The Bottom Shelf #106

I kinda like these two movies. But I've also been maxed out on painkillers all this weekend, so my judgment might be more skewed than normal.

JACK & SARAH (1995)
Directed by: Tim Sullivan
Starring: Richard E. Grant, Samantha Mathis

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I first watched this movie many years ago, back during my days of working at a video store. I took home the screener that our store was sent. Screeners used to be these VHS tapes that the distributing companies would send to the retailers hoping to entice them to order copies of their films. The best part was being able to see things that hadn't gotten a theatrical run and long before they would eventually get released on tape for the general public. The worst part was adapting to the ticker tape warning at the bottom of the screen that would run every 10 minutes, telling you to call a 1-800 number if you'd purchased the tape.

I was interested in watching JACK & SARAH for two reasons. It starred Richard E Grant, a man that I'd grown a certain degree of appreciation for after watching him in movies like WARLOCK and LA STORY. I was also 19 at the time and a total girl, so considering that it was packaged and marketed as being a romantic comedy, I thought I'd like it on that basis. However, JACK & SARAH is less of a romantic comedy between a British man and an American woman as it is a romantic (and oft times depressing) comedy about a man and the daughter that he is left to raise alone when his wife dies in childbirth. I understood after watching it why the distributors decided to angle it as being a story more about the relationship between the two leads.

But the movie is a strong story of a man discovering who he is as a father and what he wants to see happen with his child. After wandering off in a drunken depression with a homeless man (another huge plus in this film is that a couple of fantastic British actors, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, are given flavorful side roles) he is set-up by his parents and the mother of his deceased spouse. Learning that his life now should focus on the one thing that is most important to him - his child - he encounters opposition from a world that might be geared for single parents, but only for those of the feminine variety. The movie is decidedly British in its quiet sense of humour and that's what makes it far more appealing to me than American outings like THREE MEN AND A BABY.

Favorite Scene

When Grant diapers the baby Sarah with a cloth napkin and a handful of cotton balls and then calls a cab. The cabbie's reaction is great.

Favorite Line:

It's not so much a line, but the moment when the baby Sarah mimics the finger down the throat that Mathis does.

Trivia Tidbit:

Writer/director Tim Sullivan also helped write the script for the recent popular animated film, FLUSHED AWAY, in which actor Ian McKellen has a vocal role.

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Directed by: Alan Rudolph
Starring: Demi Moore, Bruce Willis

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I love Demi Moore's eyes. Richly green and shifty, it's in her eyes that she does the best acting. The minute she opens her mouth she usually ruins whatever allure her eyes managed to lock you into. Thankfully, in this flick she does more acting with her eyes, fidgeting nervously in a chair and trying to pull off a New Jersey accent left to a minimum. The film was made around the time that she and Bruce Willis were initially married and madly in love. Hell, the movie wasn't even supposed to feature the presence of Willis' character until he was the one who decided to take the role.

The greatest part about it is that the two actors aren't playing the unhappily married couple. Instead, Willis' character is married to Glenne Headly's character, the woman that Moore's character is best friends with. If it's vaguely confusing now, it only gets moreso as the movie progresses along, showing Headly as being frustrated with her miserable marriage and making multiple threats of wanting to off her not-so-dearly beloved. When the wretch turns up dead and Moore turns up at the police station to give her official statement, the picture slowly unfolds.

There have been better thrillers made. Ones with better acting, better directing and better scripts. However, I can't seem to turn away from this movie. It remains one of my personal favorites that Moore has ever done, perhaps because while trying super-hard like she usually does, somehow she doesn't manage to overshoot it like she usually does. Looking into those eyes, watching them flutter and glass over, I actually managed to get into the story and give a damn about her character rather than letting my own gaze glass over like it normally does when watching one of her movies. And at the end of the day, it's always better to see more of Moore in terms of not having to be pained at watching a director focus on how hot her body is since she's actually sporting a normal weight in this one.

Favorite Scene:

When Headly adds rat poison to the sugar that her husband demanded.

Favorite Line:

The fact that Willis has a line stating that his real-life wife's onscreen husband has more hair than head is beautiful irony to me.

Trivia Tidbit:

Actress Billie Neal who plays the mostly silent partner to Harvey Keitel's opinionated detective, has a role as a detective on the television "Law & Order."

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Why painkillers? Well, JoBlo broke my heart and I've just got to avoid the pain. He promised that he'd swing 'round and show me how well the Canadians get the job done and then stood me up. *sniffle* Although if he'd come 'round, I'm sure I would have needed the painkillers for a WHOLE other reason...



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