Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) from Columbia Pictures
Not Rated. (Contains some mildly colorful language, some discussion of sex.) Drama, Comedy, African American Actors/Issues, Romance
2 Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn)

Description (from the film case): Crusading newspaper publisher Matt Drayton’s (Spencer Tracy) liberal principles are put to the test when his daughter, Joey (Katharine Houghton), announces her engagement to John Prentice (Sidney Poitier), an internationally renowned African-American physician. While Matt’s wife Christina (Katharine Hepburn) readily accepts Joey’s decision, Matt intends to withhold his consent…

My thoughts:  “We told her it was wrong to believe that the white people were somehow essentially superior to the black people… That’s what we said. And when we said it, we did not add, ‘But don’t ever fall in love with a colored man.'”

Oh, I’ve seen Katharine Hepburn in fine form before, but never like this. And Spencer Tracy is just excellent here. The fact that he and everyone else involved in the film knew that he was dying, and what that must have cost them, makes his performance even more excellent, from its humor to its poignancy. I can’t help but to think Matt’s final words about/to Christina are as much a message from Spencer to Katharine as anything.

Sidney Poitier does just enough to make you feel as uncomfortable as John feels, and whether or not you fully agree with John Wade Prentice, he commands respect. What courage it must have taken to make such a controversial film at this period in American history, the year before Dr. King’s assassination, and around the time when marriage between whites and non-whites was still illegal in several U.S. states. It’s an exploration of what you’ll do when you come face to face with your principles and theories, what you’ll do about what you said. Although most of the “arguments are so obvious that nobody has to make them,” the actors still make this relevant story resonate.

And the film is so positively ’60s! The music, the clothing, the hairdos, the funny-looking sets, the dancing! I wasn’t expecting either my laughter or my tears, but this film got some of both out of me.

Must watch it again.



The Incredibles (2004)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Incredibles (2004) from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Rated PG. Animated, Comedy, Action, Family Films
2 Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature Film

Description (from the film case): Bob Parr and his wife Helen used to be among the world’s greatest [superhero] crime fighters, saving lives and battling evil on a daily basis. Fifteen years later, they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where they live “normal” lives with their three kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top secret assignment.

My thoughts: Wham! Pow! Ka-BOOM!

Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that superhero-adventure-type films aren’t my usual cup of tea, but not only is this movie a lot of high-action fun, it’s also a great look at the question, “What do you do when the world around you says you can’t be who you are?” It also takes quite a look at what it means to be family, what it means for a family to be a team and how each member, from the oldest to the youngest, is a necessary part.

And if I were to say that my heart doesn’t clench during a scene or two whenever I watch this film, I’d be lying. 🙂

“When the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.”


Aw. Family life.


Anne of Green Gables and The Sequel (1985, 1987)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1985, 1987) from Sullivan Entertainment
(The Sequel is also called Anne of Avonlea)
Rated G (Canada). Drama, Comedy, Romance, Family Films

Five Gold Stars

Description (from the first film’s case): Filmed amidst the spectacular scenery of Prince Edward Island, Canada, this award-winning movie follows the enchanting life of orphan Anne Shirley [Megan Follows], from her struggles as an adolescent to her triumphs as a young woman. A delicate epic full of wit, style, and emotional power.

My thoughts: Anne of Green Gables the film is so true to the spirit of the classic children’s novel by one of my all-time favorite authors. Follows is the quintessential Anne, and the whole cast, really, brings fitting and memorable voices and faces to Montgomery’s characters. Such a feel-good film and a wonderful trip to Prince Edward Island, and the sequel, though four hours long, doesn’t feel that long to me. Granted, the sequel takes more plot departures from the Anne novels than the first film does, but I think it’s still true to the spirit of Anne, of Gilbert, of Avonlea and Avonlea’s folk. Refreshing, amusing, touching, romantic, nostalgic.

Yup. I love both movies.

My corresponding reading: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery.

There is a third movie in the series, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story–not as true to the spirit of the Anne novels (and a plot nowhere to be found in the books) but a nice movie in and of itself.


From the first movie, when Anne arrives at Green Gables for the first time.


The Toy Story Movies (1995, 1999, 2010)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3 (1995, 1999, 2010) from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Rated G. Animated, Comedy, Action, Family Film
3 Academy Awards between the first and the third, including Best Animated Feature Film (Toy Story 3)

Five Gold Stars

Description (from the first film’s case): As six-year-old Andy’s favorite toy, Woody (Tom Hanks), a take-charge, pull-string cowboy, is confident in his role as room leader. But after Andy’s birthday party, newcomer Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), a flashy space ranger with laser action and pop-out wings, crash-lands into Woody’s world. Buzz instantly wins the admiration of Andy’s other toys, igniting a rivalry that lands the duo inside the home of Sid–the toy-torturing boy next door. To escape Sid’s evil plans, Woody and Buzz must work together and realize they’ve got the perfect friend…in each other!

My thoughts: Somebody was thinking outside of the box, here–albeit, perhaps, inside of the toy box–to come up with Toy Story. I’d never read anything like it and had never seen any movie like it before this, but any kid who’s ever had toys has lived and imagined this story, in one way or another, and the three films’ fresh but strangely familiar take on the life of toys is what makes them brilliant, along with their very real themes of friendship and belonging, jealousy, nostalgia for the past, uncertainty about the future, purpose, and self-acceptance.

I know it’s no small task to make a movie sequel that’s on par with its smash-hit predecessor, and it’s even more challenging to keep the excellence going for three films released over a fifteen-year span, but Toy Story 2 and 3 are just as good as the first, the second and third including some pretty heartrending and gut-wrenching stuff that’s just flat-out superb drama.