number which features dancers holding giant coins and Ginger Rogers singing in English and Pig Latin. The story is that Zanuck heard Rogers fooling around singing Pig Latin and he convinced LeRoy to use it in the film. This the Depression and, the sheriff's office arrives to seize everything including the coins the dancers were using. Another Broadway musical is shut down before opening night. The Depression is a part of life even on Broadway. The lives of dancers may seem glamorous, but they are just workers, and they are out of work. They hear the news that Barney Hopkins is casting for a new show. He comes to visit three girls with Ginger Rogers. In the adjoining building a young composer, Brad Roberts (Dick Powell) is playing and Hopkins likes his music. He comes over and it turns out that Hopkins (Ned Sparks) lacks a backer. Brad offers to put up the money, and he provides it in cash the next day. He ends up writing the score, and despite his reluctance acting on stage opposite Polly Parker (Ruby Keeler).

It turns out that Brad is the scion of a wealthy Boston family. The stage is not an appropriate calling for a Bradford his real name. His elder brother, J. Lawrence ( William Warren) and the family lawyer Peabody (Guy Kibbee) come to New York to call Brad to task. Romantic complications ensue.

I want to talk about two Berkeley numbers. "Shadow Waltz" is an incredible show. 60 dancers in triple hoop skirts are moving down a circular platform playing neon lighted violins. At best the dancers received slight shocks, but when a 6.4 earthquake shook the Warner lot; things got very serious. The lights went out; Berkeley was dangling from a camera boom, and the violins shorted out. Berkeley put it back together, and the sequence was completed. The final number "My Forgotten Man" deals with the plight of World War I veterans.
They were promised bonuses; they didn't get them; they marched on Washington. They were scattered by the U.S. army; the units were commanded by MacArthur. This happened during 1932. The number features Joan Blondell and an un-credited black singer (Etta Moten). This overtly political commentary is remarkable for the time.

To be continued
 
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"Footlight Parade"-Lloyd Bacon-1933

This is the third Busby Berkeley musical for Warner's in 1933. Supposedly "42 Street" rescued Warner's from bankruptcy. I find that a little hard to believe, remember the special train promotion which occurred before "42 Street" opened? Jimmy Cagney sought the lead role, Chester Kent, in "Footlight Parade." Bacon is back to direct; Warren and Dubin are writing songs, and many players return: Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell,Guy Kibbee, and Joan Blondel. One key song "By a Waterfall" was written by Fain and Kahel. The template of a behind the scenes look at musicals is utilized, but this time the musicals are to be prologues to talkies.

Jimmy Cagney (Chester Kent) comes up with the idea of developing mini-musicals to be performed before the feature at major movie theaters across the country. He develops routines and trains performers in NYC, and they perform these prologues across the country. His partners including Silas Gould (Guy Kibbe) are cheating him out the profits. He has a spy who is leaking his ideas to a competitor. He has recently divorced his wife, but wait she never went to Rio. He becomes involved with a gold digger who he promises to marry. He is ignoring his loyal and love struck secretary, Nan Prescott(Joan Blondel). The opportunity to sign up a new theater chain for prologues opens up, but there is huge time pressure and competition. The film ends with a three theater showcase for three different prologues. The key musical numbers are: "Honeymoon Hotel" which features the famous little person "Billy" Barty as a perverse observer; "By a Waterfall" which features a water ballet, and "Shanghai Lil" which features Cagney subbing for an injured performer.

It all works out; Chester Kent gets the contract and the girl (Joan Blondel). Cagney is dynamic as ever. This paved the way for "Yankee Doodle Dandy." Berkeley would go on to actually direct entire films and for different studios, with different stars Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda, and Esther Williams.

Finally, I must mention that a real Broadway musical "42 Street" was created by David Merrick and Gower Champion based closely
on the original story of the "42 Street" film. The song list was expanded to include songs from a variety of shows featuring Warren and Dubin songs. Gower Champion died the afternoon the show opened. It ran for
3,486 performances; it was a huge hit in London, and in 2001 it was revived on Broadway where it ran for 3 years. Since the revival, "42 Street" has been in almost continuous production around the world. Two full productions are available on YouTube. There are numerous clips from productions around the world which
feature the principal music numbers. One of the complete performances available is by the School of the Arts in San Francisco. This high school production has over 300,000 views.

