Found these lists (twelve total which I've compiled) a couple years back and they slowly became my bible for weird…
The War of the Roses
Once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie.
The Roses, Barbara and Oliver, live happily as a married couple. Then she starts to wonder what life would be like without Oliver, and likes what she sees. Both want to stay in the house, and so they begin a campaign to force each other to leave. In the middle of the fighting is D'Amato, the divorce lawyer. He gets to see how far both will go to get rid of the other, and boy do they go far.
Marriage isn't easy. Spending your life with someone is a charming notion, of course, and most of us will admit (in moments of vulnerability) that we aspire to make a singular, long-term connection with someone we love - that special 'other' - who promises to add warmth and security to our days and enrich our experience of living. Like good health, a meaningful relationship is a largely universal pursuit.
But then there's also an existential hopelessness to the idea of monogamy. As the years go by those little quirks and ticks that once struck us as adorable start to grate on the nerves. The 'other' becomes the 'familiar'... nauseatingly so, until we associate that person with little else beyond comfort…
Back in the eighties Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas were a very sexy couple who had real chemistry when on screen together. They made two entertaining adventure films, Romancing The Stone and a sequel The Jewel Of The Nile along with this rather darker comedy with a jet black heart. Directed by Danny DeVito and focusing on the disintegration of a marriage, this has Turner and Douglas go to war with each other with comedic and tragic results.
When I divorced my first wife I was so anxious to get rid of the bitch I basically let her take me to the cleaners. She took the house, all of its contents, even my dog, and left me with my golf…
Much like how I watched The Mosquito Coast when I was a kid expecting it to be another of Harrison Ford’s action adventures, I’m sure I watched The War Of The Roses expecting it to be another Kathleen Turner / Michael Douglas collaboration that would be as much fun as Romancing The Stone or The Jewel Of The Nile. Aaaaand, it’s not quite, or certainly not in the way I would have been expecting.
Black comedies that are ultimately as dark as this is are not something that Hollywood generally has much success with. The War Of The Roses is a rare exception on many fronts. On top of being excellent, it was also…
Some films can lose a little of their initial impact over the years. The Danny DeVito directed The War of the Roses was one of those films that back in 1989 when it released was a cutting black comedy that reunited the trio of Douglas, Turner, and DeVito following the success of Romancing the Stone and the Jewel of the Nile.
DeVito plays a divorce attorney who recounts the tale of the most bitter divorce battle he ever handled in an effort to make his client think again. His story about his former colleague Tom (Michael Douglas) and his wife Barbara (Kathleen Turner) is pricelessly told with the almost perfect early relationship a picture of happiness. Time they say can…
Makes Gone Girl look relatively toothless (and even more unbalanced) by comparison. Simultaneously tragic and ridiculously funny, The War of the Roses is every bit as well-executed as its brilliant title would suggest. Not sure that the framing device is necessary, or really works, but it doesn't do or take away much, apart from providing a measure of optimism at the very end (which I should note feels false in one sense, but also earned).
Not a problem per se, but it almost seems that the film could have fleshed out the formative (good) years even more. As it is, once the relationship turns sour, it's evident that something has been lost, tragically so; but it seems that the…
[from a discussion on the Movie Nerd Discussion Group, 13 Jun 2005; ostensible topic is Mr. & Mrs. Smith but I spent much more time praising this film]
> Comparisons to Prizzi's Honor and War of the Roses have
> been bandied about quite often—most cogently by Miles,
> whose work at Nerve and especially Esquire has been
> intimidatingly first-rate [...]
You're too kind, sir. Unfortunately, I seem to have intimidated my editors at Esquire into cutting my column in half, starting with the September issue. (As is so often the case in this business, this reduction in word count was accompanied by a hefty raise in salary.) One page is apparently all the attention our readers can muster for any article not…
Another infinitely quotable movie. We saw this on a date when it first came out and it has become part of our lexicon now. Douglas as the smug workaholic, Turner as the ambitious but pampered trophy wife. Divorce gets ugly when both parties are willing to fight to the death.
The best scene, above all the tragic and funny moments, is the final bit. Through all of the fighting, he still loves her, she… not so much.
It's sort of like Blue Valentine, but played for laughs.
Very, very dark laughs.
But, I'll admit that doesn't sound like a huge endorsement.
I need to watch more of DeVito's directing output, as they mostly seem to be very black comedies and you just don't see many of those anymore.
Especially those that have the biggest stars in the world as their leads.
Turner and Douglas have great chemistry, as they do in Romancing The Stone etc, but it's taken to another level here.
It's so depraved and hateful, loved it.
The framing device of DeVito's divorce lawyer telling the story to a very, very attentive potential client mostly works.
It does give him some great dialogue, but playing…
Curve-ball. Let me get back to you
Always liked this. Hadn't seen it in maybe 20 years. Happy to report it's much darker, and funnier, than I had even remembered. Don't watch it with you fianceé.
Uneven but eminently watchable black comedy chronicling the increasingly nasty dissolution of the marriage between striving attorney Michael Douglas and his wife played by Kathleen Turner. Director Danny DeVito explores his range of options in that role and the result is certainly visually expressive but he doesn't seem to trust his ability to make a point so it is often underlined by the script to the extent that after showing their courtship and early marriage in fairly tale terms his character actually tell another that it was like a fairy tale. The screenwriter does strike a fine balance in making the spouses shallow enough that the audience can take pleasure in watching their pain but not so much that we can't identify with them to some degree.
Storia di una relazione d'amore, ma soprattutto lucida descrizione della spirale d'odio in cui cadono i due coniugi. Entrambi, ognuno a suo modo, non fanno nulla per fermarla.
Fantastiche interpretazioni, regia efficace e il finale...beh, il finale non è da Mulino Bianco!
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kathleen Turner wins.
A classic guide to the couples planning on divorce, rather in what not to do. Hilarious at times, even after all these years it is enjoyable. And what do you learn from it? a) having a bigger car is better, b) watch your back and c) do not hang from a chandelier, ever!
Man, there was a 5 to 10 year span when Kathleen Turner was absolutely fabulous in everything she was in. She was strong, sexy, funny, and perfect for a black comedy like this one. Douglas is good, but Turner's performance is better.
The British Academy Film And Television Awards. From 1947 to present day.
Everything I could find on the Letterboxd database.
From the NYT website:
This list is drawn from the second edition of The New York Times Guide to the…