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I just watched the documentary, Gay USA. It was filmed in June 1977 with camera crews at the gay parades in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. Though it seems like there’s a fairly heavy emphasis on the San Francisco event.

I was in high school at the time this was filmed and knew very little about gay people, other than what was presented in mainstream media, which at the time was heavily focused on Anita Bryant and her anti-gay crusade. It’s a shame that there was no means in place for me to be exposed to things like this film, because it surely would have helped me figure things out quite a bit sooner about myself.

Once you get past the multitude of hairy shirtless guys in jeans – hey man, it was the seventies – there is quite a bit of interesting material. (Well, actually the hairy shirtless guys are interesting too. It takes me back!) While the vast majority of America was anti-gay at the time, there were still straight allies in attendance. A lot of the things said back then by participants are still true today, such as it being not so easy to be gay in Kansas. Some of the most interesting interview bits come in the last half of the film, so it’s worth watching all the way through.

I watched the movie through my Amazon Prime membership for free, but I’d imagine it can also be found on Netflicks and other online movie outlets. Check it out.

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Dangerous Beauty

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Dangerous Beauty is a 1998 film based on the book The Honest Courtesan by Margaret Rosenthal. It’s a biographical piece about the life of Veronica Franco (played by Catherine McCormack, who turns in an exquisite performance), who was a courtesan and poet in 16th century Venice. The movie had a very limited release at first, and even when it went into a broader release, it didn’t get a lot of attention or make much money.

It’s a film that provides plenty for a feminist movie lover to both love and hate. On the one hand, it depicts a rather Disneyesque, fairytale view of the institution of prostitution, rather like a more modern, and much better known movie, Pretty Woman. The male clients are charming and good looking, and the courtesans are not only appreciated for their beauty and skills in bed, but also for their talent, intelligence, and wit.

On the other hand, the movie clearly demonstrates the role of women as chattel, sold off in marriage contracts to old, rich men, if they’re lucky. Working at hard labor if they’re not. Late in the movie, in a short, but moving speech, Veronica’s friend Beatrice (Moira Kelley) pleads with Veronica to teach her daughter to be a courtesan when she’s old enough.

Beatrice has already seen her very young daughter being taught that a woman should have no voice. At the end she says, of the life her daughter will be expected to lead, “And when she dies, she’ll wonder why she obeyed all the rules of God and Country, for no biblical Hell could ever be worse than a state of perpetual inconsequence.”

But what I love so much very about Dangerous Beauty, and why it’s worth watching at least once, is how utterly beautiful it is. It’s one of the most visually sumptuous movies I’ve seen. The lighting is magical, the people are pretty, the costumes are fabulous, the sets are breathtaking. And then the score by George Fenton perfectly supports and reflects the visual splendor.

On the topic of pretty people, Jacqueline Bisset as Paola Franco, Veronica’s mother, lights up the screen. If anything, at the age of 54, she is more stunningly beautiful than ever. My biggest disappointment with the film is that she doesn’t have a larger role, because I could watch her, and listen to her talk, all day.

As with most really good films, the rest of the cast help elevate Dangerous Beauty to the best it can be. Rufus Sewell is handsome and believable as Marco, the man Veronica loves. Naomi Watts has a very small part as Marco’s wife, but gives a wonderful, understated performance. Oliver Platt is at turns amusing, then villainous, as Marco’s resentful, jealous cousin. And Fred Ward is dashing and charming as the uncle.

If anything mars the perfection of the movie, it could be said it’s the final long scene, in which Veronica faces the Inquisition. It’s over the top, and highly improbable in terms of historical accuracy. Yet still, it’s uplifting and moving anyway.

The final biographical notes at the end of the movie make it sound like the rest of Veronica’s life was a storybook affair, which fits the tone of the movie and provides a feel-good experience for movie-goers. But in fact, Veronica died, impoverished, at only 45 years of age.

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This is a bit different than the usual movie I post about. Hung is a short, and probably the only people who ever heard of it are ones who caught it at a queer film festival.

Hung is a well-executed indie short film. When it came up in my search results for free streaming lesbian movies through Amazon Prime I was dubious, but couldn’t resist giving it a try, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

The premise is that a lesbian obtains a magic potion that will give her a penis for one day. She got enough potion for five people, so that her four lesbian friends could join her on the little adventure. I don’t really want to say anything more, since it would give too much away.

