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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

THE FLORIDA PROJECT and VICTORIA AND ABDUL

The top movies this weekend were:

  • #1  Thor                     $122.7 million   I avoid comic-based themes
  • #2  Bad Moms               16.8 million   Not another one of these
  • #3  Jigsaw                        6.6 million   Not again
  • #4  Tyler P....                    4.5 million   I refuse to see TP films
  • #5   Geostorm                  3.1 million   I saw this on my recent 
  •                                                                     Orient trip
  •  
  • #11 The Foreigner           1.6 million   On my shortlist (RT: 59/76)
  • #12 Victoria and Abdul    1.2 million    One of two I saw this 
  •                                                                     weekend (RT: 66/72)
  •  
  • #19  The Florida Project  0.6 million    My second this weekend 
  •                                                                      (95/75)
  •  
  • #30   Jane                         0.2 million   On my shortlist (100/90)
The Florida Project and Victoria and Abdul were about as contrasting as you can find in any theater.  TFP was very highly rated, but mostly boring.  Yet, there was something about this film that represented my life.  I grew up in a tough Kakaako neighborhood, and in youth mostly played, with occasional missteps.  The setting and story for TFP was something similar, but took place in the environment of those seedy Florida motels.  The Florida Project was the early project name for the Walt Disney World Resort, and the ending of this film captured the essence of wished for life of children in this milieu:  stressed happiness with dreams of the Magic Kingdom.  The final scene in Disney World was shot with an iPhone without permission.  Of course, the write-director, Sean Baker, gained fame with Tangerine, using only an iPhone.  Willem Dafoe did well, and you will again see Brooklynn Prince, for she stole the show.  That's her to the right, and note the rainbow.

Victoria and Abdul was a mostly true fantasy, a story suppressed by King Edward VII, eldest son of Queen Victoria.  The movie was based on a book based on Abdul's diary, learned of only recently by the author of the book from which the movie was made.  Judy Dench plays the then 80-year old Queen, reprising her role of Mrs Brown, produced twenty years ago, which also had to do with a commoner-monarch friendship, touched by reality.  There are links that make me want to someday see this film (THIS IS THE ENTIRE MOVIE!).  Eddie Izzard portrayed the Prince of Wales who would become king, and King Edward VII actually became a popular monarch.  Loved this production.

In any case, while TFP is dysfunctional, desperate and the worst case scenario envisioning anything remotely related to the Magic Kingdom, VaA is all pomp and circumstance, a life that can only be lived by a Queen.  Victoria was born in 1819 to Prince Edward and a German mother, and became Queen at the age of 18 only because all the male heirs had passed away, including her father and then King George III.  She reigned for 63 years.  Queen Elizabeth II is into her 66th year.  Victoria had nine children, and all married into royal and nobel families across the continent.  She was known as the Grandmother of Europe, and it was during her "rule" that the British Empire became great.  She was the inspiration behind Victorian Morality, which valued sexual restraint, low tolerance of crime and a strict social code of conduct.  She survived at least six assassination attempts. Victoria was devastated by the death of her husband Albert in 1861, and wore black the rest of her life.  Then came manservants Mr. Brown and Abdul Karim...and those two films.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, again, broke its all-time high, up 9 to 23,557.  By the way, President Donald Trump gave his best speech ever as the leader of the USA, in addressing the South Korean National Assembly.

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