Frankie and Johnny

At first, I was just going to post a short ode to Jane Morris and her perfect portrayal of Nedda.

Jane Morris is the best thing about this movie. Above is a snap from right after she places an order for liver and onions to Pacino.

I wish I could find a picture of her dancing at Peter’s party.

Nedda goes bowling.

But then, this movie hit me pretty hard, unexpectedly. At first, it was just how easy it was to empathize with Frankie. Someone trudging through work who’s been burned and is more or less in hiding. But then I found myself sort of empathizing with Johnny. He’s a romantic fool, which can be annoying, but as I came to realize, he tries so hard because he’s fighting for depth in life. And that is admirable.

Frankie: Why do you want to kill yourself sometimes?

Johnny: I want to kill myself sometimes when I think that I’m the only person in the world and that part of me that feels that way is trapped inside this body, that only bumps into other bodies, without ever connecting to the only other person in the world trapped inside of them. We have to connect. We just have to.

The most endearing screen moment he has in this movie is when he’s talking about how he couldn’t bear to get out of the car and reunite with his kids, and how it felt like he’d lost them. And the expression on his mug when he says to Frankie “Everything I want, is in this room”. I was done. Marry the schmuck already.

How ideal to have someone like Nathan Lane for a friend who lives across the hall.

I also like a movie that has the nerve to play Debussy over a shot of middle-aged people spooning on a pull-out sofa in a studio apartment. Highbrow colliding with lowbrow. Still, it’d be nice to ever see a story in which a woman is persistent verging on obnoxious and creepy, leading to a happy ending. There are endless stories of men being overbearing and “winning over” women, but how many times does the woman get to be excessive and successful? Excessive for women is tantamount to crazy.

I would love to see this with Kathy Bates as Frankie. Supposedly the role was written for her by playwright Terrence McNally. Not only that, but for this particular film, Jeff Bridges was up for the role of Johnny. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SEEN THAT. EARLY 90s Jeff Bridges! HELLO.


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