Next up "Chef"
 
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I am not big into movie musicals, although there are a bunch that I do like a lot. These three Warner/Busby Berkeley musicals 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade are on our favorite musical list. All three of these musicals often show up on Turner Classic Movies. "Gold Diggers" has both a great beginning with Ginger Rogers, and a terrific ending with the the Joan Blondell led Forgotten Man sequence. As for Footlight Parade, Cagney is a sight to watch and listen to. Makes you wish he had done more musicals. His dancing style tends to remind me of Ray Bolger in Wizard of Oz. Plus, in all three, it is interesting to see what crazy dance and filming ideas that Busby Berkeley can come up with. All three are great stuff.
 
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"Chef"-John Favreau-2014

"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth mainly. There was things he stretched, but mainly he told the truth."

Carl Casper is a well known chef in LA. Casper (John Favreau) has a disastrous personal life. He is divorced from Inez (Sofia Vergara), becoming increasingly distant with his son Percy(Emjay Anthony), having on and off
again relationship with Molly (Scarlet Johanssen) who works as head of the house, and his job while taking almost all his waking time, no longer brings him satisfaction. He is a man on the edge, and he is pushed over by a visit from Ramsey Michael (OliverPlatt) a noted food blogger and critic. Casper wants to make a new menu for the event, but profit conscious owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) stops that. Naturally, the critic finds the food wanting, and he writes a mean spirited review. Favreau becomes involved in a twitter war with Platt. Despite his son's coaching, Casper is basically unarmed. When he looses his cool and explodes live berating Ramsey Michael; he loses his job and becomes unemployable in his profession.

Favreau is a well known director largely for his work in the Marvel Universe (Iron Man) and a remake of "Jungle Book" for Disney. Like many other people he got his start in the Indie world. Some critics wrote this film off as a vanity project; others find the ending too pat. However, Favreau trained for this role with Roy Choi who served as technical advisor for the film. Choi had an LA based food truck. Five years after the film Choi and Favreau have a a show on Netflix called "Chefs." Choi gave his help only on the condition that the film would depict the culinary world accurately.

Casper is forced to return to his roots. He will cook from a food truck and make what he likes. On a trip to Miami, where he started his culinary career, he gets a ravaged truck from Marvin (Robert Downey Jr.) another of Inez's ex-husbands. Casper restores the truck with the help of his son, Percy, and his former line cook Martin (John Leguizamo). They set off to drive the truck, El Jefe, from Miami to LA, selling food along the way. Casper is in love with his profession again.

Many of you may know that I am something of a food nerd, who has two privately published limited edition
cookbooks to his discredit. I am therefore not to be completely trusted as an observer in this case. My knowledge of how restaurant kitchens work is limited and in the distant past; however, the depictions are accurate. I do have one major caveat; Casper would have a working knowledge of Spanish. He came up in Miami, and he worked for years in LA. In most professional kitchens; the staff is predominately Hispanic, and this is even more true in Miami and LA.

The first half of the movie is o.k., but once the truck enters; the quality of the product improves. The acting by the guest stars is good; they were having fun. Oliver Platt's brother is a food critic for New York magazine, and Pratt has accompanied him. Leguizamo is excellent as Martin. The second part of the movie is excellent, but it is comfort food.

Recommended; if you like food and want an inside view of the restaurant world; this is a must see. Favreau told the truth mainly.
 

storrsroars

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"Chef"-John Favreau-2014

"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth mainly. There was things he stretched, but mainly he told the truth."

Carl Casper is a well known chef in LA. Casper (John Favreau) has a disastrous personal life. He is divorced from Inez (Sofia Vergara), becoming increasingly distant with his son Percy(Emjay Anthony), having on and off
again relationship with Molly (Scarlet Johanssen) who works as head of the house, and his job while taking almost all his waking time, no longer brings him satisfaction. He is a man on the edge, and he is pushed over by a visit from Ramsey Michael (OliverPlatt) a noted food blogger and critic. Casper wants to make a new menu for the event, but profit conscious owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) stops that. Naturally, the critic finds the food wanting, and he writes a mean spirited review. Favreau becomes involved in a twitter war with Platt. Despite his son's coaching, Casper is basically unarmed. When he looses his cool and explodes live berating Ramsey Michael; he loses his job and becomes unemployable in his profession.

