Tag: Shirley MacLaine

The Last Word

The Last Word has a relatively pretty poster to look at. It conjures up specific colors, radio, and of course music. But at the same time, it makes me think of the SNL sketch for Schweddy Balls, poking fun of NPR level talk radio.

It also makes me think of The L Word, which is unfortunately a show I don’t have any references to outside of the knowledge is about lesbians. Which hey, maybe The Last Word is about lesbians too. After all, the cover is two women! Maybe they are lesbians!

What I am saying is, I think this movie will be two hours long, about lesbians on NPR talking about balls.

There is a very high chance I am disappointed with this level of thinking.

Harriett Lauler (Shirley MacLaine) is an old lady who knows what she wants. And she knows how to get what she wants. And she doesn’t trust a lot of people to do things correctly, so she often has to take over and do itself. That includes her own gardeners and cooks.

No one likes her. Her relationship with her daughter (Anne Heche) is nonexistent. Her relationship with her past coworkers is weak as well, despite making them and her very wealthy. But while reading an obituary of one of her old acquaintances, she is amazed at how wonderful that person seemed after death, while still being truthful.

So of course Harriett goes to the newspaper to find the obituary writer, Anne (Amanda Seyfried), to make sure she can write her obituary as well. Just like, early. To make sure it is good enough. Sane people totally do this all the time.

And with this task comes, eventually, a change to Harriett’s life for the better. It is never too late to become a decent human being.

Also starring AnnJewel Lee Dixon, Thomas Sadoski, and Philip Baker Hall.

No one expects them to rob a bank, that’s the point!

The Last Word gives us Shirley MacLaine playing a huge bitch, which on its own might be worth the price of admission. But if you only want to pay for movies that take you on emotional whirlwind and leave you breathless, then, well, you might want something more.

Because really, this is a safe and simple film. It goes into a deep topic, dealing with your own mortality and legacy at the ends of your life. But it is also a feel good film, watching this woman better her life finally and start to better the lives of those she decided to make close to her. This drags the film into really average territory.

In reality, what she does is probably really hard. But the opposition she is met with is very limited so the struggles don’t feel incredibly real. The point of the movie is to inspire those to change their lives for the better, to realize it is never too late, which is a great moral. However, this film just feels hokey with how it accomplishes those goals.

I will note, Seyfried’s speech did make me a little bit sad near the end. But not weepy, just sad. So it had a lot left to go to make me connect with it at a real emotional level.

2 out of 4.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

The first trailer for The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is probably one of the best trailers of the year. Watch it, if you haven’t.

The next one was far more typical of a trailer, but it was still decent. Even better, the song in the trailer was actually used in the movie, a rarity these days.

The only thing I knew about this movie is that it took forever to get made, and it is based roughly on a short story written by James Thurber in the 30s. The next decade, it actually had a movie adaptation as well. I am pretty sure this is nothing like the short story, but eh, who gives a shit.

Look at all the fucks I give about the short story.

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) manages the negative assets of the Life magazine department. I don’t know what that means, really, but it involves receiving the print rolls of cameras, and using the negatives to put in the magazine. He only has one employee, Hernando (Adrian Martinez), so it is pretty slow, and only one photographer still uses an actual camera. That photographer is of course Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), a freelance photographer, and one of the best in the biz.

However, when the announcement that Life magazine is switching to an online only format, with some asshat manager Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) coming in to handle the downsizing, it is unfortunate that Sean sends what he calls the epitome of Life magazine and an image that must be on the front cover. Especially since he telegrams the heads of the office and inform them of it too. The only reason it is an issue, of course, is because the picture in question seems to be missing from the film.

So what is a constant day dreamer to do? Why, go and find Sean in person of course, even if it means traveling halfway around the world to do so. At the same time, he is trying to build up his online dating resume, to do something cool with his life, to win the interests of one of his coworkers, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig).

Starring Shirley MacLaine as his mother, Kathryn Hahn as his sister, and Patton Oswalt as an overly helpful E-Harmony customer service representative.