Everyone who spends any amount of time viewing indie lesbian movies knows what it’s like to struggle through badly acted crap with crummy scripts and poor production values. Happily, that’s not the case here. Well, the low budget production part is there (most notably in terms of sound). But the acting is decent, the script is unexpectedly subtle and creative, the humor is spot on, and the editing is top-notch.

My only real complaint is that it’s too short. The actual movie time is only about 10-11 minutes, which means there’s not enough time to explore the experience as much as I’d have liked. It would be easy to go overboard and take the gag too far with a longer movie, but this was kind of like only being allowed to eat one appetizer when you’re hungry. Though, I suppose it could be argued that’s what makes it work so well.

Hung is definitely worth spending the few minutes it takes to watch*. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get several chuckles out of it.

* If you have Amazon Prime and can watch it for free, there’s no reason not to. If you aren’t a member, the purchase price for the digital download is $2.99. That’s kinda steep considering how short it is, but would be worth it if you end up watching it a few times. I’m thinking of buying it in order to support the filmmakers.

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The Goodbye Girl is more obscured by time than lack of respect or ticket sales, as it was quite popular back in the day. It has a 7.3 rating at IMDB and 87% at Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was released in 1977 and was nominated for five Oscars, with Richard Dreyfuss winning Best Actor.* But if you’re under the age of forty you’re probably only familiar with it if you caught it on TV or your mom owns a copy.

Marsha Mason plays the part of a single mother who isn’t too good at picking men and is unceremoniously dumped at the beginning of the movie via a note left on the mantel of her New York apartment. Richard Dreyfuss plays an actor, fresh from out of town for his big stage debut, with a sublet lease in his pocket for Mason’s apartment. Her boyfriend secretly made the deal, leaving Mason and her daughter, played by Quinn Cummings, high and dry. They decide to share the apartment, and hilarity and romance ensue.

Neil Simon wrote the memorable script. I’m not one of those people who can rattle off lines from movies, but it only took seeing the film once for a lot of the dialogue to sink permanently into the depths of my brain. I just watched the movie again, for what was only the third or fourth time stretched over thirty-five years. Yet, over half of the dialogue was familiar, as if the last time I’d seen it was last week, rather than a couple decades ago.

It’s not difficult to level criticisms at The Goodbye Girl. It’s sentimental and shallow. The characters have no depth to speak of, they’re all just really good with words, tossing off one-liners and sarcastic asides with ease. But if I were asked to sum the movie up with one word I would choose: charming. And don’t forget: funny. The dialogue is witty and intelligent.

The casting is what really elevates The Goodbye Girl into enjoyable entertainment with lasting value. Dreyfuss and Mason have great screen chemistry, and both of them are so darn cute. Cummings is fantastic as the precocious ten-year-old daughter and holds her own with the two experienced actors, easily keeping up with the fast-paced dialogue.

Given the age of the movie, I’m surprised that it holds up as well as it does. It doesn’t feel nearly as dated as many movies from the 70s do. So if you’re looking for a lesser known romantic comedy for your next movie night, or for the next time you need some cheering up, consider giving The Goodbye Girl a try.

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* Dreyfuss was thirty when he won the Oscar. He was the youngest actor to win the award until Adrien Brody won for The Pianist in 2002 at 29 years of age.

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I remember seeing a poster at the theater in 2005 for a movie coming out soon and I rolled my eyes. The poster was a picture of four young women dressed in short plaid skirts, and my immediate impression was that it must be a stupid teen exploitation movie. I didn’t give it another thought.

But then a funny thing happened. Quite some time after that I started seeing the movie mentioned in a lesbian context, and in a positive way! Obviously I had missed something. And who can blame me? Slutty school-girl outfits don’t scream “lesbian movie”, the two put together causes cognitive dissonance. Eventually I ran across a DVD copy in the discount bin at a video store, so bought it to finally see for myself what the deal was.

Yeah, I’d been missing something. I love D.E.B.S. At the IMDB it only has a 5 star (out of 10) rating and at Rotten Tomatoes it has a pitiful rating of only 39%. I don’t care, I love it anyway. It’s spoofy and over the top, but it’s also sweet and tons of fun.

The casting is great. Sara Foster and Jordana Brewster play the lead roles and they have amazing, natural chemistry. It doesn’t hurt that Jordana Brewster is droolworthy. (I seriously feel like a dirty old lady while watching her.) Jill Ritchie plays Janet and her expressions throughout the movie are pure gold.

