Saturday, 9 January 2016

Grandma


With The Prof away, and with an early evening to fill, I took myself off to the cinema.
There were only two other customers in the theatre ( just the way I like it) so I could settle down to watch the fairly unlikely but passable comedy/drama " Grandma"
In Grandma, old Trouper Lily Tomlin gives the title role some welly. She plays Elle Reid, an acerbic, feminist, lesbian writer who has seen better days. She is estranged from her daughter ( Marcia Gay Harden) , has just finished with her latest girlfriend ( Judy Greer) and has not gotten over the death of her long term partner Violet but steps up to the plate when her teenage grandaughter (Julia Gardner) turns up needing money for an abortion.
The gist of the story is somewhat tenuous as it involves Tomlin and Gardner traipsing around Los Angeles bumming money from a selection of Elle's old friends. Of course being a foul mouthed old terrier, she causes more problems than she can solve but eventually a kind of peace is forged between grandmother, daughter and grandaughter
It's an interesting film, for given it's brief running time ( under 100 minutes) it is able to cram in a whole lot of backstory between the characters, which includes a rather surprising turn by old cowboy Sam Elliot, who gives a rather moving performance as Elle's first husband, a man who never got over the break up with a lesbian he was clearly very much in lovewith
The film has plenty to say about love, death and relationships but it is the study of Elle, a woman who has battled with everything and with everyone during a militant, cause driven life which makes for an interesting twist. Tomlin's Elle is a difficult and at times unlikable woman. She pours coffee on the floor of a coffee shop for no good reason except she didn't like being told off for her explicit mouth then can turn on a kind of vulnerable charm when faced with the parents of her ex girlfriend it would be interesting to know just how much of the actress is in the character.
Though not a belly laugh movie, Grandma is amusing and worth seeing for Tomlin's sock-it-to-ya performance alone.
It always has surprised me just how few movies Tomlin has actually made.....I guess Hollywood just didn't know what to do with her.

50 comments:

  1. 'Tomlin's sock-it-to-ya performance.' You have to be of a certain age but nice work, John Gray of Wales.

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    1. Enjoyed that line also.

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  2. Assuming you didn't restate other reviewers, OMG man you can write! Well done!

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  3. I don't think the film would have appealed to me as she doesn't seem to be a very likable character. What treat do you have in store for yourself tonight John whilst the Prof is away?

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  4. I love Lily Tomlin, she's a wonderful actress, not seen often enough!
    I'll probably go to see 'Grandma', if only to drool over Sam Elliott, he's a bit of all right!
    Have you seen 'All of Me'? Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin? It was never going to win any awards, but it's a lovely, light hearted film, good for a bit of escapsim!

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  5. I would see this film, just because Lily Tomlin is in it. It has been so long since I have seen her in anything !
    Thank you for your review ..

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  6. I should go see this one, glad you enjoyed it.

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  7. Interesting the films that are available to you. How can the cinema carry on with so few customers or are they all in one of the other films?

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  8. She might have made few movies, but she always hits the ball out of the park with her performances.

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  9. I always liked her.

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  10. I worked with a script doctor who knew Lilly well. He spent decades in the business and called her a fine actress who was unusual for her intelligence, her kindness to nobodies, even her distant relatives, and her tenacious grip on "rude reality." Sounds like she displays her gifts in this film. Do hope I also can view it in an quiet/empty theatre.

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  11. she has always been one of my faves. i have to see this movie. thanks for the review.

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  12. It's a lovely picture, isn't it? Tomlin was marvelous, in a spikey, potentially unlikable role, but I also really liked Gardner as the granddaughter - it seemed like it might start off too stereotypically "Millennial," but she played it beautifully.

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    1. Agreed....she gave it so much depth

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  13. I know this is terrible but when I saw that Lily Tomlin had had "work done" I was so distraught. Really? Lily?
    Sigh.
    But I do love her.

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  14. Some people need to have work done for reasons other than wanting to look younger etc. It can be hard for sight and infections are caused by drooping eyelids ..
    Judging someone for having work done on their body/face is prety harsh .. it isn't like she had massive boobs installed for something.

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    1. And what's wrong with having massive boobs installed? Look- I am not against anyone having plastic surgery. I just thought that Lily Tomlin would be one of the few women who allowed herself to age naturally. So I was wrong. It's not really my business and she has to earn a living and deal with the realities of the movie business. But as an aging woman myself, I find it painful to STILL be held up against standards of women my age or older who resort to surgery to try and stay marketable. It's a shame that this is even an issue.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/opinion/sunday/when-can-women-stop-trying-to-look-perfect.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

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    2. But Mary, the point Notes was making was that perhaps Lily Tomlin did not have work done - if she did - in order to stay marketable or earn a living - maybe she had it done for medical reasons. The examples Notes gave were good ones.

