Review: Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic!

The concert film Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic! from Barbra Streisand is a wonderful treat for her fans. I’ve been a fan since she first came on the scene in the late 1960s. I loved it. Continue reading “Review: Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic!”

Review: The Guilt Trip

Generally speaking, I don’t like Seth Rogan movies. I know he’s supposed to be funny, but I think he’s mainly funny to 20 something guys, and not to elder women. On the other hand, I love Barbra Streisand. I’ve been a devoted Streisand fan since the 1960’s when those 3 one hour specials she did on TV just blew my mind completely. Streisand and I have grown old together and my love for her talent has never wavered.

Along comes The Guilt Trip, starring exactly two people: Seth Rogan and Barbra Streisand. Obviously, I watched it, or I wouldn’t be typing about it right now. It was excellent. It didn’t make me a big Seth Rogan fan, but it does force me to admit that he’s good at what he does. Rogan and Streisand are fabulous together as a mother and son – a Jewish mother and her long-suffering son – which is a good thing because the two of them are pretty much the whole movie.

The Guilt Trip poster
The Guilt Trip poster

They drive in a small car, share hotel rooms, talk, argue, kvetch, reminisce, reach some understanding with each other, and find a way to be a new version of mother and son. It’s lovely. That’s my final judgement: lovely. A lovely movie. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Here’s one of the trailers for the film.

One other thing I learned from watching this film: Barbra Streisand remains fabulous!

Last Tango in Halifax might be Last Tango in Santa Fe

The Guardian tells us that Diane Keaton plans US remake of BBC’s Last Tango in Halifax. It will air on HBO. Sally Wainwright, the creator of the show, says she will be a producer of the American version but will not have a huge role in the production.

I know I have lots of feelings about this news, and I’m sure the dedicated Last Tango fans do, too.

First, where would it be set? I just made up the part about Santa Fe. It’s a cool place, there are ranches surrounding it, and a lot of films get made in New Mexico. It might be a sensible location for a series that needs both urban and rural settings along with great scenery. Diane Keaton has not asked for my opinion in this matter, however.

Who would be in it? Would Diane Keaton play Celia? She’s 67. What American actresses are in their 70s? Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis, Julie Christie, Candice Bergen are a few possible names. So we have talent in that age category, but American women don’t look their age. That’s a bit of a problem. Do we want to see anyone who doesn’t look as genuine Anne Reid in the role?

Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi in Last Tango in Halifax
Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi in Last Tango in Halifax

There are simply tons of older men to choose from for Alan. Robert DeNiro, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Peter Coyote and dozens more. But I so like Derek Jacobi’s sweet and loving Alan. Some swaggering American who is used to waving a gun around just doesn’t feel right. And 70 year-old American men still fancy themselves leading men who should be snaring women 30 and 40 years younger than themselves. That’s a bit of a problem, too. As for the feckless John, Tony Gardner was perfection in this part. Who could equal that?

What about Caroline and Gillian and Kate? Remember my dream actress pairing of Ashley Judd and Jennifer Beals? Think they’d make a good Caroline and Kate? Other actresses in their 40s abound, include Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Renée Zellweger and lots more. But I’m sort of convinced that Sarah Lancashire is irreplaceable as Caroline. Nicola Walker in her jeans and Converse sneakers brings such nuance and subtlety to Gillian.

Casting is a challenge. Adapting the dialog and locations will be a challenge as well. Diane Keaton has taken on a huge task to make this wonderful story American. I wish her well, and I wish her great luck finding the right people to do the writing and casting and create the sets.

I’m really attached to Last Tango in Halifax. Even so, Diane Keaton is trustworthy, in my opinion. If anyone can make a love story about older adults shine, it should be Diane Keaton. Who knows, I may love the American version of this tale of second chances as much as I do the British one.

When I get attached to a show, like the Millennium series in Swedish (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest) I feel a vague dread at the arrival of American versions. Then I go see it (of course) and I like it on it’s own merit. It isn’t the same as the original, but it still has the characters and the story and I end up enjoying both versions. I’m ready to see what happens to this lovely British tale of second chances. Go, Diane!

One extra good piece of good news from The Guardian post is,

The second series of Last Tango In Halifax, one of BBC1’s biggest-rating new shows of 2012, launches next month and a third is planned.

A big hurrah for season 3.

Diane Keaton image © 2003 Columbia Pictures