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Flash Movie Review: Being the Ricardos

I REMEMBER WATCHING IT BUT DID not actively seek it out. After school I would walk home and usually grab something for a snack before dinner. Since I was sitting and eating, I would turn on the television and channel surf the stations. What caught my eye was the fact there was a TV show filmed in black and white. As I sat there watching it, I was struck by the female lead’s physicality; she had an expressive face and she knew how to use it, besides the physical exertion she would put out in her movements. It fascinated me because I could not recall seeing a female on television who did this same type of comedy. I became enthralled by the show and began to make it a point that I got home in time to catch this show. The funny thing is, I thought I was watching a new show each week. It turned out they were repeats, that the original airing of the show was some years earlier. No matter to me, I got swept up into the lives of this couple with their neighbors and friends. I do not easily laugh out loud, but I found myself more times than not, laughing at the antics the female lead was getting herself in to every day.      IT WAS MANY YEARS LATER THAT I discovered this woman who played that lead was a very shrewd businesswoman. I had seen her for many years on her various television shows and movies, besides guest starring on other TV shows. The things I knew about her were more in line with the fodder that gossip magazines put out; however, after doing some research I discovered not only was she a smart individual, but her husband was as well. After all this time I still can see one snippet of a scene from her classic television show and immediately recall the entire episode; it is as if I was there as part of the set, the memories are so crystal clear. What a remarkable life this woman led. At one time, approximately 60 million households tuned in to watch her on television. Can you imagine that? She commanded such an audience that evidently the retail establishment made changes simply to accommodate those shoppers that were fans of the show. These facts are historic and just think, I accidently stumbled on the show when I was a little kid, who wanted to watch something while eating my afternoon snack. Because of these memories, I felt I was transported back in time as I began watching this wonderful biographical drama based on true events.      WITH ONLY ONE WEEK TO WRITE, rehearse and put on a weekly television show; there were so many things taking place that the viewing audience had no idea were happening. How the female lead not only survived each challenge but went on to become a legend in the process. With Nicole Kidman (The Goldfinch, Boy Erased) as Lucille Ball, Javier Bardem (Skyfall, The Sea Inside) as Desi Arnaz, J.K. Simmons (The Tomorrow War, Palm Springs) as William Frawley, Nina Arlanda (Richard Jewell, Stan & Ollie) as Vivian Vance and Tony Hale (Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arrested Development-TV) as Jess Oppenheimer; this historical piece of Americana was brilliant in who was cast it turns out. When I heard Nicole was playing Lucy, I thought for sure she would not be able to handle such a larger-than-life character. I was wrong; I actually forgot it was her because she was so deep into character. Javier was a major surprise because he was incredible as Desi. Honestly, everyone was terrific in this film and though the dialog was tight and smart, I wished there had been a deeper delving into Lucy and Desi. At times, I felt as if the story was getting confused in what it was trying to say. Despite this I still am a fan of this film; it may partly be due to my fond memories of the show.                                                            

3 ¼ stars   

Flash Movie Review: The Long, Long Trailer

No matter what you call the two stars of this comedy, they will always be Lucy and Desi aka Ricky. At the height of their careers with the “I Love Lucy” television series, director Vincente Minnelli (Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris) directed them and let these two stars do the thing they do best–physical comedy, in this classic movie. Lucille Ball (Yours, Mine and Ours; I Love Lucy-TV) as Tacy Bolton-Collini and Desi Arnaz (Holiday in Havana, I Love Lucy-TV) as her newlywed husband Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Collini go on their honeymoon via a road trip, towing their recently bought mobile home trailer. With Lucy and Desi, one should not expect intense drama. This film was full of wonderful comedic scenes; it could easily be mistaken for a longer “I Love Lucy” episode. And frankly that was perfectly okay. Remember this film was done in the 1950’s before our lives were overtaken with electronic gadgets; where seeing the country by car was exciting and in my opinion, people were more innocent. I remember watching this fun film some years ago and I still laughed when I watched it now on DVD. Part of Lucy’s greatness was her precise comedic timing. Also, her willingness to fully throw herself into each comedic scene was nothing short of brilliant. For me, there are certain movies that remain timeless; this would be one of those films.

 

3 stars — DVD

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