Jessica Cauffiel as the assassin Ninotchka has hardly any screen time, but she makes the most of it. I crack up every time she does her arm movement when saying she really wants to be a dancer while on a blind date with Brewster’s character. Jimmi Simpson as Scud is a treat to watch. Meagan Good nails the part of Max, and the cherry on top is Holland Taylor doing a hilarious job as Ms. Petrie.

It appears that one of the major complaints from critics is that the plot is too thin to hold up a full length movie. And I have to say that on this point they aren’t wrong. Another frequent complaint is about the acting and dialogue, and here I have to disagree, at least in part. Some of the acting is off at times. And some of the dialogue is bad, though in this case I think maybe intentionally so. But for me, the great lines, the romance, and the funny moments shine through and provide more than enough entertainment to make up for the movie’s weaknesses.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched D.E.B.S. now. It’s one of those movies I can pop in when I just want to kill an hour and a half, have a few laughs, and feel good. It will never be considered great, but sometimes that’s all I need from a movie, and D.E.B.S. delivers on that score.

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I just recently joined the 21st Century by finally getting broadband internet. So I’ve been spending a lot of time playing around on YouTube now that I can watch streaming video. Just tonight I stumbled over video of footage taken in 1973 when The Exorcist had its first run in theaters. A lot of it showed the sold out showings and lines stretching around the block. But there was also footage of people crying and fainting.

One of the comments on the video was that the 1970s hair-dos are scarier than the movie, which made me laugh. But of course a lot of other comments were along the lines of “I’ve seen it and it’s not scary.”

This is something I’ve heard a lot over the years. Usually this change in how the movie is perceived by younger audiences is attributed to things like modern movie audiences being desensitized by the many gore-filled movies made since then, and also how movies in the 1970s pushed boundaries and broke taboos (in ways that modern movies don’t), so audiences back then were often unprepared.

Those things are both true, and I do believe they contribute to the more blasé attitude exhibited by younger people now. But too many people leave out what I think is the single most important factor. The manner in which the movie is viewed.

My personal history with The Exorcist comes in three main parts, each one experiencing it in a different way.

The first was in 1973, experiencing it as a cultural phenomenon. I was only in sixth grade when the movie was released, so I didn’t see it then. But do I have distinct memories of the hype and hysteria. I was fascinated that a movie could make people freak out, vomit, or faint.  I avidly read newspaper articles and watched coverage on TV about what was going on. At the Fox Theater in Spokane (where I was living at the time) they even handed out barf bags.

Fast forward to 1979, my senior year in high school. The Edmonds Theater was running a midnight horror film series on Saturday nights, and my best friend and I went to some of them. I hadn’t been interested in horror films prior to that and The Exorcist was only my second. (The other memorable movie I saw in that series was The Haunting.)

The Exorcist scared me shitless. At one point I actually felt nauseated, and I couldn’t stand that growling voice anymore. So I plugged my ears and closed my eyes to get some respite from the onslaught to my senses. I mentally took back every scoff and disdainful laugh I’d uttered about barf bags.

Then there was the aftermath. The fear of turning out my light at night because I thought I might see eyes glowing in the dark. Lying in bed, stiff with tension, afraid my bed would start shaking. Coming home from school to an empty house and having to slide around with my back against the walls so nothing could creep up on me.

No other movie has ever affected me like that.

About three years later I saw The Exorcist for the second time, on TV. It wasn’t very scary. The movie was the same, so what was the difference?

It was how I was watching it. I was in a dorm lounge with several other people who were occasionally talking. The TV was high up on the wall and had a normal size screen (meaning not that big). The lights were on. There were commercial breaks.

All of these things combined to dilute, and sometimes even eliminate, the tension. It was absolutely nothing like viewing the movie with no break from start to finish, in a dark theater, on a huge screen, with a big sound system. In a theater you sit there in your own little bubble as the movie relentlessly hammers at you visually, aurally, and psychologically.

When people pooh-pooh something as not scary, or no big deal, they need to take context into account. Watching a DVD in your living room with a friend, or streaming video on your computer, simply cannot duplicate the theater experience.

I watch movies that way all the time and get a lot out of it. But there are some movies that lose a great deal in the shift from one type of viewing to another. Another two movies I can think of off the top of my head in this category are Alien and Jaws. Interestingly enough, also both movies from the 1970s.

