Category Archives: 1988

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Today and tomorrow I cast out demons and work cures. On the third day, I will be perfected.

— Jesus

 

After the rapture did not happen last week, I wanted to see the controversial Martin Scorsese film, The Last Temptation of Christ. The only thing that I have heard is the controversy of having Jesus portrayed as a flawed mortal and not the savior most people know. I didn’t realize that it received the Criterion treatment, but I knew that it was nominated for a single Oscar for Best Director. I think that I would have had a strong reaction back then instead of now.

Based on the 1960 Nikos Kazantzakis novel, the movie is a fictionalized account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth (Willem Dafoe). Jesus is a mortal living his life as a carpenter living with his mother, Mary (Verna Bloom). He is haunted by bouts of fainting spells, widespread pain all over his body and the voices he hears. He doesn’t know if it’s God or the Devil talking to him.

His best friend, Judas (Harvey Keitel) visits him to ask him why is he building crosses for Roman so they could crucify his fellow Jews. Jesus takes pity on the people that he has sent on the cross. The villagers think that he is a traitor and should be killed for his actions. Whenever he walks across the town with the cross, people throw rocks at him. He is spat upon by Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey), the local prostitute.

Jesus continues to hear the voices speaking to him. He is conflicted because he doesn’t want to be the messiah. Jesus tries to make God hate him so he could make another person the messiah. He is afraid of every aspect of his life.

He wants to seek forgiveness from Mary Magdalene before Jesus sets off on his journey for absolution. She doesn’t understand why he couldn’t love her and she does for him. While he was purified on his sins, he tries to preach the word of God, but he is not the best speaker to deliver God’s message.

Meanwhile, Judas is sent to kill Jesus, but he doesn’t. He decides to join him on his ultimate mission with the apostles to preach God’s message to the people of Jerusalem. Jesus makes some selfish decisions that could ultimately effected the course of his purpose on Earth.

My first thoughts of this movie are that , why is Harvey Keitel in this movie? He has his regular accent in B.C. Israel. Say what? Ever heard of a dialect coach? I felt like the story was not intriguing enough for me to invest my time with it. Let me tell you, it was a lot of time. The movie is 2 1/2 hours long. I did not feeling anything with the movie. If you have been a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I am not a religious person. Organized religion bothers me that I have to be this person and not myself.

I wish that the movie would have provoked a response, but I think that people are not as easily offended today then they were twenty years ago.

Judgment: This movie should have been dumped into the Dead Sea where it belongs.

Rating: 3/10

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Working Girl (1988)

Never burn bridges. Today’s junior prick, tomorrow’s senior partner!

— Katharine Parker

I have meant to watch Mike Nichol’s film, Working Girl, for a while now. It took a great list from Heather from Movie Mobsters putting out the Top Ten Sigourney Weaver Roles/Performances to get me to see it. The term “working girl” felt very stuck in the 80s. I thought the movie would feel a little dated from women to connect to in the new millennium. It does, but there is a sweet story at the heart of it.

This Cinderella story in a yuppie setting starts with the a frustrated temp named Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) quits her last job when one of the bosses, Bob Speck (Kevin Spacey) made sexual advances toward her in the backseat of limo. One of the workers at the temp agency (Olympia Dukakis) warns her it was her last chance, because she quit two previous jobs before that.

Tess goes to work for a prestigious brokerage firm where she the tutelage of Mergers and Acquisitions director, Katharine Parker (Weaver). Katharine wants to show Tess the ropes of how to make in the cutthroat business world. Tess feels that Katharine is trying to help her make the transition from the minor league to the big leagues. Tess re-evaluating her life, what she has accomplished and what still need to be achieved. She has a tumultuous relationship with her live-in, Mick (Alec Baldwin) who she caught cheating on her with a mutual friend.

One day, Tess confides in Katharine about an idea of a powerful company, Trask Industries want to acquire a television station, but she had an idea of having Trask (Philip Bosco) to buy a radio station. It would be a smoother acquisition without having to deal with the legalities of a foreign company buy a television. Katharine takes it under advisement. Later, she tells Tess that the committee did not like her idea.

Katharine goes on a skiing trip in Europe where she has a freak accident on the slopes, breaking her leg. She wants Tess to take care of her place while she spends weeks recuperating. While Tess was at Katharine’s loft, she stumbles on evidence suggesting that Katharine took her idea to radio expert, Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford). Feeling betrayed by Katharine, Tess is on a mission to get her credit for her idea by assuming Katharine’s identity for a short while.

This movie was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Actress for Griffith and Supporting Actress for Cusack and Weave and it won for Carey Simon’s original song, “Let the River Run” that plays during the opening credits of this movie. I would just like to know, why Cusack was nominated for this movie? She was a secondary character, Tess’s best friend in the periphery. She had no gravitas like Ms. Weaver did in the movie. She was so cold and calculating, but she wasn’t a monster. It was subdued evil witch of a boss.

The beginning of this film was very slow to build up, but it was satisfying when the climax happened. I was very distracted by the blown out, heavily hairsprayed bouffant hairdos the women. At least it was tone down near the middle. I loved the chemistry between Griffith and Ford. The story was good in parts, but it has this strange dynamics. You basically have to act like a cold-hearted, backstabbing bitch to make it in business. Great lessons for young professional women to live on.

Judgment: The subject may be dated, but an enjoyable in the end.

Rating: ****

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