SPRING FORWARD (1999)
Liev Schreiber and Ned Beatty bring it all back home in Tom Gilroy’s elegant ode to the importance of friendship.
By the early 1990’s, the multi-faceted “men’s movement” had reached its point of media saturation, and for those attuned to it—whether participatory or not—it was commonplace to hear stories of its then most prominent facets, such as men-only weekend retreats in which guys were encouraged to share feelings, pound their chests and reclaim aspects of their masculinity lost to the corporate, non-tribal culture. By the end of the decade, such ideas had still not truly taken hold in the mainstream, but it’s easy to see how the issues they raised would resonate with artists. The trick, though, in touching upon such issues in a film, is to seamlessly integrate the ‘message’ so that the viewer is not subjected to a New Age diatribe that he or she could easily get by signing up for a night class at the Learning Annex. Finessing such a feat is a tall order, but given that Spring Forward has ended up in a column with a title such as this one, you can safely assume that Writer/Director Tom Gilroy pulled it off with flying colors. And just in time for spring at that.
Joan Crawford smolders as a lady of the evening going head-to-head with a crazy preacher hell-bent on getting her to heaven.
A droplet of water on a sweating leaf. A pipe catching the rainfall and funneling it into an already overflowing wooden barrel. A glorious island sunset. From time to time, director Lewis Milestone uses these images to set the mood in his 1932 production of Rain. The shots recall the expressionistic approach of the European silent era, and reveal Milestone’s own tenure in Hollywood’s earlier non-talkies, which were only recently on their way out at the time of this fascinating film’s release. Based on the Somerset Maugham story Miss Thompson and adapted by Maxwell Anderson (Death Takes a Holiday) from a play by John Colton and Clemence Randolph, Rain concerns itself with a group of travelers quarantined in the drenched tropical locale of Pago Pago in American Samoa after a cholera outbreak on their ship.