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Official STEEL MAGNOLIAS Thread (10.07)

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  • Atypical
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    #262726

    Let’s start with Variety’s positive review:

    Steel Magnolias

    (Movie; Lifetime, Sun. Oct. 7, 9 p.m.)

    by Brian Lowry

    Filmed in Georgia by Flavor Unit TV and Storyline Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone; producer, David A. Rosemont; director, Kenny Leon; writer, Sally Robinson; based on the play/screenplay by Robert Harling;

    M’Lynn – Queen Latifah

    Clairee – Phylicia Rashad

    Ouiser – Alfre Woodard

    Shelby – Condola Rashad

    Truvy – Jill Scott

    Annelle – Adepero Oduye

    Strictly from a commercial standpoint, redoing “Steel Magnolias” with a predominantly African-American cast feels like an idea whose time has come, and—smart enough not to tamper with success—producer-star Queen Latifah and her collaborators have essentially provided a shot-for-shot remake of the 1990 movie, cast to the hilt with topnotch talent. A three-hankie affair if there ever was one, the only mystery is why “Hallmark Hall of Fame” didn’t come up with this revival first. As is, the abundant Southern-fried melodrama should be a couple hours of something wonderful for Lifetime.

    Adapting Robert Harling’s play and screenplay, writer Sally Robinson and director Kenny Leon have incorporated a few contemporary references (to, say, Michelle Obama), but the bones of the story remain almost entirely unchanged. (A producer of the original filed suit this week over rights to the remake.)

    “Magnolias” centers on Shelby (Condola Rashad, co-star Phylicia Rashad’s daughter), who is introduced on the eve of her wedding. Told she cannot withstand bearing children because of complications related to diabetes, she snaps at her fiance (Tory Kittles), and squabbles with her protective mother, M’Lynn (Latifah).

    Mostly, the movie focuses on the unique qualities of female friendship among Southern women, as witnessed through the hair salon where M’Lynn assembles with her friends. For fans of the original movie, there’s some fun in connecting these fine actresses to their predecessors, with Alfre Woodard as the rich but cranky Ouiser; Phylicia Rashad (reunited with “A Raisin in the Sun” director Leon) as her teasing friend Clairee; Jill Scott as the salon owner; and Adepero Oduye as the young woman she takes in, whose turn toward evangelism proves a point of contention.

    As with the earlier film, the men are virtually an afterthought, but the women shine—particularly Latifah, once the concerned M’Lynn relents about opposing Shelby’s pregnancy and donates a kidney to her daughter, who famously insists she’d rather have “30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

    For those who recognize him, there’s a somewhat distracting cameo by former basketball star Julius Erving at a key moment, but other than that, this version of “Steel Magnolias”—produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who worked with Latifah on “Chicago”—makes few missteps. It’s also hard to think of many stories with more perfect-for-Lifetime emotion in zeroing in on the mother-daughter bond.

    CBS actually commissioned a pilot version shortly after the first movie, and who knows, it might be time to try it again. Because as Lifetime discovered with “The Client List,” when a TV movie plants the seed deep enough, you can never tell exactly where something like “Magnolias” is apt to grow.

    Camera, Francis Kenny; production designer, David Chapman; editor, Priscilla Nedd-Friendly; music, William Ross; casting, Mele Nagler, David Caparelliotis. 120 MIN.

    With: Tory Kittles.

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    Atypical
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    #262728

    Entertainment Weekly’s review:

    Steel Magnolias (2012)

    Because the original featured such iconic performances from Dolly Parton, Sally Field, and Shirley MacLaine, you would think it would be near impossible to watch a line-for-line remake—this time with an all-African-American cast and produced by “Hairspray”’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron—of the 1989 movie about the friendship among six Southern women. But after the first few huh? moments, you are again transported to Louisiana, where the ladies meet up at Truvy’s salon to talk wedding plans, husbands, and church. Condola Rashad is weak as the doomed Shelby— perhaps because she’s trying to keep up with Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad (her own mother), and Jill Scott, who skillfully make you forget their characters’ previous inhabitants. But the movie belongs to Queen Latifah, who brings so much heart to M’Lynn, she will make yours break all the more. —Jessica Shaw

    Grade: B+

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    Atypical
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    #262729

