The “Love Goes On” Blogathon – Final Recap

Our enthusiastic bloggers made it to the home stretch of our blogathon devoted to movies about eternal love. Click on the appropriate days to read the entries for Day 1 and Day 2. For our final round of entries, click on the name of the blog to read their work.

As always, Movierob captures three movies of different eras and tones: Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, Steven Spielberg’s A Guy Named Joe remake Always, and Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon in Just Like Heaven.

Diary of a Movie Maniac follows up his review of Foxfire with a second Hume Cronyn-Jessica Tandy outing, To Dance with the White Dog.

Musings of an Introvert offers a Robert Downey Jr. double feature of Chances Are and Only You.

And finally, who’s to say you can’t fall in love with a ghost if he’s as suave as Rex Harrison? Pure Entertainment Preservation Society states her case in her review of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

My heartfelt thanks to all readers and participants of this blogathon. I appreciated the respect you paid to the blogathon’s theme, and it took at least a little of the sting of my wife’s death away.

Kathleen Feindt-Bailey, 1960-2020.

The “Love Goes On” Blogathon – Day 2

Our tribute to movies about love after death continues apace! Click here if you missed Day 1’s entries, and click on each of the blogs’ names below for more terrific critiques.

The Midnite Drive-in details how Lily Tomlin gets under Steve Martin’s skin in more ways than one, in the outrageous physical comedy All of Me.

Warren Beatty is a reincarnated football player, and Julie Christie helps him get back in the game in Heaven Can Wait, as reported by Dubsism.

Love isn’t just for the living, as Taking Up Room demonstrates with Tim Burton’s darkly animated Corpse Bride.

Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy remain together even after Cronyn’s death in the thoughtful TV-movie Foxfire, the choice of fare for Diary of a Movie Maniac.

And finally, check out 18 Cinema Lane‘s unique love letter to Brandon Lee’s The Crow.

We have one more day of great blogathon entries to go, so don’t go anywhere!

The “Love Goes On” Blogathon – Day 1 Recap

If our blogathon is any indication, the spirit of love will never die! Click on the name of each blog participant to read their individual entries.

Dead WWII soldier Spencer Tracy, in spite of himself, helps fellow soldier Van Johnson find love with his old girlfriend Irene Dunne in A Guy Named Joe, a favorite of Silver Screenings.

Reelweegiemidget Reviews looks at Misunderstood, about an American ex-pat’s (Gene Hackman) misbegotten decision to tell only one of his two sons about their mother’s death.

A dead man (Alan Rickman) returns to his girlfriend (Juliet Stevenson), but not for the reasons she thinks, in Maddie Loves Her Classic Films‘ thoughtful take on Truly, Madly, Deeply.

How do you convince your late wife (Cybill Shepherd) that you are actually her dead husband? Robert Downey Jr. gives it a go in one of Caftan Woman‘s favorite romantic comedies, Chances Are.

And in what is surely this blogathon’s most bizarre entry, an 11-year-old boy works to convince a widow (Nicole Kidman) that he is the reincarnation of her late husband, in Birth. Let me tell you how that goes.

There are many more blogathon entries to come, so keep us bookmarked for critiques of some unusual romantic movies!

BIRTH (2004) – After-birth queasiness isn’t just for women anymore

The following is my entry in The “Love Goes On” Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from May 1-3, 2020 in honor of my late wife. Click on the above image, and read bloggers’ takes on movies about earthly romances that extend beyond death!

*

For this blogathon, I was going to submit a straightforward entry about a romance movie. But then I came across this oddity from the filmography of Nicole Kidman.

Birth is the story of Anna (Nicole Kidman), a widow engaged to be re-married, who is accosted by a 10-year-old boy (Cameron Bright) claiming to be the reincarnation of her late husband Sean. Initially affronted by this kid’s claim, Anna eventually comes to believe him all too much.

Some reviews just write themselves, don’t you think?

Nevertheless, I’ll be happy to point out the obvious: No matter how you slice it, this premise involves some most unseemly matters. If Anna falls for this kid, it’s going to lead to the kind of subject matter that you’d never want to see in a mainstream movie, even if the MPAA let you.

images

I’m relieved to report that the movie doesn’t quite go that far. At the same time, it veers closely enough to the edge — what with a boy-woman bathtub scene, and later a frank discussion about how the kid would handle Anna’s “needs” — that by movie’s end, you feel like a slimed Ghostbuster.

And what of this kid, anyway? The movie explains his presence so lackadaisically, it’s as though the movie was trying to reach a rare demographic of 10-year-old boys who suddenly want to be married to Nicole Kidman.

And don’t even get me started on Anne Heche, whose part in the story is supposed to be mysterious at first. Even so, from the very start, you can tell that her character has an interest in young Sean that has gone seriously awry.

The supporting cast, including 80-and-still-fabulous Lauren Bacall (What would Bogie think of this?), all have the same shell-shocked looks on their faces, as though they signed on for the movie before reading the script.

The “Love Goes On” Blogathon has arrived!

