I received this book from Kensington Books in exchange for an unbiased review.
It’s hard to believe it’s been fifty years since the movie The Way We Were came out. This book celebrates that anniversary by giving behind the scenes details on the tug of wars between the writer, the producer and the director as well as the efforts to get Robert Redford on board to play the part of Hubbell.
As a regular person who doesn’t know much about the various personalities of the Hollywood scene, the first few chapters were challenging. There was a lot of name dropping without context and I had to stop reading to google who these people were and why they might be important to the book. That was a bit annoying. I think the author might have done a better job in the opening chapters in introducing the people involved a bit better. It felt as if the reader was dropped into a cocktail party where everyone knew each other and were gossiping about others not present and the reader was at sea without a navigator.
After getting myself oriented, the book moved a bit quicker. There were still a lot of names dropped in here and there and trying to remember who was who took me a while but eventually, things smoothed out and I enjoyed the read.
The writer of the story the movie was based on, Arthur Laurents, was really an interesting person and not in a good way. He seemed like an ego maniac and very focused on what he wanted even if it wasn’t best for the movie. Sydney Pollack deserved some sort of award just for what he had to put up with from that man. It sort of surprised this reader that they were actually able to get the movie made and on the screen in a form that made sense. Lots of filming scenes that never got used and cutting scenes they spent a lot of money making and it seemed to this reader that the film should have been a disjointed mess based on all this moving around of scenes. It sure didn’t seem as if they made the movie they started out to make.
Disagreements among all the principals about what the movie was actually about was a theme running through the whole book.
Sydney Pollack must have been a relentless man. His pursuit of Robert Redford for the lead male part and his commitment to make the role larger to get Redford on board was tenacious. I felt sorry for Redford with how hard Pollack tried to get him to agree to play the part.
I expected more gossip about Barbra Streisand as we’ve all read how much of a diva she is but the parts about her were mild compared to the parts about the writer, Laurents. He was much more of a diva than she was—at least in how the book portrayed them. She was definitely a control freak, but Laurents and his shenanigans put her in the shade.
Overall, I liked the book. I read it quickly after the first couple of chapters. It gave a lot of insight into the movie and the battles to get it on the screen. The author clearly did a lot of research and interviewed a huge number of people. His work paid off in an intriguing and informative work. A comprehensive bibliography and index showed exactly how much effort he put into this book.
I haven’t read anything new this month as I’m working on a novel for NaNoWriMo and using my reading time to up my word count. I visited my son this past weekend and we watched the new Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot movie called Red Notice.
This review won’t be popular as I know how many people love Ryan Reynolds. Personally, I think he tries way too hard to be funny. There are naturally funny people, but I think Reynolds has to work at it. Dwayne Johnson, on the other hand, seems effortless when he delivers funny lines. I don’t really have much opinion about Gal Gadot as I haven’t seen a lot of her work. I did enjoy her in this film.
The real problem with the film is it does not deliver. We watched for the approximate two hours and there was no reward at the end. My son and I both agreed it was just to set up a sequel. There was no pay off for the invested audience. The twists were silly and predictable.
It almost seemed as if the movie was written for Reynolds to deliver one-line zingers and The Rock to do his thing with the action star stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some funny parts and some tense moments–a helicopter escape on a tall mountain, for instance– but, for the most part, it was a vehicle for Reynolds’ comedy. I was glad it at least wasn’t vulgar like a lot of his work.
Interestingly, my son and I didn’t talk about it right after we watched as I went to bed and he was already half-dozing on the couch, but the next morning, before I said a word, he expressed that the film had no payoff and no point except to set up a sequel and make money.
I get that the film industry is all about making money, but give me a decent plot every time over a series of jokes. I, for one, won’t be watching that sequel that I’m sure is coming.
Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I’m planning to watch one of my all time favorite Irish movies, Michael Collins. That man was truly what I would call one of my bad boys. He was strong, full of conviction and even though he was hated by the British, he did what he needed to do to stand up for what he believed even to the point of dying for those beliefs. This movie somewhat romanticizes what happened in the fight for Irish independence but it’s a good film. I love the way the cast relates to each other and the scenery and cinematography are superb. It doesn’t hurt that Alan Rickman, Aiden Quinn and Liam Neeson are easy on the eyes, too. Enjoy the day, drink a toast to your favorite Irishman and watch a flick.
