Early summaries I saw were all about Elvis’s character learning music in jail, so I was expecting a plot entirely in the jail, but looking a little closer, it seems like more of the story is about how the music changes his life outside of jail. That’s not as interesting to me, but then, I guess the story I was expecting was Prisoners of Love. At least I know the music will be good.
I’ve already covered the 1945 version of this story, but I knew that eventually I’d come to this one. This is the 7th movie adaptation of the 1902 novel just in English, and at this point it’s surprising that it hasn’t been tried again. The reputation this version has is tepid, and it’s the version people think of when the name comes up (the last version with the same title was made 40 years previous), but it’s clearly a story with staying power, and within the next ten years, every memorable movie from the 80s is going to get remade if it hasn’t already.
Mel Brooks, early Zuckers, and the Scream movies. Those are the successful genre parodies I can think of right now. This one, I think mainly lasts because it’s an accessory to the Friday the 13th legacy (or a remora on it).
Reviews I’ve seen are mixed and polar. The biggest name now isn’t the lead. I’m thinking maybe this will be a decent cult movie, but almost definitely no classic.
All of the summaries I can see point to the story being about the two boys who form a friendship of outsiders, but Sharon Stone, the sick boy’s mother, seems to be featured even more prominently than it seems like she would just because she’s the biggest name in the cast. I get the sense that she’s the viewpoint character.
The story being around a boy with Morquio Syndrome and his parent puts me in mind of Lorenzo’s Oil, which is all about the parents trying to keep their son alive. It’s also a movie I was shown in high school, and another reason this makes me think of that is because my friend Kellie recently rediscovered it as a movie she was shown in grade school. This post was suggested by Kellie and has input from her. She has agreed that I may limit mentions of how hot she is for Gillian Anderson to two (this one might not count).
Full disclosure: I went and found this movie because it was mentioned on an episode My Brother, My Brother, and Me. I don’t recall what question led one of the brothers to bring up “when Martin Short inherited a boat and knew nothing about sailing in Captain Ron, he went out and found Kurt Russell”, but all I needed to hear to be interested was “Martin Short inherited a boat knowing nothing about sailing”.
I wasn’t entirely prepared for the personality clash set up here, but it’s not terribly surprising. Martin is a straight-laced man dumbfounded by Ron’s party animal ways. That’s a pretty standard setup, and those are types they slot into well.
I think this is the way most people have experienced Don Quixote. I’ve read some of the book, but despite the new translation I was using, the stilted nature of it still sometimes overpowered the comedy, which itself sometimes felt a little too much like “mental illness is funny!” It’s at the same time amazing how modern it feels at over 400 years old and yet how basic the storytelling can be at times, because it’s had 400 years to become part of the way we always tell stories.
But the grandeur of the way Man of La Mancha interprets the book is enticing and accessible. Everyone has heard at least a few bars of “The Impossible Dream”. It’s a classic showtune ballad. The romance is probably more feel-good in this take as well.