To be the Ricardos; Don’t look up; Death until 2021; The Adventures of Super Bob Einstein
Be the Ricardos is perhaps the most enjoyable theatrical release (via Amazon) I’ve seen in a while.
The film shows the beloved showbiz power couple of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (aka TV’s Ricardos, for those (surprisingly) unaware as they navigate a particularly hectic week of filming, including a possible infidelity of the Desi husband, finding ways to get Lucy pregnant in the scripts, and revelations about Lucy’s past membership in the communist party.(For viewers of a certain generation, including myself, these actors/characters are so familiar and beloved, you can’t help but talk about them by their first names.) The narrative also intersperses flashbacks of their dating and pivotal moments (such as in Lucy’s bid for stardom The film compresses events (which is forgivable) but gets some things completely wrong, such as the alleged rivalry between Lucy and “movie star” Judy Holliday in the 1940s, at a star-studded stage. back when Holliday had barely made a name for herself in the nightclub circuit, let alone Hollywood.
However, the film gets so much right, namely the characterizations and relationships between the four actors that are essential to the success of i love lucy: namely Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman), Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem), Vivian Vance (Nina Arianda, and William Frawley (JK Simmons). the essence of Lucille Ball. She convinces as a proud, confident and knowledgeable actress/comedian, de facto producer/director and loving wife hurt by the prospect of her husband’s infidelity. Similarly, Bardem is superb as as equally confident and protective, and Desi too flawed. And both JK Simmons and Nina Ariadna are perfection as Fred and Ethel (I mean, Vivian Vance and William Frawley). Frawley and Vance may have gotten each other. hated in real life, but Simmons and Arianda communicate both the actors’ sheer professionalism and a sense of compassion that one can only hope the actors possessed in real life.Ariadna’s scene with Kidman, in which Vivian interrogates Lucy to find out if Lucy was behind a sumptuous breakfast that was delivered (set w with ulterior motives) is a highlight; another is Frawley from Simmons quietly advising Lucy on Latin men and manhood. If the movie is a bit long… well, they try to cover a lot of ground. And for the most part, filmmakers succeed.
Don’t look up was conceived before Covid became a hot topic of public health (and politics) and filmed during the pandemic (which sadly persists), but you could have sworn the filmmakers saw that threat coming.
(I believe the original metaphor was about climate change and those who believe and disbelieve.) In a nutshell, scientists Leonardo DiCaprio (pleasantly crumpled) and Jennifer Lawrence stop an asteroid heading for Earth; naturally they try to take this knowledge to the world via television and the presidency, and for about ten minutes they succeed – until political and business interests interfere (personified by President Meryl Streep, the son/advisor sycophant and moron Jonah Hill, and multi-billionaire Mark Rylance). Of course, the world is divided between those who believe in the potential of the asteroid and those who think there will be no harm. There are a few good moments, courtesy of stars DiCaprio, Lawrence and Streep (Hill is also convincingly obnoxious), a few good supporting rounds, including Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett as what appear to be the only news commentators employed in a manner. remunerated. However, the satire is a little obvious and the film more than a little stuffed, and after an hour and thirty minutes you’ll want some sort of satisfying resolution no matter what.
Dead to 2021
If you’re looking for some real laughs, I want to point you to a pair of documentaries that are both hilarious and informative. Dead to 2021 (on Netflix) provides a witty, funny and insightful recap of the defining events of 2021, starting with the January 6 insurrection. Aided by “talking heads”, including the pompous academic of Hugh Grant, the conservative commentator of Tracey Ullman and the correspondent of Lucy Liu, much of the humor is targeted and both funny and disturbing.
The other is HBOMax The Adventures of Super Bob Einstein, chronicling the life and career of the late actor/comedian Bob Einstein, who first rose to prominence as Officer Judy on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and later earned a sequel as the super-confident (albeit unhappy) daredevil Super Dave Osborne. Recently, Einstein appeared (wisely) as Larry David’s friendly nemesis, Marty Funkhauser, on Calm your enthusiasm. The many clips are hilarious and the commentators (including Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Einstein’s brother, David Letterman) are endearing and insightful. Both of these movies are well worth your time. Enjoy.