Archives for category: Family

One of the many guilty pleasures of my childhood is “Mrs Doubtfire”. I would come home from school and watch this perhaps two or three times before dinner and find it equally enticing each time.

Remember those days? The days when you didn’t have to wait for years to hope that your favourite movie perhaps could feel like the first time again.

Although Mrs Doubtfire is silly and at times implausible, I will still fight for it with all I’ve got, because I do believe it harbours a cut of genius.

Mrs Doubtfire Poster

The Oscar winning make-over Mrs Doubtfire

***MINOR SPOILERS***

What is this film?

“Mrs Dountfire” (1993) is the blockbuster hit from the nineties that made Robin Williams a house-hold name.

The film is based upon the book called “Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine and was directed by a young Chris Columbus who has also made us such family favourites as “Home Alone 1 and 2” (1990, 1992) and “Harry Potter 1 and 2” (2001, 2002).

The movie tells us the story of Daniel Hillard, an out-of-work voice actor who in the midst of a nasty divorce with his wife (Sally Field, that woman who pops up in everything). He is in danger of loosing custody of his children, and in a desperate attempt to see them more often, he lands a job as their nanny and dresses up as an old, English woman.

Hilarity and drama ensues.

 

Why did I watch this 100 times as a kid?

Mrs. Doubtfire was one of the few movies we owned on VHS. And as any of the handful of VHS’ I owned can tell you, they were watched to death religiously.

But then again what is there not to love about this film? The different voices done by Robin Williams, the montage of the different make-up versions of a nanny, the montage of Mrs Doubtfire rocking the air-guitar with her broom, the passive aggressiveness of Daniel towards his wife’s new chaperone Stu (played by a smirky and too-good-to-be-true Pierce Brosnan).

I could go on and on and on.

Notice that most of what I remember loving comes from Robin Williams, most notably the scenes where he did the most improv.

 

The Award-winning Make-Up

One of the best scenes is when Daniel has a meeting with his councillor and has to both represent himself and Mrs Doubtfire alternately as he tries to hide the fact that he has dressed like a woman (difficult to explain I guess).

We have just seen him magically appear in his Mrs. Doubtfire-do-up at his children’s doorstep. We now get the chance to see him undress piece by piece and it is revealed that it is in fact Daniel under there.

No cinematic trick. It is just priceless.

The added pressure of the presence of the councillor adds to the fun. Damn why does that woman want a cup of tea?

Fun fact: The actual prosthetic face of Mrs Doubtfire that we see in this sequence (which is driven over by a truck as Daniel drops it onto the street) is actually only a prop. To become the proper Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams had to sit for four and a half hours each day and the make-up was done with as many as eight different pieces.

 

The issue of Divorce

One of the reasons this movie got to me is the divorce theme. I don’t think I knew this at the time, but thinking back I believe the movie helped me understand that parents don’t get back together after a divorce. So it is useless to hope for that.

And they really shouldn’t be together. So you shouldn’t want them to.

And, probably more importantly, their divorce wasn’t my fault!

According to the author of the book, Anne Fine, I am not alone. She has often been told by fans that this movie was one they watched over and over again for comfort, especially children of divorce.

 

Is it any good?

Who doesn’t love a bit of quality drag? Especially when the man realises what a fascist invention high-heels are. That comment is golden.

The movie is silly and at times you wonder why no one notices that this is Daniel. Thankfully the movie has enough of little plot points, like the older children figuring out it is their dad, to make it not so implausible that we disregard it.

Then again, would you really suspect an old woman to be your ex-husband?

You can tell that the people in the movie had good fun making it. From articles I have read about the production, a lot of the acting was improvised. Especially from Robin Williams.

I would have given a lot of blood to be a fly on the wall during this production and experience true comedy greatness. And hopefully be calmed by the fact that when you try a line in 1000 different ways, at least one of them must be genius, and loads of them were probably crap, but that doesn’t matter. It’s between the crew and the cutting floor.