I’ve seen The Exorcist twice more in more recent years. Once on DVD, and once when it was re-released into theaters in 2000 as an extended version. By then I was mostly inured to the stark horror. Once you have seen a movie there is no way to unsee it and experience it again as if it were the first time.

But it does allow one to look at the film in other ways, and in the case of The Exorcist, appreciate that it’s an excellent movie even when stripped of its ability to absolutely terrify. Well…it ceases to terrify as long as you don’t let your mind dwell on it too much after the final credits roll… As Hitchcock understood, the viewer’s imagination is where the truly scary stuff takes place.

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Update 8/31/12:

I just ran across this excellent post by Ron Scalzo about his experiences with The Exorcist as a horror film, and his thoughts about it as a movie in general. I recommend reading the whole thing, but am going to include a brief excerpt here:

…it’s probably my favorite horror movie of all-time simply because once the devil shows up, the movie never lets up until he’s gone.  And before he shows up, and in the rare moments of solace in between the pea soup, an unorthodox use of a crucifix, and levitating tricks from possessed 8 year old girls, it’s still creepy and foreboding.

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Jurassic Park is one of those movies where it surprises me that I enjoy watching it again on DVD almost as much as the first time I saw it on the big screen. Spielberg really worked his unquestionable magic to create a movie that as a whole was much greater than its individual parts. He took some rather large risks, and they paid off more than anyone rightfully could have expected.

For those not already aware, Jurassic Park is the movie that pushed CGI from being a way to create unusual creatures and effects (The Abyss and Terminator 2) into a means to portray realistic animals and human bodies on film. The advances made in CGI in a very short time can be seen by comparing images in Alien 3 (such as debris flying through the air  looking pretty fake) to what was accomplished in Jurassic Park, where audiences felt like they were watching real dinosaurs roam a tropical island.

These days I have mixed feelings about the prevalence of CGI in movies. It fills a needed role and, when used judiciously, adds tremendously to what can be accomplished on film. But most people can still spot what is real and what is CGI, and its overuse in many movies distorts and cheapens the potential movie experience. It’s often used as a cost-cutting measure, because doing things practically often takes more time, effort, and money. But there are still a great many things in movies that are better done real (even if in some cases real means something like animatronics), rather than depending on computer imaging. Jurassic Park isn’t an example of that, however, it shows how CGI advances filmmaking.

There are four main things that for me make Jurassic Park a re-watchable movie experience. The first is great casting. From the misguided, grandfatherly mad scientist creating modern day dinosaurs (monsters) to the two children, all of them are believable characters because of the actors chosen to portray them. Laura Dern is especially wonderful to watch in the movie, from her screaming at being chased by a T. Rex to little subtle things she did throughout.

The second is that Spielberg managed to convey the joy and wonder of seeing mammoth, extinct creatures walk the earth again. When the two scientists (Sam Neill and Dern) see their first dinosaur I feel like I am right there with them, my jaw hanging open in astonishment. When Dr. Grant (Neill) is thrilled at being able to touch and lean against a Triceratops I feel like I am at his side, experiencing a childlike joy.

The third is that the movie is excellently paced. There’s really only one scene that I feel truly fails, and that’s the one with Grant and the grandchildren waking up after sleeping in a tree and interacting with a large herbivore. The rest of it is like a well designed roller coaster. You ride up that first big hill and then – WHOOSH! – you’re screaming down. You get a bit of a breather around a corner and then – WHAM! – you’re speeding down another hill. Right until the very end.

The fourth is a very specific thing, and that’s the scene with the two cars stopped on the track in front of the Tyrannosaurus Rex pen. In my opinion, it’s one of the most tense, suspenseful, exciting, and scary scenes put on film. You’d think that after seeing it five or six times that it would lose impact, but I just watched the movie again and I still get all tensed up, and mutter to the characters to shut off the light or to stay still! There’s something about seeing that giant, monstrous face, with the gigantic teeth, peering in the window with that one huge eye that still gives me chills.

When you add in the exceptional score by the venerable John Williams, and little touches of subtle humor (“objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear), Jurassic Park is everything a magical, blockbuster, thrill-ride movie is meant to be.

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Galaxy Quest is one of the most brilliant movies ever made. Those are strong words, but I stand by them. When I rate movies I base it on how well they accomplish what they set out to do and by how they compare to other movies of their type. It’s unfair, and inappropriate, to compare Fiddler on the Roof to Alien. In the case of Galaxy Quest it helps that it’s somewhat in a category all its own. The brilliance of Galaxy Quest is that it’s a multi-level movie, and it kicks butt on all those levels. Pulling that off is extremely difficult to do.

