Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Goldie Weekend

I very recently finished Goldie Hawn's autobiography, A Lotus Grows in the Mud. I've been a fan of Goldie since I was a little girl, watching her in Laugh-In on Nick at Nite and thinking she was so beautiful, and so funny.

Her autobiography woke up a real need for me to watch/re-watch some of her movies, so I decided to see how many the library had. Not enough for my taste, but there were three I'd never seen, so I sat down this weekend to watch them.

I started with the greatest Goldie film of all time, Overboard, and moved backwards down the time table from there.

When I first saw Overboard, I was a very little girl. My dad was a fan of the movie, and most movies my dad was a fan of, I became a fan of, because he liked to watch them over and over again. I wanted to be Joanna when I grew up. I wanted to be rich, with a yacht, and an Andrew. I wanted to order someone to bring me a lemon before I had to squeeze it out of my hat.

The movie is so ridiculously quotable, and hilarious. I defy anyone not to want to eat caviar after Joanna's early description of what it's supposed to taste like. I have yet to eat real caviar, but I have to say, if it doesn't meet up with her description of good caviar, I may be sorely disappointed.

The humor starts straight away, when Kurt Russell's Dean arrives at the yacht. It only amplifies once she's at home with him and the children. The house cleaning montage set to "Jim Dandy" is potentially one of the funniest movie montages ever created. Following it up with the "buh buh buh" scene makes for classic 80's movie making.

Charlie (Jared Rushton) is the only one of the children who went on to become a recognizable actor, and even then he wasn't in a lot of movies. The other young actors have been in so few roles, and it's shocking to me. I can't see why they wouldn't have moved onto work in so many other movies. So much of the movie's humor comes from their hilarious acting, and they pack the strongest emotional punch, chasing the limo and screaming for her to come back. The hardest part of the movie to listen to is Joey shouting, "You said Moms don't leave!" It gets me every time, no matter how often I watch the movie.

It's so easy to sort of lose interest once she gets more domestic, but Goldie keeps the energy going. When she stands up for her children to the teacher, and talks her down so perfectly and proclaims her children bright and sensitive and intelligent, it's the movie's true "stand up and cheer" moment. Even once she and Dean have kindled a sweet relationship, it still comes off as genuine. Goldie and Kurt's real life relationship must be fantastic and magical considering how much onscreen chemistry they possess.

There are bits and pieces of the movie that lag, mostly around the time of the golf course construction. But it quickly picks up when she gets back to the yacht and realizes she can't live the life anymore. This movie is a true treasure, and one of the classic 80's movies of all time.

Next up on the Goldie list was Private Benjamin. I’d heard about it, and heard it was funny, but for some reason I’d never seen any of it, not even small clips. I knew little to nothing about the plot, other than it was another Debutante-Out-Of-Sorts movie for Goldie Hawn. So, why not?

Unfortunately, the DVD menu ruined the surprise of the husband’s death for me. I made the mistake of accidentally clicking on the chapter menu, and saw Goldie in her funeral garb. Arrrgh. Though how he was going to die was different then anticipated, I thought he would go in the limo, making it all the more funny. He was a douchebag, though, and I wasn’t sorry to see him die.

This is pretty much typecasting for Goldie Hawn at this point, but she plays the fish out of water role so very well. She’s absolutely adorable in this, as a much sweeter (and rather stupider) version of Joanna from Overboard. Her naïveté is fun, yes, and watching her grow would be even nicer if it weren’t driven by the clichéd neglectful parents. But still, it is wonderfully fun.

I love that the movie is based partly at Fort Biloxi. I’m not a Mississippian, but I live close enough to have some pride in that. Is there even a real Fort Biloxi? So much for regional pride…

Goldie plays the role to perfection. I have friends who can’t walk in anything other than high heels. Slap them in tennis shoes, and they walk like they have that proverbial stick stuck somewhere unpleasant. In the original boot camp montage, with her running toward the wall and attempting to climb it, she absolutely nails the rich girl in boots run. Once she started to get into it, though, it was a real treat to watch. You can’t help feeling a little pride in her growth as a person, especially when she stands up to Thornhill after he attempts to rape her.

