Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, June 14, 2021

Announcing the Autumn in August summer movie festival!


As some of you may know, I have in the past set up the month of August as Bad Movie Month where the best of the worst was reviewed. While that was a lot of fun, the terrible no-good very bad year we shared in 2020 didn't feel right for such an entertainment outing.

The RomCom Comfort Food film fest that I did instead was a nice change of pace that I hope amused other folks as well during such a rough time. 

For this upcoming late summer season, my creative spirits decided to do something a little different yet again. So, LRG is happy to announce the Autumn in August movie festival, a quartet of films that just have that Fall feeling, plus are literary inspired as well. After all, those dog days of summer tend to be heavily humid and what better time for a good book and movie combo to chill out with?

 THE HOUSE OF MIRTH: Since I've been rereading Edith Wharton lately, it only seems fitting to include a couple of her adaptations here. This 2000 film stars Gillian Anderson as Lily Bart, a socialite in late 19th century New York who is starting to age out as a viable candidate for a wealthy marriage.

Part of Lily's problem is her utter lack of guile in claiming a husband, something that one of her married frenemies Bertha Dorset(Laura Linney) has in abundance. Particularly when it comes to Lawrence Selden (Eric Soltz), a bachelor lawyer who has no issue with a discreet affair or two yet can't bring himself to declare himself in love with Lily. 

The downfall of a social butterfly who is truer to her scruples than the upper class folk around is bittersweet and beautiful, with director Terrence Davies giving Lily Bart the true elegance that she yearns for onscreen:

THE AGE OF INNOCENCE: The first Edith Wharton novel that I ever read was due to this 1993 version, a pet project of director Martin Scorsese who saw little difference between the honor code of the criminal underworld and the  strict yet silent social order of New York in the 1970s.

As Newland Archer(Daniel Day-Lewis) finds himself torn between his sweetly doting fiance May(Winona Ryder) and hoping to be divorced Countess Ellen Olenska(Michelle Pfeiffer), it turns out that more than his heart is at stake. 

Subtle forces from within and without his immediate social circle do their best to steer him in what they consider to be the right direction yet the strong weapon in that arsenal is most unexpected indeed.

The film did win Best Costume Design at the Oscars that year but it really should have gotten Best Adapted Screenplay as well with Scorsese and co-writer Jay Cocks bringing this tightly woven world of words to a richly vivid cinematic life:


PERSUASION: Of course, I had to bring Jane Austen into this and like Age of Innocence, I was drawn to this posthumous work due to a film version. This 1995 Roger Mitchell(Notting Hill) production showcases the passionless plateau that Anne Eliot, played by Amanda Root, finds herself upon.

Stuck between her cold hearted father and chilly older sister Elizabeth, who must "retrench" due to their lack of financial management, and her always fancing herself ill younger sister Mary's household, Anne soon discovers that her former love interest Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds) is back and has done well for himself in his naval career.

Each of them finds the other in their social orbit at differing times, not sure of being just friends or reconnecting their romance. Will Anne allow herself to be influenced again in this situation or will this decision be taken out of her hands by other means?

While I know that other Persuasion adaptations are in the works as we speak, this one holds a special place in my bookish heart that no other can possess. Yes, I will certainly give the newer films a fair chance and appreciate them on their own merits yet this down to earth edition is like the porridge that Goldilocks chose for me:

YOU'VE GOT MAIL: Yes, folks, a film actually set in modern times! Although the technology necessary for the plot is rather old fashioned, it is fitting as director/writer Nora Ephron based this 1998 NYC located movie on a 1940 Jimmy Stewart romcom.

As rival booksellers Joe Fox(Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly(Meg Ryan) run into each other while fighting to claim a section of the city as their literary providence, romance is not far behind.

When Joe realizes that his secret online pen pal is Kathleen, things change in more ways than one but is a happily every after completely ruled out here?

Out of the three romantic comedies that Hanks and Ryan starred in together, I find this one to be the absolute best(Joe Vs. The Volcano is, however, highly underrated). The dialogue is a delight as are co-stars such as Jean Stapleton, Dabney Coleman and Dave Chappelle. Plus, the movie starts in the fall, so it's truly picture perfect for this occasion:

So, this is my line-up for Autumn in August and I cordially invite you all to stop in for a spell later this summer. My favorite time of year happens to be Autumn and it will be nice to relax during heat wave season with the promise of cooler days when school supply shopping is a treat for all ages:

1 comment:

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

This sounds fun! I will probably join you for most, if not all. I love the Age of Innocence film, and You've Got Mail.