MLK Weekend Roundup: a coming-of-age comedy, 1934 classic romance & a 1975 political thriller

MLKWashingtonHappy Monday all! It’s Martin Luther King Jr weekend here in the States and it’s a company holiday where I work, yay 😀 Another year and yet another snag in the long-overdue MLK biopic. I made this post last year about the status of the project that Paul Greengrass was once attached to. Well it turns out that Oliver Stone has now exited the project, taking to Twitter that his rewrite of the script, which dealt with “issues of adultery, conflicts within the movement, and King’s spiritual transformation” was not well received by producers. (per EW.com)

It’s really too bad as I’d love to see Dr. King’s biopic. Of course I realize he’s not a ‘saint’ as Stone said via Twitter nor do I expect him to be, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a great man who’s an inspiration to us all.

Now, though I didn’t go to the cinema this weekend, it’s been a wonderful movie catch-up for me. I saw The Way, Way Back on Friday which was pretty good despite the slow start.

TheWayWayBackPoster

I LOVE Sam Rockwell who stole the film with his effortless charm, and newcomer Liam James is endearingly dorky in this coming-of-age comedy. It probably won’t have made my Top 10 list but certainly would factor in the Honorable Mention if I had seen it last year.

As for the two great classics I finally caught up with, one of them is on my Blindspot list and the other is a spy thriller that my friends have recommended me from time to time.

ItHappenedOneNight

I will have my full review of It Happened One Night (1934) on the last Tuesday of this month (1/28) for my Blindspot assignment but let me just say this film lives up to the hype! I’ve only seen Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, so it’s nice to see a different side to him in this role. Practically everyone I’ve talked to adore this film and I could see why.

ThreeDaysOftheCondor

On Saturday night, my hubby and I were in the mood for a spy thriller, having just seen Jack Ryan: The Shadow Recruit on Wednesday (review coming tomorrow). My hubby isn’t a huge fan of older films, but I managed to convince him to rent 3 Days of the Condor (1975) as I’ve heard great things about it. I quite like 70s thrillers like Dirty Harry, The Conversation and The French Connection, no wonder my friend Michael calls it his favorite decade for movies! I quite like this one, it’s more of a slow burn but has plenty of suspense in a whodunnit kind of story filled with political intrigue as well as sexual tension between Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. It’s a smart thriller by Sydney Pollack, with a taut script and an intriguing ending where things aren’t tied up neatly with a bow. It’s loosely based on a novel by James Grady titled Six Days of the Condor.


So that’s my weekend roundup, folks. What did YOU see this weekend?

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49 thoughts on “MLK Weekend Roundup: a coming-of-age comedy, 1934 classic romance & a 1975 political thriller

  1. I saw Ocean’s 12 on Friday, Upstream Color on Saturday, and Monsieur Verdoux on Sunday. Three very different films as I’m also watching WrestleMania III in my 30 years of WrestleMania marathon as I’ve finally opened my wrestling blog on New Year’s Day.

    1. I gotta check out your wrestling blog! So interesting to see the two passion you have. Perhaps u should do a post about wrestling in movies 🙂

      1. I have done a review and an essay on The Wrestler as there hasn’t been a lot of good movies on pro wrestling. The worst one is definitely Ready to Rumble which is partially responsible for the demise of WCW.

  2. No cinema for me this weekend, but I did watch The Road for the first time on Netflix. Good God, what a grim movie. But then the book is pretty grim as well. Probably one of the best book to film adaptations I’ve seen in recent times.

    Been a while since I watched 3 Days of the Condor. Might have to give it another look. Agree about 70s thrillers being fantastic. I love The French Connection (and even French Connection 2 is pretty damn cool).

    1. Yeah The Road does sound VERY depressing, I generally don’t gravitate towards movies that are so, so grim like that. Haven’t seen French Connection 2, hmmm I thought some ppl said it was bad.

      1. Whilst French Connection 2 isn’t as good as French Connection, it’s still a very capable and enjoyable thriller with an excellent on-foot chase through the streets of Marseille.

  3. You already know what I saw this weekend.

    It bothers me that Stone is exiting that biopic because the studio doesn’t want him to show MLK for who he really was: a control freak, a womanizer, and sometimes a tough man to be around, whom fellow civil rights advocates didn’t always adore. And also a great man who did many great things for many people. Why should the truth make him any less heroic, or his accomplishments any less remarkable? It only makes him real.

    And The Way, Way Back. I said in my review that it is my single greatest disappointment of 2013. I stand by that statement. Not because it is bad, but because it is so close to being a great movie, if just would have avoided what I consider to be some significant missteps in character development. I still liked it. But I almost loved. And that left me a little deflated.

    Anyway, sounds like you had a great weekend. 😉

    1. Yes I agree that presenting the ‘real’ person, warts n all of Dr King would not make him less of a hero. The latest Mandela film did show his less-than-perfect side which like u said, makes him more relatable. I hope one day we get a MLK biopic that is truly worth seeing.

      As for The Way Way Back, I definitely think there’s flaws particularly in Carrell’s character which seems one dimensional to me. But in the end I ended up liking the relationship between Rockwell n Liam James n Rockwell is always fun to watch.

      1. Carrell’s character is definitely the biggest issue. And, for my money, a huge one. That film is so well crafted in every way beyond Trent but he drags it down.

        I do agree on Rockwell. He is a great actor.

