Well this is an interesting week because I put down all the movies that fit the theme and realised I accidentally had a theme within a theme. It’s nothing special but I think it’s funny how all my movies this week begin with the letter “G”. Oh, and to make it even more special, my actual name starts with a letter “G” as well!
1. GET OUT (2017)
One of the most wonderful success stories of this year is definitely Jordan Peele’s Get Out. It’s not just a success in numbers but it’s actually more of a success because it’s truly interesting, horrific and socially aware. I didn’t mention Get Out last month not only because it didn’t fit the themes, but also because it’s the perfect film for the theme “stranger”. The main character is a stranger to this family, but also, a stranger to the society in a way, because the movie provokes such strong and powerful racial messages. It’s one of my favourite horror movies and I especially love the performances of the entire cast.
2. THE GIFT (2013)
Another one of those surprises for me is definitely The Gift, which is about a stranger from the past suddenly making an appearance in a married couple’s life. It’s directed and written by Joel Edgerton, and plays the stranger himself, while Jason Bateman plats opposite to him. It’s interesting, it has a jump scare, it’s surprising.
3. THE GREAT GATSBY (2013)
Though Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby isn’t my favourite movie out there, I do appreciate it’s beauty. After reading the novel I watched the movie but honestly, I don’t know if it’s me, or not, but I still don’t get the entire plot. What I do know is that the mystery of Gatsby himself makes him a stranger to others, and maybe even to the viewer.
THIS SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES0
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I’ve never seen The Great Gatsby but I love your first two picks! The Gift was a lot better than I expected it to be.
The Gift was a surprise to me as well, Jason Bateman surprised me but he surprised me even more in Ozark!
I haven’t seen your first two yet but have seen Gatsby.
It’s a terrific choice for the theme since Gatsby is a stranger to everyone but Daisy and even then she nor we really can know him. I’ve seen all the sound versions of the story and this one is my least favorite because of the liberties taken with the story and the fact that DiCaprio doesn’t feel at home in the lead. Strangely the 70’s Robert Redford version suffers from the same thing and Redford at least appearance wise seems so ideally Gatsby but that’s a beautiful looking rendition. The best of the three for me was the 40’s film with Alan Ladd for the simple reason that he seemed comfortable in Gatsby’s skin. However all three suffer from the same main problem the actress playing Daisy is nowhere near Fitzgerald’s admittedly abstract conception of the character.
It was nice to move away from horror this week, it made finding picks easier. Here’s my three:
I’ve only seen Forces of Nature which was cute because of the pairing of the leads but I thought the movie rambled too much eventually into meaninglessness. I didn’t hate it by any means but its not something I’ve watched since that first time.
I didn’t see this version of The Hitcher but did see the original with C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer and while it was professionally made it had such a vile concept at its core I hated every minute of it and can’t imagine putting myself through that again.
Hush may be good but I’m suffering from a horror burnout.
That said with the horror month behind us I found this week’s picks much easier to come up with.
The Night Digger (The Road Builder) (1971)-Maura Prince is a lonely woman with some physical disabilities (Patricia Neal-returning to work after suffering a series of strokes which had caused great paralysis which she was still struggling to overcome) lives as a virtual servant to her feeble but domineering mother (Pamela Brown) taking care of her and their large home in the English countryside. Into their lives and strained relationship rolls moody, handsome mysterious biker Billy Jarvis (Nicholas Clay) to cast their lives into upheaval. Maura is at first guarded against Billy’s off kilter charm and her mother contemptuous but as time moves along Maura beings to soften and find herself attracted to him. There’s just one problem Billy’s in the habit of wandering away and disappearing at night which seems to correlate to a series of murders in the surrounding area.
Knife in the Water (1962)-A wealthy couple are headed to go sailing for a few days when they encounter a hitchhiker along the way. Despite some antagonism between the two men the couple invite the young man to accompany them on their trip. There the tension escalates as an attraction builds between the hitcher and the wife as well as resentment between the two men. When an altercation leads to a mystery things take a dark turn. Roman Polanski’s breakthrough picture, nominated for Best Foreign Film, is a tense three person drama.
The Stranger (1946)-Professor Charles Rankin (Orson Welles) has a dark secret, he is in actuality escaped war criminal Franz Kindler one of Hitler’s architects of the final solution. One day his former assistant Meinike appears in town and beseeches him to confess his sins, fearing exposure Rankin kills him and buries him in the woods on the edge of town. Shortly afterwards a stranger arrives, Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) an agent for the War Crimes Commission who had been tracking Meinike in hopes he would lead him to Kindler. Suspecting Rankin almost immediately because he shares Kindler’s fascination with clocks Wilson tries to enlist and warn Rankin’s wife Mary (Loretta Young) to the truth. Initially doubtful she grow wary when Wilson mentions Meinike since she knows he had visited her husband. Under increasing pressure Rankin decides to eliminate all obstacles to his freedom leading to a taut showdown. Welles directed as well as stars in this noir set in small town America.
So no Greta Gatsby cinematic adaptations has had the right casting for Daisy? That’s interesting.
Oops I meant to reply to this earlier. Daisy is such a tricky character since the way Fitzgerald writes her she’s more of an ideal than a flesh and blood woman. All the women who have portrayed her have been fine actresses but they are missing a certain ethereal quality that is innate in conveying Daisy’s essence. Not a one of them have what I’ve always seen as a key element to Daisy and which is one of the first things that Fitzgerald used as a descriptive in the novel…a voice full of money.
Betty Field who played her in the 40’s version sounded like she was fresh from the Bronx by way of Boston and both Mia Farrow and Carey Mulligan have high reedy voices that they try to make sound cultured. But if you’re familiar with the actress Alexis Smith or the recently departed Dina Merrill both of whom spoke in full-bodied precise tones that belie a moneyed education that’s what I’m referring too. In a way it’s a make or break piece of the character since with it comes a way of expression and carriage that would inform the role.
My recommendation is going to be The Guest with Dan Stevens.
I wanted to add it here but I didn’t have time to watch it and I didn’t want to recommend something I haven’t seen, obviously! 😀
I have only seen The Great Gatsby and I disliked this version so much even though I like the actors. I haven’t seen the other 2 picks but I’d like to see The Gift
I haven’t seen any other Greta Gatsby adaptation so it’s hard for me to compare but I totally recommend watching The Gift!
So cool to see The Gift here. I thought that was a perfectly decent thriller. Edgerton really crushed all of his roles on that movie.
Edgerton and Bateman for me really stood out, Bateman especially since it’s so rare to see him in serious roles!
The gift sounds really interesting.
What about the plot of Great Gatsby don’t you get. I too have read the book and seen two adaptations. I guess I’m the opposite, I get the plot, I just don’t get why the book is so popular.
Maybe that the book for me was confusing due the language, I tend to be very weak with classic novels and understanding them. And well, the confusion continued with the screen adaptation because I wasn’t invested in the characters. You could say I didn’t connect with them, which muddled the plot for me, and well, I probably wasn’t paying enough attention to it.
Great picks! I can’t believe I still haven’t seen Get Out, and I’ve never been a big fan of The Great Gatsby. You’re not the only one!
Watch Get Out now!