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 Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/01) 
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Post Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/01)

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I guess this is still Round 3 of Junior Year. Let me pass some of the preliminary stuff, including the all-purpose thread for off-topic discussion, and to remind that the viewing is scheduled for Saturday, September 1st.


The Heartbreak Kid is a 1972 comedy, written by Neil Simon from a story by Bruce Jay Friedman, and directed by Elaine May. The film stars Charles Grodin as a newlywed man who has second thoughts when he meets the student Cybill Shepard on his honeymoon.

The film, although a hit and Academy Award nominee at the time of its release, has suffered from neglect in recent years. The film has only seen a single DVD release from 2002 (a plain package with zero extras), and has been out of print since forever. The film has become rare enough that when TCM premiered it a couple years back it was a bit of an event. For this reason, I think it's opportune to use the Youtube clip below which is in decent enough quality to match the unrestored print used for the DVD (I'm assuming the clip was directly uploaded from a DVD rip). I hope that this format isn't seen as inconvenient or too chintzy for you folks. I try to spare very little to no expense.







Past Trips, Junior Year:

#1 - La maternelle (1933, Jean Benoît-Lévy & Marie Epstein, France) | wigwam
#2 - Time and Winds (2006, Reha Erdem, Turkey) | Oxnard Montalvo
#3 - Clean, Shaven (1993, Lodge Kerrigan, USA) | Popcorn Reviews
#4 - Diabeł (1972, Andrzej Żuławski, Poland) | Oxnard Montalvo
#5 - Black Friday (2004, Anurag Kashyap, India) | Rock
#6 - Schizopolis (1996, Steven Soderbergh, USA) | Slentert
#7 - Hearts and Minds (1974, Peter Davis, USA) | Popcorn Reviews
#8 - Xtro (1982, Harry Bromley Davenport, UK) | crumbsroom
#9 - The House (1997, Šarūnas Bartas, France) | Oxnard Montalvo
#10 - Spider-Baby (1967, Jack Hill, USA) | Slentert
#11 - Oh Lucy! (2017, Atsuko Hirayanagi, Japan/USA) | Shieldmaiden

Past Trips, Sophomore Year:

#1 - The Worthless (1982, Mika Kaurismäki, Finland) | snapper
#2 - Shopping for Fangs (1997, Quentin Lee and Justin Lin, USA) | takeshi
#3 - The Heart of the Wise Lives in the House of Sorrow (2009, Marin Malešević, Serbia) | Shieldmaiden
#4 - The Forbidden Quest (1993, Peter Delpeut, Netherlands) | kopello
#5 - São Bernardo (1972, Leon Hirszman, Brazil) | Bandy Greensacks
#6 - Evdokia (1971, Alexis Damianos, Greece) | Epistemophobia
#7 - The Ball at the Anjō House (1947, Kōzaburō Yoshimura, Japan) | snapper
#8 - Sérail (1976, Eduardo de Gregorio, France) | takeshi
#9 - Passport for a Corpse (1962, Mario Gariazzo, Italy) | JediMoonShyne
#10 - Aksuat (1997, Serik Aprimov, Kazakhstan) | Shieldmaiden
#11 - Dangerously Excited (2011, Koo, South Korea) | wigwam
#12 - Himala (1982, Ishmael Bernal, Philippines) | snapper

Past Trips, Freshman Year:

#1 - Distant Journey (1949, Alfréd Radok, Czechoslovakia) | snapper
#2 - Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (1968, Susumu Hani, Japan) | Das
#3 - The Policewoman (2003, Joaquim Sapinho, Portugal) | charulata
#4 - Freeze, Die, Come to Life! (1989, Vitali Kanevsky, USSR) | Bandy Greensacks
#5 - The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974, Francesco Barilli, Italy) | Trip
#6 - Weddings and Babies (1958, Morris Engel, USA) | snapper
#7 - The Man with Three Coffins (1987, Lee Jang-ho, South Korea) | Notes from Underground
#8 - Malina (1991, Werner Schroeter, Germany) | Shieldmaiden
#9 - Bad Luck (1960, Andrzej Munk, Poland) | B-Side
#10 - The Girl with the Suitcase (1961, Valerio Zurlini, Italy) | JediMoonShyne
#11 - The Engagement of Anna (1972, Pantelis Voulgaris, Greece) | BandyGreensacks
#12 - Our Neighbor, Miss Yae (1934. Yasujirō Shimazu, Japan) | snapper[/quote]


Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:53 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I've seen this before and might see it again.

