Movie Review: “Beyond the Sea”

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Yes, Kevin Spacey (who plays Bobby Darin) sings ALL the songs in this movie.  (He’s a VERY good singer!)  He also wears several hairpieces (just as Darin did) and had his nose made bigger and broader (via clever makeup).  Spacey also directed, co-wrote, and produced this picture; he spent 5 years on the entire process.  Bobby Darin (real name: Walden Robert Cassuto) was one of Spacey’s fave singers growing up. 

Darin was a sickly boy from a working-class Bronx family who had a love for music and performing.  (There is an adorable child actor who plays the young Bobby!)  His mother Polly (Brenda Blethyn), a former performer herself, knew that he would someday be “bigger than Sinatra.”    It’s an unusual biography- not the typical format.

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Above is a pic of Mary (tall and gorgeous Brit/Italian Greta Scacchi) with her daughter, Sandra Dee (young/up-and-coming Brit Kate Bosworth).  Sandy was an actress, and teen idol, who Bobby fell for while shooting a film in Italy.  They had a long, though sometimes dramatic, marriage. 

Darin’s brother-in-law (the great Brit character actor Bob Hoskins) and older sister also journey with the young man from “rags to riches.”  John Goodman plays the music producer who motivates and manages Darin’s career.

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Here are the REAL Bobby and Sandy; they worked to overcome their “teen dream” public personas and be taken as serious performers. 

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There are several song and dance numbers in Beyond the Sea, reminding you of ’40s musicals.   These will put a smile on your face!  Spacey, always an interesting actor to watch (Seven, A Time to Kill, American Beauty, etc.), seems to relate very well to his character.  Like Darin, he loves performing live and connecting with an audience.  Also, Spacey enjoys acting, and always looks like he’s thinking about his character. 

Below are the songs (available on iTunes) I especially liked from the movie soundtrack:

As Long As I’m Singing

Beyond the Sea

Dream Lover

That’s All

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Movie Review: “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1981)

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This is a GREAT growing-up movie, directed by Taylor Hackford (who recently made Ray) that young people (older teens/20s) will easily relate to.  It’s full of (real-life) drama and characters who remain in your mind after the film is over.  It was shot on-location in Washington state.       

 

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You may know that Louis Gossett, Jr. won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Foley, the steel-tough drill instructor who serves as a father-figure to protagonist- young, undisciplined Zack Mayo (Richard Gere). 

 

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Zack lost his mother before his teens, tragically.  He flew to the Phillipines to live with his sailor father Byron (Robert Loggia); he’s an alcoholic, womanizer, and disinterested parent.  But he’s all that Zac has…  

 

Byron: I’m out at sea three weeks out of every month, and when I’m back at port I don’t have time for this daddy stuff ’cause that’s not who I am.

Young Zack: That’s okay, sir.

Byron: Wait a second, kid, you don’t understand. I’m too old for this. I don’t care what the Navy says. This is no place to bring up a kid like I told you on the telephone. You’re better off at that state school back in Virginia. 
     

Warms the heart, doesn’t it?

 

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Though discouraged by his not-so-dear dad, Zack decides to try out for the Navy’s officer school.  His secret dream has been to become a pilot.  At the school, on Port Rainier, Zack becomes part of a motley crue of recruits.  Foley will serve as “mom and dad for the next 13 weeks,” one recruit comments.  As well as leading his group in various exercises, Foley warns the men about the “Puget Debs”, the local single girls who take the ferry each weekend in hopes of landing themselves a pilot husband.  

 

 

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Zack (nicknamed Mayonaisse) quickly distinguishes himself in various physical trials, but struggles with certain lecture classes.  He even makes friends, including Sid Worley (David Keith), a sweet/enthusiastic young man from an Oklahoma military family.  (Last season, you may’ve seen Keith on an ep of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.)       

 

 

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I’ve never had a girl.

 

Zack meets Paula (Debra Winger), one of the local girls who works at a paper factory, at a dance.  Zack flatly states that he’s not looking for a relationship, just “some fun.”  Paula insists that she’s not a husband-hunter.  But over time, they grow closer and closer.  (The former loner even goes over to her house for Thanksgiving dinner!)       

 

Gere and Winger have GREAT chemistry!  They are comfortable getting physically close, discussing personal issues, but also laugh and joke around.  (But a producer felt she was not HOT enough for the part!)  Strong, positive emotions are new to Zack; he admits that Paula is his first girlfriend.  Paula, who is wise and hopeful, encourages him in his endeavors.       

 

 

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Zack is pushed by the training, and by Paula’s need to get emotionally closer.  In the meantime, Sid struggles with his own insecurities and a relationship of his own.  

 

Several men drop out of the program, including a VERY young David Caruso.  (He has a couple of GREAT scenes!)  One weekend, Foley (nearly) pushes Zack to his breaking point.  But he won’t give up…     

 

 

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Okay, so you may know the (fairy-tale-like) ending of the film!  Check out An Officer and a Gentleman– it has plenty of action and unexpected moments.  It’s not just a “chick-flick” as I read before.  (My mom, who got the DVD, really liked the story, too!)

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084434/

Movie Review: “Pride & Prejudice” (1940)

Pride & Prejudice (1940)

 

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No, these are not Regency-era dresses; they’d suit Scarlett and Melanie!  LOL…  Once you get past these poofy costumes, you’ll enjoy this quick, breezy take on Austen’s most famous novel.  Mrs. Bennett is funny and husband-crazy (for the sake of her girls).  Mr. Bennett is has a great dry wit.  Mr. Collins is silly, and looks it, too!      

 

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Elizabeth (Greer Garson) is just as independent-minded as you’d expect.  Mr. Darcy (Laurence Olivier) is tall, stylish, BUT much more friendly/outgoing than in the book.  Olivier is JUST how one would picture Darcy, however, and he plays a posh Brit gent very easily (and well)! 

 

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Jane (Maureen O’Sullivan) is pretty, but reserved and sensible. 

 

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Lizzie reveals her REAL feelings to Darcy in her family’s large, lovely garden.  Both the leads stay w/in the bounds of propriety, but play the emotional scenes well.  There are no extremes of drama, however, so it feels true to the book.  Check this film out if you’re an Austen fan!