“I am not steak. You can’t just order me.”*
Because Mike Nichols (November 6, 1931 – November 19, 2014) died yesterday, I thought I would choose one of his films as my Friday movie pick.
The winner of an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, he was definitely one of the cool kids. He made 22 movies, but I’m sorry to say I’m not really a fan of any of them.
Two of his films took place at or near Smith College. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) was filmed in a house across from Sage Hall. The swing in the yard was still there 10 years later when I was a student there. It was fun to imagine Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton hanging out on my campus.
This is a great film, I suppose, but difficult to watch–all that drunken mean-ness and diatribe–somehow it always hit a little too close to home. So although I can recommend it, I won’t be watching myself.
Carnal Knowledge (1971) is about two Amherst College roommates, played by Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel, and their lives after they graduate. I saw it thirty years ago–because part of it had been filmed at Smith–and was appalled by it. I’m sure it wouldn’t shock me now, but it did then.
Of course, The Graduate (1967) is a great favorite of many people, but I am not one of them. Dustin Hoffman just seems so mis-cast to me.
Working Girl (1988) starring Melanie Griffith is a cute movie worth watching to see Alec Baldwin in a very early part as Tess’s tacky Irish boyfriend. Joan Cusack is pretty great too.
I may see if I can find this movie to watch, but I seem to remember that the big lesson learned is to dress for success and tone down the hair while you’re at it. Sigourney Weaver plays a grade A bee-atch who tries to steal night school-educated Melanie’s good ideas, but she shows her, right? Harrison Ford is the stand-up guy who looks uncomfortable in a suit. Everyone thought this movie was so radical. It was really just a 1930s re-tread updated a little.
So what to recommend? How about “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” from season five of The Simpsons? Mrs. Bouvier!!
Have a great weekend! I’ll be getting ready for the big feast on Thursday which will be at my house this year. What about you?
*Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) in Working Girl