Calendar Girls

The Calendar Girls is based on the true story of a group of middle-aged ladies in Yorkshire, UK who create a nude calendar (not “naked”) to raise money for the leukemia ward and waiting room of the local hospital. The struggle with the difference between art and non-art (pornography); they struggle with celebrity. They struggle with their personal relationships – all with a sense of droll humor and a sense of loss and empathy for those who lose loved ones through leukemia.

What impressed me is that the Calendar Girls understand what they did and why, but when they are invited to be on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno just blows it by telling them to get more women to pose naked. That it shows how shallow the journalism that surrounds them is, as well as shows that seek to promote them but end up insulting them, is a revelation.

These ladies have dignity. In the final alaysis it is about empowerment. I would have wished it could have done a bit more to resolve the relationship between the Helen Mirren character and her husband and son…

Both Helen Mirren and Julie Christie are marvelous.

By the way, they pose nude but you don’t see anything (except in a couple of places, in passing, some breasts are evidenced.) Their beauty, as the flowers of Yorkshire, is best as they age.


Cheaper by the Dozen

If you saw the original, this version of Cheaper by the Dozen may not ring your chimes too much. It has some funny parts and it tries very hard. The eventual clash between the parents doesn’t seem authentic because it doesn’t take the time to develop the “family character” enough for us to care – or there are just too many to keep track of. Ashton Kutcher is very funny and his character works well as the true narcissist of the bunch. Steve Martin as a football coach? The time line of the mother’s book being accepted and published and the book tour planned was very far fetched.

A review in the LA Times this week said Bonnie Hunt was too perfect to play mom to 12 kids. But if you recall the original, the mother was a very classy lady. I like Bonnie Hunt and she gets in her Catholic identity: go wash the dishes, sweep the floor or say the rosary…

What I would have liked to have seen was more of the father’s efforts to nurture his children like the original. Alas, times have changed and economics and consumerism are big obstacles to family life.

The theater was almost full today and the crotch humor and the vomit got the biggest laughs from the kids (not too over the top.) It was enjoyable and it is pro-family, though from a Catholic perspective it has no problem with contraception (if you recall, the original had the Mrs. reject the efforts of the Margaret Sanger visitors.)

What worked was that you could imagine yourself in a family like this… at least I could since I come from a family of eight. And these kids got theri own rooms? Not so bad… Some funny out-takes at the end.