Jan. 6th, 2006

ceebeegee: (neon heart)
Paging my inner junior-high girl (didn't we ALL love this one?), I watched that classic '70s tearjerker Ice Castles last night. The DVD is pretty bare bones with no real extras--no commentary track! Inexcusable! It's not as though Lynn-Holly Johnson and Robbie Benson have been tearing up Hollywood lately; why didn't the issuers of the DVD get them to do commentary? *Pout*

As Lifetime-y as the plot is (rising skating star gets in horrible accident, goes blind...will she skate again???), it holds up quite well in some ways. For one thing, *most* of the cast is excellent--Tom Skerritt, Colleen Dewhurst and especially Jennifer Warren are all kick-ass, much better than you'd expect in this kind of movie. Robbie Benson was--okay. I dunno, he never did it for me although he was quite good-looking. Lynn-Holly Johnson does about as well as you'd expect for a skater-turned-actress--she's not exactly exciting but she is quite pretty and in the early scenes when her main duty is to smile and skate, she's fine. The main problem lies in how her role is written--Lexie is so boring most of the time! There are so many scenes where someone else is determining what's going to happen to her--at least two scenes where someone else argues about what she's going to do, while she's right there, saying little or nothing. The role is really infantilized--she calls her father "Daddy," she's always being carried somewhere, and looks timid and scared for much of the movie; for some reason, I remembered Lexie as having much more spunk. Especially nauseating is the final sequence when she skates at the Nationals--it's her first time competing since the accident and the audience and judges don't know she's blind. There's this agonizingly long wait before she actually, y'know, skates--it is fucking endless, she kisses Robbie Benson, she kisses her dad, she says "Daddy?...thank you for being my daddy" (VOMIT) she waits on the ice, and then breathily whispers "this one's for my mom..." I enjoy a gooey movie as much as anyone, but after awhile it's like "stop the hanky circle jerk and make something happen!"

What redeems Johnson's performance, and basically the movie, is her skating, which really is lovely. I can only speculate on why she wasn't more successful as an amateur skater--maybe her difficulty wasn't high enough--but she looks fantastic in the skating sequences. The cinematography is great as well, not just with the gorgeous outdoor scenes with frost and snow in the forest and on the lake, but also on the rink--some really cool camera work there that whoever shot the skating sequence in Flashdance obviously ripped off! There are some nice touches from the director as well, like when Lexie leaves the hotel reception after her win at regionals to skate on the hotel rink and all the guests, her coach and sponsors and other people, all notice and fall silent and watch her. The opening sequence is lovely as well--the credits are running against her skating by herself on a pond, just kicking it by herself.

It should also be seen for the sheer '70-ness--almost every other girl in the movie has a big old Dorothy Hamill haircut. I'm not sure if they were actually emulating the Hamill (who still rocks after all these years, she has held up very well) or if the designer just wanted to set Lexie apart from the other girls, and make her seem more adorably homespun. The coach also has this very-late-'70s hairdo as well, with the long hair pulled back into a loose bun (paging Norma Rae). Also, there are some skating routines set to awesome disco music, like "A Fifth of Beethoven." Disco skating! God, I miss the '70s--I remember skating at the Village House Skating Rink in Falls Church (every Friday night in 6th grade) with that glitter ball. Memories....
ceebeegee: (crescent moon)





Mardi Gras season officially begins! From now until February 28 (holy crap, that's Bart's birthday--my brother who was born in New Orleans), we observe the season of Epiphany in the traditional, time-honored custom of getting bombed on hurricanes and Dixie beer, and gettin' naked for cheap, colorful plastic beads! I'm-a order a King Cake from Gambino's and we'll have a lil' Mardi Gras celebration of our own in a bit.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

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