‘You made a woman meow?!’

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When Harry met Sally is 25 years old.  Now, as readers of this blog know, the chick flick (with a few exceptions) is not my favourite genre.  However, this gem from 1989 is one of the good ones.

The film centres on the relationship between Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) and Harry Burns (Billy Crystal).  They first meet as graduates when they car share from Chicago to New York.  Harry blatantly fancies Sally, which appals her as he is dating her friend.  Harry is plain-speaking whilst Sally skirts around the issue, ‘Miss Hospital Corners’ as Harry calls her.

Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan)

The film follows the pair as they grow older and date various people.  I love their best friends Marie and Jess, played by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby.  Their presence and chemistry with Crystal and Ryan is perfect.  Harry and Sally become close in their 30’s, after bumping into one another in New York, and start hanging out, but can men and women ever really be just friends?

Sally: I have as much of a dark side as the next person.

Harry: Oh really? When I buy a book, I read the last page first.  That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends.  That, my friend, is a dark side.

Nora Ephron (RiP) wrote the screenplay.  She really hits the nail on the head as to the way men and women view each other and relationships, whilst always maintaining the pace and brilliant, witty banter.

This film is a fabulous advert for visiting New York, particularly in the Autumn.  Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are both at their most charming.  If you like your romance with spark and wit, with a touch of reality, then When Harry met Sally is for you.  The Harry Connick Jr soundtrack is perfectly suited throughout.

Harry: If the two people are in relationships, the pressure of possible involvement is lifted…..  That doesn’t work either, because what happens then is, the person you’re involved with can’t understand why you need to be friends with the person you’re just friends with.

This post is for my lovely friend Ali.  We have watched this film together since we were 18 and we know every line! xx

 

 

 

 

Moulin Rouge (2001)

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“There was a boy….a very strange, enchanted boy….they said he wandered very far, very far…..over land and sea, a little shy and sad of eye….but, very wise was he…..and then one day, one magic day, he passed my way….while we spoke of many things….fools and kings….this he said to me, the greatest thing you’ll ever learn….is just to love and be loved in return.” Nature Boy, sung by John Leguizamo on Moulin Rouge soundtrack

Moulin Rouge

In 2001, a riot of colour, song, beauty and costume exploded on the cinema screen.  Moulin Rouge.  If I’m honest, I sat through the first 20 minutes wondering what the heck was going on, but then, I let go of reality as soon as Kylie appeared as the green absinthe fairy and stopped thinking and let the creative mad genius of Baz Luhrmann envelop me and I was hooked.

Jim Broadbent, Ewan Macgregor, Nicole Kidman

Already a fan of Luhrmann’s pop culture interpretation of Romeo & Juliet, I knew Moulin Rouge would not be some run of the mill romance story.  Once again, his use of modern pop and rock music for a soundtrack, along with amazing visuals and a brilliant story was a winning formula.

Moulin Rouge tells the story of Christian (Ewan Macgregor), a penniless writer in search of true romance and success in literature, arriving in Paris in 1899.  He befriends the artist, Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) and gets sucked into the seemingly glamourous night-world of the Moulin Rouge.  Christian meets and falls in love with the beautiful star of the Moulin Rouge, and courtesan, Satine (Nicole Kidman).  She takes a chance and returns his feelings.  The lovers plan to escape together, away from Satine’s pimp and manager of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent) and a wealthy patron of the club, the Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who has become obsessed with Satine.  Although the lovers are helped by their friends, as they work on a new musical for the Moulin Rouge, things are not as simple as they appear….

I love that Nicole and Ewan sing their songs, rather than somebody else.  This gives the film more heart.  The soundtrack is amazing, it includes covers of songs by Nirvana, David Bowie, Elton John, Sting and Randy Crawford.  I have the soundtrack and my favourite is Beck’s cover of Diamond Dogs.

Satine and Christian (Kidman & Macgregor)

Nicole Kidman is at her most beautiful and Ewan Macgregor his most charming.  Jim Broadbent and the rest of the supporting cast are fantastic too.  If you love art, stunning costumes, colour, romance and music….you will love this film.

Satine (Nicole Kidman)

Satine: “Never knew, I could feel like this…like I’ve never seen the sky before, want to vanish inside your kiss…..every day I love you more and more.”

Trivia:

The necklace that Satine (Nicole Kidman) wears was not costume, but made with 1,308 diamonds and platinum.  It was the most expensive item of jewellery ever made for a film, worth $1million!

Moulin Rouge is dedicated to Baz Luhrmann’s father, Leonard, who passed away just before filming began.

Images: IMDb

Mean Creek

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If you had the chance to give your bully a taste of their own medicine, would you?  If you think you know the answer, watch this film and it may change your mind.

I enjoy blockbusters, but sometimes I just want to watch a cleverly written independent film and Mean Creek falls in this category.

Mean Creek is about a group of friends who have had enough of bully, George (Josh Peck), picking on Sam (played fantastically by Rory Culkin) who is small for his age.  The group decide to plan a day out on a boat, instigated by Sam’s older brother, Rocky (Trevor Morgan), with the intention of humiliating George and giving him a taste of his own medicine.

Written and directed by Jacob Aaron Este, Mean Creek was released in 2004.  It deservedly received two independent movie awards and was nominated for others.

The film is set (and filmed) in Oregon.  A welcome change from the usual film locations.  The scenery is gorgeous, but foreboding in some ways, hence perfect for the building tension as the teens spend longer together in the boat.

Mean Creek reminds me of my childhood in the early 80’s.  Those long, hot summers where you would disappear all day with your friends on your bikes.

Beautifully shot, the child actors are superb.  At times, in other films, some child actors can over-emote, or be plain wooden.  There is no such trouble here.  Rory Culkin is particularly great as Sam, miserable at being tormented, but not keen on getting his own back either.

The music, produced and composed by tomandandy, is flawless and sets the tone perfectly.  I particularly love the track by Ethan Gold, “Our Love is Beautiful”.

If you love ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘The Butterfly Effect’, you will love Mean Creek.

Sam: “You know, if we hurt him, we’d be just as bad as him.”

Rocky: “We need to hurt him without really hurting him.”

 

What is your favourite independent film?

Images: IMDb