Kaycee’s Klasic Films – The Big Lebowski

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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You often see this listed as the best of the Coen Brothers’ films and there is a reason for that it’s bloody brilliant. It’s one of those films and there aren’t that any of them where every scene and every character is like a little diamond it involves a kidnapping like Fargo does another of my faves but this is very different.

Jeff Bridges is in it and he’s a ten pin bowling nut with his friends played by John Goodman and Steve Buscemi. See if you start off with those three and they all signed up for it because they liked the script then you’re onto a winner straightaway.

Jeff’s name is Lebowski but he’s known as The Dude but there is another guy with the same name Lebowski and some gangsters think he’s this rich guy and one of them pees on his rug. That’s a big thing in this story, a rug. Jeff is pissed off about that (sorry) and he goes to see this other one, “the big” Lebowski (David Huddleston) who wants nothing to do with him because Dude is a bum and The Big Lebowski who I will call TBL is a businessman who got rich because he was working while Jeff was out bowling and smoking dope and drinking White Russian cocktails. TBL is in a wheelchair because he lost his legs in the Korean war. So you’ve got this strange relationship plus the gangsters and there’s also the bowling which Jeff and his mates take very seriously.

By the way, Huddleston must have been old when he made this because I remember him as the mayor in Blazing Saddles and he wasn’t young then.

John Goodman’s character is ex army, Vietnam vet and he can’t let it go he treats his life as if he’s still in Vietnam and  everybody’s out to get him. Jeff is supposed to deliver some ransom money and Goodman gets involved and kind of takes over but all his ideas are over the top and likely to make things worse but he’s impossible for Jeff to ignore.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s in it and he’s brilliant as usual he plays a slightly effeminate personal secretary to TBL and there’s John Turturro as a Latin American bowler called Jesus whose obsessed with beating the Dude and his mates.

And there’s Julianne Moore looking great as TBL’s daughter she’s a weird modern artist and eventually she has it off with Jeff and she stays in bed on her back with her knees up under the covers because she’s trying to get pregnant. There’s all these little touches that really make the film it reminds me a bit of Chinatown you know the Jack Nicholson film only this is less serious but the Coens Ethan and Joel know their stuff and have learned from the stuff they like.

Jeff Bridges, left, John Goodman, center, and Steve Buscemi appear in a scene from the motion picture "The Big Lebowski." (AP Photo)
What’s more important, getting a kidnapped girl freed or bowling?

Who gets kidnapped well its TBL’s daughter a tart who calls herself Bunny and she’s good too but the one with a smallish part who really takes the biscuit is Sam Elliott as The Stranger, who turns up a couple of times at the bowling alley he’s from Texas and he’s got one of these moustaches that covers his mouth like a wave breaking over his lips so you can’t see if he’s smiling but you can really because he has really expressive eyes. The Stranger is a real nice guy who likes people to behave properly not in a boring way but you could see yourself making an effort not to be such a cow when he’s around because you want him to like you.

I could watch this over and over again in fact I have I watch all my favourites a lot because it’s like listening to a CD just because you’ve heard it before and you know it inside out don’t mean you won’t enjoy it just as much for the 20th time or whatever.





Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Crazy Heart

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Most actors try to hang onto their good looks and their sexy image even when they’re well past it and you’d of thought Jeff Bridges would be one of them after all he’s a pretty sexy guy or was when he was young but he seems to of decided he’s going to be a character actor in his later years. He did True Grit which was brave considering it is a classic that is always  linked with John Wayne and not just that but he did it as an overweight grizzled smelly old guy not like the smooth young seducer he used to be.

In Crazy Heart he does the same he’s a washed up country singer who used to be a big star but now he’s better at drinking than singing. You can see why Jeff would be interested in this because he’s always been into music I remember in the 1980s he fronted a long show about pop music which was all clips of classic songs and he linked it walking along beaches going “Rock’n’roll!”

He was also in Heaven’s Gate with Kris Kristofferson whose an old singer-songwriter my Mum says she thought he was a bit of alright and he was a bit beardy and gruff I think. That’s what Bad Blake is like in Crazy Heart.

