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The Leftovers

s1e9, 1920x1080

Briana Marin


Katee Sackhoff is topless in Riddick (2013)

and there are some unidentified naked women.



Lolita Davidovich film clip (collages below)

Scoop's notes: SPOILERS

Richard Gere plays a 40ish architect who founded a business nearly two decades earlier with his young wife (Sharon Stone). They are still business partners, but the marriage has failed. The basic plot point was that Gere couldn't decide between two women, wife and mistress. I guess his indecision went on for a long time, because he had black hair in the flashbacks, and he was still wearing those 70's polyester clothes from Breathless, but at the end of the movie he was wearing Lord and Taylor, and his hair was grey.   

I think a good part of the problem in the marriage is that neither one of them has a personality. Stone is totally lifeless in the role, although that is what the script called for. Gere is equally lifeless, just because he's Richard Gere. They never have anything interesting to talk about together. In fact, one of the biggest problems with the script is that no character ever says anything interesting to anyone else. The other main problem is that nothing happens in 99% of the movie. There are a bunch of people doing nothing in the present until they flash backward to a bunch of people doing nothing in the past.
The movie might have set some kind of record because it went on for about 30 minutes after the first time I thought it had ended. (Gere died.) But nothing else happened after that except some weepy-ass moanin' 'n wailin' and ironic O'Henry endings.

Here's how that happened:

You know those movie moments where the dead guy leaves behind the phone message that is heard only after his death, and seems oh-so-tragic in that light? Well. Get this. Just before his death, Gere wrote his mistress a letter to say that he was breaking it off. But then, he regretted the letter, and called her up to leave a phone message telling her that he adored her, and had to spend his life with her, and that she should meet him at some lonely country rendezvous. So we got yer basic ironic letter and yer basic ironic phone message, and they contradict each other. Gere wrote the letter in his car, at night, in a rainstorm, through his tears, by the light of a flickering all-night "Diner" sign. I didn't make that up.

Well, it turned out that Gere never mailed the letter, so his wife was handed it along with the other effects he had on him when he died. She read it, and had a good cry because it showed that Gere was planning to dump his mistress and come back to her, but he died while he was on his way to tell her.

Meanwhile, the mistress (Lolita Davidovich) never got the letter, but she did get the phone message, so she had a good cry because Gere was planning to choose her, and died while on his way to their secret country rendezvous.

Are you with me so far? We haven't even scratched the weepy-ass surface. The wife and the mistress met in the hospital, right after Gere kicked the bucket, and the following happened:

  • * Stone was about to show Davidovich the letter, but held back and did not, thinking that she was committing a great act of kindness, because the letter showed that Gere was going to dump Davidovich.

  • * Davidovich was about to tell Stone why she happened to be in the area, but she held back and did not, thinking that she was committing a great act of kindness, because her appointment showed that Gere was planning to dump Stone.

Do you believe that? They actually give you something like 30 minutes of weeping, followed by ironic incidents, then more weeping over the irony - all after Gere died! The maudlin sentimentality and improbable plot contrivances in this script would embarrass Charles Dickens himself.

This isn't even a five hankie movie. Five hankies wouldn't make a dent in your tears. You better bring a towel. And not one of those little polite ones like they have in the bathrooms of expensive hotels. No, I'm talking about one of those giant beach towels that says "We Be Jammin'", the kind they use to toss the women up in the air in beach movies.

I guess this is supposed to be one of those weepy-ass Bette Davis movies, except that the narrative structure is so muddled that I was not exactly sure if I was supposed to cry in the present, or in the flashbacks, or even in the flash-forwards. I'm not even sure if I can quickly identify which scenes took place in the present, because the past was filled with flash-forwards, and I don't know if that counts as present or not.

This is as beautifully filmed movie and the discs contain beautiful transfers. Too bad the script didn't match the cinematography. This film was scripted by the famous comedy writer Marshall Brickman. No, I'm not kidding. I think this was his only serious movie script. Do you think maybe it was all meant as a joke? I don't know, but if I had written this, that's what I would tell people.

Rachel Griffiths in Blow Dry (2001) in 1080hd


This is one odd movie from the official "quirky small-town Britain" formula. (Same author as The Full Monty)

Imagine if Christopher Guest, Ingmar Bergman, and Disney made a joint project. What would it be like?