Bad Beard
I mean, I am a huge Adam Scott fan, but this beard is terrible.

Well, as expected, this movie sure was purdy. It had scenery from Greenland, Iceland, Afghanistan and more. Beautiful as fuck, really.

Not only was it pleasing on the eyes, both in terms of his fantasies and actual exploits, but it had a great soundtrack as well. Every time a new song played, it felt perfect.

Ben Stiller gets a lot of flack amongst my friends, but I always tend to enjoy him. I mean, did you see him in Heavy Weights? He treated this movie like a child, it being only the fifth movie he has directed. Everything really works together in this movie, and one of the best parts is that once the missing picture is found, it isn’t disappointing.

Sean Penn has only a small role in this movie, but his character was amazing in his only few scenes. Incredible impact for such little screen time.

As the film progressed, the day dreams became fewer and farther in between, and you get spoiled by most of them from the trailers. During the long fight scene between Ted and Walter, the CGI was a bit shaky, I am guessing because there weren’t any other action shots to worry about.

Overall, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is a great feel good movie, about living in the moment, and doing something important with your life. Yay happiness!

3 out of 4.


The tale of Bernie is a strange one and a tragic one. More so when you realize it is based on a true story.

I SAID BASED. Apparently there was large support from the actual town of Carthage, Texas to not let the film be made there, as a lot of people either felt like they were being made fun of, or though Bernie was a creepy bad man. But you know, it is just a similar story, with a lot weirder stuff going on in the film. So take it with a grain of salt.

Or else this man will come into your room at night and host your funeral!!!

Bernie (Jack Black) is a weird man. He may be gay, but he loves Jesus and is super Christian, so that is probably not true[Editor’s note: Movie logic, not mine.]. He became a funeral director, and knows the proper way to liven up a corpse for the big day. Originally from Louisiana, he has moved to small town Carthage, Texas, where he immediately strives to become a pillar in the community. He sings, he acts, he gives gifts, he mourns, he funeral directs, he goes above and beyond the call of duty every time. EVERYONE loves him.

Mostly. Not Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) who just had her husband pass away. But she hates everyone, and everyone hates her back. But she is super rich, and keeps it all to herself. Two of her grandchildren even tried to sue for some trust fund! What gives? Despite all this, Bernie does his best to get her to cheer up, and is eventually welcome into her grace. She isn’t that bad, just gotta give her a chance!

Eventually they start doing everything together. Trips around the world, shows, just general shopping and hanging out. He is living the life. She begins to let him handle her affairs to, having access to all of her funds and stuff, so she doesn’t have to do it. But she also gets more protective. She starts treating him worse and worse, limiting his schedule and life, making him direct less funerals, and even sing less at church! It’d be a shame if one day Bernie just snapped and shot old Marjorie in the back. It’d be worse if he freaked out, didn’t know what to do, and decide to hide the body in the house and pretend she was still alive. For months. Yeah, that would be bad.

Matthew McConaughey plays the local DA who is attempting to get justice served, Sonny Carl Davis as Lonnie, a lawyer, and Rick Dial as the funeral director.

A chainsaw statue? That does sound like a great investment.

Why spoil most of the movie? Ehh, true story. I knew going into it that Bernie killed some old lady, and kept it a secret. But knowing that ahead of time didn’t ruin it at all for me. What made this movie something special was the large cast of characters. Instead of a narrator, the story is basically narrated by a large group of townsfolk that are retelling the events and their thoughts on the matter. Sort of in a documentary or realty show like format, they are talking straight to the camera and sitting in a home or shop or office, and they are phenomenal. They add so much depth and character to the movie, they are one of the best “greek choruses” I have ever seen.

Not to take away from the main cast of actors. McConaughey did what he always does. Jack Black really enveloped himself in this character, and if you like to hear him sing, you get to do it quite a bit. Mostly religious songs too! Shirley MacLaine did a lot with her body language before she was talkative, also doing a nice job.

And it is weird. Quirky as shit. I thought it was a well done darker comedy, and will probably buy it someday.

3 out of 4.