    Roush’s review:

    Weekend TV: New “Steel Magnolias”

    Is there a more perfect Lifetime movie property than “Steel Magnolias”? This tragicomic celebration of female bonding through gossipy good times and bad, all while getting their hair done at Truvy’s Beauty Spot in suburban Louisiana, has been a crowd-pleaser since its first incarnation as an off-Broadway stage play (my preferred version, where the men are kept entirely offstage). The epitome of a leave-’em-laughing-while-weeping heart-warmer, “Magnolias” reached its pop-cultural apex in the all-star 1989 film version, but its can’t-miss universality is underscored in Lifetime’s oddly genteel but ultimately affecting new TV-movie (Sunday, 9/8c), whose big twist is in the casting of an all African-American ensemble.

    There are updated references to Facebook, Michelle Obama, and Beyoncé, but little else has changed. Ill-fated Shelby (Condola Rashad in the Julia Roberts role) still loves anything that’s pink, and her desire to bear children despite her diabetes and weak kidneys brings a disease-of-the-week melodramatic underpinning to the delightfully catty banter among the ladies in the beauty shop. This movie comes most alive in those scenes when all the well-cast women (including Jill Scott as an unusually reserved Truvy) are bouncing off each other, biting but never drawing blood, most particularly Alfre Woodard as the hilariously cranky Ouiser and Phylicia Rashad as the more regal Clairee. Bringing a mother-earth strength and warmth to the entire project: executive producer Queen Latifah (as the Sally Field character of M’Lynn), whose serene composure grounds the movie in an emotional realism, and when she finally breaks down, it’s cathartic for all.

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    Atypical
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    #262730

    Bianco’s review:

    “Steel Magnolias” blossoms with a wealth of talent

    Robert Bianco, USA TODAY

    “Steel Magnolias” may not be a great work of art, but it sure is a great vehicle for the right six women.

    October 5. 2012 – “Steel Magnolias” (*** out of four stars) may not be a great work of art, but it sure is a great vehicle for the right women.

    It always has been, from its off-Broadway beginnings, when it launched the career of “Justified”’s Emmy-winner Margo Martindale as Truvy, to the all-star big-screen version starring Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, and Daryl Hannah. And it is once again Sunday at 9 ET/PT on Lifetime, in a new version that updates the story and turns it over to a once-in-a-lifetime cast of sterling African-American actresses: Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Adepero Oduye, Rashad’s daughter Condola Rashad, and Queen Latifah—who reunites with her “Chicago” and “Hairspray” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

    Despite the updates, all the complaints lodged against the 1989 film, the version most people know, still hold. The story is blatantly manipulative, with a mix of sentimentality and sitcom one-liners that is as repellent to some as it is attractive to others. The male characters, a film addition to what had been an all-female cast on stage, continue to be a one-note waste of space, adding nothing by being seen that we didn’t already know when they were merely discussed. The ending is telegraphed, the emotional climax is rushed.

    Yet the strengths of this Louisiana-set portrait of Southern womanhood also remain on obvious display. Robert Harling’s story, based on the death of his sister, still rings true at its core in its portrayal of the bonds and community formed among a group of tough, funny women. And it still provides six showy, entertaining roles for those women, even if you don’t always believe everything going on in the show.

    Directed by “A Raisin in the Sun”’s Kenny Leon, “Steel” centers on M’Lynn (Latifah) and her about-to-be-wed diabetic daughter Shelby (Condola Rashad). Much of their time is spent at a beauty parlor owned by Truvy (Scott) and frequented by the cantankerous Ouiser (Woodard), her grandly amusing friend and nemesis Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), and a new hairdresser, Annelle (Oduye).

    Phylicia Rashad (who won a Tony, and should have won an Emmy, for her work with Leon in “Raisin”) and Woodard are as well-matched a pair of actors as you can find, and they bring a depth to their portrayals that keep their lines from seeming too acid without reducing the comedy. Oduye may be the most sympathetic Annelle yet, while Scott (from the much missed “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”) brings a needed glow to Truvy.