In honor of my wife, who died in March, I am hosting this blogathon. Stick with us for the next three days, as bloggers contributed their thoughts on movies related to the theme of earthly love extending to the great beyond.

(Some of you might find it peculiar than I am honoring my late wife with something as trivial as a blogathon. My feeling about it is: When you’re trying to cope with something like this, if your coping methods aren’t illegal or immoral, go for them. This blogathon and some of America’s finest pharmaceuticals are what have been keeping me going lately.)

If you are one of the ‘thon entrants, please go to the “Comments” section below, and post the name of your blog and the URL of your entry; we’ll link to you as soon as possible. If you are just here to read, keep us bookmarked; all entries will be linked back to their original blogs, and also we will do a ‘thon recap at the end of each day. Enjoy!

Here is the list of blogathon entries:

Movie Movie Blog Blog II – Birth (2004)

Taking Up Room – Corpse Bride (2005)

Maddie Loves Her Classic Films – Truly Madly Deeply (1990)

Moon in Gemini – Wuthering Heights (1939)

Caftan Woman – Chances Are (1989)

Outspoken and Freckled – Ghost Town (2008)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – Misunderstood (1984)

Movierob – Blithe Spirit (1945), Always (1989), and Just Like Heaven (2005)

The Flapper Dame – Rent (2005)

Tales from the Freakboy Zone – Hairspray (2007)

Dubsism – Heaven Can Wait (1978)

18 Cinema Lane – The Crow (1994)

The Midnite Drive-In – All of Me (1984)

Critica Retro – Orphee (1950)

Silver Screenings – A Guy Named Joe (1943)

Diary of a Movie Maniac – Foxfire (1987) and To Dance with the White Dog (1993)

Musings of an Introvert – Chances Are (1989) and Only You (1994)

Pure Entertainment Preservation Society – The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) – Marlon Brando as a still-scorching Stanley Kowalski

The following is my contribution to The 2020 Classic Literature on Film Blogathon, being hosted by Paul at the blog Silver Screen Classics from Apr. 3-5, 2020. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ critiques of movies derived from books and plays!

A-Streetcar-Named-Desire-1951-6-sheet

A Streetcar Named Desire remains a touchstone for both theater and cinema in America, continuing to influence generations of moviegoers. Whenever someone wails “Stella!” or talks about “the kindness of strangers,” they prove how it has entered our national vocabulary.

Yet would the play and movie have been as well-remembered without Marlon Brando in the lead? That’s one of those what-if questions that will never be answered, because Brando electrified Broadway and movie audiences with his nuanced portrayal of Stanley Kowalski, the beer-drinking, animalistic chauvinist of New Orleans. It’s now an understatement to say that Brando added layers of depth, perhaps beyond what even playwright Tennessee Williams imagined, to what could have been a stereotypical role.

Stanley and his wife Stella (Kim Hunter) find their poor but happy life disrupted by the sudden appearance of Stella’s sister, Blanche DuBois (Vivian Leigh). Blanche tells her sister that she needed a prolonged break from her teaching job and proceeds to turn the Kowalski’s modest hovel into Mardi Gras Central. Blanche’s pretentious ways also stir the interest of Stanley’s bachelor friend (Karl Malden). But Stanley doesn’t appreciate Blanche’s disruption of his conjugal routine and does some snooping to find out just how and why Blanche blew into town so quickly.

It’s easy to see Stanley as a prehistoric brute who runs his household with an iron fist. Yet Stella’s constant bowing to Blanche’s fantasies is an angle curiously unexplored by the story. Stanley not unreasonably points out Blanche’s delusionary tactics, to which Stella has blinders. Thus, Stella’s denial contributes somewhat to Blanche’s eventual comedown.

(PARAGRAPH SPOILER ALERT!) Critic Leonard Maltin, while giving a four-star review to the movie version, also calls it “Hays-Office-emasculated,” referring to the film censorship bureau that watered down anything even mildly controversial in a movie. But having seen the play staged numerous times, I think the only major Hays Office tinkering actually made the story better. The stage play’s ending ties things up a bit too neatly. The movie’s ending takes Stanley far more to task for his brutish ways, and its ambiguity — Stanley is left alone, to bellow “Stella!” one more time — is far more satisfying, at least to me.

In any case, Marlon Brando is the gold standard for Stanley Kowalski. Though he still had major movies up his sleeve (see On the Waterfront, by Streetcar director Elia Kazan) before he became rich and bloated, this is still the role everyone remembers. And generations of would-be stage Stanleys still quiver at the thought of measuring up to Brando’s stunning take on this role.

We Can Dance If We Want To: A Coronavirus Playlist

A playlist for the lockdown:

Men Without Hats – “The Safety Dance”

The Beach Boys – “In My Room”
Humble Pie – “I Don’t Need No Doctor”
Mary Jane Girls – “In My House”
John Lennon – “Isolation”
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – “Our House”
Bon Jovi – “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”
Ozzy Osbourne – “Mama I’m Coming Home”