he never ate his vegetables 'cause they were just too darn chewy
i was combing my hair, man

what i watched last week

You Only Live Once (Fritz Lang, 1937). An early example of the “Bonnie and Clyde” story, fictionalized into “Joan and Eddie”. The beginning is a bit awkward, and the final seconds are absurd, but in between, You Only Live Once is a top-notch social melodrama. Henry Fonda plays Eddie with a dark edge he didn’t often utilize, and Sylvia Sidney recovers from the beginning to make us believe in her Joan. The message is that society made them criminals, and while the logic is a bit muddled, Lang does make us root for the duo. They get stuck in something beyond their control, which also happens in Bonnie and Clyde, but in that movie, you can tell that they get off on their crime spree. Eddie and Joan never enjoy that part of their lives.  #973 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 8/10.

Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982). This is a request from Jeff Pike, which means it deserves its own post, but I’ve gotten caught up in a couple of other things and never managed to write anything, so I’ll stick it here. Dustin Hoffman usually makes us very aware that he is acting … he’s not what I’d call a “natural” actor. You suspect he’s a bit like his character in this movie. Like that character, Hoffman is able to open up within the structure of playing an actress (the irascible actor in drag) who plays a character on a soap. He is still “acting”, but it makes sense with this role, since much of the time, his character is “acting” as well. The result is a Dustin Hoffman that is likable, not a trait I normally associate with him. He’d have won the Oscar in another year, but they were intent on rewarding Ben Kingsley for playing Gandhi. Instead, the film’s only Oscar went to Jessica Lange, who beat Teri Garr among others for Supporting Actress (it received 10 nominations). Gandhi won the most Oscars that year, twice as many as E.T., which is nonsense, but that was a particularly poor year for Oscar: The Long Good Friday didn’t get a single nomination, Fanny and Alexander didn’t qualify for Oscars until two years later (when it won four), and did I mention E.T.? In such company, Tootsie is a bit thin … I preferred all of those movies I just listed. But you could say it benefits a bit from that thinness, since it lacks the overbearing importance of Gandhi, and is a better movie for it. #440 on the TSPDT list. 7/10.



You have my interest sparked with your appreciation of E.T., an appreciation I share but one I haven't heard from you (that I remember) until now.

Steven Rubio

Hadn't realized that. I've always thought E.T. was great. Looking at Spielberg's career, I wonder if it's that so many of his other movies, I want to promote because I don't think they get enough respect. Close Encounters made my Facebook 50. Jaws ... I feel like people don't remember it wasn't just a money maker, it was good. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ... even Spielberg craps on that one, which I like a lot. And while Minority Report isn't up to those, it's very very good, until Scanner Darkly the best Phil Dick on the screen. With all of those, I guess I haven't had time for E.T. :-).

Nondisposable Johnny

Wow. You, me and Pauline Kael. Now I know of three people who like Temple of Doom! (I'm sure there are more, I just don't know of them.)...It could just be an impression because I'm not a Spielberg expert even though I like a fair number of his movies quite a bit, but I don't think he tends to have much confidence in anything that under-performs at the box office. It's almost as if the audience has to justify it before he really believes. My guess is if Temple of Doom had outdone the first Raiders movie, he would have much kinder things to say about it.

Steven Rubio

It says something about movies in the post-Jaws era than a film like Temple of Doom, which cost $28 million to make and made well over $300 million at the box office, would be seen as under-performing. It only brought in about $50 million less than Raiders. But I suspect you're correct.

Nondisposable Johnny

A classic victim of his own success (and he was in a hot and heavy box office competition with Lucas at the time which I suspect was good for neither man, though Spielberg certainly came out better in the long run).

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