    In the film’s most dramatic roles, Latifah is such a commanding presence that she sometimes pulls more attention to M’Lynn than the character warrants, and the younger Rashad’s harsher line readings sometimes make you wonder why everyone is so enamored of Shelby. But Rashad’s choices also remove that too-good-to-be-true patina that has often made Shelby a bit hard to take, and in the  end, that works in the movie’s favor.

    Despite the tragedy that drives its plot, there’s something slight about “Steel Magnolias”—a slightness that at times might have benefited from a lighter, faster touch. But it offers the pleasure of spending a Sunday night with some terrific female actors, including a few who count as mature—a rare treat on a medium that doesn’t provide as many roles as it might to women of a certain age, or to African-American women of any age.

    Those women are great, and for “Magnolias,” they’re enough.

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    Anonymous
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    #262731

    It’s a shame Queen Latifah will take the spot of Sienna Miller at Globes. I wish it was Razzie-worthy Nicole Kidman or overrated Jessica Lange to get the boot but it’s gonna be severely underrated Sienna. You know HFPA is all about star-fucking.

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    Atypical
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    #262732

    NY Times’s review:

    Television Review: “Steel Magnolias”

    Trading Beauty Secrets and Barbs

    by MIKE HALE

    Published:  October 5, 2012

    When that thick slice of Southern ham called “Steel Magnolias” was released in 1989, not much was said about the fact that in a nearly two-hour film, set in a Louisiana town, only two black actors got to speak. Both played nurses, and between them they had about four lines. There were other black faces on screen—maids, banquet servers, token wedding guests—but they just smiled and kept their mouths shut.

    It’s satisfying, then, to see how the new race-reversed Lifetime remake of “Steel Magnolias” on Sunday night turns the tables. White actors hover in the background, and few of them speak:  a nurse, a couple of doctors, and an ex-boyfriend. It’s hard to see why the doctors needed to be white, but let’s not quibble.

    Unfortunately, in the only way that really counts, the new film is surprisingly, even slavishly, faithful to the original iron-plated tear-jerker, which Robert Harling wrote, based on his own play about six women who see one another through life’s ups and downs while gathering to gossip, joke, and shed a tear at a local salon called Truvy’s Beauty Spot.

    Sally Robinson has rearranged and condensed Mr. Harling’s story—the television version is a half-hour shorter—but has kept its important details and most of its “Attention: Cry Now” moments, as well as incorporating many of Mr. Harling’s Southern-fried one-liners verbatim. (“He’s so confused he don’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his” rear end. “These thighs haven’t gone out of the house without Lycra on them since I was 14.”)

    The director Kenny Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”) appears to have been aware of the synthetic schmaltziness of the material, and he and his all-star cast, which includes Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, and Phylicia Rashad, have worked hard to tone it down and smooth it out. William Ross’s music is much more subdued than Georges Delerue’s flowery score for the original. This “Steel Magnolias” is mostly restrained and relentlessly tasteful, qualities the original could not have been accused of.

    But a tasteful “Steel Magnolias” misses the point. Very little happens in Mr. Harling’s story:  aside from the gatherings at the salon, the films essentially consist of a wedding and a death, and everything else is banter and tears. Herbert Ross, a shamelessly effective director of big Hollywood entertainments, wisely pumped up the volume and the action in the original film to distract us from the script’s thinness. He also benefited from the shrewd casting of Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine, three expert purveyors of ersatz emotion and hollow laughs.

    Mr. Leon’s highly talented cast doesn’t specialize in that kind of hucksterism, nor does anyone have the exaggerated vividness that Julia Roberts and Dolly Parton brought to the original. The actresses in the remake, even the normally fierce Ms. Woodard, give quiet, skillful performances in roles that barely exist, except as vehicles for wisecracks and outrageousness. They come across as prosperous New Jersey suburbanites rather than stereotypes of Southern eccentricity, which may sound like an improvement but just makes the whole project feel insubstantial.

    Queen Latifah gets top billing as M’Lynn (the Sally Field role), the levelheaded mother of Shelby, whose marriage opens the film. Ms. Rashad brings her patrician tones to the Olympia Dukakis role (the busybody Clairee); Ms. Woodard steps in for Ms. MacLaine (the ornery Ouiser); and Ms. Scott takes the place of her fellow singer Ms. Parton (Truvy).

