By Kirsten Coachman
Back in March, I thought I would be spending my time in quarantine trying to keep up with the different 2020 releases as they came out and catch up on the ones I had already managed to miss. And then in late June, I watched Barefoot in the Park for the first time, followed by Roman Holiday and Vertigo, and my entire viewing habits have since changed.
With my newly discovered love for old movies currently thriving, it is serving as my muse for Weekend Watches, a new weekly column here at Probably at the Movies. I will highlight the films I watch every weekend, from Friday evening through Sunday, as well as share a few thoughts.
For this first installment, there’s certainly a common thread among a handful (okay, a majority) of the below films. I’ll be aiming to mix things up in the future. (If you want to stay up to date with what I’m watching throughout the week, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd.)
Without further ado…here are my latest Weekend Watches! (Bonus: All first-time watches!)
Where the Money Is (2000)
By no means a Hollywood classic, however Where the Money Is stars an iconic leading man: Mr. Paul Newman. Also starring Linda Fiorentino and Dermot Mulroney, Mr. Newman plays a convict that is taken to a nursing home after faking a stroke. It plays out like a film that hit theaters in the mid-’90s–from premise to overall look and feel–but it provided me with a couple of hearty laughs, and I’m always here for that.
Slap Shot (1977)
Being that I love hockey, I’m not sure why I put off watching Slap Shot for so long. With hockey making its return this past weekend, I knew exactly what movie to watch. Also starring Mr. Newman (hello, common thread!), the 1977 film features the fictional Charlestown Chiefs, a lowly Federal League hockey team looking to go out on top as the bottom gives out on their future as a club. Another film packed with humor, albeit totally crass, I found an odd charm to it. Maybe it was just the excited hockey fan in me.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Marilyn Monroe. Tony Curtis. Jack Lemmon. On paper, I was like, sign me up. Less than an hour into the musicians-disguised-as-women-on-the-run-from-the-mob comedy, I ready to get off this train. Overall, I found the black and white venture a bit uneven. Ms. Monroe’s singing, however, was just a delight.
Yes, another film starring Mr. Newman. (Spoiler alert: Not the last one.) After watching a range of the actor’s films during the last month, it’s the ones from the back half of his filmography that have been standing out the most, as the characters he plays separate themselves from his earlier roles. As Earl Long, the eccentric and forward-thinking governor of Louisiana that falls hard for strip club performer Blaze Starr (played by Lolita Davidovich), the actor really digs in, seemingly approaching this zany character with an air of throwing caution to the wind. While it didn’t make the top the list as a favorite, I appreciate it for the variety it added to the mix.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
I can’t be the only one that rolls out of bed too early on a Sunday morning and is like, let’s watch the classic film that won Gregory Peck his Oscar. The film is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee (which I’ll fully admit here that I’ve never read–I KNOW–and I will be remedying that) and features a young Robert Duvall. The film really struck a chord with its powerful messaging about racial inequality, especially when it comes to the justice system. While it might not be the obvious choice to start one’s day with, it should be required viewing.
The Prize (1963)
My favorite watch of the weekend was The Prize, a murder mystery starring none other than Paul Newman! (You’re shocked, I know!) Mr. Newman plays a newly-minted Nobel Prize-winning literary writer, who has traveled to Stockholm to receive his honor and winds up fending for his life after picking up on some strange behavior from one of his fellow Nobel laureates (played by Edward G. Robinson). Technically, the film is billed as “a drama,” but it provided plenty of laughs for both a fun and enthralling viewing experience. Additionally, it offered up what is now one of my favorite lines of dialogue: “Never deny a man his right to be unconscious.”
All That Heaven Allows (1955)
My first Rock Hudson film! I love that his character wooed leading lady Jane Wyman with trees. My overall takeaway of this romance: If your kids disapprove of you marrying a partner that is younger than you, yet have the nerve to turn around and buy you a TV for Christmas so you don’t get lonely while they’re off getting married and living in Paris…uh, find new kids. (And marry that person!)
My final watch of the weekend once again starred Mr. Newman along with the fabulous Lauren Bacall, Arthur Hill, and Janet Leigh. As Lew Harper, Mr. Newman plays a somewhat cynical private investigator looking into the disappearance of a well-to-do woman’s husband. In comparison to The Prize, this long-winded caper didn’t manage to capture my attention nearly as well. The film’s storyline meandered to the point that it was often hard to keep all of the details straight. That said, I imagine at some point I’ll give this one another go.