Though I have to say, is there normally so much makeup in the army? Even the bitchy frizzy-haired drill sergeant had too much on.

Armand Assanti is super hot in this movie. I’ve never found him attractive before. I knew almost immediately he was going to be a heartbreaker. It should be noted, the bar they were in that was supposed to be New Orleans? Really, really not. Also, the piano player in the jazz band? There should not have been an overhead shot of him “playing”. Unless you’ve hired a musician, or an actor who can actually PLAY the piano? You don’t want to do a wide shot showing how badly he cannot play.

Her hair was tragic in this movie, and dying it Macaroni and Cheese red did not help her case in the slightest. Also, what was with both wedding dresses? Could the costume designer not tailor them? And wow, how 80’s were they, really?

Good movie, I wasn’t disappointed.

Then I watched Shampoo. And I was all worlds of disappointed.

I’ve seen this movie on so many Best Movies Of lists, and I really cannot understand WHY. First of all, this is a movie about hairdressers. There’s so much focus on, “Let me do your hair. Oh, I love women, I love doing their hair.” Yet not only does Warren Beatty have the most tragic hair I’ve seen in recent history, but the only person who did not have tragic hair was Goldie Hawn. And her character was so tragic and throw-away that I couldn’t even forgive that.

This was such a pointless movie. Painfully pointless, in fact. The only part that was impressive was the soundtrack once they got to the pot party. I realize this is a movie from the 1970’s, so how much did it cost to use actual Beatles songs? I mean, there were two of them. Nowadays, that is not a cheap expense. Also, I think I heard a little Hendrix in there. I can’t help wondering how much it cost to use those songs back in 1975.

I’m really glad Beatty didn’t get the girl in the end. He was such a douchecanoe throughout the entire movie, and if he’d gotten any of the women, I would’ve been so pissed off. What a stupid movie this was.

The final Goldie movie I watched was Cactus Flower. I had very high expectations for this movie, because she is so very Laugh-In-esque in it. The short hair is adorable, and she has that huge toothy Goldie smile you see very rarely in her later movies. And her performance in this movie was truly adorable. She was so innocent and naïve, and just sweet natured. Her comedic skills really shone, and the Oscar she won was well deserved.

But she wasn’t the best part of this movie. That honor went to Ingrid Bergman. What a true lady she is. She played the role of the lovesick cranky nurse so perfectly, and I laughed more at her scenes than anything else in the film. She played her role beautifully, and it’s easy to see why she’s such a classic Hollywood actress. I’m horrified I’ve seen so few of her movies.

Despite my enjoyment watching these two ladies, this movie was a real disappointment for me. I think I expected too much because the cast was so stellar. The storyline was original, which is refreshing, but just played so awkwardly. And the idea of a relationship between Goldie’s character and Walter Matthau’s character horrified me a great deal. Not because he was older, but because he was so slimey. I also didn’t like the idea of a relationship between him and Ingrid Bergman’s character. I experienced the same thing as in Shampoo. Slimey guy deserves to end up alone, period.

So, it was actually a rather disappointing movie weekend. But I got to watch Overboard, and Private Benjamin was cute, so it’s not a complete loss.


  1. Wow, you poor, poor thing. That's the only way to describe somebody who'd call a fantastic social commentary movie like "Shampoo" pointless. Sad.

  2. Please, please tell me that one of the Ingrid Bergman movies you've seen is Casablanca?

  3. Dear Anonymous! Hi there! I more than welcome an opposing argument. I'll be the first to admit I can be shallow and flakey when it comes to deeper meanings. If you'd like to contibute a counterpoint, I would gladly hear it. There is always the chance I missed something.

  4. Melthie, have we not discussed my lack of classic movie viewing? ::hides::

  5. Hi Bunny, I was led to your blog via GoodReads. In early 2009 you posted a comment about Connie's book and mentioned she had passed. I had wondered what happened to Connie and her novel and occasionally (once a year) would look out for her. We used to belong to the same online writers group. She thought that Murder's Sweet Seduction had been picked up by a major publisher and she had signed a contract before she found out that the 'major' publisher wasn't much more than a vanity publisher. She vanished from the group as soon as she found out and despite one or two people reaching out to her, she never returned. I hope she had some happiness in her life.