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January 19, 2011


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Victor Morton

"I bet she shared some great Renoir stories with Eb and Mr. Haney."

Actually, it was Arnold Ziffel who was the Renoir scholar.

Kent Jones

Let's not forget that Percy Kilbride, destined to appear in the proto-sitcom MA & PA KETTLE series, was also in THE SOUTHERNER...thus bringing a touch of New England to the South.


Victor: One of my favorite GREEN ACRES moments is when Arnold goes missing, and the Ziffels are sure foul play is involved, because they find it hard to believe Arnold would miss his mid-terms.

Kent: And Walter Brennan is in SWAMP WATER. So maybe THE REAL MCCOYS is like a sitcom by Renoir? :)

Tom Block

Or else the ORIGINAL Beverly Hills sitcom. Granny Clampett was in "Diary of a Chambermaid" AND "Woman on the Beach".


Kent, jbryant and anyone else interested: what are your thoughts on "How Do You Know" if you've seen it? I saw it a few days ago and can't get it out of my head. I found it frustrating, with its intermittent spots of real beauty and pathos surrounded by some very awkward, even garish work. I'm trying to figure out the extent to which the two might rely on each other - or not.
Probably my favorite fascinating failure of the year, at least thus far.


I love a good "fascinating failure" -- Hollywood rarely gives us unalloyed greatness anymore, so we take what we can get -- but I haven't seen HOW DO YOU KNOW, and at this point it will undoubtedly be a Netflix thing for me. The reviews have certainly been disheartening, but that's been the case for the initial critical reception to many a director's late-career efforts, so I'll try to keep an open mind.

Kent Jones

Donald, I am unashamed to say that I actually liked HOW DO YOU KNOW. You can feel everyone finding the movie as they go along - the tone, the rhythm. So the first half hour or so is very odd, the movie that Anthony Lane was writing about in his snotty review. Nicholson seems lost in his own private miasma, it took a while for Paul Rudd to register (for me at least), and I found that Reese Witherspoon and her character were ever so slightly misaligned. But Owen Wilson is great (as usual), and as it moves along it becomes more layered and emotionally affecting, and I have to say that I thought the scene with Rudd and Witherspoon visiting his secretary in the hospital with her newborn baby and the father of her child - the videotaping, the replaying of the scene - was very good, and affecting (the guy who played the father was terrific). In the end, I really liked it.


So am I to presume that Jennifer Aniston is playing the Goldie Hawn role in this remake? That's nonsensical in that Aniston is about 40 now, whereas Hawn had just turned 24 when "Cactus Flower" hit theaters in late 1969. And Goldie had genuine charm and likability, whereas Aniston seems merely a device used by the magazine industry to boost sales at supermarket checkout counters.

If Columbia is trying to remake its old properties, what next? "The 30-Foot Bride Of Candy Rock," with Anna Faris (already eyed in another Hawn remake, "Private Benjamin") succeeding fellow University of Washington alumna Dorothy Provine as the titular blonde giantess?


Vincent: Judging from the trailer I saw, Aniston has the Ingrid Bergman role.


Kent and jbryant, thanks for your thoughtful replies.

Kent, you make a very good case for "How Do You Know" and even if I'm still not completely sold on its overall effectiveness, it's certainly one of the most ambitious movies I've seen in a while. That hospital scene you mention is a real knockout (I was cringing when I realized where it was going but swooning by the end). Very likely worth another look...


Yes, Aniston has the Bergman role; Hawn's is played by a swimsuit model named Brooklyn Decker. Apparently they couldn't find an actual actress.

Count me in as a HDYK supporter. The business with the Play-Doh was sublime, and I loved how Witherspoon actually seemed to be listening when the other characters spoke and reacting accordingly. On the other hand, Owen Wilson's loutish goofball schtick is losing its charm real fast...


HOW DO YOU KNOW is excellent. It's my favorite James L. Brooks movie, actually.

I don't want a rehash of last August's unpleasant material by any means, but just asking innocently, and I DO know the inclinations of the SCR audience:

Doesn't the whole "EVERYTHING USED TO BE BETTER" shtick ever get a little tiresome? What did Tony Soprano say about nostagia?

Movies today are as good as they've EVER been.


And the 'fake' LexG is just as much of an ass. I wonder if Kevin Smith's 'retirement' will last longer than yours?


I'm just saying, you wanna see REESEY LOOK AT HER in LITTLE BOOTY SHORTS and bare feet, or you wanna hear that godawful depressing TERMS OF ENDEARMENT synth music?

I'll take PIECE OF SPOON's booty shorts any day o' the week.


FakeLex: I don't really see anyone here claiming CACTUS FLOWER as an untouchable classic. What's tiresome is that every time someone online complains about a remake, some young pup pops up to assure everyone that movies are just as good today, as though that were the point.

Glenn Kenny

As someone who did NOT much like "How Do You Know," I find the arguments of its supporters here persuasive enough that I'm certain to give the picture another look...and yet I suspect I'll still have many of the same objections. I thought the pacing was logy, the staging awkward, and both of those elements had me overly aware of things that I ought not have been aware of in order for this sort of material to do its job on/with me, so to speak. I also felt the hospital scene was just a little too indulgent of its own tour-de-force-ness. On reflection, my experience of it reminds me a bit of how I felt about Cameron Crowe's much-trashed "Elizabethtown:" Head and heart in the right place, so to speak, execution all over the damn map.

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