Just Pillow Talk’s Birthday Nightmare: 84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
Well, this should be much better. Surely? It’s a highly regarded classic starring some genuine heavyweights in Anne Bancroft, Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins. Sure, the subject matter may be a touch whimsical, but it’s a heavy drama albeit one with a long pedigree and a very respectable IMDB rating.
What I find surprising about his list, though, is the lack of light relief. Everything on it is either painfully awful, or very heavy. He hasn’t drawn a single film so far that’s a nice and simple action film, or an actually good comedy.
So here’s Just Pillow Talk with a short and sweet review…
I’ll put this out there right from the beginning: my list has made me angry..like hulk angry, but not daddy issues hulk angry. The 80’s, while treating me to a couple halfway decent and one brilliant film(s), have also punched me in the balls a couple times with some horrid films. So I’m more liable to shoot first and ask questions later. With my present state of mind, 84 Charring Cross Road is probably not the best film for me to watch. I need something with guns and wonderful boobs to bring back a smile to my face. I feel inclined to apologize in advance for a very uninteresting review about an uninteresting movie. The red wine I’ve had before isn’t helping either, since I’m a bit sleepy now…
Helene (Anne Bancroft) is in NY as a script reader who cannot find British literature in the 40’s in the city. Luckily she stumbles across an ad in some paper from a London bookstore, located on 84 Charing Cross Road, who have just what she’s looking for: mail order books. She sends off a note requesting some books and hears back from Frank (Anthony Hopkins) who sends back the requested books. This continues, with Helene even sending over food, which they are forever grateful for. In return Frank sends over a special book for her, which she in turn appreciates. This goes on for years and their friendship grows. In fact, Helene has all the intention to visit Frank in London, but her plans get dashed due to extravagant dental work that she needs. The $2,500 she has to shell out sinks her European trip and Frank is devastated. Hopkins plays this scene very well, the look on his face is one of sadness/shock/confusion.
Those same emotions get played out a bit later when an American shows up in their bookstore looking for a hard to find book, and you can see in his face the hope that it’s Helene. It’s of course not, and once again his hopes are dashed. He doesn’t let a bit of those feelings spill over onto the letters he sends to Helene, so everything carries on as ‘normal’. Helene feels the same way as Frank does, only she tells this periodically into the camera, just not in such direct terms. Unfortunately Frank ends up passing away. It’s finally then, surrounded by the books Frank sent her, that Helene decides to get her ass to
Mars London, to see the bookstore. She looks into the camera and tells Frankie she finally made it.
So what to make of this movie? It’s clearly not for me, as I found it to be quite boring and uneventful. It involved voice overs by Hopkins and Bancroft, and talking directly into the camera, ostensibly to each other. The acting was fine, but there’s nothing memorable going on…not a scene that stuck out. I repeatedly found myself looking at the clock wondering how much longer does this movie have? It certainly is not dire like some of the other disease ridden filth I’ve had to watch before, but it is by no means a movie that I found to be entertaining. Sure it is competently made and I get that they had developed a lasting relationship with correspondence lasting something like 20 or so years, but I really didn’t feel anything for the characters. Oh please Frankie, pray for my Brooklyn Dodgers…sure Helena, and toss around some good thoughts for our football club that is languishing at the bottom of the standings. Wow, that’s great.
I know this is a pretty shit review, but this movie had no impact on me one way or another. Blah, that about sums it up. I just can’t muster up anything to say about it.
I know I’ve being way too harsh, but I’m giving it 1 toothless dragon out of 4. I saw that again this weekend and it’s way more entertaining.
Next up, like it fucking matters.
The Nightmare so far…
1973 The World’s Greatest Athlete 1 / 4
1974 Deranged 0.5 / 4
1975 Shampoo 1.5 / 4
1976 Taxi Driver 3 / 4
1977 Black Samurai 1.5 / 4
1978 The Betsy 0 / 4
1979 Quintet 0 / 4
1980 Hero at Large 2/4
1981 Dogs of War 2.5/4
1982 The Beast Within 0/4: The Orangutan of Doom
1983 King of Comedy 3/4
1984 Blame it on Rio
1985 Lost in America 0/4
1987 84 Charing Cross Road (1 out of 4)