I was resistant to seeing Galaxy Quest at first. My sister mentioned it to me as a movie “you gotta see”. But my sister enjoys much more broad comedy than I generally do and from her description I thought the movie fell into that category. There’s a line past which I think of a certain type of comedy as being “stupid”. I’m not saying the people who enjoy that type of comedy are stupid, my sister certainly isn’t. It’s just that I tend to end up rolling my eyes rather than laughing. But she kept bugging me to see it so I finally caved and gave it a try. Imagine my surprise when I thought it was every bit as hilarious as she said it was.

Galaxy Quest isn’t only funny. Part of the brilliance of the movie is that it’s not just a parody, and it’s not just a comedy. On one level it’s a straight forward classic fantasy story about regular people who, when pushed, are able to achieve great things. There are dramatic elements woven into the comedy that are real and touching. To be able to pull that off in a plot that on its surface is completely ridiculous requires a very deft touch.

The relationship of Galaxy Quest to Star Trek is obvious and deliberate. That’s the parody. But even that parody works on a couple levels because it’s not just sending up the TV show of Star Trek. It’s also sending up the experiences of the Star Trek actors (and all actors who are forever linked with a popular show or role) along with the fans of the show and the whole convention culture. Yet the parody twists in on itself and (intentionally) ends up being a homage to both the TV show and the fans.

As was stated in one of the featurettes included on the DVD, Galaxy Quest is a huge in-joke. Anyone who has been a fan of science fiction, especially of Star Trek, is in on the joke as they watch the movie. Several of the funniest lines, and the entire character of Guy, have the in-joke as their source. Many of those lines also function on more than one level by being real to the characters, commenting on TV tropes, and sometimes even quasi breaking the fourth wall of the movie itself.

The other brilliant thing they did with the movie was the casting. Not just in who they chose to play the various roles, but in why they made those decisions. They were deliberate in choosing actors who were not necessarily known for comedy and also who were not associated with science fiction. In an interview on the DVD Sigourney Weaver said they didn’t want her at first because of her famed portrayal of Ripley in the Alien movies. Yet that ended up working fantastically because the dim blonde with large boobs whose only job it is on the fictional Galaxy Quest TV show is to repeat what the computer states is the antithesis of the resourceful, kick-ass Ripley. And I can’t think of a better choice to play the frustrated Shakespearian thespian stuck forever with his cheesy Sci-Fi character than Alan Rickman. All of the actors were right for their parts and were right on the money in their delivery and portrayals.

In one of the actor interviews on the DVD it was stated that Galaxy Quest is “infinitely watchable”. For me that’s certainly true. There are many movies that I dearly love that I only watch once every few years or so. They would lose much of their fascination and lustre if viewed too frequently. On the other hand, Galaxy Quest is the sort of movie you can pop into the DVD player as often as you like and it still retains everything that made it a great experience the first time you saw it.

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I love this movie. I just watched it again, and I loved it all over again. V. I. Warshawski only has a 4.3 rating on IMDB and a 3.6 on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics panned it when it was released in 1991 and it was only in theatres about three weeks or so. To be succinct, it bombed. (And it’s continuing to bomb on DVD.) But ya know, sometimes it’s not about excellence in moviemaking, it’s about pure enjoyment of delightful movie moments. In V. I. Warshawksi the fantastic Kathleen Turner plays the tough girl PI, the characters swap wise-cracking dialogue, and most of the key roles are excellently cast. Okay, the plot is dumb. I’ll give you that.

The utter failure of the movie was mostly due to two major issues. One is that Warshawski in the movie is not a very accurate representation of Sarah Paretsky’s character in her books, which makes the movie immediately suspect to fans of the books. When that is the case the rest of the movie needs to hit a home run in order to keep those fans in the ballpark, which didn’t happen. The other issue, as already mentioned, is that the plot is dumb. It was very basic, with no twists, no surprises, no suspense, and highly questionable motives and choice of murder target.

I also believe that another issue was that Warshawski is so tough. While many people might not have readily admitted it, this might have been a just as important, but more subconscious, reason than the ones listed above. Remember, this was pre-Xena and pre-Buffy. Kick-ass girls were not something audiences were accustomed to seeing on either the big or little screen. Cagney and Lacey could hold their own as police detectives, but no one ever accused them of being action heroes.

