Tag: debbie reynolds

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
Rain 1
“Lina, you’re a beautiful woman. Audiences think you’ve got a voice to match. The studio’s gotta keep their stars from looking ridiculous at any cost.”

I’m not anti movie musicals, but it’s a genre I rarely seek out. I think it’s because I’m a slave to story and plot in movies. By necessity, musicals usually have to have the simplest and most predictable of stories, so there’s plenty of room for all the singing and dancing. At least, I always thought that was the case. Then, one day, I looked past the preconceptions I had of corniness, and watched Singin’ in the Rain. An amazing musical, but more impressive than that, it’s just an amazing movie. And I think the main reason for that is its ability to tell a real story, while still finding room for some of the best singing and dancing I’ve ever seen in any movie musical.

In 20s Hollywood, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) has worked his way up from the worst vaudeville stages to become the biggest star in silent cinema. Along with his best friend and musical accompanist, Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and regular leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagan), they’ve just released another smash hit. On screen, Don and Lina are the hottest couple in Hollywood. The delusional Lina believes that’s the case off screen as well, no matter how many times Don lets her know that he has zero interest in her. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | How the West Was Won (1962)


“About 150 years ago, an idea took shape in the mind of a man named DeWitt Clinton. And in the way Americans have of acting out their dreams, it came to be.”

One of the biggest problems in big budget movies, is the tendency for studios to pile on more. More big name stars, mores special effects and action, more romantic interests, more, more, more. The theory being, if they put enough crap in there, everyone will find a reason to hand over their hard earned at the cinema. 99.9% of the time, this only makes movies worse. The more surface level glitter they throw on there, the more substance has to be taken out to make room. But sometimes, more really is more, and it actually pays off. And it pays off big in How the West Was Won.

Five short stories, following several generations of one family across half a century and an entire continent, the movie opens with Zebulon Prescott (Karl Malden), leading his family from the East Coast, to the new frontier in Illinois. Along the way, they meet and befriend a mountain man, James Stewart as Linus Rawlings. Soon, a Prescott daughter’s in love with him and they’re saving each other from ruthless bandits. (more…)