The boys head back in time to review one of the “cultural classics” with “Steel Magnolias”. After putting down the tissue box, it was off to the theater for Oliver Stone’s crime drama “Savages”. In trailer-land, they check out the upcoming college acapella-based comedy “Pitch Perfect”. All of this, an update on the Bourne franchise and will the World of Warcraft film get off the ground? It’s the 114th reel of COL Movies – “Looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket”
The Past: Steel Magnolias
Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh; 88% Audience
Director: Herbert Ross
Staring: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, Julia Roberts
- This movie was based on a play written about a sister of Phi Mu Fraternity. Susan Harling was a member of the Kappa Iota chapter and her brother wrote the play on which the movie is based.
- Winona Ryder was originally offered the role of Shelby.
- When Robert Harling last spoke to his sister, he was telling her how hard it was to be a writer in New York and have people consider his work. His sister commented on how she wished she could help him somehow but she didn’t know what she could do. When she died after surgery, Harling wrote the play that this movie is based on in her honor, thereby making him an established and respected writer.
- Daryl Hannah was originally turned down for the role of Annelle as the director thought that she was too attractive to play the part, she asked if she could come in and read for the part anyway. She arrived at the studio the next day dressed as Annelle and was so unrecognisable that security refused to let her in.
- Meg Ryan was initially under contract to play Shelby, the Julia Roberts role, but the producers let her out of it to play Sally in When Harry Met Sally…
- Is shot in the small Louisiana town of Natchitoches. Reportedly, the filmmakers placed such a great strain on the locals, particularly those who volunteered to be extras, that several years later, when the film The Man in the Moon was shot in the same town, extras were difficult to find, as so many townspeople had been burned by the Steel Magnolias crew.
- M’Lynn’s home is actually two different houses. The Cook-Taylor House, owned by the Henry Taylor family and now a Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches, was used for the outside front of the house, and most of the scenes inside the home and in the back yard. It is on Front Street by the river and can be easily located, as it is now known as “The Steel Magnolias Bed and Breakfast.” During filming, the Taylors moved out and rented an apartment.
- There is no parish or town in Louisiana known as Chinquapin. “Chinquapin” is the name for a type of fish and a particular breed of oak tree. The town of Natchitoches in the parish of the same name served as the backdrop for the film. The town was named after the “NAKTOSH” Indians whose names means “chinquapin eaters”. Natchitoches actually does have a large Christmas Light Festival annually. Natchitoches was also the first settlement in the Louisiana Territory.
- After a poor take, director Herbert Ross reprimanded Dolly Parton and asked her if she could act. She replied “No, but it’s your job to make me look like I can!”
- On the DVD’s commentary track, Herbert Ross describes how Georges Delerue was not his first choice as a composer for this film. Another “well known” composer’s music was rejected but he fails to say who.
- There was some initial resistance to casting Sally Field as M’Lynn, because the producers thought no one would believe her as the mother of a 22-year-old until she pointed out that, in real life, she had a 22-year-old son.
- Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah studied hair stylists so their scenes where they are doing hair would be real and authentic.
- When Bette Davis saw the off-Broadway play, she thought it would be a great film for her, envisioning herself as Ouiser, Katharine Hepburn as Clairee, and Elizabeth Taylor as Truvy. However, when she contacted the rights holders for the movie adaptation, she found out that they intended to cast much younger actresses.
- Opened on Broadway on Monday, April 4th, 2005 at the Lyceum Theater and ran for 136 performances.
- Ouiser mentions that she and her friends used to dress up like nuns and go barhopping when they were young. Shirley MacLaine played a woman who dressed up as a whiskey-drinking nun in Two Mules for Sister Sara.
- The title has been said to suggest that the main characters are delicate as magnolias but tough as steel, but this is not explained in the movie. The only references to the two words are Ouiser’s near accusation of Drum of stealing Magnolias from her tree, and then a later comment by M’Lynn that men are supposed to be made out of steel.
- Between the six female principals are twelve Academy Award nominations and five wins. Only Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton have not won, although Parton was nominated for Best Song from “Nine to Five” and “Transamerica.”
- Writer Robert Harling has said that the film follows the last three years of his sister’s life.
- In the original source play, there are no on-stage roles for men. Although the characters all spend a great deal of time talking about the men in their lives, no male character ever actually appears during the play.
- Herbert Ross wanted an authentic feel to the hospital scenes, so he hired the doctors and nurses who tended to the writer’s sister (on whom the movie and play are based) during her last days in hospital to play themselves during Julia Roberts’ scenes on life support.
- Robert Harling, the man who wrote the play ‘Steel Magnolias’ in honor of his sister, plays the pastor who performs Shelby’s wedding and then again her funeral.
- Robert Harling’s mother was on set during the filming of the scenes while Shelby was in the hospital. During the scene when Shelby is taken off life support she was asked if she wanted to leave. She declined, saying that once the scene was over she wanted to see Shelby – Julia Roberts – get up and walk away.
- That was the most severe case of Diabetes I have EVER SEEN.
- The ensemble
- Which Steel Magnolia are you?
- Positives: ensemble performance was excellent; superficial yet endearing; it may have flaws, but I laugh and cry every time I see it (so sue me)
- Negatives: cliche’ plot; main cast sounded like they were reading bumper sticker one liners the entire movie
What We Learned:
- There is no such thing as natural beauty
- If you can achieve puberty you can have a past
- An ounce of pretension worth a pound of manure
- Personal Tragedy should not interfere with your ability to do good hair.
- Iced tea is the house wine of the south
- 30 Minutes of wonderful is better than a lifetime of nothing special
- The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorise
- All gay men have track lighting and are named Rick, Mark or STEVE.