 

The not-so-family-movie Ending

Another fun fact about this movie:

The original writer wrote the “unhappy” ending where the parents don’t get back together. The producers didn’t like it, they wanted a happy ending, so they fired her and tried with other writers. None of the rewritten endings where any good though, so they ended up going back to the first writer’s version and re-hired her.

That is a huge win for the screenwriter I might add.

In any case I do not thing it is an unhappy ending. It is the only ending there could ever be.

 

What mood should you be in?

For something childishly funny. You have to be in a mindset where you believe that a person could get away with such a ploy. Or else you will just scoff at the entire film.

The director, Chris Columbus, let Robin Williams have free reign during the takes and there where loads and loads of takes where Robin would try loads of different stuff. He has stated that there was so much footage that they could’ve made an edit for every rating category that exists.

I don’t know about you, but an adult version of Mrs. Doubtfire, in lieu of the sequel that was in the early stages before Robin Williams’ death, is something that I would love to see.

 

Further watching

As we now have to come to terms with the fact that Robin Williams is gone and there is nothing we can do about it, I find myself wanting to watch all of his movies over again. Among my favourites are “The Fisher King” (1991), “Dead Poets Society” (1989), “Hook” (1991) and “Good Will Hunting” (1997).

I will also be checking out some of his work that I haven’t seen yet. Especially “World’s Greatest Dad” (2009) is one that I am looking forward too.

In the mood for some more drag? Check out the Australian “The Adventures of Priscilla – Queen of the Desert” (1994), the British “Kinky Boots” (2005) or the American “The Birdcage” (1996) which stars Robin Williams as well, although not in women’s clothing.

If nothing else, you can do some set-jetting in San Francisco and go find the Hillards’ family house on the east side of the 2600 block of Steiner Street at the corner of Broadway.

 

You can read an article from the author Anne Fine about Robin Williams in the Guardian here!

Every month I will be revealing another Guilty Pleasure and try to discover why it has become one (at least for me). Follow my blog and don’t miss out on the next post 😉

 

Scott Capurro, Robin Williams and Harvey Fierstein in Mrs Doubtfire

Scott Capurro, Robin Williams and Harvey Fierstein making Mrs Doubtfire

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. Sometimes I will even like “the bad movies”, the ones the critiques scoff at and the snooty film students will refuse to watch because it’s all so commercial. Those are some of the best movies. They are guilty pleasures, and they will save you on a rainy day when you just don’t want to think.

In these Guilty Pleasure blog posts, I will explore the movies I find myself turning back to again and again for comfort.

Want more Guilty Pleasures? Check out last months Guilty Pleasure – “Shakespeare in Love”!

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

You should have this, own it and cherish it! You should force your kids to watch it over and over again until they know the lines by heart.

So just buy it!

 

If you like what I write you can follow my blog and always know what movies to go for and what movies to avoid 😉

Next week, we will again take a look at the ImdB top 250 and review number 4, “The Dark Knight”. Check out number 3 on top 250, “The Godfather, Part II” here!

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Were you also pleasantly surprised by the first “How to train your dragon” film? I was.

A scrawny, non-buff viking training a terrifyingly cute dragon ends up a one-legged hero. What’s not to love?

The question heading into any sequel is this: have they managed to make “How to train your dragon 2” into anything more than a revamp of the elements we loved and awed at the first time around? Have they even tried? Do they even want to go there?

No, they don’t want to go there.

Don't we all wish we had our own dragons to fly?

Don’t we all wish we had our own dragons to fly?

***CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS*** (although I maintain, what I mention shouldn’t come as a surprise)

What is this film?

“How to train your dragon 2” (2014) is the sequel to the very popular movie from 2010 (of the same name) where we got to know the viking Hiccup and his (eventual) pet dragon Toothless.

The movie starts where the other one left us, with dragons and vikings living and playing in harmony on the island of Berk. Hiccup is still the restless soul he was before, out and exploring with his dragon pal and mapping out the land he finds.

Hiccup’s predicament time is that he doesn’t want to be chief, but his dad really really wants him to.

