Monday, January 2, 2012

Matinee for New Year's Week


If you’re among the 1% unimpressed by a parade and football, i.e., motorized flowers and a bunch of blokes who can’t find a civilized way to travel in opposite directions, I have a movie you might like.

Gosford Park. It streams on Netflix.

I don’t know how I missed this film first time around. It’s not an Upstairs Downstairs retread.

Even if it were, I shouldn’t have passed on the film, not when it’s directed by Robert Altman and the ensemble cast includes Maggie Smith and Charles Dance.

Truth in advertising, I could spend a whole day watching Maggie Smith do anything -- read a book, eat toast. She captivates me. If Maggie’s face and voice can’t steal the scene, her hands will do the dirty work. Her hands are a law onto themselves; they float and flap and punctuate the air with exclamation points, question marks, ellipses.

Clip one

Clip two

You can view Gosford Park on many levels. Master-servant, almost romance, half-assed mystery. But mostly it's about the bargains we make with others and ourselves, and the stories we invent to justify them.

Charles Dance, as the aristocrat, only gets off the odd line or two. Like when his wife is sobbing for the dead man and he says, “Would you quit sniveling! Anyone would think you were Italian.”

(In case you’re not familiar with Dance, I found this clip. I knew him from Bleak House, Nicholas Nickleby, and Rebecca, and had no idea he’d spent time in the trenches doing action flicks.)

53 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I did a quick look at the parade, just to see JR...I hope he doesn't get jaded by all the attention he's been getting lately, if so, my confidence in folks won't be anything to brag about...I will say netflix does have some great indie and oldie films... I will definitely check out the one u suggest, thank God, I don't have to act interested in football.

Wayne said...

If I had any clue you hadn't seen Gosford Park I'd have put you on the right track years ago KB.

I've seen it at least 3 times, most recently last week on the movie channel that comes with my basic cable.

The movie is so rich in atmosphere and character development. Everyone is pitch perfect.

Dame Maggie has a similar role in Downton Abbey, the PBS/ITV series.

Mister Earl said...

I saw Gosford Park when it was in the theaters. Probably the only movie I've seen that you hadn't.

BaysideLife said...

I love this movie and since my amiable spouse is working today, and I hate parades and football, I may just have to brew some coffee and settle in with Netflix. (It's cold here today. Yesterday it was in the 70s, today it's 49!)

I'm really looking forward to Downton Abbey Thursday night.

CafePasadena said...

Ah, yes, those 1% percenters! Now, there's a problem w/o a solution.

"Huh, what?" Occupy Neflix?? Hmmm...

Happy New Week!

Desiree said...

Not sure you were much of a fan, but Maggie Smith's back in action on the next season of Downton Abbey. Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I agree, the ending is weak, but still it's one of Altman's finest. His last film?

GG

Marjie said...

Love that line! There are a lot of Italians here, including one daughter's best friend, and she spends lots of time sniveling here. You'd think her life had some real drama or something, instead of, "My sisters are mean to me!"

Is the second season of Downton Abbey out yet? My idiotic PBS ran 4 hours each Christmas night and New Years night, and now I'm afraid I might have missed the new installment!

Paula said...

This is in my personal collection and I watch it every so often just so I can visit with Helen Mirren, Kelly MacDonald, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith and the rest. I think Alan Bates was also very fine in his unexpected role as a servant, especially when licking his finger after dipping it in the bloody mary's.

altadenahiker said...

Marjie, I'll ask Des; she's the go-to girl on all things Downton.

Paula, yes, all of them. But I put Emily Watson at the top. I detested "Breaking the Waves" in intent and execution, so figured I didn't like Watson. But after this -- what an actor -- I believed everything she said and did.

Paula said...

I forgot about her, it's been a while since my last viewing, but you're right she was, as they say, marvelous.

-K- said...

I suppose this is an inappropriate time to mention that "Portlandia" can also be streamed on Netflix.

Petrea Burchard said...

I, too, will watch Maggie Smith do pretty much anything and I especially love hearing her voice. But am I a bad person if I don't like Kristin Scott Thomas? There's absolutely nothing wrong with her that I can tell. She bugs me, though. Or I am bugged by her, that's a better way to put it.

altadenahiker said...