Favreau is a well known director largely for his work in the Marvel Universe (Iron Man) and a remake of "Jungle Book" for Disney. Like many other people he got his start in the Indie world. Some critics wrote this film off as a vanity project; others find the ending too pat. However, Favreau trained for this role with Roy Choi who served as technical advisor for the film. Choi had an LA based food truck. Five years after the film Choi and Favreau have a a show on Netflix called "Chefs." Choi gave his help only on the condition that the film would depict the culinary world accurately.

Casper is forced to return to his roots. He will cook from a food truck and make what he likes. On a trip to Miami, where he started his culinary career, he gets a ravaged truck from Marvin (Robert Downey Jr.) another of Inez's ex-husbands. Casper restores the truck with the help of his son, Percy, and his former line cook Martin (John Leguizamo). They set off to drive the truck, El Jefe, from Miami to LA, selling food along the way. Casper is in love with his profession again.

Many of you may know that I am something of a food nerd, who has two privately published limited edition
cookbooks to his discredit. I am therefore not to be completely trusted as an observer in this case. My knowledge of how restaurant kitchens work is limited and in the distant past; however, the depictions are accurate. I do have one major caveat; Casper would have a working knowledge of Spanish. He came up in Miami, and he worked for years in LA. In most professional kitchens; the staff is predominately Hispanic, and this is even more true in Miami and LA.

The first half of the movie is o.k., but once the truck enters; the quality of the product improves. The acting by the guest stars is good; they were having fun. Oliver Platt's brother is a food critic for New York magazine, and Pratt has accompanied him. Leguizamo is excellent as Martin. The second part of the movie is excellent, but it is comfort food.

Recommended; if you like food and want an inside view of the restaurant world; this is a must see. Favreau told the truth mainly.
The whole film was trite and pat for me, but I enjoyed it anyway for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Food and baseball are my two passions and I rarely don't enjoy a film focused on either. I could pick apart a ton of details as I used to manage a food incubator with a bunch of food truck clients and know that biz pretty well, but the "feel" was right.

As a side note, I love Oliver Platt for all the same reasons I don't like Robert Redford: No matter the role, he's always Oliver Platt.
 
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:Of Mice and Men"-Gary Sinise-1992

The story was adapted from John Steinbeck's novel by Horton Foote. If his name is not familiar; it should be. His screen plays include: "To Kill a Mockingbird,", "Tender Mercies," and "A Trip to Bountiful." Sinise was a co-founder of Chicago's Steppenwolf theater. This film has a very solid reputation among critics, and it was financially successful. However, I doubt that many yarders have seen it. It was filmed in California near where the novel is set. The time is the Depression (it's Steinbeck); two hard working drifters George Milton (Sinise) and Lenny Small (John Malkovich) move around California working at farms and ranches.

The film opens with images of a girl in a red dress running and screaming. Then we see George and Lenny running from a posse which includes dogs. They manage to escape, but George has to find new employment for himself and Lenny. George is reasonably intelligent and below average in height. Lenny is tall and immensely strong, but he is simple minded. He gets the pair into constant trouble. He can't keep a mouse because he pets them to death. The pair ends up at the Tyler ranch.

George and Lenny have a dream; they will buy a place of their own. They will have a cow, some chickens, and rabbits. Lenny asks George to retell the story on a regular basis; the part he loves is the rabbits.."And I get to tend the rabbits" is his regular contribution to the story. For once in their lives the dream seems very close. They meet Candy (Ray Walston) an older disabled worker. He has saved up enough money so that if George and Lenny can take their months pay and put it together with Candy's savings;they can achieve their dream.

There are dangers; Lenny pets a pup to death; Candy's dog is put down; the boss's son Curley is a sadistic bully, and his wife is flirtatious. The bad ending sees almost inevitable, but it is still devastating when it happens. The acting is superb; special mention must be made of Ray Walston and Joe Morton who plays Crooks the black hunchbacked horse wrangler. This is the type of film which is rarely made today;there are no tricks, no CGI, no hundreds of extras, just a very well written story told simply by actors who do their jobs, and a director who lets the story unfold naturally.

Very highly recommended. Next up "12 Monkeys."
 
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The 12 Monkeys"-Terry Gilliam-1995

This was a very successful film; it made a lot of money. Surprisingly, over 110 million of the 168 million was made overseas. Gilliam recruited a very solid cast many of whom worked for less than their normal rate. This was the first film where Gilliam had the final cut. The film is based on a French short classic "Le Jettee" directed by by Chris Marker.

