Tag Archives: Kathleen Freeman

The Set of 400: #146 – My Favorite Hidey Hidey Hidey Ho

Today! Because they don’t have my address. I falsified my renewal, I put down 1060 West Addison –

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Directed by John Landis (x3)

Starring John Belushi (x2), Dan Aykroyd (x5), Carrie Fisher (x5), James Brown (x2), Aretha Franklin, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Matt Murphy, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, John Candy (x8), Henry Gibson (x4), Lou Marini, Willie Hall, Kathleen Freeman (x3), Frank Oz (x5), Twiggy, Charles Napier (x3), Steve Lawrence, Steven Williams (x2), John Lee Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, Steven Spielberg, Alan Rubin, Tom Malone, Murphy Dunne

One night while still living in Scranton, with then-girlfriend Sarah’s brother and his then-girlfriend visiting, we all became gripped with the idea that we needed to acquire a copy of The Blues Brothers, immediately. As I’ve written somewhere before, I have something like 1800 movies on DVD, so not having The Blues Brothers was simply insane and unacceptable and needed to be remedied post haste. So we loaded into this Oldsmobile Achieva I was driving at the time and went to the only place still open at this late hour that might possibly sell a copy of the SNL classic – Wal-Mart. You’d be right to warn against the sorts potentially encountered at late night Wal-Mart, but that evening, I think those deviant sorts were us. We were rolling frozen concentrated orange juice down the aisles and causing general mayhem – and I’m honestly not sure if they even had The Blues Brothers. We ended up with a copy eventually, but I’m not sure if it was that night.

(Incidentally, this was also the night the gas pedal on the Achieva somehow got stuck down, and for a few seconds I was convinced we were going to die. There are some indications that we possibly did all fly into a coma that night, and that everything that has happened since has been some crazed dream, what with all the Red Sox World Series championships and the current occupant of the White House. Shit, is he still president in February of 2020?! This was like the summer of 2004, I think, so maybe brain-damaged induced fantasy would’ve run out of logic, chronologically and otherwise, by this point.)

Like, this really happened, didn’t it?

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The Set of 400: #177 – My Favorite Parfait Endorsement

Today! Because she’s married to the muffin man –

Shrek (2001)

Directed by Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson

Starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy (x3), Cameron Diaz (x2), John Lithgow (x3), Vincent Cassel, Kathleen Freeman (x2), Conrad Vernon, Chris Miller

Without looking it up, I couldn’t tell you for certain right this second whether there were three Shrek movies or four, not counting Puss in Boots. And look, the second movie was pretty solid as I recall, but I don’t remember what the hell the third one was about, or if the fourth movie even exists. Jeez, are there five Shrek movies? I just don’t remember.

I’ve never been one to dismiss animated movies as children’s fare, even endless sequels that seemingly only exist to generate cash. So when Shrek was released – and it was so different from everything that had come before – I thought it was groundbreaking, amazing hilarity. Okay, now, The Emperor’s New Groove actually was out the previous Christmas (as an animated, children’s, non-musical comedy), but I didn’t see that until much later. And sure, you had the South Park movie, but that didn’t really count, as it wasn’t aimed at kids at all. No, Shrek kinda became the template for animated movies from that point forward. And it’s great. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #257 – My Favorite Wall Climbing Musical Number

Today! Because what do you think I am? Dumb or something?

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly

Starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen, Cyd Charisse, Millard Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Douglas Fowley, Kathleen Freeman, William Schallert (x3), Bobby Watson

The quintessential movie musical, Singin’ in the Rain is as damn near a perfect movie as was made in the 1950s, if you don’t mind all the singing and dancing. And as we’ve already covered, I’ve clearly got a thing for musicals – more of a thing than I previously knew existed in this bag of preferences and whims. The entirety of that decade only landed 14 movies on this list (if you include 1950, and not 1960 – decade rules, amiright?), which is one fewer than 1991 scored by itself, and that isn’t even the most honored year. Do I need to watch more films from the ’50s? Almost certainly. But also, did they just not make my kind of films in post-war America for a long time? Also probably true! Goddamn Eisenhower!

For movies and America in general, this was kind of a lousy time to be alive, no matter what shitbird Republicans would have you believe

And as much as I enjoy a good breaking-into-song-for-little-apparent-reason in my cinematic dramas, the 1950s style of musical is largely too sound-stagey and carbon copy for me. Oklahoma and The King and I and that sort are fine, but they never feel even remotely authentic. What works for Singin’ in the Rain is that it’s a movie about movies (my beloved sub-genre), so the sound-staginess of it doesn’t detract. It’s also a period film – set in the late ’20s at the advent of sound in motion pictures – so it has that added layer of movie studio phoniness to camouflage the seams a little more. Musicals are always going to be somewhat unnatural – the only hope with a movie musical is to make it feel less like you’re in a live theater. Cinematic verisimilitude is considerably different for musicals than for virtually any other type of film. Continue reading

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