It's absurd and kind of bogus how few movies Elaine May made. Between this, A New Leaf and Mikey and Nicky, she arguably made some of the best films of the '70s. And even Ishtar isn't that bad, certainly much better than its putrid reputation.

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Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:15 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Rock wrote:
I've seen this before and might see it again.

Yeah, sorry, I remember. I think you and crumbs are the two I knew had seen it before. Those comprehensive Toronto connections.

Rock wrote:
It's absurd and kind of bogus how few movies Elaine May made. Between this, A New Leaf and Mikey and Nicky, she arguably made some of the best films of the '70s. And even Ishtar isn't that bad, certainly much better than its putrid reputation.

Mickey and Nicky and Ishtar were lambasted in the industry for their cost overruns and amount of footage she insisted on shooting. Can you imagine if some dude like Coppola or Kubrick tried to waste film, time and money like that?

Plus....she was....difficult. So I hear.


Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:28 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
Yeah, sorry, I remember. I think you and crumbs are the two I knew had seen it before. Those comprehensive Toronto connections.


Mickey and Nicky and Ishtar were lambasted in the industry for their cost overruns and amount of footage she insisted on shooting. Can you imagine if some dude like Coppola or Kubrick tried to waste film, time and money like that?

Plus....she was....difficult. So I hear.

I can see the expense of the production being a fair argument against Ishtar, but I think the characters' myopia compared to the scale of the events works as part of the joke. The movie probably would have benefited from a DP who jived better with May though. From what I read, Storaro would fight with May over how to shoot the movie, and a lot of it looks nice but isn't exactly good visual comedy.

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Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:58 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

nothing personal if I don't get to seeing (like I have all the other Class Trips), at least not until I get around to watching Oh Lucy

'cause I probably owe it to May to see her stuff given all the Mike Nichols movies I've seen. even The Fortune and nobody's seen that!


Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:34 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I'll be there.

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Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:29 pm
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Rock wrote:
From what I read, Storaro would fight with May over how to shoot the movie, and a lot of it looks nice but isn't exactly good visual comedy.

And, of course, Beatty and the studio would side with Storaro, undermining May's authority on the set. I mean, the most fair I can be is that Beatty has a reputation for undermining all of his directors, or trying to at least, and May just happened to be the only female director that he ever worked with. Still, how expedient it was that, as producer, Beatty was able to dodge a lot of the blame for these cost overruns and such.

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
even The Fortune and nobody's seen that!

I have! The film is...OK. Once you can get past the expectations of the creative pedigree involved, the film is quite charming actually. Nicholson and Beatty come off like Cagney and Gable, if the two were to ever have made a comedy together. Nicholson in particular is hilarious, and Beatty's stiffness is excusable in that Gable context.


Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:12 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
I have! The film is...OK. Once you can get past the expectations of the creative pedigree involved, the film is quite charming actually. Nicholson and Beatty come off like Cagney and Gable, if the two were to ever have made a comedy together. Nicholson in particular is hilarious, and Beatty's stiffness is excusable in that Gable context.


I know the Coen Brothers like it, so I enjoyed picking out what elements have resurfaced in their work even if I didn't find the movie too funny overall.

just for the heck of it, what do you like better: The Fortune or Ishtar?


Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:50 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
just for the heck of it, what do you like better: The Fortune or Ishtar?

I'll take Fortune just for Jack, but I agree with Rock that Ishtar is quite amusing taken as a modest comedy which couldn't possibly justify its own budget. There are three or four scenes there that I think work wonderfully. (Trying to find something to write with in the desert when inspiration hits, for example.)


Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:20 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I'm watching this now! If I don't make it back to say something today, I'll definitely be here tomorrow.

