Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Babette’s Feast

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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Here’s one that not everybody will like and you’ve got to be in the mood but if you are it’s a couple of hours in a completely different world. It’s called Babette’s Feast and it’s the quietest film there has ever been it’s set in a little remote religious community on the coast I don’t know what it is about Danish people but there TV and films can be very moody and atmospheric remember The Killing and Borgen you might not want to live in the worlds they create but there fascinating to visit.

The only link this has with the big time is that it is based on a book by Isak Dinesen who was really a woman Karen Blixen she wrote Out of Africa which was a film starring Meryl Streep but there’s nobody famous in this one.

Babette gets a job in this village as housekeeper for two old sisters whose father was a minister who set up the community but he’s dead and everyone there is getting old and there all very quiet and don’t look happy but in a religious way like they think its wrong to have fun. She’s from Paris but had to get out because there is trouble going on there I don’t know my history too well maybe the French Revolution it’s set in the 19th or 18th century would that be right. Don’t matter anyway.

You see flashbacks to the sisters’ lives when they were younger and they could of married exciting young men in the city and had a different life but their Dad said no. I wouldn’t put up with it would you but them was different times.

The sisters can’t afford to pay Babette but she does it for free and spends 14 years cooking plain food and living the quiet life, even though you can see she is full of life really. Its like me going to live in the Faroe islands and losing touch with my mates and not even having a pub to go down on a Saturday night or any blokes to flirt with when they come in my beauty department with their wives.

Then one day she gets some good news. She has a lottery ticket in Paris that somebody renews every year or buys a new one or whatever and she’s won. 10,000 francs. You might think she would be out of there like a fish off a hook but no, what she does is get someone to buy a load of fancy food and wine and ship it to the little village that’s why it’s called Babette’s Feast you see and I had to tell you that but I suppose I shouldn’t go any further. Actually I’ve watched it loads of times and knowing what happens don’t spoil your enjoyment well my enjoyment it’s the atmosphere.

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It turns out she was a brilliant chef at a top Paris restaurant and all these years she has had to cook boring stuff but suddenly she can do what she likes and you see the stuff being unloaded and taken into her kitchen including a turtle which will upset some people but in those days people weren’t so fussy about what they ate as long as it tasted good particularly the French I think there the ones that like frogs legs and snails and stuff like that.

Seems like she spends all of the money on the feast I think I would of kept a bit for myself and buggered off afterwards but that’s just me I guess.

I have watched it with people who can’t wait for it to finish so they can put on Superman 12 and I’ve watched it with people who actually thanked me afterwards its one of those films don’t waste it on someone who won’t appreciate it if there ignorant and only like what the crowd likes their not gonna like it and they’ll think your a bit weird but I don’t care I am a bit weird I suppose and most of us are if you poke around deep enough.

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – Leaving Las Vegas

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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This was Nicholas Cage before he started going for the action-film big bucks and you got the feeling he was trying to be original and different. I don’t know maybe that’s just what he’s like he’s a strange guy a bit like Jack Nicholson in a way you could have fun with him but you wouldn’t necessarily want to invite him to your Mum’s for Christmas dinner in case he did something unperdictable.

This is a real grownup film it’s about him an alcoholic whose wife left him and he gets fired from his job with an advertising agency and he goes to Las Vegas to drink himself to death which is an interesting way to do it I suppose. There he meets Elizabeth Shue (the only roll I really know her in) and she’s a hooker and they get together he doesn’t shag her cos he’s too out of it all the time but they grow to like each other I guess what makes it work is he can’t complain about her being what she is because of what he is a bum out of his skull all the time and she can’t complain about him because she’s a prostitute which is nothing to be proud of. (Sorry girls if there’s any of you reading this no offence you know what I mean.)

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This is either just before or just after a cop on a motorbike slows down alongside and looks in his car

So Nick and Elizabeth have a good time in their weird way and he makes her promise never to ask him to stop drinking. He’s really funny and he goes to this bar and a young girl hits on him it’s the dippy office girl from Becker the doctor TV comedy with Ted Danson Shawnee Smith her name is. Her boyfriend is there and he fights Nick and Elizabeth’s all loving and concerned when he gets home with blood all over his shirt.

There’s this line which I don’t think was in the script he made it up himself when he’s asked how he feels he says he’s “the kling klang king of the rim ram room”.

Then it’s the hookers turn to get in trouble she goes to a hotel room with a bunch of young guys and she’s cheeky to one of them and they all turn on her I won’t tell you what happened but she gets a taxi and the driver sees her walking awkward like and he says “What’s the matter? You get a back door delivery you weren’t expecting?”

Lots of good lines see I like a good script and the music’s good too sort of jazzy instrumentals and Michael McDonald singing an old rock’n’roll song Lonely Teardrops. This is not the sort of movie everyone will like but like I say it’s an adult film in more ways than one there’s no happy ending most directors would of made him give up drinking and her give up prozzying and they move to the suburbs and run a bed and breakfast but this director Mike Figgis he’s an English guy he’s like Cage he wants to do a proper film not just try to get a hit. I suppose if you make enough money and your more into your art or whatever than just being famous that’s a good way of doing it but not many people think like that.

 

Kaycee’s Klasic Films – The Bridges of Madison County

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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How can you go wrong with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep there both always good aren’t they? Well this is a great example both getting on a bit even when it was made 1995 but life ain’t just for kids is it. Clint is a photographer who is doing a job for a magazine taking pictures of bridges in you guessed it Madison County I don’t know where that is but it doesn’t matter America somewhere and Meryl is a housewife around there whose husband and kids are away for the weekend. Clint turns up and she shows him the bridges there covered which apparently makes them interesting.

Sounds like a recipe for hanky panky don’t it and your right even though there both middle aged she’s bored rigid with her life in the sticks and he’s a red blooded male and honestly any man who finds himself in that situation with a woman like her and any woman with a man like him there bound to do it aren’t they.

What makes this a bit different is that the relationship is a sort of flashback because the Meryl character is dead and her son and daughter are going through her things and come across a diary and other stuff that tells about the affair.

Honestly its as romantic as hell you know its wrong but its a little glimpse of happiness for both of them and you can’t hold it against them I reckon.

Clint directed it and I wonder if he’d always wanted to get his hands on Meryl and this was a way to do it. I suppose you shouldn’t think like that but it’s a possibility isn’t it. Just perfect casting though I suppose and anyway that’s by the by it’s the film we’re looking at not real life.

Its sort of peaceful and it keeps going back to the son and daughter and your thinking go on give her a break she was a good mother and so what if she had a bit of a private episode it didn’t do no one no harm did it.

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This was virginally a book and after the film they made it into a musical which might be okay I suppose if you like musicals I don’t find them very realistic myself.

One critic described the film as “total eroticism within perfect virtue” and I’m glad he did because I would never have found the words to say that but its true. There is nothing really explicit in it but they fall for each other so hard that you can bet they did some exploring and yet after a bath and a cup of tea their back to normal.

The touching thing is that they decided not to ruin her life or her family’s life so they just put their relationship in a kind of memory box and just thought about it and how things might of been I suppose. Sometimes things are better left like that because the magic could wear off pretty quick if reality gets involved but it must take some self discipline and I don’t know if I could do it personal.