Well there goes the weekend… it seems to fly by so fast as it always does. I’m super excited for my upcoming trip to Montréal next week, we’ll be there for four nights and then three nights in Québec City. The Airbnb flats we’ll be staying at are gorgeous and they’re both right downtown too! I’ll be doing a Canada-related post next week just before my temporary blogging hiatus.
Well, this weekend I ended up watching quite a bit of movies! Two of them are ones I thought I had seen before, but when I saw it I realize I had not seen them. Have that ever happened to you? Maybe it’s my hapless memory playing tricks on me, as I remember some scenes vividly but maybe I just saw clips of them a long time ago. Anyway, here’s my quick thoughts on those films.
Great Expectations (1998)
Somehow I didn’t realize this Charles Dickens’ modern adaptation was directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Believe it or not but I’ve never read Dickens’ novel but I knew they had made a ton of liberties with this adaptation, even changing the protagonist’s name from Pip to Finn and instead of becoming a wealthy Gentleman, he became a successful artist. But the essence of the story remains, as was the plot about unrequited love between Finn and Estella (Ethan Hawke & Gwyneth Paltrow).
I think both are perfectly cast. Hawke’s got that pinning look down pat every time he looks at Paltrow, and she definitely captured that ‘icy rich girl’ aura. The entire ensemble is stellar, with Chris Cooper, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro rounding up the cast. The cinematography was gorgeous and of course when I looked it up it was done by the genius Emmanuel Lubezki. My favorite part is definitely the music by Patrick Doyle which I have highlighted in this post.
I think the film itself was good but not as great as I had hoped considering the talents involved. It does make me want to see the more conventional adaptation set in the same era as it is in the book, thankfully there’s the 2012 BBC version with Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter on Netflix!
About A Boy (2002)
I seem to have a distinct memory of having seen this one so I might have a long while ago but my memory of it is scant so it feels like I had just seen it for the first time. This is a coming-of-age story with a twist as the 12-year-old Marcus is the one who helped 38-year-old Will grow up.
Hugh Grant is wonderful as Will, a cynical, immature young man who holds no job whatsoever and is living off of the royalty of her dad’s famous Christmas song. It’s so cute to see Nicholas Hoult as a dorky kid back then, as he’s now grown up to be a tall and good looking young man. I love the two female cast here too, Toni Collette as Marcus’ unstable hippie mom and Rachel Weisz as Will’s love interest.
Based on a novel by Nick Hornby and directed by brothers Chris & Paul Weitz, I really enjoyed this one. Yes there are predictable moments throughout, but it’s got genuine humor and a big, big heart.
Under the Cherry Moon (1986)
Now, I saw this one simply because Prince had directed AND starred in it. My pal Becky (Prairiegirl) lent me the dvd she rented from Netflix and though the movie’s *won* a bunch of Razzies, I simply had to see it out of sheer curiosity.
Gigolo Christopher Tracy (Prince) and Tricky (Prince’s real-life pal Jerome Benton) are two friends from Miami who’s scamming rich women in the French Riviera. But of course Christopher and Mary, one of the girls he was supposed to scam end up falling in love. The story is so cheesy and inherently silly, but it’s still amusing to watch simply because it’s Prince!
As a huge fan of Kristin Scott Thomas, it’s also fun to see her in big screen debut at the age of 26. She looked so gorgeous and fresh, and though she and Prince didn’t really have a good chemistry together, the moment the two characters saw each other for the first time was quite a hoot. She was draped in a bath towel in the middle of her own lavish birthday party and Prince was dressed in one of his extravagant suits that shows his lower back.
Though I can’t say it’s a good movie, I still think it’s quite watchable and you could even say this is one of those so-bad-it’s-good variety. There are scenes of Prince playing piano, singing and dancing, so it’s definitely well-worth a watch for his fans. Though he did direct another feature film after this one (the sequel to Purple Rain), I’d say filmmaking wasn’t really his forte. Even Kristin herself didn’t speak kindly of this movie (per IMDb trivia) and I can’t say I blamed her. Oh, apparently Terrence Stamp was going to play Kristin’s dad but he was replaced by Steven Berkoff (Bond nerds like me would know him as a Bond villain in Octopussy).
All in all I didn’t regret watching this one. The retro costumes and Mediterranean scenery are beautiful. Apparently it was shot in color but presented in black & white.
Besides these three films, I also rewatched Captain America: Civil War again in IMAX 3D and I actually like it even more. I appreciate the stuff I enjoyed from the first viewing even more so this time around, and I wasn’t as bothered by the slow start.