    In the younger roles, Condola Rashad, Phylicia Rashad’s daughter, plays Shelby (Ms. Roberts in the original), and Adepero Oduye is the fledgling hairdresser Annelle (Daryl Hannah). The male roles matter even less in the remake than they did in the original; for some reason, the basketball superstar Julius Erving turns up in a cameo as a minister.

    A number of details have been added or changed to reflect the new racial makeup and period, like a reference to Michelle Obama and a more organized style of dancing in the wedding scene. But someone still says, “Life goes on,” and Mr. Harling’s most artificial nugget of inspiration, “I would rather have 30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special,” survives intact. Whether it’s recited by a white actress or a black actress, it’s still purple.

    “Steel Magnolias”

    Lifetime, Sunday night at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time.

    Produced by Sony Pictures Television. Directed by Kenny Leon; written by Sally Robinson, based on the play and screenplay by Robert Harling; Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, and Shelby Stone, executive producers.

    WITH: Queen Latifah (M’Lynn), Phylicia Rashad (Clairee), Adepero Oduye (Annelle), Condola Rashad (Shelby), Jill Scott (Truvy), Alfre Woodard (Ouiser), Tory Kittles (Jackson), and Julius Erving (Minister).

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    Atypical
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    #262733

    SF Gate’s review:

    “Steel Magnolias” TV review

    David Wiegand

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    “Steel Magnolias”: Made-for-TV film. 9 p.m. Sunday on Lifetime.

    Remaking that rousing celebration of Southern womanhood “Steel Magnolias” with an African American cast is such a great idea, you’d have to work very hard to screw it up.

    The team behind the Lifetime channel remake, airing Sunday, hasn’t screwed it up entirely, but they’ve somehow lost much of the heart and the humor from the 1989 Herbert Ross film based on Robert Harling’s play. At every turn, the new “Magnolias” reminds you of what could have been.

    If you know the Ross film, you’ll find it impossible not to compare it to the Lifetime version, and just as impossible not to think how much better Sally Field was as M’Lynn, the Mother Courage of the piece, than the new film’s executive producer, Queen Latifah. If the rest of the new cast doesn’t quite compare well to their earlier counterparts, blame it on the lackluster direction. When it comes to Queen Latifah, there’s no one else to fault but her:  She is simply not up to the emotional depth and range of the character.

    The story is set in the modern-day South where Truvy’s beauty parlor serves as a place where the women of the town can let their hair down, figuratively and literally. They can gossip about the men in their lives, and about each other, and no one gets away with anything. They may enjoy ganging up on the town’s richest and meanest lady, Ouiser Boudreaux (Alfre Woodard), but at heart, they are truly a band of sisters.

    Their lives aren’t perfect, but these women are survivors. Truvy herself (Jill Scott) tries to put on a brave face about her marriage and her husband’s lack of interest in her.

    And while M’Lynn is excited about her daughter Shelby’s (Condola Rashad) forthcoming marriage, she’s also worried about the younger woman’s health and, in specific, the kidney damage caused by diabetes. Still, she knows her friends, including widow Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), are always there for support.

    There was a lot of humor in Ross’ film, but somehow it’s been lost in translation to the Lifetime remake. The script is virtually the same, but Kenny Leon’s direction is lackluster—where the film should crackle, it ambles; where it should be crisp, it’s too often flabby.

    M’Lynn is the broken and ultimately resurgent heart of the story, a woman who has to face the greatest loss a mother could ever imagine, and Latifah simply can’t pull it off. She’s always been fine at playing strong, but playing shattered to the core just doesn’t seem to be in her acting vocabulary.

    “Steel Magnolias” isn’t a disaster by any means. It has some winning moments, and clearly the cast members are having fun with their roles. In the end, though, it just doesn’t connect the way it really should have. What a missed opportunity for something much better.

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    Atypical
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    #262734

    LA Times’ review:

    Television review:  Stellar cast reinforces “Steel Magnolias” remake

    Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Condola Rashad, Jill Scott, and Adepero Oduye star on Lifetime.

    by Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic

    October 5, 2012, 3:58 p.m.

    There is no one compelling reason to remake Robert Harling’s 1989 weeper “Steel Magnolias” with an all black cast, but there are six pretty good ones.

