Brent Marchant has written a book called Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies, about movies that demonstrate the the idea that “that through our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, we create our own reality.” For Beliefnet, he has created a list of 10 lessons from movies about the “law of attraction.” Movies can teach us to “write our own script,” “embrace alternate endings,” and “face our fears.” Some of the movies he recommends are classics like “The Wizard of Oz” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but he has some unusual selections like “What Dreams May Come,” with Robin Williams as a doctor devastated by the death of his child, and “The Turning Point,” about two dancers, one who chooses family and one who chooses her career, who envy each other. I like the way that Marchant has located the themes of taking responsibility for one’s actions and one’s aspirations in such a wide range of films.
Cinematical has a great tribute to one of my favorites, Doris Day’s “The Thrill of it All.” Day was so wholesome that it is easy to forget how talented she was, but she could do it all — sing, dance, act, and above all, she is one of the best light comediennes in Hollywood history. I love The Thrill of It All!, a hilarious romp that as Cinematical notes makes some very sharp and timely points about our consumer society. Watch the scene they focus on and keep in mind that this film was made during the era now portrayed in the Mad Men television series.
Day plays the wife of a successful obstetrician (James Garner) who becomes an accidental media sensation when she starts doing ads for “Happy Soap.” This creates enormous upheaval at home — it was the pre-feminist era, and the movie’s ending is so unabashedly sexist it will have you howling with either laughter or disbelief. But if that message is outdated, its commentary on the “organization man” and manipulative marketing still feels very apt. And it is always a blast to see two of Hollywood’s most gifted performers doing what they do better than just about anyone. Plus, Garner drives his car into a swimming pool. The witty screenplay was written by Larry Gelbart (“Tootsie,” the “M*A*S*H” television series) and Carl Reiner (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”), who appears in the clever trailer and the film, and the capable co-stars include Arlene Francis (who is adorable in the first scene as a wife with some very good news) and many of the top character actors and comics of the 1960’s.
Many thanks to my wonderful daughter for showing me this fabulous compilation of Day’s “mad” scenes.
Stacy Oristano provides comic relief as the warm-hearted but slightly trashy Mindy on “Friday Night Lights,” one of the best shows on television. She was nice enough to take the time to answer some questions about the show and the character and about her influences.
How does your experience in Texas and football help you understand the subject of “Friday Night Lights?”
I think it helps me understand the mentality of this town and these people. Football has been such a huge part of my whole life… I’m just keeping the tradition going!
Why is high school football so important in Texas?
I wish I knew. We don’t question it… we just do it!
How do you bring comedy to a show that is essentially dramatic?
I think that’s the great thing about Mindy! She can find the fun in any situation.
She is inanely funny and I think on a show that tends toward the dramatic it’s a relief sometimes to laugh….
Can you create a comic character who is also believable and sympathetic?
Oh gosh…. I hope I am with Mindy! You tell me….. 🙂
What were some of the performances you saw when you were growing up that inspired you?
Billy Crudup in “The Pillowman” and Rufus Sewell in “Rock and Roll” changed my life! The most brilliant and inspirational performances I have ever seen.
What’s the best advice you ever got about acting?
Just keep showing up!
What do you do to help you create the character of Mindy? How does the costume help you create the character?
I just go to a tougher, darker side of myself. Ohhhhh the costume….. it helps!!! I could never get away with wearing what Mindy does. It helps to differentiate between me and her.
What inspires you?
What makes you laugh?
What’s on your iPod?
Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Patty Griffin, loads of musicals…..
Who was the best teacher you ever had?
Dr. Alan Nielsen. He was a professor of mine in college that helped me get where I am today!
A smarmy premise becomes an unspeakably offensive movie in a mess that is not just disgusting but dull. I don’t feel I need a bath after seeing it; I feel I need an exorcism.
Remember the song “Centerfold?” That’s pretty much the idea, but much coarser. On prom night, abstinence lecturers Eugene (Zach Cregger) and his girlfriend Cindi (Raquel Alessi) are about to have sex when he opens the wrong door and falls down the basement stairs. Four years later, he awakes from a coma when his lifetime best friend, the smarmy, juvenile Tucker (Trevor Moore) smacks him on the head with a baseball bat. He tells Eugene that not only did he miss having sex with Cindi and four years of his life but Cindi is now a centerfold in Playboy, Miss March. They decide to to to a party at the Playboy Mansion so Eugene can be reunited with Cindi despite Eugene’s muscular atrophy and a complete lack of money, much less an invitation, plus being on the other side of the country. This plan has the added advantage of getting Tucker out of town and away from his revenge-seeking epileptic girlfriend, whose fire fighter brother has alerted firehouses across the country that Tucker must be killed. She is angry because he repeatedly stabbed her face with a fork when she had a seizure during a sex act. No kidding.
This film has been inflicted on audiences by director/writer/stars the guys behind the television show The Whitest Kids U’Know. The term “triple threat” has never been so meaningful. They are also all about 10-15 years too old for their characters. Unfunny, offensive jokes are repeated as though that might make them hilarious. Over and over we get to experience Eugene’s post-coma lack of bowel control and a rapper whose name describes an animal’s body part. That sets the tone for the rest of the film. Offensive portrayals of women, Hispanics, African-Americans, lesbians, fire fighters(!), the disabled, and pretty much the entire human race are brain-numbingly off-key, never audacious or clever, just thuggish and sluggish. The only impressive aspect of the movie is how many ways it manages to be insulting and how few ways it manages to be entertaining.