The Graduate, a Wonder

Seeing The Graduate on the big screen today at Burns Court Theater was a delight. Despite the two chatty Kathy’s sitting behind me, “This is too much!” exclamations through the first third of the film, this film was So good that it shut them up! Miracles never cease.

I just wanted to mention a few details in the film that I appreciated:
Dustin Hoffman’s wet suit scene seemed so symbolic of him being the trained seal for his parents. They wanted him to do ‘tricks’ for them, as do many overzealous parents. Pool scenes have certainly had an impact in other more recent films as well, most notably Love & Mercy (Paul Dano!) and Booksmart (thank you Olivia Wilde).

Part of the pool charm was due to the cinematographer/director of photography’s name was Robert Suertees, a three time Oscar winner for Ben Hur, The Bad and the Beautiful and King Solomon’s Mines. He also did other great films such as The Last Picture Show.

Proof that a movie takes a team, Sound Department Maestro Jack Solomon (winner for the Oscar in Hello Dolly) was a genius in the same wet suit scene. We hear Dustin breathing, while seeing his parents mouth their excitement at his upcoming ‘stupid pet trick’.

Mike Nichols, winner of the Oscar as Best Director in this film, was a former comedic partner with Elaine May. In this film, he showed his comedic chops, along with Buck Henry (screenwriter’s Oscar nominee) in an s & m type of humor. We laugh, but understand the dramatic undertones as well.

The late 60’s and early 70’s was a hot bed for new contemporary comedy dramas and The Graduate certainly holds up over time.

Booksmart: A Goody-Two Shoes Rebellion

Booksmart was a whip smart story of two goody two shoes who realize on the brink of high school graduation that they have been too sheltered to experience love, lust and uninhibited joy.

Olivia Wilde may have directed Booksmart, but four horsewomen of comedy: Fogel, Halpern, Haskins and Silberman wrote the screenplay.

The story was a girls’ version of Super Bad, and worked for 95% of the time. There were just a few lagging moments that could have easily been excised.

The jam packed talented cast and snappy dialogue made the movie. This ensemble had more humor than an entire season of any recent SNL group. Bravo to the two leads: Kaitlyn Dever (who could be Conan O’Brien’s daughter in looks and deadpan facial expressions) and Beanie Feldstein (a more refined version of Aidy Bryant).

Veteran actors Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte were perfect as the nerdy parents, Jason Sedeikis terrific as the ‘dude’ like Principal and Jessica Williams was excellent as the ‘hot for teacher’ teacher. Mike O’Brien was tremendous as the pizza delivery guy and a face I hadn’t seen in awhile, a long lost SNL cast member.

The fellow graduates who really stood out (each one owning their role in a glorious way) were: Skyler Gisondo, Billie Lourd (who reminded me of a young Kate Hudson), Noah Galvin, Austin Crute all deserve future comedy movie roles STAT. Being great at math (eye roll), that’s nine great minor characters.

While not quite riveting enough to say I’d see it again, I laughed out loud several times, adored the music soundtrack and walked out refreshed. I’ve decided movies are not only a real life cleanse, but also an unlocking device to past memories. High school in this case, which for me, especially Graduation Night, was a tremendous high in many respects.

And now for your listening pleasure, here’s a link to Baker & Mollasis at the Movies where I discuss Booksmart s’more:)