Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Film Fare 2016


Recently my wife and I watched some films that would make good summer viewing. We prefer to get our DVDs from Netflix rather than use its streaming service. The DVDs often contain some interesting bonus features and sometimes a director’s commentary. They also can have subtitles if needed. Here they are the films in no particular order.

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown:

Jackie Brown is an underworld drama made by director Quentin Tarentino just three years after his breakthrough film, Pulp Fiction. I don’t think it has received the attention garnered by the first film but it does include great performances by Pam Grier and Robert Forster, who one an Oscar nomination for his role. He and Grier have great chemistry and turn a crime drama into a love story. Samuel L. Jackson is at his villainous best. The film was a faithful adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, and so contains some foul and racist language, as well as one brief, gratuitous sex scene that is more pathetic than erotic.


Mud stars Matthew Mc Conaughey as a drifter hiding out on a deserted island in the Arkansas River backwaters. Jeff Nelson directed the gritty drama that is somewhat like a modern Huck Finn especially since McConaughey’s hideout is discovered by two of the best young boy actors you will ever see in an American film. A barely recognizable Reese Witherspoon is also featured. The Arkansas dialect was so thick that I found it useful to turn on the subtitles.

Failure to Launch:

Matthew Mc Conaughey  stars in Failure to Launch, a lightweight film about a growing American phenomenon: the reluctance of grown young men to move out of their parents’ home where they have all the comforts of home and no responsibility. Mc Conaughey’s parents, played by Terry Bradshaw and Cathy Bates, hire Sarah Jessica Parker to entice their son our of their home. It’s what she does for a living in this fun flick.


Barcelona is one of a trilogy about the life and mores of 1980s yuppies by director Whitman Stillman. This one, however, is set in Barcelona where the protagonist is a conservative young American salesman who represents his company in the hip Spanish city. Things get out of hand when he is forced to put up his neer-do-well cousin whom he has disliked since childhood. Like the other films in Stillman’s trilogy, it explores the ramifications of the sexual revolution.

The Big White:

The Big White is described by Netflix as “quirky’ and it certainly is. It stars Robin Williams as a travel agent in frozen Alaska trying to cash in on his long-missing brother’s life insurance policy. Williams hopes to use the money to get his wife (Holly Hunter), who suffers from a rare nervous disorder, out of Alaska to somewhere warm. Unfortunately, his efforts to claim that a frozen corpse is his dead brother are thwarted by an overzealous insurance adjuster and a couple of hit men.

The above films are a mixed bag but they all have one element in common. They present us with likable characters who we can care for and hope for.


No comments:

Post a Comment