    The doomed but determined young woman plotline seems hopelessly (and medically) retro and the original tagline (“I’d rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special”) sentimentally absurd (if your doctor advises you to not get pregnant, honey, don’t get pregnant).

    But in a world where roles for black women are few and far between, “Steel Magnolias” does offer the chance for half a dozen of our finest actors to work together without donning maids uniforms or the native garb of the “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” (Memo to HBO:  Bring back this show. Please.)

    Consider the cast: Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, her daughter and Tony nominee Condola Rashad, Jill Scott (of the aforementioned “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”), and Adepero Oduye. Coming together, on Lifetime no less, for the second TV remake of the iconic sobfest.

    No offense to Harling’s tale, which still retains its hypnotic influence over heart and tear ducts, but surely there is a better use for this fine ensemble, each of whom could easily anchor a television series or film. It is difficult to understand a world in which, say, Zach Galifianakis has a busier career than Woodard.

    But they do bring life to the remake because as in the original film, it is the group that surrounds the lovely but diabetically foolish Shelby (Condola Rashad) that provides the film’s power and the glory. As M’Lynn, Shelby’s devoted and occasionally controlling mother, Latifah is strong but uncharacteristically subdued, her signature sass battened down into a lifted eyebrow here, a sideways glance there, which proves mostly effective. It’s difficult though not to long for a more Latifah-like reaction to the news of Shelby’s ill-advised pregnancy.

    M’Lynn allows herself to loosen up a bit around her old friends, who regularly gather at Truvy’s salon to, well, let their hair down. Truvy (Scott, Dolly Parton’s role in the original film) may have troubles of her own, including a husband increasingly depressed by employment worries, but she is the sweet-voiced, sweet-faced heart of the group, which includes Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), former wife of the mayor; Ouiser (Woodard), a cantankerous, outspoken widow, and Annelle (Oduye), a troubled young woman Truvy hires as her assistant.

    All of the characters seem slightly filed down from the original cinematic versions, which is not surprising since that cast included Parton and Shirley MacLaine gleefully playing their parts as just that—Characters, with a proud and capital C. In this version, the women ring truer as people and, more important, as friends.

    The easy humor and palpable love in the ensemble scenes give this “Steel Magnolias” just enough buoyancy to survive the pools of syrup over which it must traverse. If the material is not quite fine and fresh enough for its performers, it gave these six women an excuse to be in the same room together. And that is something to see.

    mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

    “Steel Magnolias”

    Rating: TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children)

    Where: Lifetime

    When: 9 p.m. Sunday 

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    Alijah Purdy
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    #262735

    This is getting better reviews than I thought it would. And most of the reviews points to Queen Latifah as the best part of this movie (I thought that would go to Alfre Woodard). Is it possible for us to see Queen Latifah at the Emmy’s next year as a nominee???

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    GoMe91
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    #262736

    ooh. this is out already? I was really excited about this movie. I can’t wait to watch it.

    Although, I feel like if “Five” could barely breakthrough, I’m not sure if this movie can…but we’ll see. 

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    Alijah Purdy
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    #262737

    Queen Latifah was amazing in this movie, doing some of her best work I’ve seen her do since Chicago. The scenes with her in the hospital and the scene at the end were done perfectly. Not too much, and not too little. She deserves a nomination, though I doubt with the combined categories she’ll get one. Hopefully she does with the SAG’s and Golden Globes.

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    Atypical
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    #262738

    Big ratings for Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias” remake. It was a surprisingly effective work for what it was. With the rules change at the Emmys in effect next year, it’ll likely limit its nominations potential. Before this, I think it could have managed multiple acting nods, but now its best hopes will lie with Queen Latifah, tech nods, and maybe M/MTM depending on how the field shapes up. I’ll review the film later.

    “Steel Magnolias” blooms for Lifetime

    TV adaptation of 1989 film draws 6.5 million viewers.

    by Rick Kissell

    VARIETY

    Lifetime scored big Sunday with its “Steel Magnolias” update, which drew the largest audience for a single-part cable movie in five years.

    Nielsen estimates that “Steel,” starring and exec produced by Queen Latifah, averaged 6.5 million viewers for its premiere telecast from 9 to 11 p.m., becoming the net’s most popular telepic since “Life is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story” in 2006. In adults 18-49, its 3 million viewers (equating to roughly a 2.4 national rating) outperformed the 9-11 p.m. block of drama series originals on both ABC and CBS.

