"Marley and Me" and "My Dog Skip"
Very good. "My Dog Skip" stars Kevin Bacon who's quite wonderful, Diane Lane and a Jack Russell Terrier. It's a Southern story about a friendless shy boy who grows up with his puppy Skip. The puppy becomes a well known character in the small town and it is through the puppy that the boy transcends his shyness and grows up. Kevin Bacon's performance as a bitter WWI Medal of Honor winner crippled from his act of heroism on the battlefield who cannot adequately express his love for his son is very moving. This is a tremendous and restrained performance.
"Marley and Me" was surprisingly good. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston from whom I didn't expect too much were good ... really good ... as a couple from falling in love to marriage to competing careers and raising their children along with their Cesar Milan failure of a puppy who grows up to be very naughty (discipline challenged) and very wonderful family pet. Marley (named after Bob Marley) becomes the subject of Wilson's, a reporter, newspaper column.
A young and loving family ... smart, educated, attractive, responsible grappling with what we all suffer through sans drugs, booze, beatings, car chases, swearing, terminal illness, adultery, teen pregnancy, criminal acts, shootings, racism, self hatred and children who hate their parents and beat up their teachers.
Starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange
The Bouvier relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy who, because of hardtimes, inability to cope with their precariously dwindling finances and just plain loopiness make headlines in the sixties because of their bizarre living conditions, in a once beautiful but now crumbling decaying mansion, Grey Gardens, in Southampton. The mansion that falls on hard times where raccoons, hundreds of feral cats along with its human residents Edie and Edie Biele, mother and daughter live with tons of garbage, no hot water, no electricity, no heat, leaking ceilings and walls falling down, no friends and, of course, no money. They have only themselves and their house and their memories of a time long gone. Grey Gardens is one of the stars of films. It is a metaphor for the lives of its human residents. Once rich and beautiful filled with servants and music and parties and children and a not so happy couple it gets old and decrepit.
The parents divorce, the house falls into disrepair because there is no money for upkeep. Slowly their friends disappear, hopes for a career on stage or movies becomes impossible, a transient love affair does not survive. Only the love of the mother and daughter survives all. A couple of brave documentarians, the Maysles, willing to film their wretched lives as is recreates the dreams and hopes for both mother and daughter. No rewrites, no makeovers, no scripts, no second takes ... just a hand held camera and the Bieles as they are.
Barrymore is an American treasure. It is one of the finest performances ever ... on a par with the best of Bette Davis, Kate Hepburn and Patricia Neal. Barrymore is Barrymore ... brilliant, moving, funny, sad and triumphant!!!!!!!!! She was always a good actress but this role puts her in another pantheon. She is a pure joy to watch.