Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #202: Friendship

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week, the theme is movies about friendship. I suppose there are a lot of buddy comedies out there, so coming up with three movies shouldn't be so difficult. So without further ado, here are my three selections for this week:

Two Arabian Knights (1927). Louis Wolheim and William Boyd play a pair of World War I soldiers who get captured by the Germans, escape from a POW camp, and make their way to Arabia, where they get in a series of adventures, albeit without T.E. Lawrence. They meet a beautiful princess (Mary Astor) and fall in love with her, although she's already betrothed to an Arab nobleman, causing further dander for them.

Of Mice and Men (1939). George (Burgess Meredith) and Lenny (Lon Chaney Jr.) are itinerant farmhands going from place to place in California trying to save up the money to buy a place of their own. George always helps Lenny out of jams because Lenny is mentally slow. Eventually they work for a sadistic boss which results in Lenny getting into trouble George may not be able to help him out of. Based on the novel by John Steinbeck.

Less than Zero (1987). Andrew McCarthy is a kid from the LA suburbs who goes east to college, and returns home for the holidays to find out that friend Robert Downey Jr. has gotten himself addicted to cocaine, this being Robert Downey Jr. and the 1980s. McCarthy and hot Jami Gertz try to help Downey out of his predicament. This one is hilariously awful, but a guilty pleasure for me.


Birgit said...

Ooohhhh I would love to see Two Arabian Knights and marked it down. Of Mice and Men is an excellent film adaptation of the book which is also great. I haven’t seen your last pick but, considering how bad Robert Downey Jr. was I to drugs, this flick might not be too far off.

Brittani Burnham said...

I've always wanted to see Less Than Zero but I've never gotten around to it. I need to change that.

joel65913 said...

Of Mice and Men is such a perfect fit for the theme and while I thought the Gary Sinise version was extremely good this one is the best I've seen of the book. Lon Chaney, Jr. was never better than he is in this movie, really award level quality.

I watched Two Arabian Knights for Mary Astor but it turned out to be a decent film besides her usual solid presence.

Yikes Less Than Zero!! It's a bad movie made worse by the inept performances of Andrew McCarthy and the hopeless Jami Gertz. RDJ and James Spader are the film's saving graces but they are dressing up a very sorry affair.

I went with all female buddy flicks this time out.

The Women (1939)-Wealthy happily married Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) spends her days in the company of a circle of equally well-heeled women friends whose main distraction is gossiping about each other. The worst offender is Mary’s cousin Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell) a smiling Judas with a vicious streak. When Sylvia finds out at the beauty parlor that Mary’s husband is stepping out on her with a cheap piece of baggage named Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford) she makes sure Mary finds out protesting all the time she’s doing it for her own good. It’s off to Reno and back where new complications await Mary and her buddies both old and new. Witty comedy has an entirely female cast (down to the animals) and great dialog. Musicalized (pleasantly if unmemorably) in the 50’s as The Opposite Sex with Joan Collins stepping in for Crawford and shredded in 2008 with an abysmal redo.

Old Acquaintance (1943)-Serious minded Kit Marlowe (Bette Davis) and flighty Millie Drake (Miriam Hopkins) have been best friends since college. Several years on Kit is now an acclaimed, respected but not terribly profitable authoress while Millie has married and is expecting a child. During a visit Millie confides to Kit that she’s written a book as well, a romance novel, which Kit passes along to her publisher and which becomes an enormous hit followed year after year by one frothy concoction after another making Millie fantastically rich and successful. However Millie remains envious of Kit as her marriage fails and her daughter turns to Kit as a mother figure and their friendship is strained but never breaks. High class soap opera was notorious at the time for the behind the scenes feud between Davis and talented but legendarily difficult Hopkins-a shameless upstager. At one point Davis had to shake Hopkins hard in a scene and when she finished the crew broke into applause!

Beaches (1988)-On the Atlantic City beach in the 50’s child performer CC Bloom (Mayim Bialik) meets lost rich kid Hillary Whitney (Marcie Leeds) and they strike up what turns out to be a deep lifelong friendship as they grow up to be Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. Except for a brief break their kinship endures just about every obstacle under the sun leading to a teary conclusion. Though there is solid work from Lainie Kazan as Midler’s overbearing mother and John Heard as a director both women fall for this is Midler and Hershey’s show and their powerful chemistry carries the movie.

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

Two Arabian Knights is good, but be aware that it was considered lost for decades, and when they found a surviving print, it had obvious degradation in some scenes.

And as I said, Less than Zero is a guilty pleasure. Sure it's terrible, but it's a fun terrible. And all that 80s neon!