How Sweet It Is!

I worked on writing my final exam. At the office, I saw that there were no clouds in the sky, and also I was a bit upset that the weather forecast called for rain during the weekend. I looked over T-shirts at the corner store, and I saw a new Star Wars shirt that I didn’t quite like, so I bought another Beatles shirt. I went back to work. I stopped for a hamburger on the way home. I watched the DVD of “How Sweet It Is!” It was a forgettable comedy from 1968. The opening credit sequence, with color graphics and a pop tune, places the movie in that time period. The movie was based on a book called “The Girl in the Turquoise Bikini,” which certainly doesn’t reflect the content of the story. James Garner and Debbie Reynolds are Grif and Jenny Henderson, a couple who are trying to deal with the generation gap with their grip on a trip to France. I found it hard to accept that James Garner is dead as I watched this movie. Based on “Boys’ Night Out” and “Tank,” I can’t recall seeing him in a good comedy, but he seemed so full of life here. He was a photographer, which made me think of James Stewart in “Rear Window.” He was open to letting his fifteen-year-old son take a trip to Europe with his girlfriend. Debbie Reynolds was the mother, and she didn’t look middle-aged until she put on the bikini. She did look older than she did in “Singin’ in the Rain.” The opening scene showed that her character had a normal sex life, but it hinted that a jealous husband was going to walk in on her. That was very awkward for a comedy with Debbie Reynolds. I did imagine what Doris Day would have been like in this movie. Paul Lynde and Terry-Thomas are in the cast, but they are a real part of the story. Terry-Thomas’ character was actually something of a villain, cheating Jenny out of $1000 in a cheap way. It wasn’t very clever for a comedy like this, but the plot did allow for the chance for us to see a young Erin Moran. I guess her connection with Garry Marshall and Jerry Paris here led to her being in the Happy Days television series. Another somewhat interesting fact about the cast is that it includes both Gino Conforti and Vito Scotti, who actors I have confused with each other over the years. Garner and Reynolds try to make this picture succeed, but there are dead spots in it, and it feels worn out. I can make the audience in 1968 feeling tired of this type of comedy. I laughed a bit when the French people booed Grif for saying that he never liked French bread, and a couple of bit with Jenny prancing around in her bikini. There was a scene with the teenage girls posing next to the Mona Lisa for photos that I thought wasn’t totally successful, but it was still one of the interesting parts of the movie. I thought it was unusual that they all got so close to the Mona Lisa, considering the vandalism on works of art that we’ve seen over the years. A French playboy was part of the story, although I didn’t quite see why he should have his eye on a Debbie Reynolds. His presence made me think of “Let’s Make Love” with Marilyn Monroe. I couldn’t help thinking of Carrie Fisher as I watched Debbie Reynolds. Carrie Fisher would go on to be in “Shampoo,” which was a film that people remember. “How Sweet It Is!” should not be confused with “What a Way to Go,” which was a somewhat better movie with Shirley MacLaine. I think that I know James Garner mostly for The Rockford Files. I don’t think I ever really thought of him as a movie star. “How Sweet It Is!” doesn’t leave much of an impression on you, except that it reminds you that the late 1960s are coming more distant in a hurry. Most of the young people in the cast don’t make much of an impact on the film. This DVD was part of the Warner Bros. Archive Collection, along with other movies like “Rage” and “Kaleidoscope” that I recall from many years ago. These movies can be fascinating in showing the time in which they were made, even if these movies aren’t essential. I thought that the best film that I saw in this collection was George Cukor’s “Travels with My Aunt” with Maggie Smith. I tried to have a positive attitude about the coming days as I went to bed. I heard the news of the mistrial in Baltimore. The Warriors won their game against the Phoenix Suns. Some credit card skimming has occurred in Safeway stores, but I haven’t shopped there in several months. I thought about whether I should try to buy a ticket for the Adele concert in Oakland. Rolling Stone magazine gave an enthusiastic review of her latest album. I wanted to go out to see the Star Wars movie tomorrow. I’m not going to dress up in a costume, however. The other movie that I’m thinking of seeing is “Sisters.” However, I am not so anxious to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. Some of the people who died on December 17 include Dana Andrews (1992), Janet Margolin (1993), Jennifer Jones (2009), and Captain Beefheart (2010). Today is a birthday for Eugene Levy (69) and Ernie Hudson (70). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 17, the Jacksons’ “Destiny” album, featuring the songs “Blame It on the Boogie” and “Shake Your Body,” was released in 1978. In 1979, “House Calls,” starring Wayne Rogers and Lynn Redgrave, made its debut on CBS. In 1982, Karen Carpenter gave her last performance at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, where she sang Christmas songs for her godchildren, their classmates, and friends.

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