Category Archives: cinema therapy

“You always pass failure on the way to success”–Mickey Rooney

“You always pass failure on the way to success”–Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney has died at age 93. Many of his performances were in great Cinematherapy movies, including the Love Is All Around You movie The Human Comedy, which is truly “Cinematherapy for the Soul.”

 

The Human Comedy (1943)

Stars: Mickey Rooney, Frank Morgan, Van Johnson, Fay Bainter, Donna Reed

Director: Clarence Brown

Writer: Howard Estabrook, based on a  story by William Saroyan

 

Sometimes it’s nice to curl up with one of those unapologetically sentimental classics and escape to a world where people always speak in a loving manner, pray simply and eloquently when they are afraid, and seem to exist in a perpetual state of grace. But be forewarned: You’ll either let forth a waterfall of tears when you watch this one or get antsy with its old school pacing. Take a breath and consider it a meditation, and you’ll be able to truly enjoy Mickey Rooney’s Oscar-nominated performance as a boy on the verge of manhood trying to make sense of the rhythms of life and the madness of war.

Many of the residents of Ithaca, California, know that music brings comfort to the poor of spirit: The Macauley girls and their mother play the harp and sing to harmonize away the pain of losing their father. Their brother (Van Johnson) plays “Danny Boy” on the concertina to his army buddies as they wait to ship out, knowing many of them won’t return. And when middle son Homer (Mickey Rooney), a telegram messenger, is aching to inform a Mexican-American mother that her only son has died in action, she comforts him and herself as she plaintively sings a folk song from the old country in a musical thread weaving birth, life, and death together in the space between them.

Now, you know that with a main character off at war, and another who is the town’s bearer of all those “The War Department regrets to inform you” telegrams, and a small town quiet that goes on for reel after reel, the war is going to bust in like an unwelcome guest. And it does, injecting a harsh dose of reality that can only be alleviated by a reminder that at these times, unexpected visitors show up to remind us that from death comes life, from despair comes gratitude, from loss comes renewed hope, and from slow-moving 40s movies comes a reminder that moving slowly alerts us to what really matters in life. So open the door to Homer and his family when you’re feeling cynical and reconnect with the force of love that joins lonely melodies in harmony.

 

Mickey Rooney, Master of Putting on a Show, Dies at 93

 

 

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April 7, 2014 · 12:37 pm

Happy 90th Birthday Doris Day!

Happy 90th birthday Doris Day! Here’s a great subversive comedy of hers that falls under the category of Finding Your Voice or The Power of One. It’s called It Happened to Jane, and it’s about a single mom/entrepreneur who goes all out to fight a nasty corporation and rallies her entire town around her to boycott the company. Her chutzpah inspires an insecure Jack Lemmon to follow her lead and find his own courage to stand up for himself. Oh sure, she looks wholesome and sweet as pie, but don’t. mess. with. Jane. Or Doris Day, animal rights advocate.

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Filed under chick flicks, cinema therapy, Cinematherapy, Doris Day, films to watch when you're depressed, films to watch when you're sad, Finding Your Voice movies, inspiring movies, Jack Lemmon, Power of One movies, therapeutic movies

Shirley Temple, The Little Girl Who Could

No, she was not just a pin-curled moppet with a dimple, a sweet little voice, a penchant for tap dancing, and an excessively cute demeanor. When it came to Hollywood, little Shirley kicked somem serious butt. She was, for some years, the highest-paid actress in Hollywood. She saved the Fox studio from bankruptcy during the Depression, keeping thousands employed, even though she was so young that she had to sign her first contracts with an X because she hadn’t learned how to write yet. She broke the color barrier as the first white woman to touch a black man onscreen, tapping away as she held the hand of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. And she went on to be a UN ambassador when she grew up, supporting Czechoslovakian president-to-be Vaclav Havel during the Velvet Revolution.

