Tag Archives: Katherine Helmond

The Set of 400: #127 – My Favorite Facelift

Today! Because if you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating –

Brazil (1985)

Directed by Terry Gilliam (x3)

Starring Jonathan Pryce (x2), Kim Greist, Ian Holm (x3), Michael Palin (x3), Robert De Niro (x4), Katherine Helmond (x3), Bob Hoskins (x2), Peter Vaughan, Ian Richardson, Jim Broadbent (x4), Barbara Hicks, Gorden Kaye, Simon Jones, Charles McKeown

Terry Gilliam’s dystopian, bureaucratic hellscape has very little obviously to do with the country of Brazil. Allegedly, in some deleted scene or old script treatment or something, the bug that falls in the printer at the beginning of the film that kicks off the whole misidentification caper is seen traveling across the globe from Brazil, thus the title and the modified usage of the great old tune “Aquarela do Brasil” as the theme song.

I also think of Brazil as the ultimate Gilliam movie, coming as it does after Python and his more fantastic adventures Jabberwocky and Time Bandits, but before the somewhat more realistic goings on in The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing (somewhat is the key there). It merges the two eras neatly – not unlike Twelve Monkeys would later – bridging pure fantasy/sci-fi with relatable human issues in a bizarro satirical context. It’s funny while being frustrating and horrifying in the world they’ve created, while also not being all that far afield from the mundane drudgery of working and living in an even remotely regimented society. Jonathan Pryce’s Sam Lowry being shifted between interchangeable government jobs under paranoid, crazed bosses and sharing a desk with a co-worker in another room all sort of makes sense once you’re out in the workplace for a bit. This is a movie I’ve long loved, for the weirdness and futurism, but have only really appreciated the underlying struggles as the years since college have piled higher and deeper. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #187 – My Favorite Inpatient Assignation

Today! Because I am the fool for Christ, and the Paraclete of Caborca, the Wrath of the Lamb, the Angel of the Bottomless Pit –

The Hospital (1971)

Directed by Arthur Hiller

Starring George C. Scott (x2), Diana Rigg, Richard Dysart (x2), Barnard Hughes, Andrew Duncan (x2), Nancy Marchand (x2), Jordan Charney, Roberts Blossom, Katherine Helmond, Frances Sternhagen, Robert Walden, Stockard Channing (x2), Lenny Baker, Donald Harron

A black comedy of the highest order, The Hospital is Paddy Chayefsky’s healthcare takedown precursor to dismantling television news five years later in Network. George C. Scott – in his second list film from 1971 in the last two weeks! – plays chief of medicine Dr. Bock who’s deeply sunk in his midlife crisis, marriage ruined, career malaise, while his hospital goes through an epic administrative, public, and lethal meltdown, with protests breaking out constantly over the hospital acquiring-to-demolish nearby slums, patients getting lost, misdiagnosed, and accidentally killed, and doctors being actively hunted by a faceless murderer. There’s also an Indian shaman and an overzealous billing supervisor in the mix. And this all takes place in about a 72 hour span. Continue reading

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