I don't know, P. We'll work on your Kristin issues once I figure out why Charles Dance is so mesmerizing. Both have bone structures akin to Mount Rushmore. And then we can all relax, watch Portlandia, and wonder why we didn't write it first, since the concept sprouted in these parts years ago.

January 2, 2012 10:35 PM

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Altman - love! One of my favorite moments in filmdom happens in another one of his flicks.

I've seen Gotsford Park. Maybe I didn't have as strong a reaction as you, but then I tend to like films with a really dark or cryptic side to them. My latest netflik line up (Lilly 4-Ever - The Limits of Control - Hanna) But I do have a special attraction towards the actress Kelly Macdonald. I think she's under utilized. Too bad.

TheChieftess said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen Gosford Park!!! But more to the point...I'm kind of ticked off about Netflix streaming...after Christmas I had the cable guy out here to figure out why I was getting only about 1mbps download speeds when we pay extra for 6mbps...he basically told me that aside from the fact that the cable company oversold the internet capability up here which overload whenever we have a lot of tourists up here...but the worst part is that the Net flix streaming overloads the lines up here!!! We're barely getting 1/6 of the internet performance we signed up for!!! Ok...Rant over...go ahead and watch your Netflix stream Hiker...your internet cable won't drain our internet cable.......( I've decided to skip Netflix streaming!)

Latino Heritage said...

Marathoned Downton Abbey and Hell on Wheels over the last week. Would love to see Dame Smith and Colm Meaney in a movie. He's got a healthy range - still chuckle when I think about his role in The Commitments.

altadenahiker said...

Then again, maybe GP is really about all the ways we can be enslaved and shackled -- by money, class, loveless marriage, greed, appetite, the past.

alex said...

wait, what if you're the one percent who doesn't have Netflix?

i kid (although really, i don't). have a happy new year.

Trish said...

I watched the Parade off DVR (too busy Monday morning to watch it live). Tradition and all. But I have to say, it felt more like a Disney production, than the "old parade I've known and loved". I think I actually enjoyed watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade more this year. (egads, I know!).

I've seen parts of Gosford Park---need to watch the whole thing again. We have a client with a movie addiction, am assuming they have a copy here and we're here for 2+ weeks so I suppose I should go look for it.

Dame Maggie could read me the phone book, or read me instructions off a paint can, I'd be happy to listen to her describe grass growing! sigh!

Susan Campisi said...

I saw it when it first came out. Those clips definitely make me want to watch it again.

I hadn't given much notice to Charles Dance but I find him oddly compelling in that clip.

bandit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desiree said...

Marjie--DA season 2 starts THIS Sunday--

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

I'm not a football fan either, Karin, but somehow can't bring myself to say, "I am the 1%." Also didn't watch the parade, but was delighted to hear that the high school marching band from Pulaski, Wisconsin suddenly started playing Woody Guthrie's "Sticking to the Union". Not broadcast on TV, but picked up by Daily Kos. They must have one cool band director.

Petrea Burchard said...

Terry, I love it.

http://bit.ly/wl23Ga

Petrea Burchard said...

Woops. Didn't need the link twice.

Katie said...

I know I saw Gosford Park on the big screen, but haven't seen it since so it's time to watch it again (especially to keep an eye on Charles Dance whom I've never noticed before). Glad it's streamable. I just started streaming Portlandia and although it's not all great, there are some true laugh-out-loud moments. Was out of town over the weekend so missed the parade, but noticed that the Rose Bowl was on a muted TV in a vintage St. Paul restaurant and bar where my friends and I had cocktails and classic food last night. (I had mac and cheese with a Ritz cracker crumb top. Loved it!)

altadenahiker said...

Go Pulaski! Go Ritz crumbles on mac and cheese. Go one more Charles Dance bit for big dog owners

Susan Campisi said...

That is so cool - the Pulaski band playing Woodie Guthrie and the pyramid of pooches, although it should've been a pyramid of pitties if you ask me.

altadenahiker said...

Yes, yes, yes. I'm sure we'd have no problem getting Albert, Tommy, and Louise to stand shoulder to shoulder on the lowest tier, then Boz and Scout above them, with Peanut on the top. It would only take a little patience and a blue moon.