The thing is these old geezers often get given a good looking girl as a co-star who falls in love with them or at least lets them into her drawers for some reason I don’t know I suppose we’re meant to find a mature man’s experience interesting and think we might learn something and all the older women these days are supposed to be “cougars” who want to teach young men all they know so the law of supply and demand means there’s this age gap thing going on.

Anyways in this there’s Maggie Gyllenhaal as a journalist who interviews him and gradually they get close to each other. The thought of getting close to someone like that kind of makes me want to gag but you have to remember that it’s just a film and forget that in reality he must smell like the devil’s handkerchief.

And of course he starts getting his act together and cleaning up and all that, all for the love of a good woman, but then he takes Maggie’s four-year-old son out for the day to a mall and has a drink and manages to lose him I tell you after I watched that once I didn’t want to see it again it was so horrible but after a year or two I gave it another go silly eh? I know it’s only a film and it is all right in the end but it still worried me.

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Have you brushd your teeth, Bad Blake? No, I mean it

Apart from the love story which takes a big hiccup at that point for obvious reasons  there is the professional side with this younger guy Tommy played by Colin Farrell who used to be Bad Blake’s kind of protégé and is now a star in his own write and he wants Blake to write songs for him but he will perform them himself because now he’s the one that sells all the tickets and records. It seems fair enough you can see him thinking it’s wrong having to play second fiddle when you know you’re the real thing and this young twerp ain’t fit to lace your boots or whatever. Must be hard.

But at the end of the film Maggie comes back into it and there seems to be light at the end of the toenail as they say. Jeff Bridges won the Oscar for Best Actor for this and rightly so I reckon he’s growing old not exactly gracefully but he’s accepting change and getting on with it good for him.




Kaycee’s Klasic Films – The Fabulous Baker Boys

Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films

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Michelle Pfeiffer is one of my favourite actresses and this is the film that showed me how good she is. Up to that point I thought she was just a pretty face (nothing wrong with a pretty face but you know) and because she became famous around the same time as Kim Basinger and Kim’s  funnier than she is I thought she was a bit dopey. Maybe that’s just me being bitchy and I suppose it must be hard for a beautiful young woman to be taken serious I wouldn’t know because I’m not that gorgeous myself haha before you say it.

Anyways the Baker Boys are real life brothers Beau Bridges and Jeff (phwoarr) Bridges and they’re a piano duo doing all this cheesy cabaret material in second rate clubs and their career is dying so they decide to try a different angle and get a singer.

Beau is married with kids and is the responsible one but Jeff is single and lives alone with his dog and he’s a charmer who has his way with as many women as he can find nothing wrong with that neither as long as he don’t hurt people and we don’t hear about any exes in the film so we don’t know but you kind of think so. Too handsome for his own good you know the type girls thinks he’s god’s gift to women but you’d still unwrap him in a hurry if he was a gift to you. He’s also a frustrated jazz player doing this with his brother to make a living but he hates it really.

They audition a load of no hopers including Susan Sarandon whose just doing a cameo and apparently she can really sing she does this operatic bit at the end of her song.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the last one and she’s late but she’s the best they’ve seen so they give her a go. Sure enough the punters like her so the club owners do too and it’s all going well. Then at Christmas/New Year they’re playing this fancy hotel out in the hills and they’re in rooms next door to one another and Jeff and Michelle start sneaking into the bathroom to sniff each other’s cologne or perfume and you can tell something’s going to happen then Beau has to go home because one of his kids is ill or something and Jeff and Michelle do a real sexy show and then get sexy in private.

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We’re going to do this one on the piano: Michelle bends the rules a bit

You think it’s going to end in tears but because she’s a bit unemotional (used to be an “escort”) and he’s so couldn’t-care-less it doesn’t really but they don’t get together either. The real emotional bit at the end is with the brothers cos they are very different and they don’t enjoy the life together but given their own space as they say they’re happy enough.

I don’t know who thinks these stories up I suppose the writer was watching some cabaret act one night and thought it must be a weird life and took it from there and of course if you throw a sex bomb in there you get explosions.

It’s a cool film quite funny some good lines and that romantic what do they call it tension I guess that keeps you thinking will they won’t they.