All that’s important to keep in mind during the most precious moments in her films when cynicism threatens to creep into your consciousness. Ignore any overly coy story lines and focus on the inner Shirley. Watch her light up the screen, playing off her fellow actors, and give her all whether she tears up, giggles mischievously, or sticks out her lower lip in indignation. And remember, just because someone’s got a headful of blonde curls and dimpled chubby cheeks doesn’t mean she isn’t a force to be reckoned with.

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Filed under chick flicks, cinema therapy, Cinematherapy, cinematherapy movies, films to watch when you're depressed, films to watch when you're sad, Happily Ever After Movies, Shirley Temple movies

The Power of One Movie: Gandhi with Ben Kingsley

The Power of One Movie

Cinematherapy for When You’re Feeling Cynical

 

Gandhi (1982)

Stars: Ben Kingsley

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: John Briley

 

Thanks to this movie, Gandhi was “the man” back in ’82. As Martin Sheen said, “Everyone in Hollywood wanted to be just like Gandhi—thin, tan, and moral.”

This epic movie presents Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) as a moral beacon in the darkness of colonialism, the simple voice of reason and integrity that falls on the deaf ears of a bunch of white guys in fussy uniforms whose civilized exterior belies their potential for cruelty due to a bloated sense of entitlement. While riding a train one day, Gandhi is thrown from the naivete of privilege into the dingy reality of prejudice and realizes he’s got to use his newly earned law degree to help his fellow Indians. Ovr the coruse of several decades, he manages to unite Hindus and Muslims against the tyranny of the British, whose façade of politeness is quickly shattered when their subjects stop bowing to them. One look at the British officers whacking he heads and shoulders of hundreds of quietly protesting Indian men in order to bully them into submission and it’s clear that maintaining oppression requires a high level of denial or the admission that shiny boots and clipped mustaches aside, you’re just another thug. Gandhi’s protests may have required more years and more bloodshed on his side’s part than he had hoped, and his coalition may have fallen apart quickly after his death, but his message of human dignity triumphing over the lust for power is enough to keep us hopeful even when it’s clear that yet another regime didn’t get the memo and the same old battles for human rights have to be fought all over again in some other corner of the world.

If you’re feeling cynical, insignificant, and in need of some can-do spirit, check out Gandhi and see if it doesn’t get you off the couch and raring to make a difference in the world.

 

When you’re feeling cynical and insignificant, watch Gandhi, a Power of One movie, for cinematherapy.

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”—Ben Kingsley as Gandhi

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Filed under cinema therapy, Cinematherapy, films to watch when you're depressed, films to watch when you're sad, inspiring movies, Power of One movies, therapeutic movies

Indiscreet with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman: Happily-Ever-After Movie Rx

Are you in need of a Happily-Ever-After movie to fill your mind with bliss and erase all traces of rational thought, so that you can stop thinking and just ENJOY? Here’s a prescription for a perfect Happily-Ever-After movie that will serve as chocolate mousse for the soul and smooth every ruffled feather and frayed nerve.

Indiscreet (1958)

Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Cecil Parker, Phyllis Calvert

Director: Stanley Donen

Writer: Norman Krasna, based on his play Kind Sir

You know you’ve stepped into a different era when a flustered Ingrid Bergman is advised by her sister (Phyllis Calvert) to put on a girdle so she’ll feel better. In fact, this whole movie has a surreal quality that makes one wonder if there was ever a golden era in which girdles boosted serotonin levels or if, perhaps, the screenwriter of this delicious 50s morsel spent a little time in an alternate reality.

The male love interest, Phillip Adams (Cary Grant), is not just suave, sophisticated, and charming: He has a glamorous, high-paying job, is single and straight, and can drink Scotch and sodas morning, noon, and night and never show the slightest hint of inebriation or under-eye puffiness. The female love interest, Anna Kalman (Berman), is an actress living in London, who never seems to have a role yet can afford designer dress-and-coat ensembles to don on casual evenings out. Plus, she has a sympathetic sister and brother-in-law (Cecil Parker) living conveniently close by and no loser boyfriend hitting her up for his half of the rent money.  Like Phillip, Anna has the extraordinary capacity to drink Scotch and soda morning, noon, and night yet still walk straight and look fabulous without any sign of bloat. Even more implausibly, she can carry off a hat consisting of a huge black feather that wraps around her entire head—without looking like an alien.

