Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-09-17
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Ryan Czerwonko's 'Dead' reckoning NUNN ON ONE: THEATER
Ryan Czerwonko's
'Dead' reckoning
Evil Dead: The Musical is creeping into the Broadway Playhouse this fall ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Knight at the Movies: Guilt Trip, Parental Guidance, notes
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2012-12-31

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Twenty-one years ago two of our greatest gay icons—Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler—went head to head with holiday movies. Bette was first out of the gate Thanksgiving weekend in 1991 with her self-produced labor of love, For the Boys while Barbra's directorial and starring effort, The Prince of Tides, appeared on Christmas Day. Midler's movie famously flopped at the box office but it brought her personal raves and an Oscar nomination; it is musically sublime and remains an unappreciated gem. Streisand's film, a heavy psychological drama mixed with a melodramatic romance, was a financial success and also got its share of Oscar attention—though she herself was overlooked, which caused a bit of a flap at the time.

Now these two divas, worshipped by the gay community for decades (half a century for Babs, 40+ years for Bette) are back in theaters. Only a week apart, Streisand is co-starring with Seth Rogen in the mother-son road comedy The Guilt Trip, and Midler is teaming with Billy Crystal in the fish-out-of-water comedy Parental Guidance. Both are generation-gap movies that don't offer a tenth of the challenge or pleasures their 1991 releases did. But there they are, giving their all to the extremely formulaic material that composes both movies; both amiably doing their jobs with as much gusto as they can muster. Both pictures rely on the expertise of these two extraordinarily talented women and while neither is going to set the movie world on fire (either critically or at the box office), for audience members of a certain age and mentality (read: adults and those looking for safe, familiar material), these two are an okay waste of time at the cineplex. And they'll have to do until we get our two superstars into movies more befitting of their protean talents (and maybe one day they'll actually co-star in one together).

Of the two movies, Streisand's has the edge—The Guilt Trip, based on a real-life road trip between screenwriter Dan Fogelman and his mother—is a lovely, bittersweet comedy that doesn't resort to the usual gross-out stuff so in vogue these days to get laughs. Streisand plays Joyce Brewster, a New Jersey-based widow who has fussed over her only child, Andy (Rogen), to the point where he's moved across the country to get away from her. Andy is an inventor trying to get his product placed with a mega-retailer and, in a moment of weakness during a brief visit home, he invites mom to accompany him as he travels the states to his meetings. Naturally, he's embarrassed by the unrelenting attention and fussiness of his mom, who treats him like her little boy and is unstinting in her praise of his every small effort.

As the trip continues, mother slowly loses some of her uptight reserve, and son gradually realizes that mom isn't always wrong or such an overbearing ogre. The situations are predictable in the extreme, but director Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses) smartly keeps things centered on the bond between Streisand and Rogen. She is surprisingly warm and he shows surprising depth, and the arc of the thawing relationship between mother and son feels just right and unforced. The laughs are gentle, of the chuckle rather than laugh-out-loud variety and they're plentiful enough to overlook the episodic sequences. While this undemanding film won't exactly thrill or grow Streisand or Rogen's individual fan bases, taking your mom or dad to see The Guilt Trip isn't a half-bad idea.

I am slightly more cautious about recommending the Midler comedy, Parental Guidance, in which she takes the secondary role as the good-natured but long-suffering wife of sports announcer Billy Crystal. Crystal's affability and razor-sharp timing haven't dimmed in the decades since he broke through to movies in the mid-'80s, but here both he and Midler are saddled with having to play grandparents to a trio of enabled kids who don't know the meaning of the word "no." The couple's fidgety, high-strung daughter (Marisa Tomei) and her husband want to leave their Atlanta home for a five-day vacation, and absent grandparents Crystal and Midler step in. Naturally, the three kiddies are just as uptight as mom and it will take both these expert clowns to loosen 'em up in a series of increasingly unfunny, stale sequences.

And yet … here we go again with material that two pros like Crystal and Midler (and to a lesser extent, Tomei) are talented enough to ring laughs out of (Crystal especially). The kids are mostly a drag and the schmaltz is poured on as thick as maple syrup, but if those by-the-numbers Disney '60s comedies with Suzanne Pleshette and Dean Jones and stuff like Kindergarten Cop and Look Who's Talking and Father of the Bride are your thing, Parental Guidance will warm you up over the holidays. And for a brief moment—when Bette and Billy duet in a little '50s doo-wop to "Book of Love"—the movie achieves nirvana.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Film notes:

- Oscar-winning movie matinees: The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., is starting the February Oscar countdown with a nine-week matinee series (every Saturday-Sunday at 11:30 a.m.) showcasing a stellar group of Academy Award winners. Things kick off Dec. 29-30 with queer director Murnau's masterful silent 1927 classic Sunrise and continue in subsequent weeks with 1954's On the Waterfront (Jan. 5-6) starring bisexual heartthrob Marlon Brando; 1951's A Place in the Sun (Jan. 13), with gay pretty boy Montgomery Clift and stunningly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor as the doomed lovers; Bette Davis and company in 1950's All About Eve (Jan. 19-20), the theatrical bitchfest; Gable and Colbert in the delightful 1934 road picture It Happened One Night (Jan. 26-27); 1976's Network (Feb. 2-3) with a pre-Mommie Dearest Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch; 1942's Casablanca (Feb. 10); bisexual director Vincente Minnelli's sumptuous 1958 musical confection, Gigi (Feb. 16-17); and gay director John Schlesinger's quasi-queer love story, 1969's Midnight Cowboy (Feb. 23-24). www.musicboxtheatre.com

- New Year's Eve with Shelley Winters: This is your last call to board the SS Poseidon on New Year's Eve for Camp Midnight's 5th annual camptacular presentation of 1972's The Poseidon Adventure (celebrating its 40th anniversary) on Monday, Dec. 31, at the Music Box Theatre. This year, as in the past, Dick O'Day (my alter ego) will bravely captain our film going passengers on a pre-show voyage (setting sail at 11 p.m.) that includes party favors, a champagne toast, comp drink ticket, '70s cruisewear costume contest (with prizes), and an interactive screening guide. As always, I'll be joined by David Cerda, artistic director of Handbag Productions, to provide running commentary throughout the film along with members of the Handbag theatrical troupe. The screening of the film will be timed so that theater patrons and their celluloid counterparts will celebrate midnight at the exact same time. And the rotund Shelley Winters (aka Steve Kimbrough) will return to perform the hilarious "In the Water I'm a Very Skinny Lady" musical number pre-show. www.musicboxtheatre.com .

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitymediagroup.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter

website.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Director talks dynamics of trans-focused film 'Boy Meets Girl' 2014-09-17
Pastor/CTS student in trans* documentary 2014-09-16
'Queers in the Kingdom' filmmaker on movie, Wheaton College 2014-09-16
REELING FILM FEST The movie 'Lilting': Lost in translation 2014-09-16
REELING FILM FESTIVAL Max Adler of 'Glee' runs amok in Saugatuck 2014-09-16
Ugandan documentary screens at church 2014-09-16
Five Worth Finding: West Loop restaurant, steamy film 2014-09-16
Reeling Film Festival overview 2014-09-14
Roosevelt doc sidesteps Eleanor's sexuality 2014-09-12
Skrebneski unveils Chicago International Film Fest poster 2014-09-11
Reeling Film Festival at Century Centre Sept. 20 2014-09-11
Screenings: Bjork film, Ugandan LGBT film 2014-09-11
Knight at the Movies: The Skeleton Twins; The Homestretch; film notes 2014-09-10
Fall LGBT movie preview 2014-09-10
'The Roosevelts' avoids Eleanor's sexuality 2014-09-09
Women's Film; Martina proposes; Sky finals; AIDS Run, Walk 2014-09-09
Pride Films, Plays' Women's Words Film Fest premieres shorts 2014-09-09
POV's 'Koch' airs Sept. 22 on PBS 2014-09-08
Alan Cumming in Conversation Oct. 13 at Music Box 2014-09-08
Knight at the Movies: The Last of Robin Hood; film notes 2014-09-03
John Leguizamo 'Klowns' around, talks 'To Wong Foo' 2014-09-03
ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS Women's Words Fest; Queer poetry; Reeling 2014-09-03
Carell's gay film; Bomer's Horror Story; Gaga joins Lambert 2014-09-02
Gay Asian website to debut 'Break-up King' 2014-08-30
Women's Words Film Fest premieres shorts 2014-08-29
Reeling LGBT film fest opens Sept. 18 2014-08-27
Knight at the Movies: Love Is Strange; To Be Takei; Yves; film notes 2014-08-27
Director Ira Sachs, star Alfred Molina on 'Love Is Strange' 2014-08-27
Expendables 3 reveal; Roberts' honor; Cohen on Top Chef 2014-08-26
Way-out Wizard World: costumes, characters, artists 2014-08-26
Machnik wins Nate Berkus' reality show, looks at future 2014-08-25
Knight at the Movies: The Dog; The Giver; film note 2014-08-19
Gay superhero event touches on gender stereotypes, diversity 2014-08-19
'Orange' wins Creative Emmys 2014-08-17
Film about George Takei to screen at Facets 2014-08-16
Iconic actress Lauren Bacall dies at 89 2014-08-13
Iconic actress Lauren Bacall dies at 89 2014-08-13
Lesbian drama 'Anatomy' on Vimeo 2014-08-13
Jena Malone and Lem Jay Ignacio in 'Shoe' business 2014-08-12
Knight at the Movies: Into the Storm; film notes 2014-08-11





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

REELING FILM FESTIVAL Max Adler of 'Glee' runs amok in Saugatuck
 
Trans* woman claims self-defense in case
 
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame selects next inductees
 
NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Ryan Czerwonko's 'Dead' reckoning
 
Mary Bonauto, Alison Bechdel, Samuel Hunter are MacArthur Fellows
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.