A worldwide plague wiped out over 5 billion people; the survivors live underground. This is not the first time such a distopian picture of the future appears in the movies, think Dr. Strangelove. This film also plays with time. The remaining humans have perfected a time travel machine, they send "Volunteers" back to take samples and gather information. They will not be able to change the past, but they hope to find a cure for the
plague. "The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, nor all your piety nor wit can cancel half a world of it."

One of those sent back is James Cole (Bruce Willis). Unfortunately, instead of being sent back to 1996; he is sent back to 1990. He is believed to be dangerously insane, and he ends up in an asylum. There he meets Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) who is key to the story. Willis escapes, but when he is sent back he ends up in the trenches in WWI. He is shot in the leg. He returns again where he finds the psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madaleine Stowe) who treated him in the institution. The secret of the Twelve Monkeys is unraveled. That turns out to be a false lead, and the real release of the virus comes from an unexpected source. The cast includes Christopher Plummer, Jon Seda, Frank Gorshin, and David Morse. They are universally solid to excellent.

There are several questions in the plot. What worldwide deadly virus would only affect humans and not even other primates? Second, if you can't change the past with time travel; can you really change the future? Where is the wiggle room?

Can a future disaster end to the world as we know it and still be quirkily fun viewing? The answer for this film is yes. Gilliam is strange, but compelling. Highly recommended.

Next up: "The 36 Chambers of Shaolin" and "Un Vrais Foussaire."
 
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The 12 Monkeys"-Terry Gilliam-1995

This was a very successful film; it made a lot of money. Surprisingly, over 110 million of the 168 million was made overseas. Gilliam recruited a very solid cast many of whom worked for less than their normal rate. This was the first film where Gilliam had the final cut. The film is based on a French short classic "Le Jettee" directed by by Chris Marker.

A worldwide plague wiped out over 5 billion people; the survivors live underground. This is not the first time such a distopian picture of the future appears in the movies, think Dr. Strangelove. This film also plays with time. The remaining humans have perfected a time travel machine, they send "Volunteers" back to take samples and gather information. They will not be able to change the past, but they hope to find a cure for the
plague. "The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, nor all your piety nor wit can cancel half a world of it."

One of those sent back is James Cole (Bruce Willis). Unfortunately, instead of being sent back to 1996; he is sent back to 1990. He is believed to be dangerously insane, and he ends up in an asylum. There he meets Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) who is key to the story. Willis escapes, but when he is sent back he ends up in the trenches in WWI. He is shot in the leg. He returns again where he finds the psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madaleine Stowe) who treated him in the institution. The secret of the Twelve Monkeys is unraveled. That turns out to be a false lead, and the real release of the virus comes from an unexpected source. The cast includes Christopher Plummer, Jon Seda, Frank Gorshin, and David Morse. They are universally solid to excellent.

There are several questions in the plot. What worldwide deadly virus would only affect humans and not even other primates? Second, if you can't change the past with time travel; can you really change the future? Where is the wiggle room?

Can a future disaster end to the world as we know it and still be quirkily fun viewing? The answer for this film is yes. Gilliam is strange, but compelling. Highly recommended.

Next up: "The 36 Chambers of Shaolin" and "Un Vrais Foussaire."
I haven't seen this film in many, many years. At the time of its release, I loved it, and saw it several times.
 
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"The 36th Chamber of Shaolin"-Chia Ling Lu-1978

I feel the need to delve into the background of martial arts movies, however, I am ill prepared to do so. So let me make a few suggestions. This is a Shaw Brothers'film. The Shaw Brothers involvement in Chinese films dates back to the silent era. However, we are primarily concerned with their involvement and development of the martial arts film. "The One Armed Swordsman" made in 1967 , this is associated with Chang Cheh. He was probably one of the most prolific of Shaw Brothers directors. Read the Shaw Brothers article at IMDb.