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Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:23 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Great film. (My first watch)

*That last shot is exactly how I wanted the film to end and they nailed it.

*I originally had sort of a problem with the fact that Kelly is rarely allowed to be any deeper than just a "dream girl" character but I've now decided that that was sort of the point. And while I think Lila came a bit too close to overly unlikable at times, I ultimately think they got her right too. She had her annoying foibles while not being obnoxious enough to deserve being abandoned after 5 days. Excellent balancing act there, I thought.

*Although Neil Simon is responsible for two of my favorite films, for some reason I've never gotten around to watching a third film till now. While this is an adaptation, I could still recognize an occasional Simon-ism so this turned out to be a timely choice given his death this week. I'll definitely seek out more. (And more from May as well)

*Eddie Albert is great in this

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Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:58 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I guess I should get the movie started sooner than later then.

Captain Terror wrote:
I think Lila came a bit too close to overly unlikable at times, I ultimately think they got her right too. She had her annoying foibles while not being obnoxious enough to deserve being abandoned after 5 days. Excellent balancing act there, I thought.

I think Jeannie Berlin is great, deserving of her Oscar nomination, for maintaining this balance. She's pitiful and irritating but not unsympathetic, especially compared to Grodin. He's obviously pretty pitiful, petty, selfish and given to accommodating the kvetch himself. And Elaine May deserves a lot of credit for maintaining Lily's relative sympathy, with Berlin being her daughter. It's hard not to feel sorry for her as Lenny prioritizes his feelings. Of course, they're really perfect for each other.

Captain Terror wrote:
I could still recognize an occasional Simon-ism so this turned out to be a timely choice given his death this week.

Sure, I guess I'll get blamed for that too :shifty:

Captain Terror wrote:
I'll definitely seek out more.

I assume that one you've seen is The Odd Couple, and if not, then what are doing? For more Jack Lemmon, try Out-of-Towners or Prisoner of Second Avenue. Walter Matthau is a standout in both Plaza Suite and California Suite. Alan Arkin is hilarious in Last of the Red-Hot Lovers. Simon also adapted The Lonely Guy from a story by Bruce Jay Friedman (who wrote the original story for Heartbreak Kid), and it's a more low-key comedy from 80s Steve Martin.

Captain Terror wrote:
*Eddie Albert is great in this

He had the other Oscar nom. The long shot of him going from smiling to steaming as Lenny explains his proposal is fantastic. I've seen some descriptions of the film that describe Albert as the film's antagonist. I'm not sure if those people understood the moral frame of the film.


Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:42 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I really do hate the fact that mentioning the 2007 Farrelly Brothers remake is inevitable, so I'll go ahead and get it out of the way. As distasteful as it is to acknowledge its existence, I feel that it's nevertheless instructive to make the comparison. It isn't even so much that the 2007 version is utterly unfunny, incompetant and a waste of time, but it's in the changes that were made while being uniformly cheap and degrading are also in crucial instances complete perversions of the intended arc and themes of the original. So, inevitably, one can spotlight what the original film gets right in terms of story and characters by a direct juxtaposition to what the remake gets so very terribly wrong. (I promise that none of the examples I'll use will require having to actually watch the 2007 version.)

Lila is the single most important change from the '72 to the '07 versions. Fundamentally, the Friedman/Simon/May sensibility is steeped in Jewish bourgeois culture. I wouldn't be a stickler about it normally - I think that the story of a decidedly average man attempting to woo out of his social league transcends strictly ethnic culture. Indeed, these days, Berlin's Lila would veer close to outright stereotype. The remake dispenses with any identifiable distinction within white ethnicity (saving its stereotypes exclusively for black and hispanic people), so the original's focus on the shiksa becomes irrelevant. I think that any "unattainable ideal" will suffice.