 

Is it any good?

Its too much.

It’s the classic sequel trap where they think if they just give us more dragons, bigger dragons, smaller dragons, any kind of dragons, we will love it that much more. If they just add a villain who is so bad there is no talking to him, then people must side with the vikings. If you throw in a lost mother (at least that is somewhat original), then there will be tears in everybodys eyes.

Meh.

They forget that anything will fall flat without a solid story. And this movie is just that. Flat. (to me, a 28-year old woman. Children will love it!).

But I would watch it again for Toothless. The gorgeousness of that dragon never fails to surprise me, and there has been some brilliant animators at work creating movements that reminds us of domestic cats and dogs. Of course we would love to have a dragon in our home if it acted like that.

 

Is it better than the previous film?

Obviously, I prefer the first one, where the world and the dragons who inhabit it was fresh and new. Now it’s just the same as before, which is nice, but not a game changer.

“How to train your dragon” (2010) surprised me in both premise and ending, and while this second movie is good, it doesn’t bring the same freshness as seeing Toothless for the first time, or realizing that the hero actually lost a limb.

A surprising ending to this film would be if Astrid took over as chief and Hiccup continues exploring and training dragons (basically what he is good at). Children should learn that we are not all cut out to be leaders. And all of us can’t be leaders.

 

Is it worth a cinema ticket?

If you go with children, yes. You will enjoy yourself.

If you, like me, don’t have any children who would benefit from getting out of the house for a few hours, I would just wait for the DVD. Or streaming availability.

 

Is it worth a 3D ticket?

Don’t bother with the 3D.

I thought that flying would for sure be a great thing to see in 3D, and normally it has been. However, the imagery was decidedly flat in construction (just like the story) so you only get somewhat clearer image than in 2D.

Not worth the extra money (and the extra pair of 3D glasses we have to buy since we always forget them at home.)

 

What mood should you be in?

In the mood for something cute and cuddly and you should want to exclaim loads of oooos and awwwws.

Even though Toothless definitely wins the cuteness awards, the other dragons, and indeed the sheep, have their moments in the limelight and there is definitely enough cutefactor to gush for hours. There are even some small baby dragons.

It will also make you chuckle, especially the raucous twin female Ruffnut (voiced by Kirsten Wiig of the Bridesmaids) proper male-objectifies the new addition to the Viking-Dragon world, Eret son of Eret (voiced by Kit Harringdon, you know, John Snow in Game of Thrones). I for my part think it is healthy that females can objectify men for their muscles in children’s movies now.

To be fair to the movie, it does have some grand action/war scenes. But it is just testament to how little I cared about that that I have almost already forgotten about it.

 

 

Further watching

Watch the first one. It’s worth it.

 

Toothless acting all hurt and hard to please like a cat :D

Toothless acting all hurt and hard to please like a cat 😀

 

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to go to the movies. But I don’t like it when I waste my money on a bad film. I need to bitch about those movies.

If I see a movie that is absolutely worth the trip to town, 130 NOK ticket (£13/$20), popcorn and drink expenditure, then I need to rave about it!

And since I want to watch all the movies in the world, you can waste less of your time, check in with me and only watch the good ones.

In these New Release blog posts, I will pick a movie currently in the cinema in Norway at random, and tell you if it was worth a cinema ticket. It might be good, but does it deserve so much of your time and money, and does it benefit from a big screen and a huge crowd?

I actually buy tickets myself (unless I can get my boyfriend to be generous) and don’t have the luxury of being invited to pre-screenings, so my New Releases will be a bit late. Hopefully they will still be in a cinema near you 😉

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great. But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

“How to train your dragon 2” was released in Norway on 4th of July and is still racking up a number of screenings. In addition to both 3D and 2D screenings, it actually has original release so you don’t have to pain yourself through bad Norwegian translations and voice acting.

If you like what I write, please give me a shout in the comments or sign-up to read my next blog post which I promise will be a new Netflix gem!

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