Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Tootsie" 25 Years On

Continuing to enjoy the benefits of free movies offered by Comcast’s On Demand, we watched “Tootsie” the other night, taking a break from what seems to have become a summer-long marathon of SVU and CSI. It was the first time the kids have seen it, and after a slow start – When is it going to get funny?, asked son #2 – they really enjoyed it and laughed at all the right times.

It’s hard to believe that the movie is coming up on its 25th anniversary. It had been a long time since I’d seen it, but it’s held up really well. Dustin Hoffman is not my favorite actor – in too many of his roles, he seems to be crying out, a la Master Thespian, Look at me! I’m ACTING! – but he was great in this role, both as Dorothy Michaels and Michael Dorsey. I get the feeling that Hoffman is just like Michael Dorsey in real life, so the bits with the acting lessons and the scenes with his agent worked perfectly. Interestingly, the romance scenes with Jessica Lange are probably the weakest link in the movie. Lange was fine, but the performance didn’t strike me as anything that dozens of other actresses couldn’t have pulled off.

Other quick hits:

- Bill Murray was absolutely brilliant. I remember reading somewhere that the scenes with Michael and Jeff were written at the last moment by Elaine May; in any event, every one of them is spot on perfect.

- Great performances by the crew of reliable character actors – Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman, and George Gaynes. And I can’t believe (assuming IMDB is correct) that all three are still alive.

- Sydney Pollack as Michael’s agent? Perfect.

- How many times did Teri Garr play the thankless “faithful, weird friend who gets jilted in the end” role during this stage of her career? And…anyone remember her as the “wacky secretary” in the Star Trek episode with Gary Seven?

- The music and songs by Stephen Bishop damn near ruined the movie for me. Dreadful.

Overall, I’m surprised to see that the movie rates so low on IMBD. I’d certainly rank it in my all-time top 100.

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