People weren’t quite ready for it. And not only could V. I. kick some serious ass, she was portrayed in the same manner as the tough-as-nails, wise-cracking male PIs famous in noir movies and classic detective novels. This is something that I’m not sure even current audiences are ready to embrace. I remember my dad making snide remarks about the scene in the movie where Vic is being slapped around by two thugs. He didn’t think it was believable for her to be punched in the face and then crack wise about it. Funny how he never made the same comments about male characters in other movies.

So why do I love the movie despite its admitted faults? For one thing, I saw it long before I had read any Paretsky novels, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions about the character. For the movie role as written, Turner is right on the money all the way through. For another thing, the chemistry between Turner, Goethals (Kat), and Sanders (Murray) is exactly what movie chemistry should be. Their timing and delivery when two or all three of them are in scenes together is almost impeccable. I pretty much grin or laugh out loud the entire time they’re on screen. And while the plot is very subpar, I still enjoy watching V. I.’s investigating, in this case going by the rule of detecting, “follow the money”.

The casting of Charles Durning as the old family cop friend, Wayne Knight as the homeroom classmate turned thug, and Stephen Meadows in his brief role as Boom Boom Grafalk was also well done. Even the minor thugs and a cabbie with very expressive eyes in a rear view mirror were excellent picks. Casting can make or break a movie and this one is highly underrated in that department. The only real casting weaknesses were Boom Boom’s two brothers. The fact that they were key to the mystery is definitely a drawback.

The bottom line for me is that V.I. Warshawski is just plain fun to watch. I don’t watch it for the lame plot. The plot is just background noise. This is a movie that is best experienced through the dialogue and character interactions. And it has Kathleen Turner cracking wise with her oh-so-sexy voice while kicking booty and outsmarting the bad guys. Besides, can any movie that contains the line, “Never underestimate a man’s ability to underestimate a woman” be that bad?

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So, everyone has a favorite movie that others just don’t “get”, right? There are whole cults of appreciation that have grown up around some obscure and bad movies. But for the most part it’s an individual thing. I suppose there are some people out there, maybe they don’t like movies very much or have very strict tastes, who don’t have a list of secret, guilty loves.

But I’m not one of them. There are actually quite a few movies that I have loved for some reason or another that would make an erudite movie critic roll their eyes if mentioned in a loving manner. Robin and Marian from 1976 is one of them.

Robin and Marian wasn’t completely panned by critics and I have quite a bit of company in other viewers who have a warm place in their heart for the movie. But it only has about a 60% favorable rating at Rotten Tomatoes and the IMDB. It’s a flawed movie that has moments of humor and beauty that overwhelm the flaws. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve always loved the Robin Hood legend either.

In the movie Sean Connery plays an aging Robin Hood, finally returned to England after twenty years, opposite Audrey Hepburn’s aging Marian. There is something magical about their performances, especially in their scenes together. Robin and Marian’s love for each other is palpable, and exquisitely portrayed in Marian’s final speech of the movie.

The script for the movie is uneven, but has some great lines, especially the humor. One of my favorites is when Marian, who had been living as a nun for the previous twenty years, mentions that her confessions were the envy of the convent.

I think the movie does a great job of providing a fairly realistic portrayal of medieval life. It’s hard, dirty, and has little to do with people parading around in fancy, romantic costumes ala Camelot (which I also love by the way). There is a great duel between Robin and his old nemesis the sheriff of Nottingham, played by Robert Shaw. There’s no amazing fight choreography with flashing blades and intricate footwork (as fun as those are to watch!). It’s a brutal, exhausting fight with heavy swords and armor.

But mostly what I love about the movie is Audrey Hepburn as Marian. I was only fourteen when the movie was released and at that age had not had any thoughts yet that I might be a lesbian. As proof of how oblivious I was, I came away from the movie being madly in love with Hepburn’s portrayal of Marian, but I didn’t realize it. At least, not on a conscious level. Yet I do remember thinking how breathtaking she was, how she seemed to glow with an inner light up there on the big screen as she talked about her past with Robin and her love for him.

I just watched the movie again last week. I saw a DVD copy for only six bucks in the grocery store so of course had to get it. I thought maybe time would have changed how I felt about the movie, since the last time I saw it was probably a couple decades ago. But I was just as enchanted as when I originally saw it with my movie buddy in junior high, and just as in love with Marian. But that shouldn’t be too surprising since Hepburn was glorious in just about every movie she made.

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