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The Problematics: ‘Overboard’, A Romantic Comedy In Which Kidnapping is…No Big Deal?

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Consider this premise: An unmarried man, burning with resentment, kidnaps an amnesiac woman from a mental hospital and holds her captive in his home, where he and his four accomplices compel the woman to do their bidding. 

Sounds maybe a bit like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but no, it’s actually the foundational premise of a romantic comedy. Overboard, a 1987 movie directed by Garry Marshall from a script by Leslie Dixon, is not just a romantic comedy — but a bit of a family romantic comedy. The male in question, a carpenter and all-around handyman named Dean and played with Disney-era charm and ebullience by Kurt Russell, is a widower and single dad with four young boys, who are the aforementioned accomplices.

And speaking of Disney-era, the kidnapped woman is played by Goldie Hawn, the neo-screwball queen of the late ’70s and most of the ’80s. Not someone you generally associate with Disney except that her first film appearance was in the studio’s 1968 The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, in a bit part. Said film also featured…Kurt Russell, as one of the Family Band members. The two did not reconnect, and connect romantically, until 1984’s Swing Shift, a romantic drama on which Hawn, a producer, clashed with director Jonathan Demme. 

The decision to make their next film together a full-on comedy proved a smart one. Even with that premise. Let’s backpedal a bit. 

The movie opens in distinctly unpromising fashion, with bouncy Alan Silvestri music and a goofy title font. Watching it I thought, “No wonder people turned to cocaine in the 1980s.” The location is a seaport in Oregon, and Marshall, or the second unit, present shots of simple working fishermen. There’s one doffing a red baseball cap! My God! Does it say, “Make America Great Again?” It does not. (Phew.) It says, “Damn Seagulls.” Because this movie was made when America was still great, damn it. (Reagan’s second term, yes?)

OVERBOARD GOLDIE HAWN
Photo: Everett Collection

Hawn plays Joanna, an impossibly imperious rich woman terrorizing the crew of her cartoonish yacht and cramping the style of her cartoonish snob husband (Edward Herrmann). While stopping in Oregon, she hires Dean to make a new shoe closet on the boat. He contrives a clever space-saving scheme but she burns him on the deal because he used oak rather than cedar. She then throws him off the boat, literally, along with his toolbox and tool belt. 

Home he goes with his tail between his legs, confiding to his beer buddy Billy (Mike Hagerty) and trying to rein in his four boys. (They are introduced in the credits with a single “And Introducing” card, but this proved overly optimistic; as of this writing, the child actors’ careers have all stalled, the most active one only extending to the year 2000.) In the meanwhile, Joanna herself falls off her yacht and washes up in Dean’s town, bereft of memory. Herrmann’s husband checks in on her and promptly checks out, sailing to L.A. to spend his money and time on booze, broads and bingo (okay, no bingo).

Seeing her story on the local TV news, Dean exclaims to Billy, “That’s her?” “Who?” Billy asks. “The bitch,” Dean yells, grinning widely. Eye-opening! However: Dean continues, “There is a God and he loves me!” To which Billy answers, “You’re not gonna shave your head, are you?” The movie has more of these chortlesome zingers than you might think it has a right to. 

So now we get to the meat of things: Dean goes to the hospital and claims her. He calculates the amount of housework he can get out of her in order to make up for his loss at her hands. Like this is supposed to actually make sense to the viewer.

But here’s the thing. This is another neo-screwball comedy, and the premise has a deliberate amount of extra voltage attached. One recalls 1936’s My Man Godfrey in which William Powell’s “forgotten man” becomes a butler to Carole Lombard’s initially insensitive swell. Yes it’s the better movie — for one thing, the title font is classic — but we can’t pretend that Overboard doesn’t partake in its tradition despite the special pleading it has to do to make its more distasteful high concept more palatable.

Between Dixon’s script (she went on to pen Mrs. Doubtfire, another doozy of an idea) and Marshall’s direction, the special pleading is done with some deftness. Gaslighting Joanna into believing she’s his wife, Dean starts her on cleaning house and looking after the raucous tow-headed boys while he works multiple jobs. For some reason (given that they have no actual relationship), he lies about his night gigs, telling her he’s going bowling or drinking or something. He figures being a lout will make her suffer more. 

OVERBOARD, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, 1987
Photo: ©MGM

And what of the conjugal bed? He manages to kick her out of it on the first night, making up some stuff about their past together, terrorizing her with the prospect of sex, and installing her on the simulation of a sofa. “I’m a short, fat slut,” Joanna says as the ceiling leaks on her that rainy night. Anyway, this establishes that for Dean, kidnapping is one thing, but rape is another. (I guess that’s commendable of him?) His action has the salutary effect of putting sex in a drawer for much of the rest of the movie. This gives Hawn the opportunity to shoe her stuff as a physical comedian, and Russell to really work his what-me-worry everyman charm. The movie comes down with the cutes and improves accordingly. 

Joanna, who Dean now refers to as Anna, and Dean become something like an actual couple, only chaste. She chastises him for not disciplining the boys properly. She teaches the youngest one to read. She helps Billy and Dean realize their miniature-golf-course dream.

She essentially becomes a completely different person than the one she was on the yacht — a useful one. This conceit, too, has its roots in classical Hollywood — see 1942’s Random Harvest, which plays the “memory loss also changes your personality” card for melodrama rather than comedy. 

And their bond is strengthened when she discovers him moonlighting. She watches him as he hauls fertilizer to a pickup, showing the grim determination of one of the workers loading a pod truck in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. HE’S A GOOD MAN! Despite being a kidnapper. 

And so she falls in love with him, and he with her, and they have the sex. “Was it always like this?” she asks, mighty satisfied. “Every time with you is like the first time,” he says, sheepishly. Wow. Gimme an Andrew Dice Clay “OH!” over here. 

We all know where this is going: the “third act” twist, in which Goldie’s memory is restored, finds a newly nice Joanna doing tequila shots with the yacht crew, with whom she is now in solidarity. And, of course, the return to where she truly belongs, and to where, it is implied, she will be bringing her money. Maybe make that miniature golf concern a chain. One of the great things about romantic comedies of this ilk is that traumas that normally require years of treatment to untangle are forgiven and forgotten before the end titles roll. To paraphrase Danny De Vito in Heist: That’s why they’re called movies.

Veteran critic Glenn Kenny reviews‎ new releases at RogerEbert.com, the New York Times, and, as befits someone of his advanced age, the AARP magazine. He blogs, very occasionally, at Some Came Running and tweets, mostly in jest, at @glenn__kenny. He is the author of the acclaimed 2020 book Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas, published by Hanover Square Press.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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