More importantly, Lila in the remake is turned from irritatingly mundane to a full-scale psychopath. Since the film was made by brothers, rather than a mother, they felt a need to justify as much as possible the husband's rationale for leaving his wife, and while May created much of her humor out of the implied cruelty and selfishness inherent in this, the Farrally's go to great extremes to make this decision seem like the only sensible option possible. They also helpfully make his newfound love much closer in age to Lenny and remove all of the less comfortable power dynamics which had justifiably enraged the father, Eddie Albert. Every major decision, it seems, is in the service of making Lenny (or "Eddie", whatever) a totally incomplicit nice guy. They reverse the definition of the "Heartbreak Kid" from one who selfishly cannot satisfy himself or others to one who has had several unfortunate disasters beyond his control that has kept him from personal satisfaction. The shift here isn't subtle, and it's absolutely fatal to the intended satire in the '72 original, which is so perfectly captured in that mockingly sarcastic final shot of the helplessly bored Grodin.


Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:21 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I think this might be my favorite Class Trip film I've seen. I thought the film balanced Lila really well by showing most of her annoying behavior near the start and having her feel easier to sympathize with as the film featured more of Lenny's questionable behavior. Because of this, the film gradually directs your agitation from one character to another. I also think the film utilized the song "Close to You" really well, because every time it was played, it evoked a different emotion. I wasn't sure how they were going to end the film, but I think the final few minutes were perfect and darkly humorous. Thanks for picking this film, Janson.

9/10

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Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:49 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I wasn't aware of the Oscar nominations but both were well-deserved. I'll assume that May was not similarly recognized. (*googlegoogle*....nope)

Nothing you've said about the remake is the least bit surprising to me, although still depressing. Makes one wonder what the motivation was in the first place. Could the Farrellys have completely missed the point so thoroughly? Or was it a conscious decision to alter the story's entire raison d'etre? Never mind, I've already put more thought into that than it deserves.

Odd Couple and Out-of-Towners are the two Simon films I've seen. The latter has been a family favorite since my childhood and as a result there's a group of us who routinely quote it on a near-daily basis, so there's no excuse for me to not have sought out more Simon stuff. Prisoner is one that I've always had my eye on, so maybe that'll be next.

Later in the day I watched Mikey and Nicky and holy cow that one's great too. So now I've got A New Leaf and Ishtar on my Netflix queue. May should be more famous.

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Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:25 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

God, I really enjoyed this one. Thank you for giving me a reason to watch this, Jinnistan.

I don't think I can add much that hasn't already been said, but I just wanted to emphasize how great Jeannie Berlin is in this. It's amazing how she can be annoying and yet so lovable at the same time.


Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:06 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

This was really good! My third by May (I still need to see Ishtar), and it's pretty much perfect. Great dark humor, carried through to its logical end. Cheating husbands in film are a pet peeve of mine (guess why, haha), but Lenny's such a jerk cheating is the least of it!

I didn't realize Jeannie Berlin was May's daughter. She's amazing as Lila! Of course she's irritating – everyone is! (Plus she's only 21!) That scene at the seafood restaurant will stick with me forever. Traumatizing.

Jinnistan wrote:
Of course, they're really perfect for each other.
I think you mean background, education, family, etc., right? Because Lenny's too self-absorbed to be perfect for anyone. :(

Great Class Trip pick!

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Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:14 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

I have nothing to add, just wanted to chime in that it is an obviously great film.


Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:45 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Captain Terror wrote:
Later in the day I watched Mikey and Nicky and holy cow that one's great too.

That one is also out-of-print and not too easy to find. Did you find it on Youtube or elsewhere?


Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:29 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
That one is also out-of-print and not too easy to find. Did you find it on Youtube or elsewhere?

The TubiTV app on my Amazon stick, of all places.

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Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:52 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I think you mean background, education, family, etc., right? Because Lenny's too self-absorbed to be perfect for anyone. :(

