Gena Rowlands

Over Under - Large

Today is Valentine’s Day, and a big part of what that entails is time spent thinking about the one you adore. And, for me, it means thinking about romantic movies. So what has happened is I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my current mancrush Ryan Gosling, what films he’s done that explore the concepts of love and romance, and how I feel about each of them. And surprise, surprise, a column idea sprung forth. Today I’ll be looking at The Notebook, a film that a lot of people respond to very strongly, a film that most every girl you know loves, and a film that’s an instant panty dropper when thrown into casual conversations with hormonal coeds. Also, I’ll be looking at Lars and the Real Girl, a movie that’s well regarded among the people that have seen it, but that was too strange for many moviegoers to take a chance on, or for any mainstream award shows to champion. And also, it’s a movie that can mean instant death if you try to explain it to a girl in a bar.

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Come out here, Mabel. This column took some time off (thus calling into question its title), but it comes back strong with an unusual advertisement for an unusual John Cassavetes movie. Peter Falk stars here as the husband of a woman with mental problems (played stunningly by Gena Rowlands). At first, the story was going to be a play, but it was Rowlands who convinced Cassavetes to write it as a screenplay because she claimed the role was too emotionally draining to force an actress to do night after night. It’s a pure passion project which found Cassavetes mortgaging his home to finance and found him lugging it from theater to theater himself after completion because he didn’t have a distributor. Thankfully, An up-and-comer named Martin Scorsese took a liking to his work and threatened to pull Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore from a New York City film festival unless they accepted A Woman Under the Influence. A close call for a film which garnered two Oscar nominations including Best Director and Best Lead Actress.

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