Shakespeare in Love (1998)

I remember the first time I seen this movie.  It was the opening weekend in Leicester Square, London and the whole place was decked out in a very Shakespearean theme.  We follow Will Shakespeare in Elizabethan London as he attempts to finish his play; Romeo and Ethel – the pirate princess.

So already you know this is not a serious retelling of Britain’s most beloved and favorite playwright.  It is a romantic comedy set in the whimsical world of the actors and stage of the time,  A time where females were strictly forbidden from starring on the stage.

Joseph Fiennes takes on the role of Will, playing it perfectly as he tries to navigate getting words written while paying the bills.   

Geoffrey Rush takes on the role of the theater owner who is in debt and is desperate to put a play to be able to pay his debt to

Tom Wilkinson the local Shylock.

This movie is littered with big stars, popping up in various roles. Not just the A-list British set as you would expect, but American stars such as Ben Affleck.  Speaking of stars, the female lead is

Gwyneth Paltrow playing the daughter of a nobility, who is in love with the stage, but has been sold off to Colin Firth who has made it big with his plantation in Virginia.

The wit and pace of this story is extremely well pitched.  If you know any of the real story of Shakespeare then you will spot lots of little references here and there that don’t detract from the story or make you feel silly for not spotting them.

Well worth the watch.

#77 in the series


Viewing Date
Tuesday, 3rd November 2015 (Richmond)


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Tequila Sunrise (1988)

There are some movies that you remember fondly, sparking memories of the time, but yet, after a re-watch nearly 25 years you wonder what it was about the first outing that made it seem a classic.

We have Mac (Mel Gibson) the drug dealer who is trying to go straight, even though his oldest best friend, Nick (Kurt Russell) the detective who sometimes steps over the line is trying to nail him.  They both come into contact with the local resturant owner Jo Ann (Michelle Pfeiffer).  Jo Ann falls for Mac, while Nick attempts to get close to her to have her inform on Mac.

It is all very confusing at times.   Then we have Carlos (Rula Julia) who plays the drug buyer that Mac has been dealing with for years wanting one last deal.  But Mac is concerned that Carlos is going to get caught because he knows he is being watched continually.   The plot twist here with Carlos can be seen a mile off, and why I didn’t see it 25 years ago is still a mystery – I was more innocent then!

The movie is setup with so many 1980’s cliches you could make a drinking game out of it.   We have Kurt Russell with his greased back hair with black shades, playing the rebel detective throwing things against authority.  Mel Gibson, the trying to be reformed criminal complete with kid that he wants to impress.  There is one particular scene near the end of the movie when they find themselves down at the dock.  Of course it is all foggy adding that extra noir look to a scene that feels so forced.  /rolls eyes/

Robert Towne wrote and directed this one.  The master of the Mission Impossible movies and Chinatown, you would expect a lot more.  Never mind.  This one falls under the bucket of, don’t revisit.  Let the memory of the first time live on.  Much like watching the original A-Team series, don’t, just never look back.


Viewing Date
Wednesday, 30th September 2015


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Waking Ned Devine (1998)

If you loved Local Hero then you will love this tale of a village set in western Ireland, who discover that one of the 50 odd residents has won the lottery.  However at first they don’t know who, but soon discover it is the one person that didn’t come to the party.  Poor man had died – of shock that he had won that much money.

Knowing that poor Ned Devine would have wanted the village to share in the winnings, Jackie (Ian Bannen) and Michael (David Kelly) hatch a plan to convince the lottery official that Michael is Ned as they pull a classic bate’n’switch con on a village level scale.

Of course, there is one that gets greedy and puts the whole operation at risk.  Not going to give anymore of the plot away, but enough to say, the setup is beautiful and there is lots of black comedic moments.   One particular stand out scene, keep an eye out for when Jackie and Michael discover the body for the first time and try to readjust his smile.  I was literally crying with laughter.

James Nesbitt, prior to us The Hobbit duties, as the local pig farmer who is desperately trying to woo the love of his life, a local girl (Susan Lynch) who writes greeting card versus for a living while raising her only young son.

While set in Ireland, the whole movie is filmed in the Isle of Man, which substitutes for Ireland and Scotland on a number of movies.  The tax breaks in this little offshore tax haven are too good to refuse for some movie makers.

The movie did fantastically well at the box office, with a budget of $3M it returned over $50M to the makers.

I love this movie and it never fails to lift my mood when I need some good clean laughter.  If you haven’t taken it for a whirl, then get it onto your list as soon as possible, you won’t regret it. 


Viewing Date
Friday, 25th September 2015


IMDB YouTubeTrailer