I'm not someone who believes that people should only date within their own cultural milieu, so it isn't that. I think that they're combatible on an intellectual/emotional level. Like she can deal with his crabbiness by calling him a "grouch", making it something endearing or cute. His self-absorbtion doesn't seem to be a dealbreaker until he has to spell out the deal being broken. And she's also a bit self-absorbed, making him wait around while she fidgets with her hair. I can see the two turning into the typical nagging couple where their mutual greivances becomes a mode of affection. I think this realization is what panicked Lenny, and not because it isn't precisely accurate. So Lenny spends the rest of the film as a projection of himself, one that only Kelly's father can see through, although even he's confused by his motives. Lenny just wants a "totally honest meal", but the film ends with a strong indication that his facade of integrity will wear away sooner than later and that Kelly will have far less tolerance of his grouchy inconsistency. Lenny would have been happier with someone, like Lila, who would have indulged his immaturity as a sweet vulnerability, rather than having to maintain the projection of a strong, resolute and determined man of principle. Lila would have shrugged off this pretension, but Kelly, pampered by her father, will doubtlessly discover that she shouldn't have to bother.

One of my favorite examples of Lenny's duplicity/self-deception is how
late in the film, after we've heard Lenny countlessly invoke his military service in Vietnam as an example of his strength and determination, we learn in an disarmingly casual aside that, due to a back injury, Lenny never actually saw in-country combat. Minor detail.


Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:06 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Thanks to everyone for watching and I'm grateful to pick a film that you could enjoy. It's a perfectly decent piece of pie, right?

I think that Grodin's pecan pie scene has to be up there with Jack's chicken-salad sandwich.


There are many films from previous trips that I have yet to see, so I'll have to do some deep-diving on my own.


Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:15 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

There's no insincerity in those potatoes. There's no deceit in the cauliflower. This is a totally honest meal.

I don't have anything to add that hasn't been said better upthread/

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Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:26 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
I think that they're combatible on an intellectual/emotional level. Like she can deal with his crabbiness by calling him a "grouch", making it something endearing or cute. His self-absorbtion doesn't seem to be a dealbreaker until he has to spell out the deal being broken.
Oh, got it. I guess I thought he was already second-guessing the first night, so he's one of those guys who, as soon as they get what they've been working for, are ready to move on. That's what I saw in him at the end, too. He's achieved his goal. What's next? Tomorrow he'll notice all her flaws.

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There are many films from previous trips that I have yet to see, so I'll have to do some deep-diving on my own.
I think I've seen 29 of the 36. Some of the best:

The House
Diabel
Sao Bernardo
Nanami: The Inferno of First Love
Freeze, Die, Come to Life
Shopping for Fangs

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Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:49 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Oh, got it. I guess I thought he was already second-guessing the first night, so he's one of those guys who, as soon as they get what they've been working for, are ready to move on. That's what I saw in him at the end, too. He's achieved his goal. What's next? Tomorrow he'll notice all her flaws.

I think that's correct. I think it may be wishful thinking on my part to believe that Kelly would be the one to eventually dump Lenny due to my more karmic preferences.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I think I've seen 29 of the 36. Some of the best:

The House
Diabel
Sao Bernardo
Nanami: The Inferno of First Love
Freeze, Die, Come to Life
Shopping for Fangs

Ah, good. I've only seen Diabel from those (which I also grabbed off Youtube about three years ago).


Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:39 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Watched A New Leaf this weekend, anyone else seen it? May writes/directs/stars in this one, featuring Walter Matthau as the cranky guy he's so good at. It's not quite Neil Simon-level (what is?) but it's very funny and although Matthau is a misanthrope it's got a more hopeful tone than Heartbreak Kid. I'd rank it 3rd among the 3 May films I've seen but it's still worth checking out.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:19 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

It's broader than The Heartbreak Kid but Matthau's pitch-perfect sleazeball and May's self-deprecating lovable yet grating doofus still put it in the top tier of romantic comedies. The scene where Matthau's accountant explains to him that he's broke is an all-time great comedy scene.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:07 am
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Rock wrote:
It's broader than The Heartbreak Kid but Matthau's pitch-perfect sleazeball and May's self-deprecating lovable yet grating doofus still put it in the top tier of romantic comedies. The scene where Matthau's accountant explains to him that he's broke is an all-time great comedy scene.

Yeah, this one fits squarely in the rom-com genre (I'm not really sure what Heartbreak Kid was :) ) but it's a notch above the run-of-the-mill. The accountant scene was great, and another favorite of mine is the fundraiser dance when he smashes the hat. His character could actually be seen as a combo of Felix and Oscar. Grumpy but fastidious.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:12 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

It's been a while since I saw A New Leaf, but I loved it.