        1. Yeah I’d agree, it’s perhaps the only time I didn’t like Carrell in a movie but he seems so miscast anyway on top of the role not being well-written. But Rockwell saved the day!

  4. What a great set of film for the weekend, Ruth. Glad to hear you caught up with that Frank Capra classic and one of fave 70s thrillers. I need to see The Way Way Back. My family had a great time watching the Zoltan Korda’s classic THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939) on Criterion Collection Blu-ray.

    1. Hi Michael I think I remember you mentioned 3 Days of Condor on your blog. Really dug that one!

      Is The Four Feathers a war film? Maybe I confuse that with the contemporary version of similar title?

      1. The Four Feathers was war/adventure film based on a 1902 novel by British writer A. E. W. Mason. A number of films came from it, the last one with the late-Heath Ledger from 2002. Most, though, consider the 1939 version the best.

  5. I caught four 2013 films that I needed to catch up with. I have reviews written for all four so they’ll be up soon. At the theaters I actually went and watched “Gravity” with my son. It was the third time I saw it on the big screen and I LOVED it.

    1. Nice that you got to see Gravity again for the 3rd time! My hubby n I were thinking of going again maybe next wknd now that they expanded to more screens.

  6. Glad you got to check out It Happened One Night. I also just watched 3 Days of the Condor. I found Faye Dunaway completely pointless in that movie. And what a weird sex scene…

    1. Oh I don’t know about being pointless, just under-developed. I think it’s interesting that her character ended up falling for Redford so quickly. I just read the plot of the novel n I kinda prefer the way Dunaway’s character is written in the book.

  7. Ted S.

    3 Days of the Condor is one of my favorite 70s espionage thrillers, I remember seeing it on TV when I was in grade school and fell in love with Faye Dunaway. I thought the first Mission: Impossible totally ripped off the plot of this movie. Then I realized it’s based on a novel and read that. There were talks of remaking it back in the late 2000s with Will Smith taking the lead and stay more faithful to the book. I actually welcome this idea, although Smith might not have been a good choice as the lead, thankfully it never happened and it’s now stuck in development hell.

    Funny you mentioned Jack Ryan, Kenneth Branagh said re-watched a lot of 70s thrillers, including 3 Days to get inspiration for Shadow Recruit. It definitely showed in the film and speaking of Jack Ryan, that’s the only movie I saw over the weekend. I’m actually going to see it again later this week, really enjoyed it. Since I don’t have a projector, I probably won’t be watching any movie at home until I get my new projector.

    1. That’d be a good film to remake but maybe stay closer to the novel? But please no Will Smith! I’d love to see Richard Armitage in Redford’s role, I think he’d be perfect as he is believable as a spy like in Spooks but also has the dramatic chops 😉

      I have my review of Jack Ryan ready for tomorrow. I have some issues with it but generally I like it n want to see more Jack Ryan movies w/ Pine n Costner, but please replace Keira Knightley!

    1. Ahah you should get over the b&w thing Nov. Nebraska was released last year but set in B&W and it looks gorgeous! 3 Days of the Condor is in full color 😀

  8. Glad you liked The Way Way Back Ruth, it was one of the biggest surprises for me last year. Really good little film. I managed to catch up with 12 Years a Slave and am still digesting what I saw. Not a perfect film but a very powerful one.

    1. I enjoyed it overall though I have issues w/ Carrell’s character and in a way Toni Collete’s as well but Liam James and Sam Rockwell are awesome.

      That’s how I felt about 12 Years a Slave, it took me nearly 3 months to finally write a review!

  9. Oh, the Way, Way Back bored me so much. I’m not even sure I finished this movie. But Rockwell was excellent as always and the whole cast was good.

    1. Yeah the beginning were too slow, it didn’t really start for me until Sam Rockwell showed up. He was excellent indeed. Carrell was miscast IMO.

        1. Oh I LOVE Carrell generally but I didn’t think his role was well-written as it felt one-note to me. But it’s still nice to see him playing against type.

  10. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    ‘Three Days of the Condor’ is a neat, compact little film that works on many levels. Giving Redford and Dunaway room to mold new characters, romp and play. While keeping up the suspense and allowing Cliff Robertson lots of space to revel in one of his best, far to few subtle “bad guy” roles.

    Good stuff!

    1. Agreed with all you said Jack! It’s funny that my hubby n I only knew Cliff Robertson from Spider-Man, ahah. He still had the same hair, only grayer 🙂

      1. jackdeth72

        If you want Mr. Robertson in one of his best, non subtle “bad guy” roles. Look for “The Best Man” from 1964. Very old school, B&W, back room, political tricks and back stabbing film.

        Robertson plays a slick, kinda slimy politician opposite incumbent, Henry Fonda. As they both vie for a big money, name recognition and votes nod from the sitting President, Lee Tracy.

  11. Sounds like a good weekend! The Way, Way Back is a fun little film, one of my favorite surprises from last year. I spent some time catching up with a couple of indie flicks — Upstream Color and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Wasn’t a fan of UC, but ATBS impressed me with its visual stylings.

  12. Ooh, I LOVE the two older films you watched! Glad you enjoyed them. I watched several 1944 titles this weekend, like The Keys of the Kingdom, The Uninvited, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, and Hail the Conquering Hero, all of which I’d recommend. 🙂

  13. Pingback: » Movie Review – Bourne Ultimatum, The Fernby Films

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