Jack Lemmon

Some Like It Hot

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they think subversively about Billy Wilder‘s men-in-dresses comedy Some Like It Hot since everything seems to have a “secret gay agenda” these days. And because you can’t bend genders without making romance a little interesting. In the #43 (tied) movie on the list, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon play musicians who foolishly witness the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Trying to hide out, they get into drag to join an all-female band traveling to sunny Miami where they both court love with Marilyn Monroe and Joe Brown. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

Billy Wilder’s career is a lengthy one, full of highly acclaimed features. But out of all the great films that he made over the course of forty some years, Some Like It Hot may be the most famous. And when you talk about what his masterpiece was creatively, it’s often mentioned right up there with movies like Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment. But I guess that’s no surprise, it’s got Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis acting like ladies and Marilyn Monroe slinking around in cocktail dresses. That’s memorable stuff. Ted Kotcheff’s career was a lengthy but unspectacular one. He mostly did TV work and is probably best known for being the guy who directed the original Rambo film First Blood. But what I best remember him for is a movie about two guys and a dead dude called Weekend at Bernie’s. I must have watched it about a million times on HBO when I was growing up. These days, when you mention it, people talk about it like it’s a joke; but I guess that’s because Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy didn’t quite become Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, and Terry Kiser is no Marilyn Monroe.

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The movie that sparked an incredibly successful television show, this adaptation of the Neil Simon play (adapted by Neil Simon) was only the second film from Gene Saks – a director with a remarkably low output in his career. He worked almost exclusively with plays, and even though he didn’t direct many movies, he churned out this classic alongside Mame, Cactus Flower and Brighton Beach Memoirs. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are in top form here in a surprisingly touching comedy that has sitcom sensibilities. This is the second movie they made together (out of ten), the first being The Fortune Cookie. As it happens, Robert Evans wanted their director there, the brilliant Billy Wilder, to write and direct here as well. As usual, money got in the way, but the movie turned out more than fine. It makes a great double feature with Grumpy Old Men, and who could forget that theme music?

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What happened to Joe Clay? Blake Edwards might not be the first name that springs to mind when talking about the story of an alcoholic, status-obsessed ass who tries to get the love of his life just as addicted to the sauce, but he may have been the only director to really capture the humor and humanism of the movie. Jack Lemmon threw himself into this role (and into his straightjacket), delivering a monumental performance. In fact, he was so dedicated to this film and to the way it needed to be presented that he left the country after wrapping so that they couldn’t order reshoots.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. If there’s one thing that movies have taught us, it’s that when you witness a mob killing you have to dress like a woman and join an all-girl jazz band that’s touring the sunnier areas of the country. Also, you just might find love with Marilyn Monroe. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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For 36 days straight, we’ll be exploring the famous 36 Dramatic Situations by presenting a film that exemplifies each one. From family killing family to prisoners in need of asylum, we brush off the 19th century list in order to remember that it’s still incredibly relevant today.

Whether you’re seeking a degree in Literature, love movies, or just love seeing things explode, our feature should have something for everyone. If it doesn’t, please don’t hide a dead fish in our backseat.

Part 11 of the 36-part series takes a look at “Rivalry of Kinsmen” with Grumpy Old Men.

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oam-somelikeithot

Joe and Jerry are two musicians who see a mob murder and decide to go into hiding in an all-female band. The gorgeous Sugar Kane Kowalcyk is part of the troupe, which might just be two good reasons to stay in hiding.

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oam-theapartment

Much like the great prognosticator of trends that he always was, Billy Wilder drew from the past and anticipated the future by creating a hilarious movie that also happens to deal realistically with infidelity, occupational depression, and suicide.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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