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    3. What's wrong with having Massive Boobs Installed ?

      LOL .. this will be the title of a Great blog entry .. somewhere ..

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  15. I wish Hollywood could look past the dumb blonde with huge boobs type casting and use more women who are good actors and have character.
    like me . LOL ...

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  16. J.G. is right. Do see this, everyone else. And it's not only less than 100 mins as he says, it actually comes in at less than 80! - a real 'plus' for some of us. Quality is superior to quantity, and this has the first in bucket-loads.

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  17. It sounds great. I give your review three ringy-dingees. Lily was great in Nashville and more recently paired with Meryl Streep in A Prairie Home Companion. I've always liked the quote from her one-woman show on Broadway, The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe: "How come when we talk to God it's called prayer but when He talks to us it's called schizophrenia?"

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    1. Nashville..tha was 1976 was it not?

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    2. All I know is it was way back when.

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  18. I enjoyed watching Tomlin in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, but skipped Grandma because it seems she is playing the same character. More and more I feel that even the actors I like can only play it one way. Sam Waterson, always so good natured and and slightly bewildered, is an example. I think I'll give his new one, Anesthesia, a miss for this reason. I think it goes beyond type-casting.

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    1. Shawn,.its worth £ 6.75 for the ticket

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  19. "How come when we talk to God it's called prayer but when He talks to us it's called schizophrenia?"
    Love it ...

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  20. I've been binge watching Grace and Frankie, what fun!

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  21. Even on Rowan and Martin's "Laugh-In", Ms Tomlin played such a variety of roles that I believe she has more in her repertoire than one character! I do like her work and will watch for this movie. Thanks for your great review, John. I find you so thorough - it helps with the decision of what films to take a chance on.

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  22. Lily is great. Loved her as Art Carney's hippie sidekick in The Late Show.

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    1. Ivenever seen it........off to look on utube

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  23. I have a good friend who works as a sign language interpreter here in Portland. She spent a few weeks working with Lily Tomlin when she was on a book tour & acting in a play at one of our theaters. She told me that Lily was a "mean old bitch" who treated many of those working to assist her "like crap". My friend rarely has anything negative to say, but she was so down on Lily Tomlin that she said she almost quit and would definitely never work for her again. In some ways I wish I had not heard her critique of Tomlin because it makes it difficult to see her film roles without thinking about her real life persona. I remember when she was on Laugh In on TV. My favorite character was Ernestine the nose snorting switchboard operator. Her character in this latest film sounds like it have a lot of her real personality woven into it.

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    1. I wish I hadn't heard/read the critique of Tomlin too.

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    2. You never know anyone unless you follow them home

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  24. I think I would like this one, John. Thanks for the great review!

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  25. Interesting comment from Ellen in Oregon -- I've always liked he "okay" but there are others that I much prefer, and there are people who don't like me "at home" either ... Hard to believe, isn't it?

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    1. well. I like you here and that is good enough :)

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  26. I saw her in Seattle, perhaps '88 or so. I liked her work, particularly how she did the role in 'West Wing'. I'm not surprised by the comments above about her personality off stage, she's a fabulous actor.

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  27. You write a great review, John.

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  28. The review is so good that I now no longer need to see "Grandma". Thanks for saving me the admission fee. What I really wanted to know is how the animals behaved at Gray-Burton Mansion while you were munching popcorn in the cinema?

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  29. Lily Tomlin has always been a fav of mine. I love your dogs. My love is a cairn Terrier (Jack, Puppy Jack, Proper title "Bonnie Jacqueline"). Thank you for the review. First time visitor, thankyou and I will come back and read some more.

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  30. I used to live and work in Hollywood. While I always thought that actors should grin and bear it when autograph seekers etc would stop them wherever they were and interrupt whatever they were doing .. they should be gracious .. because those people paid money to keep that actor in a job.
    But then I saw how some people/fans behaved.
    I was with one man who was world wide well known and liked by all .. walking through LAX .. hoards of people coming after him .. the airport provided a man with one of those luggage carrying scooter things and we got on that and they zipped us through a back way where only airport employees go .. it was cool.

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    1. Bi wanna hear more showbiz stories

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  31. She was in 'The West Wing' for a while, as the President's secretary. She's also just starred in some kind of a sitcom with Jane Fonda.

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  32. She was a guest on "The Graham Norton Show" (a show I love)and this movie was mention. I love Sam Elliott, too. He's always good.

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  33. Is the age spread between Lily Tomlin and Marcia Gay Harden enough to have one play the mother of the other? Oh -- just looked it up on IMDB. They're 20 years apart, so that works.

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