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Archive for the ‘Bette Midler: GODDESS’ Category

Then She Found Me

15 Feb

Then She Found Me – directed by Helen Hunt. Dramedy. 100 minutes Color 2008

★★★★★

The Story: A woman on the lea-side of 40 wants to have a baby, but she doesn’t want to adopt, especially when her own long-lost birth mother turns up to drive her nuts.

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Here’s an interesting film you haven’t seen and haven’t even heard of.

Is that true?

It’s true that it’s interesting. And what is more interesting still is how Helen Hunt worked on it for years as a writer and producer before she could get it made. She directed it and stars in it. She describes this whole process with unusual candor in the Extra Features, and you will like how smart she is and how honest, gifted, and determined.

And I think you will like her playing of the main character. As you will Bette Midler as the birth mother, Matthew Broderick as her husband, and Colin Firth as the attractive but erratic divorcé she takes up with.

The movie has a dumb title. It really should be called The Comedy Of Betrayal, because that is the subject driving both Hunt and the story. What place does betrayal play in a relationship? Is it necessary? Perhaps. Is it inevitable? Probably. How do you mine its riches?

The picture is shot in Brooklyn, from what I can tell, and it has a playful, searching script, made marvelously and justly funny by Midler, whom you want to strangle and love all at the same time, and by Matthew Broderick as the gormeless hubby.

It’s a perfect movie for home viewing with a bright mate. Check it out. There’s a lot to see and a lot to surprise you here. And a lot to talk about afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parental Guidance

29 Jan

Parental Guidance – directed by Andy Fickman. Family Comedy. The grandparents babysit the weekend while the children’s parents travel to Miami, and things become raucous. 104 minutes Color 2012.
★★★★★
Bette Midler is a national treasure.

Is she Yellowstone? Or, I know, she’s Mount Rushmore! (She certainly isn’t Grant’s Tomb.) Would it be too much to say that she is The Smithsonian? Yes, it would.

And Billy Crystal is up there with her. For never have two such big-hearted comedians been so paired so rightly. I hope they make many more films together, for neither one has made many movies, and Our National Health does require that we see them more often. I believe we have constitutional amendment going forward on the matter.

In any case, here they are abetted by the entrancing Marisa Tomei. She’s so good. She’s so appealing. She is never wrong. So you see, we have three reasons to go to this picture.

As a comedy it is made up of the usual clumsy Hollywood plastic. Which means that audience participation in the proceedings is cut off by the failure to admit by the writers that what we are witnessing is not real. The seduction of the unreal is everything. Extreme situations and the implausible are all right, but they don’t, in and of themselves, seduce. Cling-wrap is not a crystal mirror.

Where do we fit in?

I’ll tell you where we fit in: on the only island there is: the persons and playing of Tomei, Crystal, and Midler with all this, their response to it, and their talent with dialogue.

Crystal plays a baseball announcer from a provincial California city who wants to announce for The San Francisco Giants, and his riffs are really wonderful as he does his announcer’s shtick. Tomei is the rather uptight modern mother raising her kids on the strict leash of leashlessness. When the grandparents show up, a conflict of parenting styles arises, and Midler particularly shows a robust leashlessness of a quite different order.

I had a great time with the three of them. I hope you will too. I wish they never part. They could be the Rogers and Astaire of Twenty First Century comedy.

 

The Divine Bette Midler

17 Feb

The Divine Bette Midler – A&E Biography of the widely gifted entertainer. 135 minutes Color 2005.

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She’s a classical performer in that her work is based on styles and performers who preceded her, and this gives her a tremendous foundation in modernity. Sophie Tucker and Mae West lived long lives, and Sophie Tucker was before us regularly on TV variety shows and available to Midler. So the voice you hear from Bette Midler is not her street voice. It is a professional entertainer’s voice, fortified by the buxom vulgarity of those two women, the gamey sexuality of the lecherous West and the camp tragedy of the warhorse Tucker. She’s dolled up too. And she speaks that voice with every consonant chewed out for us, nothing slurred, every vowel pointedly enunciated. This gives her great technical power, a power she abandons sometimes when she sings. But the speaking voice is the voice of a woman having a grand old time barring no holds. She’s such fun. Her heart can fill six streets around any theatre she is in. She is a one-person vaudeville show: she sings, she can do skits, she tells jokes, she dances, she acts. She is out front and carrying on and carrying it all. What would a human being be like if they lived their life to the full? Is she not our best and perhaps only example? Glenn Close calls her a National Treasure. She is more. She’s an entire National Park.

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