So what did YOU watch this weekend? Anything good?
23 thoughts on “Eclectic Weekend Roundup: Great Expectations (1998), About A Boy (2002), Under the Cherry Moon (1986)”
Have a great time in Montreal! I’ve never been there; hope you will post photos.
Thanks, for sure I will 🙂 Have you seen any of these movies btw, I reckon you might have seen at least one Charles Dickens’ adaptation.
I’ve seen all three! I agree with your ratings. 🙂
Oh cool that you’ve seen Under The Cherry Moon! It’s pretty bad isn’t it, but still well worth a watch because of Prince & KST 😀
Have a great time, Ruth. I think the only reason I’d rewatch UtCM would be the passing of Prince. I heard that Michael Jackson use to mention how bad that film was just to rib his rival Prince endlessly. Thankfully, we have PURPLE RAIN to keep on a loop. 🙂
Thanks Michael! Yeah, that’s the reason for me as well to watch UtCM. That’s funny about MJ, it’s sad that they’re both gone, well maybe they can laugh about it together Up There. It IS pretty bad, soooo cheesy, but at least the scenery was gorgeous, including Prince himself!
Great Expectations is my least favorite film by Alfonso Cuaron. I love the look of it as well as Chivo’s photography but I heard the script (which featured re-writes by David Mamet) didn’t help things. About a Boy is a film I do like a lot as I think it features Hugh Grant’s best performance so far. Under the Cherry Moon, I only saw bits of it for so many years but never in its entirety. I still want to see it not just because of Prince and Kristin Scott Thomas (who got the part because Prince’s then-girlfriend Susannah Melvoin (sister of Wendy Melvoin) was supposed to play the role but couldn’t act) but also because of cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (who did films for Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Martin Scorsese) as I think it’s Prince’s ode to Fellini. I was watching the video for the song “Mountains” that featured clips of the film and man, Kristin Scott Thomas looked gorgeous and she still does.
I haven’t seen all of Cuaron’s films yet but this one is definitely not a stellar one. Oh it’s been rewritten by David Mamet? Well, I just think the modernization doesn’t always work and it’s very uneven. I’d say ‘About A Boy’ is one of Hugh’s best roles.
Oh you should watch ‘Under the Cherry Moon’ if you love KST. I think she’s quite good in it despite the movie’s inherent silliness. Prince is still very amusing to watch too. Oh, I’m gonna watch 8-1/2 soon, so that’ll be interesting to see that if this was Prince’s ode to Fellini.
Great description of Under the Cherry Moon. It’s just fun in a goofy, bad movie way.
Yeah it’s deliberately goofy! But still fun to watch Prince and KST 🙂
I liked About a Boy so much more than I thought I would. I have never liked Hugh Grant more and Toni Collette, as always, was amazing.
Yeah I think it’s interesting to see Hugh play such an unsympathetic character, as he seems to be cast as a nice guy a lot following Four Weddings And a Funeral. Collette and Weisz were both terrific.
It’s so fun to watch Prince in a cheeky performance (UTCM) as opposed to his brooding character in PR. He has a sly sense of humor, that’s for sure. And whoever wrote the “butterscotch” and “chocolate” dialog Prince gave to Jerome should get an award!
Somehow I missed that scene! But thanks for explaining it to me earlier today Becky, ahah maybe Prince himself came up w/ that line 😉
I ordered the DVD last night, less than $5 on Amazon with a 4 1/2 star rating, most rating it a 4 or 5 since his passing. So you’ll have a chance to see that scene and hopefully crack up just like I did 😉
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve watched any of these. Great pick with the Prince movie; shame it doesn’t stand up.
Hi Mark! The Prince movie is still pretty fun to watch though, I mean it IS very cheesy but not entirely unwatchable.
I loved Great Expectations when it came out. I was about 17 and it struck a chord with me. I need to watch it again.
Hi Abbi, that’s cool to hear. It’s such a great story, have you seen other adaptations of Great Expectations? I want to see the BBC version now that’s set in the same era as the book.
I saw the version that had Jeremy Irvine and Ralph Fiennes in it and I was underwhelmed. I did read and enjoy the novel though.
I heard alot about Cuaron’s Great Expecations but avoided it because of its bad rep. Might consider checking it out now.
I had no idea it’s got a bad rep, Khalid, but certainly it wasn’t his strongest work. It’s still worth a watch though, strong cast too, but modernizing a classic tale is always iffy.
About a Boy is the sort of film I return to for a “pick-me-up”. A very warmhearted, funny and endearing comedy-drama.