Tag Archives: Jack Lemmon

Challenge Week 29: It Should Happen to You

This was another very comfortable choice for me, a classic Hollywood era romantic comedy that I definitely knew about back when I was watching only classic Hollywood movies, but missed. In this case (unlike with April in Paris), I can probably guess why I skipped it – I enjoyed Judy Holliday in Adam’s Rib, but didn’t care too much for the two Holliday-led films I watched (Born Yesterday and Bells Are Ringing) all that much, so I think I likely pushed this to the back burner figuring it would be more of the same. I actually didn’t know anything else about it (like that Jack Lemmon is in it!) or what the premise of the story was.

Holliday is a Gladys Glover, a wanna-be actress in New York who really just wants to be famous. Her solution: use all of her savings to rent a giant billboard and just put her name name on it. A soap company wants the billboard, but she refuses every offer they make her, until they offer to put her name on several smaller billboards all over town in exchange. Soon, Gladys is famous for the mere fact of being famous. It’s a bit of a gentle satire, as well as an admittedly cliched reminder that fame comes at a cost.

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Challenge Week 3: Grumpy Old Men

I’ve never been too motivated to see out the later Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau vehicles, despite being a fan of both of them in their earlier years – unconscious ageism? Probably. Anyway, I should’ve expected these two to play well off each other, given their respective talent and proven chemistry back in the ’60s, and they do. In a way, watching this felt comfortable, because even as John (Lemmon) and Max (Matthau) feud and play tricks on each other, it’s clear the two actors are having a bunch of fun just hanging out together on screen again.

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It’s winter in Minnesota and they’re having a heat wave, or so the oft-repeated song keeps telling us, but John and Max spend their days bundled up ice fishing and chatting with bait store owner Chuck (an always-wonderful Ossie Davis) and their nights ogling new next-door neighbor Ariel (Ann-Margret). And if you thought these two grumpy old men were old and grumpy, wait until you meet John’s dad (Burgess Meredith), a 94-year-old firecracker whose frankness embarrasses John as if he were still a teenager.

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