Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

I got ready for a five-hour shift of work.  A couple of people asked me what Game 5 on Monday was like.  I stopped to get a hamburger on the way back home, as I generally do on Wednesdays, and I sat down to watch “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”  This was the first time I saw it in high definition.  The color in this edition, the 50th anniversary edition, looked brighter than what I’d remembered in the past.  This story took place over the course of one day, and I’ll always remember the references to Willie Mays and The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out,” and the Oregon boysenberry ice cream.  I had forgotten that Isabel Sanford, known as Louise Jefferson from television, was in this movie.  It’s almost funny that she chastises the Sidney Poitier character for not knowing his place.  Virginia Christine from the coffee commercials is a villain.  She gives Katharine Hepburn a chance to give a crowd-pleasing statement denouncing bigotry.  At least I think it was supposed to be crowd-pleasing.  1967 was a half-century ago.  When I see this movie again all these years later, I am against this marriage, but not because of anyone’s color.  These two idiots have known each other for a week, and they already want to get married.  As far as a young and probably spoiled rich man’s daughter, Joanna can’t be expected to know any better, but a 37-year-old man who was previously married and had a son?  This man is a fool, a lovesick fool, who should know better.  I cannot believe in anyone who is dumb enough to saw “it just happened.”  There is a level of sadness to this movie, knowing that Spencer Tracy was getting closer to death throughout the filming.  I don’t know how he was supposed to drive the car around town.  I noted that these were still the days when a girl would go out to your car to take your order for ice cream and black coffee.  We needed to get out of that house.  Tracy says that the couple is going to face hardships for the rest of their lives.  That seemed like a gloomy projection.  If they were living in San Francisco, it would have been no big deal.  The reverend had the most positive attitude, at least in the beginning.  I noticed that he didn’t seem to know the melody of “We Can Work It Out.”  The scene that made me cringe was the talk between Poitier and his father.  I agreed that just because the father worked hard, he didn’t necessarily know best about this marriage issue.  However, he was also objecting to his son behaving like a fool, and he was right about that.  Joanna seemed rather empty-headed.  I wanted to look at her college transcript.  The age difference between her and her parents, especially her father, seemed too great to be real, while the age difference between John and his parents seemed too little.  The script should have had more direct discussions of the issues at hand.  The ending certainly isn’t perfect, with Poitier’s father still disgruntled, looking like that frown would never leave his face.  I’m sure he didn’t have much of an appetite for that dinner that we never see.  If I were to predict what would become of this marriage, I would say that it wouldn’t last.  This young woman hasn’t shown that she can withstand the difficult parts of life.  I noticed that Poitier’s character had a habit of making feeble jokes.  I’m going to say that someday Joanna will come to find this immensely annoying.  In fact, everything about him that once seemed so adorable and wonderful will come to sicken her.  When you live in such close quarters with someone, you definitely get sick of that person.  I read that this was one of Kathleen Turner’s favorite movies.  If I were to meet her, I’d like to ask her opinion of this movie.  Katharine Houghton was Katharine Hepburn’s niece, but I didn’t see too many familiar movies among her credits.  I kept thinking that Stanley Kramer usually makes his messages in his films too strong to the point that we can’t stand them.  However, in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” the message could have been extended.  I feel that I miss Stanley Kramer.  He made his movies with a purpose.  Some of the people who died on June 15 include Wes Montgomery (1968), Art Pepper (1982), Ned Glass (1984), Meredith Wilson (1984), Ella Fitzgerald (1996), Hume Cronyn (2003), Casey Kasem (2014), and Daniel Keyes (2014).  Today is a birthday for Neil Patrick Harris (44), Ice Cube (48), Courteney Cox (53), Helen Hunt (54), and Jim Belushi (63).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 15, the remake of “Stagecoach,” starring Ann-Margret, Bing Crosby, Slim Pickens, and Keenan Wynn, was released in 1966.  In 1974, the John Denver album “Back Home Again,” featuring “Annie’s Song,” was released.  In 1988, “Bull Durham” was released.  In 2007, Bob Barker’s final appearance as the host of “The Price is Right” aired on CBS.

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