Tag Archives: cinematherapy reviews

“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

Cinematherapy for When You’re Feeling Bullied and Pressured to Conform: 12 Angry Men

At home alone, looking to be inspired? Try a POWER OF ONE Movie. Tonight on Turner Classic Movies, you can catch 12 Angry Men. Here’s a Cinematherapy take:

12 Angry Men (1957)

Stars: Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, John Savoca, plus another five angry men to round it out

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Reginald Rose

This classic courtroom portrays just how hard it can be to achieve justice when the deciders are locked in a claustrophobic jury room on a muggy summer day, with a broken fan that serves as a reminder of how the inconveniences of life can render us prisoners of our lower selves. Let’s face it: It’s hard to be patient and compassionate when you schvitzed through your starched white collar shirt and tie before you even got out of the courtroom. Clearly, this jury could’ve used some tank tops and muscle shirts along with ice water and racial and gender diversity, but then, it’s a story set in an era when 12 white men in suits weighing whether a poor Hispanic kid would be found guilty of knifing someone wouldn’t make a judge blink.

Unbeknownst to the defendant (John Savoca), he is within a whisper of being sentenced to the gallows because of the frustrations of a bunch of fellows longing for casual Friday wear and a decent ventilation and a/c system. Fortunately, one man—juror number 8 (Henry Fonda)—isn’t willing to ditch his duty for a quick escape. Despite his fellow jurors’ flaring tempers, racist speeches, and impatience with logic and facts, juror number 8 insists on exploring the evidence and testimony in further detail. As the afternoon wears on, we recognize that each man has an insight rooted in his personal experience which, collectively, will flesh out the picture of what happened that fatal night and allow the truth to emerge. But will the desperate need for a cold drink and a gentle breeze thwart juror 8’s efforts to bring out the best in his fellow anonymous peers?

When you’re feeling under pressure to cave in to the majority, 12 Angry Men is a refreshing reminder that democracy doesn’t mean the bullies get to rule and the quiet guys have to conform. Its eloquent portrayal of acting from courage and conscious will inspire you to believe that you, too, can keep your head while those about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, to quote Kipling, simply because their Arrid solid stopped working.

–Nancy Peske

Cinematherapy for when you’re feeling bullied: 12 Angry Men is a Power of One movie

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