  • Chris Guest's contribution - well, he'd have to have some quirky, odd, self-important people who are obsessed with their own reality, but it would have to be a reality that is inherently insignificant to outsiders - dog shows, community theater, and ... say, how about Competitive Hairdressing. No matter that there is no such thing, let's create the 2000 All-England hairdressing championship, let's locate it in the usual quirky small town, let's have the mayor gush when he announces that he obtained the event for his town, let's have all the reporters and townspeople laugh and mutter when they hear the announcement.
  • Ingmar Bergman would have to add several people dying of cancer, and people overcome with tragedy over unspoken past offenses.
  • Disney would have all kinds of family reconciliations, moral lessons, and happy endings.

There you have it. A tongue-in-cheek portrayal of a silly competition, treated as seriously as if it were the Olympics. Despite the silly premise, there is an undercurrent of very serious issues being faced by very serious people. The local hairdresser's wife ran away with his female model many years ago, abandoning him and her son. Now she has returned to ask him and their son to join her and her lesbian lover as a hairdressing team in the competition. Her objective is to bring them all together. She needs this reconciliation to tie up the loose ends, because she is near the end of her battle with cancer.

The dad won't do it at first, then he softens, then he finally comes back at the end for the triumphal fourth round of the tourney, and leads their team to victory. They treat this competition with the same straight face and the same presentation that would attend the championship game in Hoosiers, or the fight in Rocky, or the race in Chariots of Fire. The hairdressers have a lot of glitz, of course, but all the sporting cliches are brought right over without comment. The dad "used to be the best" hairdresser in the world, but hasn't competed in years, the judges hold up their little 9.9 scores for various haircuts, and the team from Keighley, the town which also hosts the pageant, defeats all the super-power teams from London and elsewhere.

When I read the description of this movie, I thought to myself what you are probably thinking now, "what a crock", and dreaded having to watch it. I was partially wrong. While it does have some serious groaner moments, I have to admit that the film approached the concept with such earnestness that it sucked me in and I enjoyed it for the most part. Where else but the UK would they make a film with such a flimsy premise, its only promise being satire, then eschew the satire for warmth, then hire such great people to act in it and bring honesty into it? Alan Rickman, Natasha Richardson, and Rachel Griffiths head the cast. They don't try for humor. They simply play the characters straight, and manage to make it work fairly well.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I kinda liked this sappy, woefully unhip movie, although it isn't as funny or as original as it might have been, given that the over-the-top premise ultimately was wasted.

Bridget Fonda and Jessica Tandy in Camilla (1994) in 1080hd



Camilla is the story of the friendship between an eccentric elderly violinist and a young woman who aspires to write music. The elderly woman (Jessica Tandy) looks back upon her yellowed clippings and draws upon her ancient memories as part of the process of imparting her wisdom to the young 'un, so it plays out sort of like Titanic Light. The acting is terrific, although the movie itself is kind of an artificial three-hanky chick-flick, and reminds one of a TV movie of the week on one of those networks that cater to older women.

As an example of the contrived melodrama, Ms. Tandy finds the long-lost love of her life before the end of the film, and does so almost by accident. And at her age, long-lost is very long indeed.

The most unusual and probably the most memorable element of the film is that Jessica Tandy did a nude scene in "Camilla", the only nude scene of her career. She was 84 or 85 when she did the scene.
"Hey, that isn't beautiful or sexy, Scoop"
No, of course it isn't sexy, but beautiful ... well, "beautiful" is more complicated.

Ms Tandy was one of the great stage actresses of the 20th century, and owned a film resume that spanned 63 years and includes a Best Actress Oscar. She was a great and gutsy woman who continued to perform as long as she could stand, and continued to do so very well. Brilliantly, in fact.

Tandy knew she was dying when she made this movie, and she had died by the time it was released.  She and her husband of 52 years, Hume Cronyn, appeared together in this film, knowing it would be the last of the thousands of times they shared the spotlight. During the film, Tandy and Cronyn spoke this line (from Sea Fever by John Masefield) aloud to each other:
"And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over".
If that isn't beautiful, then what is?