Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #209: Characters magically aging up or down

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is characters magically aging up (or down). I have to admit that this one was difficult for me, trying to think of three movies that fit the theme well. In the end, I don't quite think I succeeded, because it's not all magic and some of the characters didn't necessarily change in age at all. But I'm putting these three movies out there:

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). Hurd Hatfield plays the Oscar Wilde character, who keeps a portrait in his attic that does his aging for him, while he gets to live a dissolute life and look none the worse for it. Angela Lansbury plays the East End actress Dorian meets, and George Sanders the man who gives Dorian the suggestion to live a life of pleasure.

Monkey Business (1952). Absent-minded chemist Cary Grant is doing research with chimpanzees, when one of them accidentally knocks one vial into another. The resulting mixture creates a fountain of youth, and when Cary tries it, he starts acting 18 again. His wife (Ginger Rogers) tries it too, and she also acts like a teenager again. Charles Coburn plays Grant's boss, and Marilyn Monroe Coburn's secretary.

Planet of the Apes (1968). Charlton Heston plays the leader of a group of scientists who put themselves in stasis for 18 months, while they hurtle at near-light speed while the rest of the universe ages around them, as per Einstein's theory of relativity. So technically it's science, not magic, although mankind can't get to the sort of speed necessary to make a noticeable difference in time.

I told you I was having trouble coming up with three movies to fit the theme.


joel65913 said...

This was one of the hardest weeks, so few qualifying films! I like the way you dealt with it though.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is an interesting twist on the idea, an imperfect movie but both Angela Lansbury and George Sanders are fantastic in it.

Monkey Business is a hoot. Both Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers are at their comedic best with Charles Coburn and Marilyn Monroe scoring heavily in support.

I've never followed up on all the new Planet of the Apes films but watched all the original series and while the original is dated in many ways it's still entertaining and suspended animation does keep them from aging so it fits.

Tough, tough week with such limited choices. I managed three but my third isn't one I'm particularly fond of it just fit the theme.

Big (1988)-After being denied admittance to a carnival ride 12 year old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) makes a wish he was big on an antique fortune telling machine. He wakes up the next morning to discover his wish has come true and he is now a 30 year old man (Tom Hanks). Panicked he finds his best friend Billy, convinces him of the truth and they go on a hunt for the machine while Josh hides out in New York. By luck he gets a job in a toy company and because of his innocence manages to shoot up the corporate ladder with amazing speed while discovering romance with Susan, another exec at the company. Beguiling comedy with assured direction by Penny Marshall and captivating performances by the cast none more so than Hanks.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)-In 1918 a child is born with all the characteristics of an old man and over the course of his lifetime ages backwards. Complicated fantasy has a gossamer sheen and thoughtful performances by Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and an extraordinary one by Taraji P. Henson as his caregiver Queenie.

17 Again (2009)-Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) had to abandon his dreams 20 years ago when his girlfriend became pregnant and they wed. He is now unemployed, estranged from his wife and children and living with a friend but an encounter with a stranger allows him to suddenly be 17 again (where he’s played by Zac Efron) and a chance to try and fix all that went wrong. It sounds heavy but it’s played for comedy.

Wendell Ottley said...

Such a tough week. Not that many choices available. Like your take on it. I've only seen Planet of the Apes and I do still enjoy it even though the new franchise makes it look ridiculously dated.

Sonia Cerca said...

It was tough for me too. Anyway, I love The Picture of Dorian Gray.

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

I've never been a huge fan of the current generation of CGI movies and the attendant teal-and-orange palette, so I've never been able to warm up to the reboot of Planet of the Apes.

I was actually going to go in something like your direction, Wendell, and pick movies with actors way the wrong age for their characters, which would have given me a chance to use 26-year-old Julie Harris playing a 12-year-old in Member of the Wedding. Add in a Mary Pickford movie, and I don't know what I would have done for the third.

Birgit said...

I love your picks! They are inventive and work for this week which was tough. I love Dorian Gray especially George Sanders. Monkey Business is funny and Ginger Rogers was great in it. Planet of the Apes is an inventive choice and I may even suggest 2001 Space Odyssey...I think it might work

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

I used 2001: A Space Odyssey in the "Origin Stories" TMP several months back, so it was out this time.