Love Streams

I awoke and finished watching the John Cassavetes movie “Love Steams.” I thought it was one of his best films. It had a familiar, unusual feel to it. I thought I detected traces of previous films like “Faces” and “A Woman Under the Influence” in it. Cassavetes made this movie after doctors gave him six months to live. I had to think that this brought more urgency to his work than usual. Gena Rowlands plays a mixed-up woman named Sarah. One of her memorable scenes is with her family and a judge, as she hears her daughter say that she wants to live with her father. Meanwhile, Cassavetes is a writer who has a lot of women hanging around him. The way he treated his son was disturbing and hard to believe. Suddenly, they’re in Las Vegas, and since he needs to sleep with women, he lives the kid alone in a hotel room. Traveling places is sudden in a Cassavetes movie. We feel that footage is missing. I thought it was dangerous what Cassavetes did with the car, running into a parked car in an early scene, and also going after his kid running down a hill. I wondered exactly where they were filming. The place reminded me of Warren Beatty’s “Shampoo.” Cassavetes, or Robert, gives the kid some beer. I was surprised that the kid drank up. Sarah goes off on a trip to Europe, but we never get to see it. We just see her attempting to deal with her luggage. I guess the budget didn’t allow for exotic locations. Sarah and Robert aren’t in the same scene until an hour into the movie. The cut of this Criterion Collection disc was 141 minutes, but it didn’t feel complete, and the screen went black a couple times. This was a Cannon film with Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus as producers. Golan was shown in the In Memoriam segment at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. I guess the producers reined in Cassavetes’ wild tendencies on this picture. Maybe it helped the picture take shape for the better. The house in the movie was the one Cassavetes and Rowlands lived in. Towards the end, a storm hits and some glass breaks. I could not believe that Rowlands would walk around that glass like a scene in “Persona” or “Die Hard,” even if it was breakaway glass. There was a scene where Sarah tries to get her daughter and husband to laugh by using squirting flowers and chattering teeth. I couldn’t help thinking about a scene in “Sleeper.” There is some real humor in the movie, like when Sarah goes out to buy some animals. She gets two miniature horses, a duck, a goat, a parakeet, some chickens, and a dog. She brings them to the house by taxi. I wondered how she intended to take care of the animals in this place. Was she really going to clean up after them? It was hard for Robert to handle the goat. I never knew it could ever rain like that in southern California. The color photography looked pretty good. It brought back the feeling of 1984 to me. I tried to imagine this movie as a play with Jon Voight. I liked how it didn’t feel like a play at all. I suppose Cassavetes had to insert himself into the proceedings to make a more personal statement. I was never too sure whether he said everything he intended in this picture. Did he really know what he was doing? I noticed the music more than in previous Cassavetes films. A Bob Marley song was prominent. The low-budget nature of films like “Faces” made it impossible to use any reasonable music. The one subject of all of Cassavetes’ films was love. You can’t get right to the heart of it on film. This was the last real film from Cassavetes. He managed to live longer than the doctors’ predictions, and he made “Big Trouble” with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. He died on February 3, 1989. “A Woman Under the Influence” and “Love Streams” were good movies. Roger Ebert praised his films. Seymour Cassel was in “Love Streams.” What I’ll remember about him in this movie was the scene in which he looks at Sarah and does not laugh. I won’t remember Gena Rowlands for “Gloria.” I liked her in “A Woman Under the Influence” and “Another Woman.” Cassavetes always seemed to be reaching for something that was too elusive for the process of film. I think he made brave attempts that were more successful than most of the films out there. I think that Martin Scorsese appreciated him. I kept thinking that Cassavetes looked a lot like Martin Landau. I fell asleep for a while, and then I set out to go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. I bought a chicken salad wrap. I watched The Big Bang Theory, and I was curious about what Valerie Harper was going to do on “2 Broke Girls.” I had to wonder about her teeth. For a person who was already supposed to be dead of brain cancer, she seemed to be in pretty good shape. I don’t know what she did after the Rhoda series ended. I read the Los Angeles Times review of the Oscars broadcast, which said it was a dull and defensive show. Neil Patrick Harris’ Birdman moment was described as embarrassing. It reminded me of Ben Stiller. The ratings were lower than last year. I didn’t expect the general public to be very enthusiastic about “Birdman.” I knew that Sean Penn couldn’t resist making some bad attempt at a joke in his announcement. Some of the people who died on February 24 include Johnnie Ray (1990), George Gobel (1991), Dinah Shore (1994), Henny Youngman (1998), John Randolph (2004), Octavia Butler (2006), Don Knotts (2006), and Dennis Weaver (2006). Today is a birthday or George Thorogood (65), Edward James Olmos (68), and Abe Vigoda (94). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 24, “Double Fantasy,” the album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, won the Album of the Year Grammy in 1982. In 1999, Lauryn Hill won five Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. In 2006, Don Knotts died at age 81 of complications related to lung cancer.

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