I recently read that her producers took it away from her and edited it drastically, eliminating a darker subplot. That's a shame, but it's still pretty terrific.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:22 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Shieldmaiden wrote:
It's been a while since I saw A New Leaf, but I loved it.

I recently read that her producers took it away from her and edited it drastically, eliminating a darker subplot. That's a shame, but it's still pretty terrific.

That actually makes sense, as this was a bit fluffier than the other two films I've seen. Too bad.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:23 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Maybe my favorite thing about the dynamics of A New Leaf is that her character is able to be really, really smart. She's not just nice. Just not just adorkably clumsy. She's not just generous. She's actually kind of a quirky genius. The film doesn't want you to like her out of just pity, but also because she genuinely has something to offer.


Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:25 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
Maybe my favorite thing about the dynamics of A New Leaf is that her character is able to be really, really smart. She's not just nice. Just not just adorkably clumsy. She's not just generous. She's actually kind of a quirky genius. The film doesn't want you to like her out of just pity, but also because she genuinely has something to offer.

Yes, and I liked that Matthau came around thanks to finding the fern, rather than some sort of "ugly duckling turns into swan" moment, where she'd glam herself up and he'd realize she was prettier than he thought. There were a couple of moments that I thought were setting that up, but in every case it was subverted, like the absurd amount of trouble she had in wearing her "Grecian robe". Good stuff.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:29 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Captain Terror wrote:
Yes, and I liked that Matthau came around thanks to finding the fern, rather than some sort of "ugly duckling turns into swan" moment, where she'd glam herself up and he'd realize she was prettier than he thought. There were a couple of moments that I thought were setting that up, but in every case it was subverted, like the absurd amount of trouble she had in wearing her "Grecian robe". Good stuff.


Her getting stuck in the outfit was one of the more relatable things I've ever seen. Lots of dressing room flashbacks.


Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:40 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I recently read that her producers took it away from her and edited it drastically, eliminating a darker subplot. That's a shame, but it's still pretty terrific.

The story of her career. Again, I dread to even begin to imagine what would have happened if some dude in Hollywood had the gall to even try to double the budget or shoot a month over schedule. I guess we'll never know....

Captain Terror wrote:
Yes, and I liked that Matthau came around thanks to finding the fern, rather than some sort of "ugly duckling turns into swan" moment, where she'd glam herself up and he'd realize she was prettier than he thought.

I consider myself something of a Walter Matthau zealot. I can watch him in just about anything (two hours of sipping beer while watching an opera? - no problem as long as he hums a little after each sip).

But I also think that the notion of him as a playboy, who deserves to demand high beauty standards from women, is so absurd on its face. Or his face, that rubbery mug of his.


Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:15 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
But I also think that the notion of him as a playboy, who deserves to demand high beauty standards from women, is so absurd on its face. Or his face, that rubbery mug of his.

The Pigeon sisters liked what they saw.

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:56 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
Again, I dread to even begin to imagine what would have happened if some dude in Hollywood had the gall to even try to double the budget or shoot a month over schedule. I guess we'll never know....
Haha!
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But I also think that the notion of him as a playboy, who deserves to demand high beauty standards from women, is so absurd on its face. Or his face, that rubbery mug of his.
Yes. Perfect comic casting!

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Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:02 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
But I also think that the notion of him as a playboy, who deserves to demand high beauty standards from women, is so absurd on its face. Or his face, that rubbery mug of his.


But it's also incredibly . . . accurate? Not that he "deserves" sexy company, but that men like him whose entire value is their bank account have that finely honed sense of entitlement.


Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:17 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
But it's also incredibly . . . accurate? Not that he "deserves" sexy company, but that men like him whose entire value is their bank account have that finely honed sense of entitlement.

It's just very unorthodox to cast Matthau as a ladykiller (is there another film where he's in this role?), and I think that this disconnect makes his performance here far more funny than had it been cast with an actor more associated with male privilege. Someone like, say, Burt Reynolds or James Caan or Ryan O'Neal. Instead, Matthau is like the crude id in the flesh, but he also has that softness at heart which is never far from his surface.

