‘Going My Way’: Bing Crosby’s Got Mad Skillz

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on January 16th, 2013 by Nick

going-my-way_1.240x340A church, a broken window, some piano playing, singing, and two priests not getting along so much. That about explains the 1944 Best Picture winner Going My Way, starring Bing Crosby, and it was JUST AS EXCITING AS IT SOUNDS!!!!

Crosby plays Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley, a young up-and-comer (if priests can even be referred to as “up-and-comers”) heading to a new congregation for his new post. Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald), the old school Elder Priest or something, disagrees with O’Malley’s ways, which really just includes real, grounded friendships, playing golf, and teaching children how to sing (The horror!). Fitzgibbon’s disapproval doesn’t really make any sense, but neither does religion sometimes. OH SNAP! A scandalous blog I lead, I know. Other characters float in and out, like a girl who ran away from home, some kids O’Malley teaches to sing, and a few others, but they don’t really matter too much because there isn’t really much of a plot and the film’s pieces rarely connect the puzzle. The movie was well-paced though, (which as you know by now is so crucial to me when I’m watching older, black and white films), and enjoyable enough.

Fun Fact: This movie won a helluva lot of Academy Awards (7!) and was the first and only time an actor was nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Fitzgerald lost to Crosby for Actor, but then snagged the Best Supporting trophy.

But before I start sounding like a Negative Nick about Going My Way, we should all hail the mighty Crosby – whose trademark bass-baritone made him a star on screen, in the recording industry, and on radio (he has three stars on the Walk of Fame to prove it). Some of these old-timer films simply exist as a vehicle for a super-mighty-talented guy to show off his super-mighty-talented talent, and Bing Crosby is “a dreamboat,” as one of my Facebook friends leisurely commented one day. The guy has mad skillz and no one can argue with that. Listening to the movie’s songs make it worthy of a watch, but negative points for yanno, the stuff I said above. The relationship between O’Malley and Fitzgibbon does progress nicely though, and by film’s end it’s kind of nice. Said the worst description of a movie ever.

To conclude with this conclusion, Going My Way is to Bingy as An American in Paris is to Gene Kelly: The movie was just OK for me, but the talented singing man keeps it out of C-territory.

Grade: B-

37 of 84 movies remain in the quest. Baby steps.

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Paleo, Veganism, and Gene Kelly: When Food and Films Collide

Posted in Epic Film Quest! on April 27th, 2012 by Nick

The latest stop on my quest to see every single Best Picture winner ever: An American in Paris. So what does Gene Kelly have in common with Veganism and the Paleo Diet? Absolutely nothing at all!

The Winz combined forces with Zoe over at SexyTofu for a Food and Films excursion, Part Dos! If you’ll so kindly recall, we once ate tofu fried rice and watched Rain Man. It was both glorious and delicious. This time, we outdid ourselves once again, which really just means that we got fat and watched some TV together.

The Food:
To satisfy our body’s need for occasional foodstuffs, we made this delicious dish I stole found on my buddy-ol’-pal Shannon’s site Cumin and Coriander. The dish: Thai Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Curry. You can find the recipe there, but this coconut milky, curry-filled dish of extreme awesomeness pleases every time (Tip: Boil your potatoes for a minute or two to quicken the cook time. Use the entire can of coconut milk for more juicy goodness. And don’t forget that Sriracha. It’s clutch). Zoe’s a vegan (hence: tofu) so she had hers with Satan on the side (Seitan – a product made from Wheat Gluten). And me? I’m currently rockin’ the Paleo diet (more on that later), so my dish was made with mucho chicken (mmm, protein) and no added salts or wheats. Only natural ingredients that are either from the ground or able to be killed. Holla, animal slaughter! Just kidding. A good movie-watching session should always be paired with good food. And booze. Although our meal remained alcohol-free, we cooked the shit out of that shit.

The Film:
An American in Paris was the winner from 1951, except thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we watched the Blu-ray edition. You know what that means? COLOR. Hell, yeah.

Although Gene Kelly can tap his ass off, the film left a little to be desired. I had no idea what the hell was happening about three times throughout the 115-minute run. Long-winded musical numbers disturbed the pacing and seemed out of place, at times. The relationships and story were also a little forced. It seemed to be a platform to show off Kelly’s mad skillz rather than to serve a story (The Artist, anyone?). People spoke French and then they danced and tapped. That’s it in a nutshell. The inclusion of color really added a lot, as many of the scenes were definitely bolstered by its vibrant display of yellows, greens, and blues. The coloration definitely gave it more of a fun appeal, and I think we may have struggled a bit more had we watched in black and white.

Despite its shortcomings, Kelly was great, as was Nina Foch as Milo Roberts, an older ladyfriend and socialite who shows interest in our hero and his artwork. The film was shot in Hollywood, so the French-style of the film was contrived and overly theatrical, but hey man, it was 1951. They were probably still shocked that they were making their pictures move. All in all, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it (looking at YOU, Midnight Cowboy!)

Good food, good moviefilm, and though it’s not on the Quest, I should probably see Singing in the Rain sometime….in the very far, ever-distant future. After I watch these other 46 Best Pictures. Blerg!

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