    “Steel’s” 3.2 million adults 25-54 is the most for a Lifetime movie in the 17 years since “Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story” in 1995, and the 2.5 million women 25-54 is the largest crowd ever for a Lifetime pic.

    Among all ad-supported cable, no single-part original cable movie has drawn a larger audience than “Steel Magnolias” since “Holiday in Handcuffs” on ABC Family in 2007.

    The Sony Pictures Television-produced film, an adaptation of the iconic play and 1989 film, also starred Phylicia Rashad, Adepero Oduye, Condola Rashad, with Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard. Lifetime rebroadcast the pic on Monday night. 

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    Film Turtle
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    #262739

    I didn’t read any reviews before watching the remake. Wow, they were being very kind because I was expecting more venom, frankly. I found it very enjoyable, but slight. It felt like a reel was missing. I read somewhere they dropped about 30 minutes of material to make it fit within the two hour slot. That could be what made the difference. The original movie version was over-the-top, while this version was genteel.

    No problem with any of the actors, really. Julia Roberts had a fragilty that became her trademark for a few years, until she appeared in too many movies doing the same basic schtick. But in her version, you really felt the dynamic between her vulnerability and the mama-tiger vibe from Sally Field’s M’Lynn.

    Latifah was quite good, but she needed to cut loose at least once. Even her final breakdown scene felt a bit restrained and confined. I never quite got a bead on Condola Rashad (she really looks like her father, by the way, like a female clone). She projected a harder edge that I’m not sure was the right choice for Shelby.

    Jill Scott projects a lightness and warmth that I just love and would enjoy seeing onscreen on a regular basis.

    Thanks to the ridiculous rules change, only Alfre Woodard and perhaps Latifah will be nominated at the Emmys next year. I adore Woodard, but she can do this kind of role in her sleep. The Emmys will clearly nominate her for anything, however.  

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    Fishbiscuit
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    #262740

    The acting was first rate.  It does not top the film but it doesnt have to. 

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    Atypical
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    #262741

    “Genteel” is a good way to describe this. It was great to see these actresses get an opportunity like this with worthy material (sadly better material than most of them would get in any feature film work), but this update could have been much more lively and raucous than what it was. I was puzzled by some of Kenny Leon’s directing decisions. They pretty much stuck to the play word by word besides the material that they either condensed or cut entirely. I would have found more humor in this adaptation, and in some cases, opt for entirely new lines of dialogue as long as the plot points remained intact. Passing references to Michelle Obama and Facebook aren’t quite enough. The transplanted graveyard scene to the hair salon felt very stilted and imitative, and I couldn’t help but think about how great Sally Field was all through that sequence, finding the right tone between indignation (“I just want to hit something!”) and great laughs (“Hit Ouiser!!!”). Field, Dukakis, McClaine, etc., all had that right level of Southern exaggeration and pathos that was missing here for some reason. But for what it was, I was moved enough by the remake, and everyone brought their A-game in service to the story. Queen Latifah was a strong anchor as M’Lynn. I wanted more sassy Latifah at times (especially when M’Lynn needed to put Shelby in her place), but the impact was certainly there, especially when the storyline with Shelby concludes. Phylicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard, goodness. They could make an entire series about the adventures of those two grand dames, and I’d probably watch that too. If the supporting categories were still intact at the Emmys, I think both of them would be looking at easy nominations. Jill Scott and Adepero Oduye had some nice moments and effective screen presences as Truvy and Annelle, respectively. This reminded me how much I need to see “Pariah” for Oduye that I missed when it was released. The guys didn’t make too big of an impression. The actor playing Drum felt like Queen Latifah’s father instead of husband. Condola Rashad though, I don’t know. She delivered a much harsher toned Shelby than Julia Roberts did, and I didn’t like the approach at first. By the end, her scenes came together and delivered the sympathy element that they’re supposed to. The ending was too maudlin and didn’t capture the sense of hope and renewal that the original did. It was basically a Shelby eulogy when it should have been about the community as a whole moving forward after loss. This is worth seeing all the same, and I’m glad that I did.

    Grade for “Steel Magnolias”: B

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