Best Movies of the 80’s by Jürgen Müller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As is the format of these Taschen best of movies series, the introduction tells us what to expect. The criteria for the best movies of the 1980’s was surface level films from that period.
A pleasingly leisurely and ultimately worthwhile slice of life drama set in the 1930’s—if one can manage sitting through the slow troughs. Memorably, as people are sitting in a church during the communion part of the Sunday service, a young man and a sheriff’s broken relationship is resolved in the best way possible: they experience reconciliation, as symbolized through the communion (or sacrament of reconciliation). Before this, an older African American, Moses (Danny Glover), comes into the life of the widow of the sheriff, Edna Spalding (Sally Field) although his coming into her life is through a sense of “luck”. Despite the Depression, Edna Spalding graciously gives Moses work. Kindly, he encourages her to pay off what she owes the bank (her husband left debts behind) by teaching her cotton-picking skills. For one season, he helps her raise a cotton harvest. Even if Moses must go, because of the Klu Klux Klan in the neighbourhood – one of whom is a businessman who challenges Moses’ skills at negotiating cotton prices – Edna will still know how to pick cotton next season. Moses, like the Moses of the Bible, is her deliverer. Places in the Heart unfolds leisurely but beautifully, is worthwhile, well-meaning, sincere, and features a vivid cast of characters in slice-of-life situations. Very well acted. Beautifully filmed.
Jackie (2016) is about grief, pain, hurt and faith during hard times, serious, strong themes. Former US President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, in Dallas, Texas. The film focuses on the grief of Kennedy’s wife, Jackie Kennedy, who is interviewed by a journalist, to get beneath the surface of her grief. an uncomfortable interview as far as Jackie is concerned. Jackie is grieving and is jaded by much of what has been written about her already. This journalist is sensitive enough to accommodate much of Jackie’s concerns. The interview scenes, sometime after the assassination, ooze with Jackie’s grief, as well as the scenes immediately after the assassination, filmed indoors, at a replica of the White House, and some outdoors, a cemetery. The film does have the look of budget constraints unfortunately, but Natalie Portman gets under the grief of the former first lady and is so natural in conveying the mannerisms and emotional hurt that she morphs seamlessly into the role. She is ably supported by Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, Richard E Grant as Bill Walton, and John Hurt as the Catholic priest. Jackie confides in the priest over the untimely death. It is here that the priest encourages Jackie that God has not left her amiss, that taken in the right way, she is a symbol for the nation. Here is a glimmer of hope for a movie of some somber mood but a story of value and performances of authenticity.
Reducing things to boxes comes in different forms. Could it be when one says she has a “God moment” at the movies? Or might have been felt by the Zavier Jones whoever that is, as well. It may seem when people talk about their “God moments” at the movies they may be reducing things to a box. I think, when it comes to things like art and pictures like films, if one says they get God in it, isn’t this a bit of mystery. I would be afraid to say it was God because what if it really isn’t and is just our mind. God is so greater than our minds.
Reviews are written forms of communication so a reviewer needs to communicate. A reviewer needs to write clearly to get a point across. A reviewer of films, stage, and music, and stuff like that, and books and all that kind of thing, really has to commit to an opinion of a work to get their point across. Why? It’s clear. Following one point through to the end makes for transparent writing. The reader understands the point of view easily. For years, I lacked the decision-making power to commit to an opinion and express that. My voice came through, but not my point of view. I expressed or described my impressions of a film, but not really articulate a point of view clearly. But, I believe, coming down on one side can make for the better writing. And one must be believable with their point of view. Does it ring true? Does the writer believe in it? So, conviction in one’s view is of the essence and the reader should know if it sounds authentic.