Monday, March 1, 2010

Top and Bottom of 2009 - #8

Ball of Fire (1941)
This very funny screwball comedy features Gary Cooper as an absentminded professor and Barbara Stanwyck as the woman who disrupts his attentions and steals his heart. It also features a wonderful cast of supporting characters played by a who’s who of old man character actors who are even more fun to watch than the stellar leads.

The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988)
I enjoyed reading the Pippi Longstocking stories as a kid, and I have fond memories of watching the Swedish version from 1969 as a kid. So I was interested to see what an American company would do with the material. I should have stayed away. A story about an incredibly strong little girl already requires some suspension of disbelief, but there were far too many unbelievable moments even within the world created for the film. The adults are all idiots and Pippi’s message of “chaos is better than structure” is highly suspect. Her pet monkey and horse “speak” in animal sounds that are almost English, but while this is supposed to be funny it comes across as just dumb. For some reason the filmmakers decided to make it a musical, so I was also treated to a parade of mediocre, forgettable songs that added nothing. And to top it all off, they played an annoying, silly sound cue whenever Pippi did something magical that completely took me out of what little moment I already had.

Coming up next: two movies about a small group of people defending themselves with shotguns from a hoard intent on their destruction.

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