Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't You Forget About Me: Scenes From The Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989)

For the inaugural edition (a lot of those lately, eh?) I went with a movie I absolutely love that came out 20 years ago. Paul Bartel's final film, and I think his comic masterpiece:


It's as zany as an 80's comedy of manners can be. It's also wittily done and performed to perfection by it's entire cast. Paul Bartel goes out in style. He will be missed.


Amanda By Night said...

I do like this movie. The first time I saw it I didn't, but an ex-coworker encouraged me to see it again. The only real problem I have with revisiting it is because apparently this was the film that sent Rebecca Shaffer's stalker over the edge. Cuz you know, she was playing a character he didn't approve of, so he killed her. Nice.

Also, knowing what became of Ray Sharkey is a little disconcerting too.

You have to wonder what the vibe was like on the set of this movie!

Maria Maria said...

This film showcases so much talent from actors and performers that have now passed into Hollywood Valhalla: Paul Bartel, Ray Sharkey, and tragically, Rebecca Schaeffer who died at the tender age of 21, and would probably have blossomed into a graceful and beautiful actor. The cast is unlikely, however they work well together and seem to have fun doing it. There is harmony and refinement as they interact, making it seem as a dance. The make-out scene with Jacqueline Bisset, Ray Sharkey and a chocolate cake is passionate and sexy. Wallace Shawn is smug and manipulative as a troubled gynecologist. Arnetia Walker is a show stealer as the former porn star wife of a self-deluded playwright played by Ed Begley Jr.. Edith Diaz plays Rosa, the Aztec-descended maid who spouts the meaning of life with a cultural twist and, according to Beltran's character, has a dustpan loose. Then there is Darren the West Highland White starring as Bo-Jangles, the terrier with an affinity for black women. The scenes are well edited, and not the least bit clunky or contrived. I don't think this is Paul Bartel's best film, but certainly it has its moments. A must see for anyone interested in off-color sexy films. Paul Bartel's works are certainly not voluminous, but he gets an A+ for effort on this one. Paul, I read recently, was a little disappointed with the film. It didn't live up to his expectations, and the gay relationship between Beltran and Sharkey, which Paul had said he wanted to bring out more, is minimally, but expertly alluded.
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It is an amicable film, unpretentious despite its subject matter, and almost innocent in its portrayal of an elitist LA establishment. I will never turn down a screening.

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