For a really deep dive on this particular movie read the Jonathan Wilson article at Camp Asian Movie Pulse. I will return to this particular movie. It is considered by fans of the genre to be the film which sets the standard.
The director martial arts coordinator Chia-Ling Lu is justly famous. His godson, Chia-Hui Liu, played the lead, San Te, in the film. Years later as Gordon Liu he appeared in Tarantino's Kill Bill films. The film is divided into three sections. In the first section we are taken inside a revolt against Qing (Manchu) dynasty in Canton. It is a failure, and there is lots of bloodshed. Chia-Hui Liu escapes to a Shaolin monastery, he arrives near death. He is nursed back to health and becomes a servant after a year he starts Shaolin training. The training is the second section of the film. This is the part which is the highlight for me. I have no idea whether or not the training in each chamber has any relation to reality, but they make compelling film viewing. Each chamber adds something to the physical and mental conditioning of the monk. He learns to virtually walk on water, develop his arm and wrist strength, learn to focus his vision, and only then is he ready to learn the martial arts.
San Te's goal has always been to bring the Shaolin teachings to the people so that they may resist the Manchu oppression This the 36th Chamber of Shaolin. The third part of the film is San Te's mission to bring the martial arts discipline to thedevastated area he left. I neglected to mention that he invents a new weapon; the three piece staff. There is plenty of well directed action and a positive conclusion.

This is well worth watching; I should mention that the fights don't involve tricks. There are some philosophical problems. Monks were not trained to kill. The question is directly posed:"You can't kill me; you're a monk."

San Te replies: "Even the Buddha punished evil." We never see him actually kill someone, but the implication is clear. This is a classic for devotees, for the rest of us; it is still compelling film making.
 
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"A Genuine Forger"-Jean-Luc Leon-2016

Do you remember the Willie Sutton Line: "That's where the money is?" Sutton was of course the famous bank robber who was among other things a police favorite. Guy Ribes is perhaps the pre-eminent forger of early 20th century art. This movie is an extended interview with a cantankerous con man often while he is demonstrating his ability to create facsimiles of the work of great painters. I find the subject compelling; con men have always fascinated me. At his trial over 300 of his paintings often featured in catalogues, in important collections, and even in museums were identified as fakes. It was acknowledged that perhaps 3,000 more of his works are still in circulation.

The stories he tells about his background are unbelievable. His parents were a Gypsy fortune teller and the owner of a brothel who later shot and killed 3 people. He began painting fakes in his teens. He became a part
of an international world of art forgery in his late teens. This involved art dealers,organized crime figures, major collectors, and likely art experts who authenticated his works. He makes no apologies for how he made his living. He even dangles the possibility that he might return to his profession, and this time the police won't get him.

You might find this interesting. The film making isn't avant garde; in fact the director/interviewer sometimes seems like a jerk. Guy Ribes is exasperating and an ego maniac, but he is compelling.
 
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"The Princess Bride"-Rob Reiner-1987

William Goldman is one of the top screenwriters; "Princess" is a personal favorite. It was written for his two daughters, but it spent years in development hell. Goldman bought the script back. Reiner was given the book by his father in 1971. Dozens of actors were suggested for Fezzini; however when Andre the Giant became available, he was always the first choice. Unfortunately, he had physical problems, so elaborate workarounds were developed. Despite being a Fairy Tale; the film contains little magic, and the only supernatural animal is a super large rat. Even famous characters who appear fantastic, actual have logical explanations for there existence. The role of the Dread Pirate Roberts is played by different actors; in fact Inigo Montoya is offered the role. Of course he needed a change after spending 20 years searching for revenge. "I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." He had rehearsed that line for a generation; of course he finally gets to kill Count Rugan.

What Rob Reiner was able to do is to balance romance, adventure, and comedy. I have a problem with Buttercup, Robin Wright, let's face it she is a wuss. The part as written allows her little room for action or humor. Westley (Cary Elwes) has a better role and the classic line "As You Wish." He gets to become a feared pirate and return in time to save the princess. Of course he gets "nearly dead" and is brought back to life by Miracle Max (Billy Crystal). The Zorro costume is a hoot. This a fun picture and each of the co-stars gets some time in the spotlight; think Vizzini (Walace Shawn) and the poison in the cups sequence. It isn't as good as the scene the "Court Jester" remember the "Chalice from the Palace?" Of course casting Peter Falk as granddad is inspired. His scenes are a delight.

I'm pretty sure that all of you have seen the film, but if you haven't, well words escape me. For the rest of us watching this film is a reward, perhaps we don't deserve it, but each viewing is somehow familiar and new. A classic genre is re-invigorated, and surprise, surprise, even after 30 years this magic is still there.
 
