Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Film Round-Up #25

Some say (notably my wife) that I have an unhealthy obsession with Heather Graham but that's not true at all, I just find her a naturally appealing actress. Sadly, it seems not too many of her films are particularly great, but I have been continuing to watch more of them in the hopes of finding a few hidden gems. Here is the latest selection, randomly chosen from her Wikipedia page (chuckle!)...

Committed (2000)

As we learn in the film's very first scene, Jo (Graham) is a committed person - a revelation she hits us with immediately prior to her white wedding. Flash forward a couple of years and she's doing pretty well. She has lots of friends, she runs a club, etc - only to find hubby has cleaned out his stuff and left her. Yes, you heard that right - a guy who was married to someone who looks exactly the same as Heather Graham... left her! ... *bewilderment* ... She would have to give me a judo-chop to the gentleman's region to get rid of me! Anyway, against most people's advice, Jo tracks down her errant spouse Carl (Luke Wilson) to try and win him back despite clear indications that he's not interested! ... *more bewilderment* ... She gets a bit of help along the way from her brother (Casey Affleck) and a few other interesting characters she meets, including Carl's new girlfriend (Patricia Velásquez), and thanks to this great cast, Committed is actually pretty enjoyable, perhaps aside from some questionable decisions made by Heather's character. She's still as appealing as ever though, and this is one of her better non-big-name films... 7/10

Hope Springs (2003)

Not to be confused with the more recent film of the same name, this one is a rom-com starring Heather as free-spirited Mandy opposite Colin Firth's... umm, Colin, an artist who is visiting the town of the title with the hope that it helps him get over a recent split from his fiance and childhood sweetheart, Vera (Minnie Driver). The owner of the hotel Colin is staying at notices his morose demeanour and calls her friend Mandy, a local therapist, to drop by and cheer him up. Her chosen means of doing this is to get drunk and shag him. While I'm sure this would be very nice (as long as she wasn't too drunk to consent, etc), it hardly seems like the actions of a therapist. Oh well, it's only a bit of fun I guess. Until, that is, Vera predictably turns up wanting Colin back, at which point Mandy gets all upset despite having only just met him. I had reasonably high hopes for this one but it's all very silly. In the eye-rolling kind of way, not the good funny way. Oh well, least we get to see Heather in her undies again (see above so you don't have to watch the film!) ... 5/10

Broken (2006)

I doubt many people know this one but most of those who do probably know it as 'that Heather Graham lesbian film', but it definitely isn't that. She plays Hope, a down-on-her-luck waitress and aspiring singer/songwriter living in LA who meets Will (Jeremy Sisto) with whom she quickly gets involved in drugs. She soon realises she needs to get away from her destructive new habit which also means getting away from Will, but he's determined to keep hold of her, by any means necessary. It's a pretty good central performance by Ms. Graham, and it is central too - this is one of those films that is meant to be open to interpretation, with some opining that all the people in the film represent different aspects of Hope's life and future, etc. Sadly that doesn't stop it from being more than a little boring though, even with the brief (and random) HLA action detailed in the still above (chortle!). I think I can see what they were going for here but it didn't really work. Shame... 4/10

Miss Conception (2008)

You may be wondering just what the puntastic name of this little-known entry on Heather's sizeable filmography is referring to, and the answer relates to her character, Georgina's desire to have a baby. Unfortunately for her, despite only being 33, she finds she only has one egg left, and her immature boyfriend will only slip her one if he can use a condom, so when they have an argument and he goes off on a business trip, she tries seducing several random guys in the hopes of receiving a bun in her oven. In my view, there are only two ways this ill-conceived plan could work as a film - either as a steamy piece of softcore erotica, or as a comedy detailing her mishaps in pursuit of the sperm she so desperately wants. They've unsurprisingly gone for the latter here but with one major problem - it's not funny. Heather looks amazing throughout and is often seen in her skimpies, and her character is appealing enough, but the premise is a bit stupid (she won't use a sperm donor for unspecified reasons), as are the situations Georgina finds herself in, and the humour all falls flat. It was interesting to hear Heather attempt an English accent (as the film is set in London) but it was a big disappointment other than that. 4/10

About Cherry (2012)

Sadly (for me), Heather is not the star of this one. That honour goes to Ashley Hinshaw as Angelina, a recent high school graduate who, after running off to San Francisco with her best friend Andrew (Dev Patel), falls into the world of pornography. It is represented here as a surprisingly unseedy world though, where everyone is friendly and helpful. One of them is Margaret (Graham), a porn director and lesbian who takes a shine to Angelina, now using Cherry as her porn name, and takes her under her wing (as well as her bed covers - tee hee hee!). James Franco also stars as a wealthy lawyer who introduces her to the lavish San Fran party scene. There isn't much for Heather fans to see here really, besides a couple of very brief dalliances with her girlfriend, and it's a pretty average film all round really (if that). Not only is it all a bit boring but it also manages to send a whole host of wrong messages, not least its unrealistic portrayal of the porn industry... 4/10

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