Of course, there are all sorts of cute little twists to keep the couple apart, and an outrageously daring act on Anna’s part that shows she’s plucky as well as beautiful, and it all ties up in one neat little package requiring no restrictive foundation undergarments. Too delightful!

Watch this when you’re harried to the max and tell yourself that a half bottle of wine and a handful of Ferrero Rochers won’t go straight to your thighs and belly, ‘cause at this point you’ll believe anything.

Happily Ever After Movie Indiscreet with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman is a cinematherapy movie guaranteed to whisk your troubles away

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Filed under chick flicks, cinema therapy, Cinematherapy, cinematherapy movies, films to watch when you're depressed, films to watch when you're sad, Happily Ever After Movies, therapeutic movies

Cinematherapy Rx: Happily Ever After Movie “Pillow Talk”

Take a break from the uncertainty of life with a Happily Every After movie that promises that every conflict can be resolved and every loose thread tucked away in a seamless story of perfect boy-meets-girl, boy marries girl, and they lived happily ever after. Check out this Cinematherapy Happily Ever After

Movie.

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Pillow Talk (1959)

Stars: Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall.

Director: Michael Gordon

Writers: Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin, based on a story by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene

From the moment those credits roll, with Doris and Rock gaily tossing pink and blue satin pillows in the air while Doris’s honey-smooth voice sings “there must be a boy, must be a pillow, must be a pillow talkin’ boy for me,” you know you’re in for one surreal romp. Originally billed as a “sexcapade,” Pillow Talk is a bizarre little gem from an era before Vidal Sassoon, Clairol Herbal Essence Shampoo, the short and sassy look, or that stuff your hairdresser gives you to “scrunch” with for a natural look. Doris Day plays Jan Morrow, a freckle-nosed, no-nonsense career girl in a silver helmet wig, the hairs of which wouldn’t dare stir even in nuclear blast. Smooth talking Brad Allen, a lothario who shares her party line, is determined to get Jan to let her hair down in more ways than one. The boundaries of her conversations violated by the vagaries of 50s era telephone technology, Jan is determined to retain her dignity, her privacy, her flawless ‘do, and her virginity, which makes sense given her options for risk management in the pre-Pill, pre-feminist era.

Now, Jan knows how to handle a man who is all hands and cheap pick up lines but of course, a gal can’t find happiness in the pre-free-love era without a plotline that promises hot sex forever after—at least, once the ring is on her finger. With the help of a friend (Tony Randall) who just so happens to know Jan, Brad plays a mischievous game of multiple personalities, teasing Jan into pondering whether it’s possible that underneath that playboy exterior beats the heart of a sensitive soul with a penchant for interior design and recipe collecting. Then again, maybe under that sensitive soul exterior beats the heart of someone keeping a major secret from the movie going audience for the sake of better lead male roles…

Next time you’re seeking simple solutions and unwilling to look too far below the surface, slip into some pink pajamas, curl up with a few fluffy pillows, and pour yourself a nice grasshopper or pink lady to sip while you enjoy this frothy little piece of Americana.

World Class Wrecks

“Mr. Allen, this may come as a surprise to you, but there are some men who don’t end every sentence with a proposition.”—Doris Day as Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk

“I look upon Brad Allen like any other disease. I’ve had him. I’m over him. I’m immune to him.”—Doris Day as Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk

“You listen to me. No alcoholic beverage, no drug known to science, no torture device yet devised could induce me to stay married to you!”—Doris Day as Carol Templeton in Lover Come Back

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