Blogs > Laura Kessel's blog

Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pair of old friends offer a big-screen birthday salute

About a third of the way in, the enormity of my problem became clear.

George Clooney was talking to Sandra Bullock, who was diligently working on her repair project in space.

You could say he was flirting, but you might also say he was trying to help her relax.

After pointing out that she obviously thinks he’s attractive, he asks her about his beautiful blue eyes.

I quickly leaned over to whisper to my husband, knocking both of our 3-D glasses out of place as I bared the depth of the useless knowledge at my disposal.

“He has brown eyes.”

About two seconds later, Bullock responded by reminding Clooney that his eyes are brown.

No, I can’t tell you the license plate number for my car, but I know that Clooney is 6 feet tall and that his late pot-bellied pig was named Max.

But, that’ll happen to a gal when she’s been watching an actor since he first showed up with Elliott Gould in a little-remembered comedy series set in an emergency room.

Ahh, the good old days.

Thinking back like that reminds me of another series I loved back in 1980.

This time, it was a comedy that featured two guys who moved to New York City to pursue their advertising careers, only to find out how expensive apartments are. Their first place gets torn down by a wrecking ball as they’re sleeping, and they’re forced to take a room in a hotel that rents only to women.

Cross-dressing and its attendant hilarity ensue.

Oh, that Tom Hanks. He certainly looks good in a dress.

“Bosom Buddies” was only on the air for three seasons, but it’s the ship that launched, uhhhhh, a few Oscars.

Yes, it was silly. Sure, it was improbable.

But, it is to Hanks what “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is to Sean Penn. It’s what Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch is to Mark Wahlberg.

It’s what “The Electric Company” is to Morgan Freeman, or “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” is to Laurence Fishburne.

As they say, you have to start someplace.

In doing so, you always hope you’ll end up somewhere.

This pair, with their two Oscars apiece, ended up opening highly anticipated films on consecutive weekends.
I’ll accept it as a birthday present. Thank you, Hollywood.

“Gravity” opened on my birthday, Oct. 4. So, as my gift, I got George Clooney hurtling toward me on the big screen in 3-D.

When Bullock accidentally let a bolt drift off into space, Clooney reached out to retrieve it, and it’s quite possible my chin moved as his hand came out in the 3-D in a move that, to me, seemed as though he knew I was there in the darkness.

“Happy birthday, Laura,” he probably said to himself.

A week later, Hanks drove an entirely different vehicle into theaters.

He and his not-really-cheery band of sailors gathered for a trip around the Horn of Africa, which is home to about 100 million people and a slew of priates that terrorize ships transporting goods to countries such as Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.

I won’t give away anything that you haven’t seen in the previews on TV and in theaters, but as thrilled as I was to have my two guys back-to-back on the big screen, I really struggled with their situations in the movies.

Clooney was flying through space, bouncing off of Bullock (not in that way!) and various pieces of NASA equipment. Hanks spent just about the entire movie with either guns or fists smashed into his face.

I struggled the most with “Captain Phillips,” and at one point almost walked out.

Most reviews I’ve seen have pointed out that there’s really no need for spoiler alerts here, because Hanks’ character in the true story wrote the book on which the movie is based.

But, even though I knew Hanks’ life wasn’t really being threatened, the attacks his character consistently underwent in the movie left me more uncomfortable than I’ve been at the movies in a long time.

In fact, I haven’t come that close to walking out since I saw “American History X” in 1998. Midway through, there’s a scene that even today gives me nightmares. Yes, that’s 15 years later.

There wasn’t any one moment in “Captain Phillips” that led me to that decision-making moment. No, it was thoughts of my buddy Kip in “Bosom Buddies,” and Josh in “Big,” or Joe Fox in “You’ve Got Mail” or, well, Forrest.

I’m glad I stayed, though, for near the end, there was that moment that I’ve had in a few Hanks movies, where I said to myself, “Oh, God, that’s Tom Hanks.”

I’ve done it in “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away.”

And in his final moments as Capt. Rich Phillips, Hanks again takes us to places so many of today’s actors seem unable to go.

I have a feeling that come Oscar time, we’ll see both of my boys getting their just rewards for a job well done. (Clooney almost assuredly wasn’t in “Gravity” long enough for that honor, but he’s got some material coming down the road that seems really likely to get him there.)

In the meantime, though, I’m going to enjoy the fruits of this pretty special birthday gift from some special old friends.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home