Valerie (Geena Davis) is a sort of ditzy manicurist who works at beauty parlor in San Fernando Valley with her gloriously superficial and oversexed friend Candy (co-writer Julie Brown). After discovering her physician fiancée, Ted (Charles Rocket), attempting to cheat on her with a nurse he brings home, she kicks him out and wrecks most of his belongings in a musical montage of destruction and bittersweet flashbacks of the better times they spent together. Of all the film’s musical numbers, this is the weakest, but still great visual fun and prime ’80s nostalgia, as when Valerie shoves a box of Ted’s cigars into the VCR, or when she sends a bowling ball crashing into his Commodore 64 computer. As if her relationship troubles aren’t bad enough, the next morning a spaceship full of furry, horny aliens lands in her pool, and Valerie has to figure out how to keep them secret until they can fix their flooded ship and head back to their home planet.
One of the finest, most beautiful and purely believable of film actresses has past on at age 84 of lung cancer. She had survived numerous personal tragedies and hardships including the loss of a child, a horrifying accident involving another, a beyond problematic marriage to author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, etc.) and multiple strokes suffered when she was only 39 years old and pregnant. Despite all of it, she has been consistently outstanding in numerous films and television shows, including three classics that likely wouldn’t have been classics without her, so much depth and believability did she bring to her roles in the “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “A Face in the Crowd,” and “Hud.”
You could reach much more about her amazing life and her even more amazing skill as an actress via two first-rate remembrances by The Self Styled Siren and Sheila O’Malley, and I really think you should. In the meantime, her’s an example of what I think is probably her finest portrayal, from “Hud,” made only about a year after the death of her daughter. For some reason, her three greatest roles have her being involved in some way with men who were just no good, and this is the most vivid example. Her scene starts at about 5:00 or so.
With “District 9” likely to be one of the most important films released this year, as well as a healthy moneymaker, I thought I’d do a few movie moments reminding us that Neill Blomkamp’s film is hardly the first politically charged movie about resident aliens. Actually, they all are, it’s just that some are more upfront than others.
I’ll start with the trailer for probably my favorite science fiction film, ever. It’s also the first movie I know of about an alien that openly addressed politics.