Switch

I had a cough and shouldn’t have gone to work, and so I had a miserable five hours.  I watched TMZ and heard their comments on the Oscar blunder.  I went over to Dollar Tree for some cold medicine and Walgreens for cough drops.  I didn’t want to sit in a theatre for a movie, so I browsed through the bins of used DVDs in the record store and settled on “Switch,” the Blake Edwards film starring Ellen Barkin.  The plot was a lot like “Goodbye Charlie,” which had Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis in it, and directed by Vincente Minnelli and was released in 1964.  Other reference points would be “Tootsie,” “All of Me,” and Edwards’ own “Victor/Victoria.”  An ad executive named Steve Brooks is murdered by his mistresses, but he comes back as a woman.  He’ll be allowed into Heaven if he finds one woman who loves him.  Jimmy Smits never excited me as an actor, but otherwise the cast is pretty good, with JoBeth Williams, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Roberts, Catherine Keener, and Téa Leoni.  Steve as the woman Amanda took way too long adjusting to her high heels.  I kept asking myself why she just didn’t take off the shoes.  Ellen Barkin is the center of attention, and she gave a good performance, although I wasn’t persuaded that she was any kind of a decent basketball player, and she didn’t deliver many good punches in the brawl.  Barkin went through a good period in the 1980s, from “Diner” to “Sea of Love.”  She gives it her all for this movie, which lacked the Edwards magic, which I think waned from the time after “Micki and Maude.”  The movie feels like a lesson on how we all should behave, but there are some uncomfortable moments, one of which involves an incident you could call date rape.  The soundtrack curiously has a rather weak recording of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” over the credits.  All in all, the movie was unsuccessful financially and creatively.  Besides the Pink Panther movies, the other Blake Edwards films that I liked were “My Sister Eileen,” “Operation Mad Ball,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Notorious Landlady,” “The Great Race,” “The Party,” “10,” “S.O.B.,” “Victor/Victoria,” and “Micki and Maude.”  Edwards died on December 15, 2010 at age 88.  In 1992, Ellen Barkin appeared in the Bob Rafelson film “Man Trouble” with Jack Nicholson.  It was reviewed negatively, and I don’t see too many notable films with Ellen Barkin in the credits, other than maybe “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”  She will turn 63 on April 16.  I think I confused part of this movie with “Skin Deep,” which was Blake Edwards’ previous movie with John Ritter and Vincent Gardenia, released in 1989.  That movie did get three stars from Roger Ebert.  I wanted to stop thinking about the movies of the 1990s, however, and I got beneath my blankets to keep my chest warm.  I just wanted to get through this week of work without feeling sicker than I already was.  Some of the people who died on March 1 include Gregory La Cava (1952), Jackie Coogan (1984), Jack Wild (2006), Bonnie Franklin (2013), and Minnie Minoso (2015).  Today is a birthday for Catherine Bach (63), Ron Howard (63), Roger Daltrey (73), and Harry Belafonte (90).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for March 1, the animated film of “Charlotte’s Web,” featuring the voices of Debbie Reynolds, Henry Gibson, and Paul Lynde, was released in 1973.  In 1985, “The Purple Rose of Cairo” was released.

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