Susan Campisi said...

Oh no. That wouldn't work. Louise belongs in the middle tier. Do you think Boz would be offended if I suggest they trade places?

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

uhkaaay, this is a lot of homework... DOWnnnntonnnn is what I am hooked on, at the moment. I just want to see that no good plotting smoking Lady's Maid get punched in the face by a wild red-headed drunken Irish secretary! Just make it so please, then I can finally rest.

Petrea Burchard said...

Boz will look sad and expect a lot of sympathy, which he enjoys very much. Secretly (or not so secretly) he will be happy to do anything for a treat.

altadenahiker said...

Just as I thought, the Divas come home to roost. We'll move Boz to the bottom, Louise next to Scout, and Patrizza can hold the antenna.

Margaret said...

Gosford Park is fabulous! Very clever and fun. And it stars just about everyone, which I like.

Carolynn said...

I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the referral.

Bellis said...

Is Gosford Park the film in which each guest comes with their own personal maid or valet, who have to fight for space below stairs? That was my favorite part. Life's so easy when you can swan from stately home to stately home and have someone unpack, iron your clothes and dress you. And when your hostess duties only involve approving the cook's menus.

Did I ever tell you about the experience of a friend who was invited for the weekend to Windsor Castle as a guest of the Queen?

TheChieftess said...

Traveling would be so much easier!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Bellis, don't leave us hanging!

altadenahiker said...

Bellis, I don't care if it's 1:30 out your way. Wake up and tell us the rest. (While we wait, go read Karen Klein's comment on the prior post. You won't regret it.)

Ken Mac said...

Maggie Smith, yes...but what is going on in that photo pray tell?

Tash said...

Gosh...something better than the Rose Parade. :~{ ..wish I saw this on Monday, I would sooo be watching it.
Dance was the sexiest man alive in The Jewel and the Crown. A MUST see.

Paula said...

I've mostly found Downton Abbey a disapointment because I think it's a poor imitation of G: just consider that Maggie Smith is Lady Grantham in DA and Lady Trentham in GP. Maybe Julian Fellowes didn't know Maggie would play that character, but it has me wondering. Still, I'm buying a ringside seat next to Mmme Gramaphone to see the maid get hers, there'll be an Occupy Downton if she doesn't.

Paula said...

And Bellis, I don't think it's so much that they have to fight for space as that they find out they won't be referred to by their own names but rather by their employer's.

Anonymous said...

Well of course Gosford Park has a brilliant screenplay by Julian Fellowes, and next week we can see his next series of Downton Abbey teleplays on PBS.

Those that like Charles Dance should view the TV mini-series 'The Jewel in the Crown'.

Bellis said...

Here's the story, if you're still listening. On arrival at the Castle, a valet took the bags to their room, and a maid unpacked them. She found, to her intense embarrassment, that all her scruffy old underwear was laid out neatly on the bed, and her well-used and rather dirty make-up was lined up on the side table.

Plus the Queen asked about her young children, and assumed they'd left them at home with Nanny. (no, her parents had been asked to babysit).

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

[Dianne has thrown away all her dirty make-up and is now negotiating her underwear collection]

How embarrassing yet exciting at the same time.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'll be sure to get new underpants when the queen invites me to visit the palace.

TheChieftess said...

Query: How does one travel with clean makeup??? And in preparing for a visit with the Queen, does one shop at Victoria's Secret or Faye's underwear shop on Honolulu for a more conservative look???

Pat Tillett said...

I like those first two things and also the movie! So there!
Well, I really don't like parades...
I loved Gosford Park!

Karen said...

I'm counting the moments until Downton Abbey returns Sunday. Same director, Julian Fellowes (I believe) as Gosford Park, which was also one of my faves.

See, I would be that exact person who doesn't realize her ratty undies and half-used makeup tins would be the subject of all sorts of guffaws in the servants' quarters when I was visiting the queen. Good to know that I'll need to shop before my invitation arrives - Bellis, we're so fortunate to know you!

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Dorked Out said...

Hello Karin,

We are pleased to have bowls of fruit and lesson of sand fly in kitchen wardrobe.

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