The best two-hour vacation in town!
The misadventures of four groups of guests at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The misadventures of four groups of guests at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
“I don’t vote, dear. I’m not a member of the motion picture academy. I’m an antique dealer. one day, when you’re an antique, I shall vote for you. It’s a promise.”
getting to see jane fonda in a bikini, maggie smith and (bisexual!!) michael caine argue about the pointlessness of the academy awards, walter matthau and elaine may as an adorable married couple, and richard pryor hitting bill cosby over the head with a tennis racket almost made up for having to see bill cosby in a movie at all. also, I’m the blonde woman who drank an entire bottle of tequila by herself and spent the entire movie asleep in walter matthau’s bed.
I count my age by how much more I understand why Neil Simon was at the center of the mainstream middlebrow cultural intelligentsia. He was good at it! Certainly better than most trying to do it today. Tittering, glittering upper-middle class nabobs spitting bile and roses at one another. Jane Fonda cranking it up because she can. Just a lot of fun and not that important and that’s just fine.
Suffers from everything one would expect from an anthology film of sorts within this same setting: certain segments are far more compelling than others, and those that aren't compelling only end up feeling like a total drag. But you'd expect that a writer like Neil Simon would at least be more than enough to make this at the very least a lot of fun, but it's also where some of his worst tendencies shine out a tad too.
Not like this would be any surprising, but Jane Fonda, Elaine May, and Walter Matthau are the best parts, even though the one story of Michael Caine and Maggie Smith (in an Oscar-winning role, no less) is arguably the most compelling. Then…
dame maggie smith can say "faggot" - and she did!
It's nearly 11pm and it's still 80 degrees so I'm not reviewing this or doing anything that involves me moving any part of my body until it fucking rains or something.
Jane Fonda and Maggie Smith are stunning, heartbreaking, and hilarious. It's worth seeing just for them.
The second movie I saw today with bad ratings that I loved. All the characters are so fun to watch, with the exception of the stupid slapstick scene near the end that was so out of nowhere you wonder why Neil Simon even wrote that. But I’m a sucker for any movie set in Los Angeles, especially if it’s during the 70s. Seeing Elaine May and Walter Matthau act together again 10 years after A New Leaf was a joy. My favorite though was (closeted bisexual!) Michael Caine and Maggie Smith who had the best chemistry.
I like Neil Simon, but sometimes he seems like he's doing an impression of witty dialogue.
This cast is absolutely stacked! Thicc cast baby. The segments are hit and miss, even the beats inside the segments are hit and miss. Most disappointing was the Elaine May, Walter Matthau segment. I adore both of them, so it was the one I was most looking forward too. Elaine May plays the straight part perfectly, but Matthau is much too broad, he was a little grating. Still one should never take a rare Elaine May appearance for granted. I don't mean to suggest it was the weakest part, I just had high hopes we'd get A NEW LEAF greatness from May and Matthau.
I liked the segment where Richard Pryor goes on a hell vacation with this two wives.
I came for Alan Alda and was rewarded with his sweet beautiful gams in some short shorts but I stayed for Maggie Smith and Michael Caine
I don't think I've ever felt more lied to by the poster of a film than by California Suite. I specifically picked this up from the library because hey, look at that cast and that poster! Should be funny!
Nope. Only 2/4 of the unconnected sketches even have something remotely resembling comedy in them, and only the Richard Pryor one seems to be trying for laughs all the way through. The rest of the film is faux-witty dialogue (the Alda-Fonda dialogue is just the worst) amid capital D Drama. All the stories are unconnected and do and say nothing, this film is a total waste of your time. I can only imagine the Oscar win for Maggie Smith was some kind of terrible inside joke since her character is up for an Oscar within the film.
maggie smith says faggot!
Some of the vinigettes work better than other bit no denying the great humor. Neil Simon is a great writer who is dearly missed.
Adapted Neil Simon play about the lives of some guests at a California hotel, I’d say 2 dramatic stories and 2 comedic ones. I liked it for the most part but it was just too ridiculous. If the directing and acting were tighter I would rate this much higher. Walter Matthau was way too over the top.
At this point in time I dread watching any film that has Neil Simon’s name on it and because California Suite was based on one of his plays I was sure that I was going to cringe when great actors were forced to deliver lame one liners every few seconds. This was everything I expected it to be and more as the characters speak in a completely unnatural manner and none of Simon’s obvious jokes are actually funny. He comes up with a few ideas that are vaguely funny but then abandons them in favor of including more of his signature brand of humor. Thank goodness for Maggie Smith and Michael Caine who are able to punch some life into…
it’s like a 2000s movie made in the 70s if that makes sense ? pretty fun
Had this on in the background, looked like some pervy boomer fun. Seeing Bill Cosby in a hotel room is terrifying.
Simon's razor-sharp, bitingly caustic dialogue makes for delectably chewy material for an all-star cast led by stand-outs Fonda and Smith who manage to bring emotional vulnerability to the acerbic wit, thereby lending depth to their characters which is absent elsewhere. Simon's sympathies are intriguingly split, his contempt for Los Angeles and its culture readily apparent, yet the bitterness the other urbanite visitors hold is hardly seen as admirable or romantic either. The slapstick and broad caricature that dominate the Cosby/Pryor scenes a marked departure from the film's general tone, exceedingly manic and parodic, the film finds little to do with them other than make them look like fools.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for the Maggie Smith / Michael Caine vignette, which is a must-watch for every fan of the Oscars especially the lead actress race
⭐⭐⭐⭐ for Jane Fonda’s From Here to Eternity
⭐⭐ for the slapstick remainder
The Jane Fonda/Alan Alda segment is the best and they rightfully padded the first chunk of the movie with their part to make you think the rest of the movie could be as good, but sadly besides the stellar casting the film feels dated and a little too theatrical to be properly translated into a film. Neil Simon has a fun voice, but arguably he doesn’t have any characters because his characters are just people with his voice thrown into wacky or melodramatic scenarios here. You can just really feel the theatrical writing voice that doesn’t translate as realistically to screen.
I loved this movie from start to finish. I laughed so much. I shouldn’t doubt Neil Simon’s writing.
Wonderful comedy with some fantastic casting.
Sporadically funny adaptation by Neil Simon of his 1976 play about the goings on over several days in The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA, which alternates between four stories and features a stellar cast. Unlike the play, which features two female and two male actors playing different roles across the vignettes set at different times in the same suite, Herbert Ross opens things up with multiple casts and multiple suites within a single time period.
As with much of Simon's work, the crackling dialogue and serious psychological and social observations are intermittently undermined by overly broad farcical elements that don't flow readily from the material. And Ross's aesthetic is too flat and mainstream to bring out the more twisted potential…
absolutely love that Maggie Smith won the Oscar for playing an actress who loses the Oscar, clearly it was her delivery of the line “Bitchy! Bitchy, darling!” that sealed the deal
This movie contains two A plots and two F plots, so I guess the 3 star rating somewhat balances it out.
Three cheers for Maggie Smith and Michael Caine, Jane Fonda and Alan Alda, and yes even Elaine May in a bit role.
I love Neil Simon’s rat-a-tat style of dialogue, but oh man the attempts at scripting slapstick were a disaster.
Watched on the Criterion Channel.
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