Rick: This is one of those fun Chick flicky movie but for some reason I wouldn’t really call it a chick flick. Definitely a gay card stampable film. It’s a nice movie, see it at least once for your gay card and maybe again every couple of years or so.
Mark: Cute, sad, loved Sally Fields performance… It did seem a little extreme with the tone, but overall a decent watch.
Steve: I can never pass up this movie if it’s on tv. Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but I feel like it’s a big slice of culture that really exists and shows how the veil of perfection is maintained by prototypical Southern women – and how the truth is that they run the world while allowing their husband to think he does! You can’t help but laugh at the plethora one one liners and amazing performances. Can’t miss – can watch it with your girlfriends, your “gurl-friends”, your mom, or your grandmother.
The Present: Savages
Rotten Tomatoes: 54% Rotten; 61% Audience
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, Benecio Del Toro, John Travolta
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Garrett Hedlund and James Franco were considered to play Ben.
- Jennifer Lawrence was originally cast as O, but pulled out in order to star in The Hunger Games. Before Blake Lively was cast, Olivia Wilde, Abbie Cornish, Amber Heard and Teresa Palmer were considered, and Lindsay Lohan expressed interest.
- Oliver Stone began working on the screenplay adaptation before the book was published. So confidant he was of this story that he himself contributed to investing in the project.
- Although this is the sixth time that Fernando Lara and Oliver Stone have worked together, it will be Lara’s first credited appearance in one of Stone’s films.
- Not only did Demián Bichir and Benicio Del Toro co-star in Steven Soderbergh’s movies on Che Guevara, but Oliver Stone had previously filmed several interviews with Fidel Castro, whom Bichir played in the Che Guevara films. Gonzalo Menendez also played Castro in The Lost City
- Taylor Kitsch received training from real Navy SEALs as a part of his preparation for the film.
- Third time that Gary Stretch has acted under director Oliver Stone.
- Originally scheduled for a Fall release, the opening date was immediately moved to July following the first screening for the studio.
- Oliver Stone cast Taylor Kitsch after watching his performance in footage from Battleship, which was still in post-production at the time.
- Oliver Stone instructed Blake Lively to take firearm training for her role. Despite not being experienced at the gun range, she hit center mass in her first three shots.
- Oliver Stone wrote a new role for Trevor Donovan after the part he had originally auditioned for was cut out.
- Taylor Kitsch performed his own stunts.
- For legal reasons, all the marijuana plants in the film are artificial. The production designers visited legal medical marijuana growers to get the details right.
- This is Oliver Stone’s first film in nearly 17 years to be photographed with Panavision anamorphic lenses. After Nixon in 1995, his 2.35:1 films were cropped to that ratio via shooting in Super 35. He was convinced to return to anamorphic by cinematographer Daniel Mindel, who has shot all of his features except Domino in the format. Mindel told Stone during their first meeting that if the plan was to shoot in Super 35 or digitally, then he wasn’t the right man for the job.
- Uma Thurman was cast as Paqu, O’s mother but her scenes were cut from the movie.
- Jake McLaughlin who plays Doc, is a real life Iraq war veteran.
- Shipped to theaters under the code name “Paqu”.
- The funny jingle and ringtone that La Reina uses is the theme song of one of the most famous and popular shows in the history of Mexican TV: El chavo del ocho.
- Individual Performances
- Positives: The movie may be aggravating and falters, but Stone made a solid film; Salma Hayek; the mood flips on a dime dependent on the situations in the film – not many people other than Stone could pull that off; Shows a ruthless energy; Stone showed his fearless side making this film
- Negatives: The main characters are not good people and not worth caring about; botched ending; exceptionally flashy mayhem; juvenile fantasy; muddled storyline; utterly boring; predictable and strained
What We Learned:
- Drugs are a rational response to insanity
Jeff: You know, I thought this movie was going to have a lot more fighty fighty and blood and guts. It didn’t give me what I was expecting and while most of the acting was good, some was over the top and cheesy. There was something able Selma Hayek’s performance which felt phoned in. Travolta did a great job I though. Overall, it was decent, okay to see in the theaters but also okay to wait until rental.
Ray: Brutal, brutal movie. An interesting take on the onscreen love affair between 3 people. If you like a good crime drama with an interesting symmetry between the major players this is definitely worth a watch.
Steve: Salma Hayek was so awesome in this film and a total highlight. Otherwise, the first 30 minutes was totally uncomfortable for me and I literally didn’t want to stay for the rest. But once it got into the stuff between them and La Rena, it started to get interesting. Overall though, just not my kind of movie.
The Future: Pitch Perfect
Release: October 5, 2012
Director: Jason Moore
Starring: Brittany Snow, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson
Beca, a freshman at Barton University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.
- The obvious Glee comparison
- The world of competitive college acapella
- Could be too niche to be successful
- On The Rocks
Jeff: I’m actually excited to see this movie. Mainly for the songs. The rest of the movie is going to be complete and utter crap but the songs are going to be what makes this movie worth it. I almost hope there is next to no story and the scenes between the songs are just 1-2 minutes on only there to transition between songs.
Ray: Glee meets Step up + Bridesmaids? Trailer looks decent, but this would be a rental for me.. and no not because Id be ashamed to see it in the theater.. I own that I’m a choir geek.
Steve: As a former acapella group guy, I’m interested if for no other reason to see what they represent about the wacky world of college acapella. Otherwise, it’s all about supporting my fellow alum Brittany Snow (Go Gaither!) and to see what Rebel Wilson does!