Mistress America

The rain returned. We talked about Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation” at work, and I brought out my umbrella as we went out the door. I saw Buddy Hackett and Ally Sheedy on the Tonight Show from May 7, 1986, and then I went out to buy a beef burrito. I brought it back to eat in front of the television set as I watched the DVD of “Mistress America.” I felt echoes of “Hannah and Her Sisters” in the writer offending the subject of a story, and “Annie Hall” in the final shot of the film. I guess you could say that the lonely Thanksgiving part is something like “Broadway Danny Rose,” too. I don’t think it quite had the magic of “Frances Ha.” The main characters were struggling through life. Tracy is a college freshman who is striving to be a writer and isn’t making friends. Greta Gerwig is the future stepsister Brooke who lives in Times Square and has a scheme to open a restaurant but is lacking the money. This was supposed to be a version of a John Hughes movie, although the characters were older than the teenagers of that universe. We do see the unhappy young woman who could have been played by a young Molly Ringwald. We do see characters ending up in a room encountering each other in a Breakfast Club manner. I could have done with the college scenes, even though they may have had significance to Greta Gerwig, who haunted those same halls. I thought there was a sisterly chemistry between Tracy and Brooke. It was kind of interesting how the younger woman was more articulate and seemed to have more ideas than the older one. Tracy was going through an unhappy period in her life, but when she comes out of it, she’ll be in better shape. I thought about certain similarities between “While We’re Young” and “Mistress America.” They both involve an older person attempting to gain some success, while a younger person does something upsetting. One of the big questions that this movie leaves behind is what Tracy did with all of that pasta. Brooke had vague ideas about the restaurant, that it was going to have a family restaurant, but taken to an extreme. I wasn’t sure how a woman like her could continue to live in New York City. You have to keep that money rolling in somehow. I can’t quite say that this was a satisfying movie, but I liked the feeling of it. When was the last time I saw a movie about the friendship between two women? It’s certainly been a long time. Noah Baumbach was born in 1969. He was nominated for a screenwriting Oscar for “The Squid and the Whale.” He married Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2005, but they divorced in 2013. One scene in “Mistress America” shows a poster of “Dressed to Kill,” which was an indication of Baumbach’s next project, a documentary on Brian De Palma. I fell asleep with the TV on, and I awoke to see George Burns on the screen. It took me a while to prepare for the day as my stomach was churning. I watched a video of Lady Gaga doing her David Bowie tribute. It seemed that she should have spent more time on fewer songs in that medley. The only questionable song selection was “Fashion,” which I don’t think is anything great. I watched Match Game before I left home, and Sharon Farrell was in the fourth seat talking about “The Stunt Man,” which would not be released for a while. Roger Ebert would give it a negative review with only two out of four stars. I’d like to see it again, though, because of Peter O’Toole. I spent part of the morning trying to find Paul McCartney’s recording of “Too Much Heaven.” I settled for Rockpile recordings of Everly Brothers songs. I also tried to find a Francoise Hardy album. Some of the people who died on February 18 include Michelangelo (1564), Frank James (1915), Johnny Paycheck (2003), and Maria Franziska von Trapp (2014). Today is a birthday for Vanna White (59), John Travolta (62), Yoko Ono (83), and Toni Morrison (85). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 18, “The Red Skelton Show” won the award for Best Comedy at the 4th Primetime Emmys in 1952, while “Studio One” won for Best Dramatic Show. In 1967, the Buckinghams had the Number One single, “Kind of a Drag.” In 1969, Maurice Gibb married Lulu.

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