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"The Princess Bride"-Rob Reiner-1987

William Goldman is one of the top screenwriters; "Princess" is a personal favorite. It was written for his two daughters, but it spent years in development hell. Goldman bought the script back. Reiner was given the book by his father in 1971. Dozens of actors were suggested for Fezzini; however when Andre the Giant became available, he was always the first choice. Unfortunately, he had physical problems, so elaborate workarounds were developed. Despite being a Fairy Tale; the film contains little magic, and the only supernatural animal is a super large rat. Even famous characters who appear fantastic, actual have logical explanations for there existence. The role of the Dread Pirate Roberts is played by different actors; in fact Inigo Montoya is offered the role. Of course he needed a change after spending 20 years searching for revenge. "I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." He had rehearsed that line for a generation; of course he finally gets to kill Count Rugan.

What Rob Reiner was able to do is to balance romance, adventure, and comedy. I have a problem with Buttercup, Robin Wright, let's face it she is a wuss. The part as written allows her little room for action or humor. Westley (Cary Elwes) has a better role and the classic line "As You Wish." He gets to become a feared pirate and return in time to save the princess. Of course he gets "nearly dead" and is brought back to life by Miracle Max (Billy Crystal). The Zorro costume is a hoot. This a fun picture and each of the co-stars gets some time in the spotlight; think Vizzini (Walace Shawn) and the poison in the cups sequence. It isn't as good as the scene the "Court Jester" remember the "Chalice from the Palace?" Of course casting Peter Falk as granddad is inspired. His scenes are a delight.

I'm pretty sure that all of you have seen the film, but if you haven't, well words escape me. For the rest of us watching this film is a reward, perhaps we don't deserve it, but each viewing is somehow familiar and new. A classic genre is re-invigorated, and surprise, surprise, even after 30 years this magic is still there.
Princess Bride is very much a solid movie watch, it is quite enjoyable. Quick note on the Court Jester which gets mentioned. If I had such a list, it would be on my list of the top musical comedies of all time, simply a wonderful film.
 
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"Bend it Like Beckham"_Gurinder Chada_2002

This film boasts a lot of firsts. The subject a girl's (women's) soccer(football) movie, is only one. The cast was a mixture of locals from Hounslow and professional actors. None of the actors had a big profile in England, and this was only Chada's third feature film. This was a very big success, the film made over 76 million off an investment of 6 million. It was the breakthrough film for Parminder Nagra, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and Keira Knightley. It was shot in and around Hounslow a London suburb with a substantial Sikh population abutting the Heathrow Airport.

Jess Bahmra( Parminder Nagra) is a football mad 18 year old with pictures of David Beckham on the wall of her room. Her sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi) is getting married to her longtime boyfriend. Jess gets offered the opportunity to play for a women's team. She has been playing pick-up games in a local park with a group of Indian young men. For the first time in her life, Jess will be playing real games for a proper team. The fact that she plays at all is unusual; proper Sikh girls don't do such things. Jess doesn't tell her parents she is playing. This sets up part of the conflict; Jess and Jules (Keira Knightley) are both offered full scholarships to play soccer at Santa Clara in California.

This is a very clever film with a lot of humor, but it also provides an insight to the lives of first and second generation immigrants who are caught between two cultures. The soccer team, the Hounslow Harriers, was made up of serious players and actors. They went to a soccer bootcamp for 14 weeks. They actually went to Germany and played a game against a local Hamburg women's team. This was the first time that were actually allowed to play freely and not in a scripted, Choreographed, sequence. There is a scene late in the film where Jess takes a free kick in the final of a local tournament. She sees a wall of disapproving Sikh women, but she bends her kick around the wall and scores the winning goal.

Gurrinder wrote the film with her husband a Japanese American. The film received awards from more than a half a dozen film festivals. It reached #1 in the English box office. Parminder Nagra recived the award for Football Personality of the Year from FIFA. She immediately got a job on ER which lasted until the series ended in 2009. Since then she has worked primarily in American television. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers has worked both in TV and films. One of his better known roles is Henry VIII in "The Tudors." Keira Knightley was 17 when she made "Beckham". She has twice been nominated for Oscars, and of course she was a star of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. Archie Panjabi starred in "The Good Wife." Chada has a good eye for talent, and she handles actors well. She has a musical coming out this year featuring the effect of the music of Bruce Springsteen on a teen Pakistani immigrant.

This film seems to be a like/hate opus. By now if you have read many of these commentaries; you know some of what I bring to films. I coached girl's soccer, spent several years in South Asia as a Fulbright scholar and a Peace Corps Volunteer; so my judgement on the film may be suspect. Did I mention that the commentary has a solid recipe for Aloo Ghobi? I think this is a very good film, and well worth viewing.
 
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