Catching up with some movies and TV, both old and new.....
Let's start off with this amazing documentary made by Ezra Edelman. I recently, finally, got around to watching this via On Demand. The film was made by ESPN Films. It runs almost eight hours in length, and is shown in five parts. I guess that you could say that the movie is "about" O.J. Simpson, his rise as an American hero, the murder of his wife and her friend, his arrest, trial, and acquittal, and his life after the trial leading up to his current incarceration in Nevada. But it is also "about" so much more. It is a history of the dealings and operations of the Los Angeles Police Department, race relations in Los Angeles throughout the twentieth century, race relations in America, and the criminal justice system.
When you say "documentary" and "almost eight hours long" your eyes may glaze over and you may be tempted to say "I pass", but do not do so in this case. "O.J. Made In America" is fascinating and totally and completely compelling. It also may very well win an Academy Award on Sunday for Best Documentary, and it will be a well deserved Oscar if it does.
Four Stars from The Grandstander.
Don't miss it.
You might also, if you have Amazon Prime, check out the ten episode Season One of "Z: The Beginning of Everything". It is the story of the courtship and marriage of Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is very stylishly done and rather entertaining. It stars, and is produced by, Christina Ricci as Zelda, and she is charming. Scott Fitzgerald is played by David Hoflin, and actor unknown to me, but he's also good in the role. The only other actor familiar to me in this one is David Strathairn, who plays Zelda's father.
Two and on-half stars from The Grandstander, but worth watching just to see Miss Ricci's performance.
A recent podcast interview that I heard with actor John Turturro prompted me to seek out Robert Redford's 1994 movie, "Quiz Show". This movie centers on the quiz show scandals of the 1950's. If this is a subject with which you are unfamiliar, it is worth doing a little research on your Google Machines to get some background on a most fascinating subject. Redford's movie stars Turturro, Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes, Paul Schofield, and David Paymer, and it is terrific. It was nominated for Best Picture that year, but it lost to "Forrest Gump", another example of when the Academy got it wrong, but I digress.
If you've never seen this one, do yourself a favor - seek it out and watch it. It's terrific.
Four stars all the way from The Grandstander.
"Midnight Lace" was a Hitchcock-type thriller made in 1960 that starred Doris Day. During a time when Day was playing the virtuous woman in a series of RomComs with Rock Hudson, James Garner, Tony Randall and others, this was departure for her (to me, at least), and she was quite good in it. In this one, she was always photographed in the best of lighting, she wore beautiful designer outfits, and she screamed a lot, but don't get me wrong, I liked the movie. Lots of misdirection and red herrings as to who the bad guy who was terrorizing Doris might be, so it kept you guessing, even though, in the end, you said, "well, I knew it was him all along." The movie co-starred Rex Harrison, John Gavin, Roddy McDowell, John Williams, and, as Day's "older" aunt, the great Myrna Loy. Loy, of course, was thirty-plus years past her "Thin Man" prime when this was made, but there were still elements of the spunky Nora Charles in her performance, and that is always worth seeing.
Two and one-half stars from The Grandstander.