It's funny that as I get older the things that make me cry now are different than what made me cry as a younger person. I was always pretty tough as a kid and really only cried if I was physically hurt or super mad. When I get furious, the emotion tends to come out in tears – which makes me even madder at myself for showing weakness by crying, which makes me cry more. It's terrible.
As I have aged and now have children, I cry much easier and sometimes for strange reasons. I have been known to cry during a commercial on televsion. I cry when I read and in movies. I guess having children loosened something in my emotional make up to make it easier to let the tears flow.
I'm not a scientist or psychologist, but I think the unconditional love I have for my children may have had a good effect on me and allows me to be more open.
For the first time in a while, there was actually a movie I wanted to see out in theatres. I went today to see Unknown. Liam Neeson is the star, and as usual, he’s his normal kick-butt self. There were two women in the film. One was January Jones and she played his wife. The other was Diane Kruger, the woman that helps him when he’s being pursued. I much preferred the performance of Diane Kruger. She did a great job with a hard to play role. I think it was hard to play as the character was full of implausibilites. Some of the stuff she was asked to do would have never been done by a woman in her position. A lot of this film stretched credulity. But it was a fun ride for two hours.
I loved that Aiden Quinn was in this film. I very much enjoy the film Michael Collins where Liam and Aiden play best friends and rivals for the love of Kitty. It was fun to see them together again. And it was also great to see Sebastian Koch in this film. One of my favorite foreign language films of all time has him in it. It’s called Black Book. He’s an excellent actor. He plays the scientist, Professor Bressler.
For an afternoon of mindless entertainment, I say check this one out- it’s a wild romp. AND if you’re so inclined, rent Black Book– an excellent, excellent choice.
I went to see The Black Swan based on the fact that Vincent Cassel was in it. I love him. He’s an awesome actor and sexy to boot. He didn’t disappoint. He was amazing and there was one scene in particular that was spectacular.
Natalie Portman is excellent in this movie as well. She nails her part. It was quite intriguing and I enjoyed watching her. The dancing was well done even though it was clear that Natalie didn’t do the more intricate steps. The director did a great job of showing her with the hand movements which she nailed. The feet movements were shown separate. It was seamless. I find it interesting that she seemed to have a dancer’s body in this film as well. She must have trained for a while for the role.
Winona Ryder did a great job as well in the role of an aging ballerina. She was too briefly shown, though.
This film was a bit of a tragedy but I enjoyed it. And Vincent? He was wicked cool!! Tres sexy.
The crazy thing is, I know how it ends. I’ve seen it many, many times. I own it. But I cry at the end. Every. Single. time. Yes, every time. When Cary Grant looks from Deborah Kerr sitting on the couch and back up at the painting and back to her and he realizes why she didn’t come to him at the Empire State Building, I break down every time. It’s crazy, I know but what can I say, I’m a sucker.
I loved this movie for the reversal of roles of the sisters, Marianne and Eleanor. Eleanor was always staid and reserved and Marianne wanted to “die for love” and was passionate about everything. By the end of the movie, Marianne, who DID almost die over love, found her happiness with a stable man that she previously thought boring but who was actually better suited to her than the one that almost ruined her.
Eleanor changed as well when she thought her love was to marry another woman. She held in her hurt over his engagement and let no one know her heart was broken. When she found out he was not married, she became very emotional and let her feelings shine through, even to the extent of bursting into tears. That was completely out of character for her.
Being a movie hound and having been busy with the day job, I took advantage of the long weekend and took in another movie on the 5th. I saw Knight and Day with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise. Not normally a fan of either one of them but two of my friends had seen it and highly recommended it. So I put aside my reservations and went. I actually thought it was quite funny and appealing. Both of the stars were spot on in their roles. I’m not sure but I think Tom Cruise might not have been acting. I think his true personality was on display in this role. Except for the parts where he administered drugs- which we all know, based on the debacle with Brooke Shields, that he’d never do in real life.
One really cool part (yes, I’m showing my geek side) was that the celestial blue Volvo C-70 with calcite white leather interior was exactly like my car. It was awesome to watch it being driven in such a wild manner. I was happy that they abandoned it in pristine condition. So funny that I’d be worried about such a dumb thing, huh?
The other thing I liked was the scenery- Austria was the loveliest. This was a fun flick and a good summer, light fare, movie.
They only used the Volvo with the top up in the movie. Here it is with the top up (and in white, not blue).