Friday, February 16, 2018

Movie Review: “Harold and Maude” Reviewed by Lorraine Glowczak


There has been recent criticism that Hollywood has lost its creative juices and the film industry produces more sequels and reprises of movies than ever before. It is as if inspiration is locked in a cage somewhere and can’t get out. I must concede to the critics of the recent films. There isn’t much coming out of Hollywood these days that grabs my fancy and it is for this reason I review an old, dark comedy and cult classic, “Harold and Maude.”
 
When it came out in theaters in 1971, the reviews were not so kind. However, I’m going out on a limb and disagree with the critics of the early 1970s for not seeing the ingenious and radical humor this movie offered. 

The film was released during the height of the anti-war and anti-establishment movement and director, Hal Ashby, was in line with the present thought of the day over 40 years ago. It may not have appeared so radical then and I suspect the film may likely appear strange by today’s standards and norms. That’s why I love this movie and have watched it more than once.

Harold Chasen (played by Bud Court) is 20 years old, rich and suicidal. He has “tried” suicide by hanging, by slashing his wrists and throat, by shooting himself in the head, by drowning and setting himself on fire. He doesn’t really want to end his life, but wishes to get a reaction out of his emotionally absent mother (played by Vivian Pickles.) 

In the first scene, Harold “hangs” himself on a chandelier. Mrs. Chasen walks into the room and her reaction to her dangling son is simply, "Now, Harold, I suppose you think that's funny."

Harold has a fascination with funerals and attends the morbid services of people he does not know. Ironically, so does Maude (played by Ruth Gordon.).

Maude is 79, extremely poor but full of life. She plans to live vivaciously for the rest of her life – which she determines will be at the age of 80.  

Together, Harold and Maude attend funerals, picnic at demolition sites; ride fast in stolen vehicles and plant trees in the forest. They fall in love, flipping the more accepted norm of the old man and young woman romance. 

Maude offers wisdom to her younger love often. When he admitted he hadn’t tried something, her response was, “Try something new every day. After all, we are given life to find it out. We don’t last forever.”

Maude also reminds Harold that we should not get too comfortable in life or we will get trapped and forget to live fully. “Oh, how the world dearly loves the cage,” she says.

If you haven’t seen “Harold and Maude” yet and want to watch something with a quirky and creative curve that will stretch your awareness and comfort (aka cage) in life, you can easily find it on the many social media platforms. I purchased the film from YouTube for $2.99.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Movie Review of “The Post” (PG-13) - Reviewed by Lorraine Glowczak


If you haven’t had a chance to see “The Post”, starring Meryl Streep (as publisher, Katharine Graham) and Tom Hanks (as editor, Ben Bradlee) you must put this on your movie list now. 
 
Even though we know the outcome, the suspense and drama keep the viewers on the edge of their seats as Bradlee and Graham decide to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers, a classified report that described America’s involvement with Southeast Asia through four presidents. 
Director, Steven Spielberg, captured elegantly, the resentment between the government and the media during the early 1970s.  

Set in 1971, the film’s story begins with Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rys), a Marine who documents the progress of the U.S. military on a trip to Vietnam. Upon his return flight to the U.S., he reports to the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) that the war in Vietnam is hopeless. When McNamara makes a statement to the press announcing that all is going well, Ellsberg becomes disappointed and disillusioned. This is where the tide turns.

Becoming a government researcher,Ellsberg makes copies of the papers; giving them to The New York Times who prints them. In doing so, the Times is then accused of violating the Espionage Act and they are ordered to stop publishing for a week. In comes The Post and the thrilling drama that escalates.

The Post, which had been publishing rewrites of The Times’ articles, began running its own excerpts, becoming part of a Supreme Court showdown over the First Amendment. 

In addition to highlighting a critical time in American military history and society’s response to it, “The Post” also weighs in on what it is like to be a woman in a position of power during the early 1970s. 

Pushed into the career of publisher in her mid-40’s because of the suicide of her husband (who inherited the business from her father), Graham is timid and doesn’t trust her own judgement, despite the fact she is intelligent and is business savvy. But her confidence grows throughout the film, despite the lack of support in making a decision that could collapse a family business and/or send her and others to jail.

“The Post” is not only entertaining but captures historical details with accuracy and depth.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Saint Joseph’s College Ice Bar To Benefit Student Scholarships


The 7th Annual Saint Joseph’s College Ice Bar will bring together fire, ice, and good friends, with proceeds benefiting the Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship to support students. Community members are invited to join in on the fun on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 5-8 p.m. in the Alfond Center. Tickets can be purchased online in advance for $30 at www.sjcme.edu/alumni or at the door for $35. Each ticket includes one drink from the elegantly sculpted bar and tasty hors d'oeuvres like teriyaki beef sticks, spicy buffalo chicken dip, and chocolate fondue with fresh fruit. After the first drink, it is a cash bar and drinks will include craft beer, domestic beer, wine, mixed drinks, and specialty martinis. Festive winter attire is recommended for socializing around fire pits and in the cozy indoor lounge. For more information, contact the Alumni Office at alumni@sjcme.edu or (207) 893-7890.