A Matter of Innocence (1968)

July 12, 2011

As you probably already know, I'm a pretty big Hayley Mills fan so when Casey & I found a dvd of this rare film, I HAD to see it! Being a fan, I was really hoping for something to rival the greatness of The Trouble with Angels or The Moonspinners, but this was definitely a flop. Not just a "what a bad movie" kind of flop, it was pretty much indescribable. I think Leslie Knope sums it up perfectly:

Hayley Mills plays a plain young girl (read: she wears glasses and her hair is not in a fancy updo) accompanying her aunt on a trip to Singapore. Not long after they arrive, her aunt has a heavy lunch that results in her sinking to the bottom of the pool when she climbs in on the ladder. It's the most bizarre death I've ever seen in a movie, and yet it was so funny that my stomach actually hurt from laughing so hard. (I should probably add here, so as not to seem like a total lunatic laughing alone in my bedroom over the death of a woman in a movie... I was watching this with Casey, Millie and Sarah during a chat. They were equally hysterical ;-D)

The movie just keeps sliding downhill from there... Hayley gets un-plained (read: contacts & a fancy updo) and begins dating a very strange hotel escort who seems to be moonlighting as a pimp/pornographer/drug dealer?! And I am 100% positive they changed his name repetitively throughout the film. I won't give away much more (I haven't actually given away anything yet.. honestly all of this takes place in the first 15 minutes or so of the movie, if you can believe it!) in case you want to see it. As strange and mind-boggling as this was, I'd still recommend it. Not every film has to be Citizen Kane, right? There are some wacky little weirdos that deserve some love, and I think this is definitely one of them. It's bizarre but definitely fun to watch, especially if you have some friends to watch it with who love bad movies just as much as you do ;-D

Avanti! (1972)

July 01, 2011

Avanti takes place in beautiful Italy, where Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills (playing a character with the adorable name of Pamela Piggott) are visiting to retrieve the bodies of his father and her mother, who were killed in a car crash in a small Italian town. Lemmon plays a quintessential frazzled American businessman, Wendell Armbruster Jr., who is shocked to find out that his stuffy father had been visiting Italy annually not for business, but to engage in a long-term affair with Piggot's mother.

Pamela's laid back, serene attitude towards the whole situation annoys Wendell like crazy. He's so caught up in the hustle and bustle of funeral arrangements that he has trouble appreciating the quiet beauty of Italy. But his father's death gives him a second chance at life, when he comes to understand just why his dad needed this peaceful getaway, and the company of a sweet, loving girl.

I really can't even count how many things I love in this movie. The scenery is stunning, Juliet Mills' performance is so good you'll wish she starred in 800 movies, and the perfect balance between subtle comedy and poignant drama is remarkable. But I think my favorite part is this scene in the beginning where Juliet Mills opens the curtains, letting the light shine in the mortuary. It's just take-your-breath-away poetic. It looks almost like a classic renaissance painting in Edward Hopper's style, and captures the entire mood of the film in one single shot.