In Harm’s Way (1965)

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I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way. This sprawling WW2 naval epic from producer/director Otto Preminger is set amid the Pacific battles with the Japanese and starts with the attack on Pearl Harbour. John Wayne is Captain Rock Torrey who’s demoted after surviving that encounter because his ship is then damaged in a subsequent episode. He meets the son (Brandon de Wilde) whom he abandoned 18 years earlier, and the boy is now in the Navy himself. He starts to romance a nurse (Patricia Neal) but he and his troublemaker colleague Commander Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas) are tasked with salvaging a dangerous mission … This is an underrated war film with a brilliant cast, a mix of old-timers (Franchot Tone, Bruce Cabot, Dana Andrews, Stanley Holloway, Burgess Meredith, Henry Fonda) with new talent (Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, James Mitchum) who together bring a brisk sense of character to a realistic and unsentimental portrayal of men and women in war.  It’s another in Preminger’s examinations of institutions, with a story that has romance and work relationships aplenty with a keen eye for toughness:  what happens to de Wilde’s girlfriend (Jill Haworth) is quite the shocker. There are no punches pulled when it comes to relaying the heavy price to be paid for victory and the concluding scenes are impressively staged. This is a film in which the characters never suffer from the scale of the narrative. Wait for the credits by Saul Bass, who also designed the wonderful poster.  Adapted by Wendell Mayes from the book by James Bassett.

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You Again (2010)

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High school is never over. And as we learned so eloquently from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it’s Hell. Successful LA PR Marni (Kristen Bell,Veronica Mars take a bow!) is flying back up to Northern California for her brother’s wedding. En route she learns he’s getting hitched to the monstrous Joanna (fka cheerleader JJ) (Odette  Yustman) who bullied her for four years at Ridgefield High. Nobody can connect this latterday Meals on Wheels Mother Teresa act with the picture Marni paints of the years of bullying … until Marni’s mom Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) meets Joanna’s aunt Mona (fka Ramona), her own high school nemesis and now a Forbes 100 hotel mogul. A series of pratfalls and slapstick sequences unfold including dance training with a go-to wedding planner (a very peppy Kristin Chenoweth) that lead to Marni looking exactly like she did at high school – a four-eyed acne-ridden geek who has to sleep on the couch of her childhood bedroom while Joanna takes over her family even wooing grandma Betty White. An extremely funny comedy of manners and you don’t have to have a sibling married to Satan’s spawn to enjoy it – but it helps. Stick around for the surprises in the final reel and the guest musical spot in the credits.Great fun. Written by Moe Jelline and directed by Andy Fickman.