I tend to have really broad tastes in movies, so my three movies this week are really quite different from each other.
First, I watched Me and Orson Wells. I have never seen Zach Effron in a movie. I have broad tastes, but not so broad that they include Zach Effron movies! Anyway, I had seen previews for this movie when it came out and I was semi-interested in seeing it. I thought I would give Zach a non-High School Musical chance in a movie. Turns out, it was a pretty good movie, not necessarily with any help from Zach Efforn.
So, Zach plays a teenage boy named Richard Samuels, that after an impromptu audition for Orson Welles in front of the small Mercury Theater in New York, is cast in a small role in the Julius Caesar production. The whole theater’s world revolves around Orson with all of his demands, schedules, and crazy visions for this production. One of the things I loved was that Orson was directing Julius Caesar in 1937 with all Nazi costuming and themes as the world was on the brink of WW2. I would have watched that play even. It all felt very real, to the point that I started wondering if this was a true story.
Well, as Richard tries to adjust to the unpredictable production that this is, he is also trying to find his place as an adult, and as an actor. He learns, as we all do, that life isn’t fair and things don’t turn out the way you planned.
Overall, this was a really well made movie. I loved the costuming, all the supporting theater cast was great, and Claire Daines played a convincing modern girl driven to make her own way in life (although I didn’t like how she went about making it). I especially liked their portrayal of Orson Welles. I had rather low expectations for this movie, so it was nice to be pleasantly surprised.
Next, I watched Mean Streets. This 1973 Marting Scorsese directed movie about the Italian Mob was so interesting to watch. Scorsese infuses this movie with so much style! It didn’t feel new to me, but I realized after watching it, that I have seen this movie copied a million times. It had grit, and swagger, and real danger. Harvey Keitel was amazing as Charlie who is working his way up the mob latter. By working for his mob boss uncle, Charlie is torn between two worlds and trying to keep it all balanced. He is constantly working to keep his bases covered, while trying to not let his worlds collide. Eventually though, they do collide with real consequences. You are left feeling all those same emotions that Charlie feels in the end. It is well worth watching, even if it is just to see everything modern mob movies steal (I mean are “inspired” by) from this classic. There is not more to say than, see it.
And finally, I watched Pregnant in America. This documentary film tries to show the pitfalls and dangers of the American birthing system. Unfortunately, the whole film feel very amateur as it follows around the film maker and his pregnant wife. Sadly, they resort to scare tactics, extremes in their facts, and over dramatizing everything. They rely on their scare tactics to the point that their valid concerns get overshadowed. It often feels disjointed which also works against the film makers when conveying their true message. Basically, if you want to see a good movie about the American birthing system watch The Business of Being Born because it is better in every single way.