Sunday, December 23, 2018

Where are James Stewart and Carole Lombard when you need them?

A movie that's been in the rotation on FXM recently is the 1971 film Made For Each Other. It's on again this morning at 11:40 AM, and tomorrow at 6:00 AM.

The movie starts off in flashback as the two main characters are conceived, followed by their naming by their very dysfunctional parents. Giggy (a nickname for Guido; Mom absolutely does not want to name the kid Guido although it's an honorable old name in Dad's side of the family) is an Italian Catholic with Paul Sorvino and Olympia Dukakis for parents; Pandora is Jewish with overbearing mom Helen Verbit and skirt-chasing absent father Louis Zorich (who was married to Olympia Dukakis for 55 years until his death at the beginning of this year although their characters here aren't related to each other).

Fast forward thirty-some years to the present day, and thanks to the bickering from Giggy's and Pandora's parents, the two of them have grown up to become adults who are barely capable of functioning in the real world. So one Christmas Eve they go to an emergency group therapy session where the patients say why they're here. Everybody else gives one-sentence synopses, but Giggy and Pandora both go into quite a bit more detail, as we see in flashback.

For whatever reason, Giggy and Pandora click with each other, and they start up a relationship of sorts that you'd think is not only doomed, but a very bad idea. (In real life, Bologna and Taylor were married for 52 years until his death in 2017.) Pandora has always wanted to make it in the world of entertainment, but she's at best a sub-Ruby Keeler in that she can't sing, can't dance, and can't act. And when Giggy goes to her nightclub show and makes a critical comment, there's going to be hell to pay.

Still, they continue their relationship, going to Giggy's parents for a New Year's dinner. Giggy's mom realized Pandora is Jewish, and boy does that set her off for some reason, having a hysterically unfunny screaming fit. Still, our two crazy lovers may persevere through all this....

As I was watching Made for Each Other, I found myself thinking of two other movies: Fatso, which has been running on FXM recently, and Little Murders, which is set around the same time as Made for Each Other, both having been released in 1971. I had problems with all three, but Made for Each Other is by far the worst. All of them have loud, obnoxious, unfunny characters, but in the case of Little Murders and even more so Fatso, it's relatively easy to understand the point the movie is trying to make even if the point is overwhelmed by the characters. In Made for Each Other, there's less of a story and the vignettes are shrill and tedious.

Made for Each Other, in addition to being on FXM today and tomorrow, also got a DVD release courtesy of Fox's MOD scheme, if you want to watch and judge for yourself.

And regarding the question in the title of the post, the 1939 Made for Each Other is going to be on TCM at 6:00 AM on January 5.

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