Jane Fonda

Cat Ballou (1965)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Cat Ballou (1965)

Director:

Elliot Silverstein

Writers:

Walter Newman

Frank Pierson

Starring:

Jane Fonda

Lee Marvin

Michael Callan

Dwayne Hickman

Nat ‘King’ Cole

Stubby Kaye

Blurb:

A young schoolteacher turns into an outlaw to avenge her murdered father.

Thoughts:

Cat Ballou is another one of my video rental finds. I’d never seen a western led by a woman, and I immediately loved it. Jane Fonda is gorgeous, and I loved how stubborn she was. She knew what she wanted, and when she decided how to do it, she was all in. She was the boss of the crew, and it was great.

While looking up this movie, I was surprised to find it had won an Oscar. Lee Marvin won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Eli ‘Kid’ Shelleen and Tim Strawn. It won a few other awards and was generally well-received by critics at the time. It was also one of the top-grossing movies of the year. Yet, we never got another female-led western like this one. How disappointing.

Because of the older men in my life, I’ve seen a fair few westerns, and it’s a genre of movies and books that I have enjoyed watching and reading. My problem with it and why I don’t enjoy more of it, is its depiction of women. Most of the time, they’re an afterthought, and other times they’re used as a tragedy to push the hero on to greatness. This isn’t a problem only westerns suffer from. It’s just harder to find female-led stories in the genre. Cat Ballou is one of just a handful of western movies led by women. Wyoming by Zane Grey and Ride the River by Louis L’Amour are my favorite western books. It’s been a while, but I used to re-read them frequently.

The Godless miniseries on Netflix is the last female-led western that I remember happening. Even that, though, had a man come in and save an entire town of women. I was so infuriated by that series, mainly because the trailer sold me something that wasn’t what I got.

I’ll stop before this gets any longer or angrier. Pretty sure more of these rants are to come, though.

Nat ‘King’ Cole and Stubby Kaye sing the narration in this movie, and I will end up having it stuck in my head for days.

There is a comedic element to the film, but it’s more of an undertone than flat out Blazing Saddles.

There are so many things to enjoy about this movie, and I’m happy that it’s one I own.

Book Club (2018)


Book Club (2018)

Director:

Bill Holderman

Starring:

Diane Keaton

Jane Fonda

Candice Bergman

Mary Steenburgen

Plot:

Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club.

Review:

I find it incredible that four friends have managed to hold a book club for so long. I think they said forty years but I could be off. That’s amazing.

Each of the women were unique in their current relationship status, all believable though somewhat out there, and all at a crossroads. Really, the fact that they were reading the 50 Shades trilogy had very little to do with the story and seems like someone just thought it would be funny for older women to be reading it.

The movie was sweet and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t one that stuck with me afterwards. I really appreciated watching a romance that wasn’t staring the typical young white woman, though, the only real change was the age of the women. However, there aren’t many romance movies with women of a certain age so that was a welcome change. Maybe as I get older it will resonate with me more. As is it’s definitely something I would recommend, but not a movie I would re-watch frequently.

4/5

9 to 5 (1980)


9 to 5 (1980)

Director:

Collin Higgins

Starring:

Dolly Parton

Lily Tomlin

Jane Fonda

Plot:

Three female employees of a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot find a way to turn the tables on him.

Review:

This movie made me mad, then sad, then mad all over again. Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda are amazing women. Seeing them all together was so great.

Dolly Parton is a secretary for a sexist, bigoted, pig that doesn’t deserve his job and is a walking, talking sexual harassment case. He tells everyone that he’s sleeping with her, even though she is very happily married. She has some of the best lines in the movie.

Lily Tomlin knows everything about the company and keeps everything working dispite the bosses best efforts. She’s a single mom, has put in all kinds of time, and keeps getting passed up for a promotion, passed up by people that she’s trained. It’s infuriating.

Jane Fonda is a recent divorce who gets her first job and discovers that her ex-husband was not the only asshole man out there.

They bond over their horrible boss, there are some hijinks, and then they kind of win. They get eighty percent of a win. Which is bittersweet and really drives home the reality of what women have to put up with. We can’t even get the win in a movie.

Their boss gets recognition for all the shit they did, a bonus, and a promotion. A promotion to Brazil, which he doesn’t want, but his wife loves him even more and he’s getting recognition and money. Lily Tomlin finally gets the job that was owed her. Dolly Parton quits and becomes a country music star, and Jane Fonda gets married to a better man.

It was depressing.

4/5

Grace & Frankie (2015-?)

Grace-and-Frankie

Grace & Frankie (2015-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Jane Fonda

Lily Tomlin

Martin Sheen

Sam Waterston

Plot:

A pair of rivals find out their husbands want to run off with each other.

Review:

There is something so refreshing about this show. It’s not too serious but it’s not too funny, it’s perfect. I felt so bad for Lily Tomlin’s character, she loved her husband, they had a good life, and then he cheats on her for twenty years.

I watched past the pilot and I liked the fact that the guys didn’t get completely off for cheating even though it was with other men.

Really liked the show and I’ve already binge watched most of it.

4/5

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You (2014)

Director:

Shawn Levy

Starring:

Jason Bateman

Tina Fey

Jane Fonda

Adam Driver

Rose Byrne

Corey Stoll

Kathryn Hahn

Plot:

When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.

Review:

I was a little afraid that I was going to hate this movie, but the trailer was funny enough that I decided to give it a try. The problem I have with dark comedies is when they become hopeless lets all commit suicide comedies. Thankfully this movie was not that way.

There were plenty of thoughtful moments, and each of the actors had their chance to be sad and unfunny, but it was an ensemble cast of comedians and, thank god, they were also funny.

I laughed out loud a few times, I cried, and I got a vague, kind of happy, who knows, ending. This is what I look for, and enjoy, with dark comedies. None of that August: Osage County bullshit.

The family was messed up, none of them were perfect, they fought, they didn’t necessarily enjoy being around one another, but they loved each other. They weren’t fucked up individuals with no redeeming qualities (August: Osage County really screwed me up apparently).

3.75/5