To contrast, consider Matthau's segment in California Suite, also opposite Elaine May as his wife, and the humor of the premise is entirely predicated on his utter incompetance at dealing with sex.


Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:31 pm
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
It's just very unorthodox to cast Matthau as a ladykiller (is there another film where he's in this role?), and I think that this disconnect makes his performance here far more funny than had it been cast with an actor more associated with male privilege. Someone like, say, Burt Reynolds or James Caan or Ryan O'Neal. Instead, Matthau is like the crude id in the flesh, but he also has that softness at heart which is never far from his surface.


I took the film more to be showing that because he came from money, he knew how to be charming (and deceptive) to get what he wanted.


Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:51 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
I took the film more to be showing that because he came from money, he knew how to be charming (and deceptive) to get what he wanted.
That's certainly a lot less funny.

Actually, I think Jinnistan nails it with the contrast within Matthau himself (the crude id vs. softness). It's that, far more than his looks, which mirrors the essential conflict of the plot.

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Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:04 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Shieldmaiden wrote:
That's certainly a lot less funny.

Actually, I think Jinnistan nails it with the contrast within Matthau himself (the crude id vs. softness). It's that, far more than his looks, which mirrors the essential conflict of the plot.


But there's a difference between what we the audience see of him and what the other characters see of him. Admittedly it's been a while since I've seen it, but when he is charming the women in the beginning, that isn't him speaking from a genuine place of kindness. His character is good at putting up a front and saying what needs to be said. Over the course of the film we see that superficial "nice guy" routine slowly get replaced by a genuine kindness.

In terms of his character, I agree that the charm lies in that contrast and the way that he can say something completely mean and then in the next breath offer a genuinely helpful suggestion or come to her defense. The humor, for me, is in the fact that he can't actually bring himself to be a bad guy.

The idea of a schlubby guy being a playboy and chasing beautiful women isn't humorous to me because that's actually a reality, but I get what Jannistan is saying about how that makes for a difference and exacerbates the absurdity because usually wealthy people in films (especially protagonists) are also good looking.


Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:22 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
But there's a difference between what we the audience see of him and what the other characters see of him. Admittedly it's been a while since I've seen it, but when he is charming the women in the beginning, that isn't him speaking from a genuine place of kindness. His character is good at putting up a front and saying what needs to be said. Over the course of the film we see that superficial "nice guy" routine slowly get replaced by a genuine kindness.

In terms of his character, I agree that the charm lies in that contrast and the way that he can say something completely mean and then in the next breath offer a genuinely helpful suggestion or come to her defense. The humor, for me, is in the fact that he can't actually bring himself to be a bad guy.

The idea of a schlubby guy being a playboy and chasing beautiful women isn't humorous to me because that's actually a reality, but I get what Jannistan is saying about how that makes for a difference and exacerbates the absurdity because usually wealthy people in films (especially protagonists) are also good looking.
OK, yeah. I can't argue with any of this. :)

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Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:01 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Yeah, it never even occurred to me to consider Matthau's relative attractiveness. Not only is that the way it works in reality, it's not uncommon for movie couples either, where the guy is "dating out of his league" so to speak.

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Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:09 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Captain Terror wrote:
Yeah, it never even occurred to me to consider Matthau's relative attractiveness. Not only is that the way it works in reality, it's not uncommon for movie couples either, where the guy is "dating out of his league" so to speak.


And just to add one more thought, I think that the film is about the notion of value. At the beginning Matthau judges others (and specifically women) as having value by virtue of beauty or money.

And, importantly, he also values himself by virtue of his bank account.

Through the film he finds worth in a women that comes from her personality and intelligence, and he also finds worth in himself in these same elements.

I love the idea of discovering a better version of yourself through learning to like/love someone else.

The only thing I struggled with in the film was that the dynamic between the two became SO paternal at some points that the idea of them being sexually intimate kind of grossed me out.


Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:46 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
But there's a difference between what we the audience see of him and what the other characters see of him. Admittedly it's been a while since I've seen it, but when he is charming the women in the beginning, that isn't him speaking from a genuine place of kindness. His character is good at putting up a front and saying what needs to be said. Over the course of the film we see that superficial "nice guy" routine slowly get replaced by a genuine kindness.

In terms of his character, I agree that the charm lies in that contrast and the way that he can say something completely mean and then in the next breath offer a genuinely helpful suggestion or come to her defense. The humor, for me, is in the fact that he can't actually bring himself to be a bad guy.

We seem to agree on the basic mechanism that I was referring to. What I meant was to point out that Matthau has a very "on the sleeve" performance style. I think he's perfectly transparent, and even when he's being falsely charming here, it comes off to me as absolutely transparently unctuous. I don't feel that his motives, whether his avarice and ego or his later tenderness, are ever ambiguous or in doubt. And I think that another actor, more of the typical playboy-type of the time, would have added a layer of (more convincing) subterfuge to the performance that would have missed a lot of the comic potential. What I meant by Matthau's "crude id" is simply that, a very frillless vehicle, almost a cartoon of a washed out playboy, where any pretense of suave-itude is automatically giggle-inducing.

Takoma1 wrote:
I get what Jannistan is saying

Sounds like a dork to me. Who is this guy?

Takoma1 wrote:
The only thing I struggled with in the film was that the dynamic between the two became SO paternal at some points that the idea of them being sexually intimate kind of grossed me out.

Generally speaking (beyond the film at hand), I find that certain paternal elements are inevitably emergent in a sexual relationship. I think that this is neither unnatural or unhealthy although it can manifest in ways are that can be abusive or controlling. But I find that, as a Freudian instinct, it's nothing to be ashamed of.


Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:57 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
Generally speaking (beyond the film at hand), I find that certain paternal elements are inevitably emergent in a sexual relationship. I think that this is neither unnatural or unhealthy although it can manifest in ways are that can be abusive or controlling. But I find that, as a Freudian instinct, it's nothing to be ashamed of.


Yes, romantic and sexual relationships often have a caretaking element which can evoke the kind of care that you would get from a parent.

But the palpable age difference (he's 51, she's 39), her child-like demeanor, and moments like him helping her dress or eat her food veer too far into parent-child territory for me. Also, he seems totally disinterested in her sexually and the idea of that being an element of their relationship just didn't seem to mesh with what we see on screen.


Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:11 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
Also, he seems totally disinterested in her sexually and the idea of that being an element of their relationship just didn't seem to mesh with what we see on screen.

That's right, but I think that part of Matthau's (Henry's) growth, as a playboy, is transcending past sexuality as the focus of a romantic relationship, so it makes sense to subvert his expectations here. And more so, it's worth noting that it doesn't seem that he receives any of the expected dominent pleasures in these parental actvities, such as dressing and feeding her, instead this is something which irritates him further.


Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:22 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Jinnistan wrote:
That's right, but I think that part of Matthau's (Henry's) growth, as a playboy, is transcending past sexuality as the focus of a romantic relationship, so it makes sense to subvert his expectations here. And more so, it's worth noting that it doesn't seem that he receives any of the expected dominent pleasures in these parental actvities, such as dressing and feeding her, instead this is something which irritates him further.


I'm not bothered by his domination in the relationship. Like we've all noted above, it comes from a place of (at first reluctant) caretaking in spite of him wanting to see her as nothing more than a walking insurance payout. I'm just saying that on the continuum the dynamic between them was just too much parent-child for my taste. I'm not saying that I can't see them having a happy, rewarding partnership. Just that the idea of them having a sexual relationship doesn't feel quite right to me.


Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:06 am
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Post Re: Corrie Class Trip 3.0 #12: The Heartbreak Kid (Sat. 09/0

Takoma1 wrote:
Just that the idea of them having a sexual relationship doesn't feel quite right to me.

I'm sure it would be awkward, but maybe amusing in kinda muppety sort of way.


Is there some formal process of passing the baton for the next trip, or should I just leave it open for all-comers?


Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:54 am
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