Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Two Wise Guys at the Movies (5/18/17)

Alec Baldwin & Diane Lane (r) star in Paris Can Wait

This week: "Wise Guys" Arch Campbell and Bill Newcott chat about new movies, including Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin and Arnaud Viard.

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BILL: Let’s talk about the romantic comedy Paris Can Wait. It stars Diane Lane, whose husband is played by Alec Baldwin, and he’s too busy to drive with her from Nice to Paris, so he sends her in the company of a charming French guy.

ARCH: It’s Diane Lane and this French guy rolling through the South of France in a sports car eating great food. It’s not a movie: It’s Gourmet magazine! Have you seen it?

BILL: I saw it in Toronto last September.

ARCH: I’m mixed on it. There’s a lot to like, but it’s by no means great. What was the reaction in Toronto?

BILL: Well, the cast and the director were there; so of course, the audience jumped to its feet like it was Cries and Whispers.

ARCH: I think it’s a lovely combination of food, art and romance. I also think it’s a fantasy for men middle-aged and older, who think they are still charming to women who look like Diane Lane. Arnaud Viard plays the French guy...

BILL: In fact, he really is a French guy!

ARCH: Yes, and he’s just the type of French guy who makes guys like me feel like we’ve still got it.

BILL: Yeah, but we’re not French.

ARCH: Alec Baldwin is her grumpy husband; and I think he’s running the risk of playing the same character all the time. That, or Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.

BILL: Baldwin made this movie last year, well before the Donald Trump thing even began. It’s almost like we’re looking back at a different phase of Alec Baldwin’s career.

ARCH: It’ll be interesting to see what he does beyond this.

BILL: I don’t think I’d want to be Alec Baldwin; but it must be nice to be in Alec Baldwin’s position right now, where everybody wants you. Of course now he seems to fancy himself a political pundit.

ARCH: It’s like when Charles Grodin quit acting to become a political commentator on MSNBC: That didn’t work out. So what did you think of Paris Can Wait?

BILL: I’m positive on it, because it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than the cinematic soufflĂ© it is. In fact, I think we’ve already analyzed Paris Can Wait more than the people who made Paris Can Wait did.

Richard Gere stars in Norman


ARCH: This is one of my favorite movies of the year. Thank you for pointing me to it.

BILL: I actually think you ended up liking it even more than I did. We agree, though, that Richard Gere is fantastic in this film.

ARCH: Anybody who has lived in New York knows this character; a guy who just keeps making the rounds, making connections, and then trying to find a way to use those connections to make business deals. It’s like when someone calls Such-and-Such and says, “Come to my dinner party: So and So will be there.” And then they call So-and-So and say, “Come to my dinner party: Such-and-Such will be there!”

BILL: I have used that very strategy. Not proud to say it.

ARCH: The last third of Norman I thought, was just brilliant filmmaking... a couple of montages that really move the story along.

BILL: The director uses a lot of split screen, and that distracts me.

ARCH: It doesn’t bother me.

BILL: Your powers of concentration clearly exceed mine.

ARCH: Well, I was just blown away by Gere, playing this schlub who’s in over his head and drowning.

Oren Moverman's The Dinner

The Dinner:

BILL: Richard Gere is playing so many interesting characters these days - it’s clear he’s just cherry picking roles that look like fun, regardless of whether or not the movie is going to make a lot of money. Like his other new movie, The Dinner. He plays a governor who’s running for the Senate; this incredibly together guy, so different from Norman.

ARCH: Yeah, I put The Dinner in the category of “Didn’t See It, Don’t Want to See It.” Four people sitting around a dinner table? I’m out. No thanks! After all the movies I’ve seen, I’m entitled.

BILL: How many movies do you think you’ve seen? Have you ever tried to calculate?

ARCH: Well, the first movie I reviewed for TV was American Graffiti in 1973. But since 1980 I’ve done about 200 movies a year, so I guess close to 7,000.

BILL: Wow. My first professional movie review was Rollercoaster in 1977 - George Segal chasing an amusement park terrorist played by Timothy Bottoms.

ARCH: I don’t remember that one.

BILL: No? It was in Sensurround. Every time the rollercoaster went down a hill, your seat shook. But I’ve seen nowhere near that many movies. When I did Movies for Grownups, I could embrace the Arch Campbell “Didn’t See It, Don’t Want to See It” philosophy, and just see one or two movies a week.

ARCH: I think a lot of movie reviewers are sort of dour, grumpy people because they make so many bad movies, and we see so many bad movies. So I say, weed them out before they even get a chance to grow!