Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three Movie Reviews for Literary Night

Forgive the frequent blogging this week, but with Literary Night coming up I have things on the brain. Scott and I brainstormed on potential Coming of Age movie clips, and yesterday the job fell to me to choose the movie excerpts themselves. Ironically, the two movies I was watching were not child-appropriate, so off my kids went to play Twister at the neighbors' during SAINT RALPH and to read in the other room during TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Firstly, SAINT RALPH is a wonderful, wonderful movie, even when I had to watch certain scenes over and over and skim to the ending. The story of a 14-year-old fatherless boy whose mother is in the hospital, Ralph gets the nutty idea that, if he can win the Boston Marathon (he's never run before), it will be the miracle that gets his mother to come out of her coma. In his way are the head priest of his Catholic school and his own misadventures on and off the track. Set in the '50s, you wouldn't think it would garner a PG-13 rating, but Ralph is, after all, fourteen, and he's plagued by problems that plague adolescent boys (you figure it out).

MOCKINGBIRD needs no introduction or review here. Gregory Peck as Atticus is so very admirable that you wonder why no single lady in his Alabama town swooped in to snatch him up after his wife died, kids or no kids. I did wonder how many takes they had to do of Scout rolling in the tire because, had I been her, I would have thrown up.

And finally, you'll see no JANE EYRE on Friday night because we couldn't find the version I wanted on short notice. All we came up with was the Franco Zeffirelli one with William Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg. What needs to be said, to capture its awfulness, besides a blond Rochester??? A Jane with a French accent????? As if that weren't insult enough, they cut out half the story (mostly to do with Jane's time with the Rivers'), so that her separation from Rochester lasts about ten minutes. It reminded me of the time in LAST OF THE MOHICANS where Daniel Day-Lewis says dramatically to Madeline Stowe, "Wherever you go, I will follow!" only to have him run up one hill through some brush before they're back together. In our family under those circumstances, Scott would be more likely to say, "Be back in five."

No, skip this JANE EYRE unless you're dying to see Fiona Shaw (Mrs. Dursley in HARRY POTTER) or that fellow who played Mr. Elliot in PERSUASION. Instead, see if you can get your hands on the Toby Stephens BBC version. Much more faithful to the book, and at least his Rochester has brownish hair. Probably the Rochester who looked most like the book description was George C. Scott, but--let's be honest--no one wanted George C. Scott as a love interest, not even his Jane, Susannah York.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry we're going to miss this night. I'm setting up for Saturady's MITI event at JRC that evening. Bummer! Alex an watched Saint Ralph a few months ago. Great movie!