This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
The Shop Around the Corner
Quiet, Unassuming, Perfect
Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realising that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.
I met my wife, Lise, through correspondence. Over 100 pages of e.mails through the entire month of August, 1999, before we finally met up on August 31st.
After our first perfunctory exchanges about who we were and what we liked, .. me: bands, biking, mixtapes and movies … Lise: bookcases, throw pillows, dogs and cats, and, amongst a list much longer than mine … ‘talking about movies’. Bingo.
Our next set of letters was all about the movies.
My top 10:
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Deer Hunter
The Great Santini
One From the Heart
Bonus pick – Joe Versus the Volcano
Lise’s Top 10:
I went into screenwriter mode about 30 minutes into the film. I could predict where it was going and how it was going to get there. I was enjoying it, but I knew where it was headed.
HA! I said.
I've never been so happy to be so wrong, and JHC was I proved wrong. Every friggin' 10 minutes Lubitsch and the screenwriter and the playwright were giving me the middle finger salute and I was loving it. The writing would come at me sideways, I would adjust my expectations and then get hit from the other side 10 minutes later. On and on it went, and I was lapping it up laughing out loud with a smile wider…
So perfectly constructed it can be easy to initially overlook its feeling of spontaneity and human interaction. Even a suicide attempt, framed indirectly by the pop of a light bulb, plays less as black comedy than an impossibly optimistic show of human empathy and interdependence. That its revelation of lovers' identities to each other occurs after all the bright lights have been turned off around them seems so fitting for a film that subtly inverts everything you expect while producing a paragon of generic entertainment.
Decades Project: 3/4 of the 40's
"Well I really wouldn't care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I'd find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter... which doesn't work."
Growing up in the 90's, there were a lot of bad rom-coms in my house, and while they all became increasingly grating over time, there was always something effective about You've Got Mail. Don't get me wrong, it's not a great movie, but there are these moments where Tom Hanks knows that his business rival Meg Ryan is also his secret romantic pen pal which build tension in an almost Hitchcockian way (show…
Jimmy Stewart is perfect.
Film #5 of Project 40
”Well I really wouldn't care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I'd find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter... which doesn't work.”
A sweet and light-hearted romantic comedy from Ernst Lubitsch set in the pre-war Budapest. Lubitsch’s films are never complicated, the premise is simple, the milestones are quite predictable and after watching 10 minutes of the film it’s not hard to guess what’s going to happen in the end. Jaw-dropping surprises and twists are not part of Lubitsch’s universe, he only wants to use the magic of cinema to narrate a cheerful and riveting little…
It's easy to see romantic comedies containing ridiculous premises - we've had them now with Hollywood for decades - but like so much in cinema what has to work is the execution. You could have a meet cute that involves two people meeting by accidentally bumping into each other and striking up a conversation about their dogs in 2016 (sound familiar at all?) and it could be a terrific, entertaining, engaging and artistically driven film if there's some heart behind it, if we can get behind the characters, and the actors and director are sympatico with how to add some humanity to the situation. Ernst Lubitch and Margararet Sullivan and Jimmy Stewart have that with Shop Around the Corner, and…
While an entertaining film I wouldn't call it a favorite. I normally enjoy Jimmy Stewart's performance more then I did here... but to be fair this is one of his earlier films. Worth the time to watch. But not sure how much I would bother to rewatch this one.
Film #20 of Scavenger Hunt 15
Task #13: A film where characters write each other letters (snail mail, no e-mails)
This has been sitting unwatched in my collection for a number of years, and it was the first film that came to mind involving letters. It's a sweet little romance, with just enough bite and twist to keep you interested, even if you do know that they'll end up together in the end. With rom-coms it's the journey getting there that's the interesting part, and this film doesn't disappoint. Jimmy Stewart is always delightful to watch, even if I don't think this is his best work. I'm not as familiar with Margaret Sullavan, but she did a good job too.
Recommended for anyone who enjoys old-fashioned romantic comedies. This is a good one.
The plot for The Shop Around the Corner is thin and predictable, but it doesn't matter because Jimmy Stewart. What's more, Margaret Sullavan is a nice surprise if you haven't run across her before. There's a good chance you haven't, even if you're a movie buff. She made only 16 films. More of a stage actor, she simply chose not to do a whole lot, and while the film overall is not as memorable as something like Philadelphia Story, it's best scenes are as funny and poignant as any. If the mail room and Mr. Matuschek on Christmas Eve scenes don't get to you at least a little, then you're probably not the type who would choose an old movie like this to begin with. Little Shop Around the Corner is well worth a watch.
First Lubitsch - a filmmaker who knows when silence can be absolutely crushing. This film is a top 10 for sure.
Fuck "You Got Mail." Seriously. They took the best Christmas movie of all time, a story about workplace family and surviving together in hard economic times and a beautiful heartfelt love story and they turn it into a story where a woman's business is bought out and destroyed by a big box store and she ends up with the guy who did this to her? Why? Why do that?
This is still one of the best movies ever made. I watch it every year. Fuck you, Nora Roberts.
Sometimes it seems that, with the concept being what it is, the screenplay takes twists and turns here and there to service that very concept, as opposed to dealing with a more realistic (albeit less romantic) approach to what may happen. While I'm not all in for a Stewart-Sullivan couple (and maybe that's the real problem here), my introduction to Lubitsch was still a warm one.
Watched with ylime.
Mr Matuschek has a very shiny car.
What's with the obsession with bow legs, idgi.
YOU'VE GOT MAIL >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
More Info to come