26 August 2013

Sister Act

Sister Act 1992
  • Director: Emile Ardolino
  • Based on book: No
  • Cast: Whoopie Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makenna, Mary Wickes, Bill Nunn
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Whoopie Goldberg – Pauly Shore Is Dead, Girl Interrupted, Moonlight and Valentino, Boys on the Side, Corina Corina, Ghost, The Long Walk Home, The Color Purple
    • Maggie Smith  – Harry Potter 1-8, Hotel Marigold, A Room with a View, Gosford Park, Keeping Mum, David Copperfield, Tea with Mussolini, Richard III,  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    • Harvey Keitel – Moonrise Kingdom, Be Cool, Lulu on the Bridge, Cop Land, Clockers, Smoke, Pulp Fiction, The Piano, Reservoir Dogs, Thelma and Louise, The January Man, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore etc.
    • Kathy Najimy – just this
    • Wendy Makenna – NYPD Blue
    • Mary Wickes – Little Women, Postcards from the Edge, old TV series
    • Bill Nunn - Spider Man, Kiss the Girls, Mo’ Better Blues, Do the Right Thing
  •  Why? Whoopie Goldberg and Maggie Smith
  • Seen: Twice. First time about 15 years ago. Now: August 25, 2013

     After the grimness of six Othello films we definitely needed a comedy. But as a card-carrying atheist and a history teacher well aware of the agony organized religion has caused throughout history, it’s embarrassing to admit how much I like this movie. Whoopie Goldberg and Maggie Smith get most of the credit, as do the rest of the exuberant cast. They are obviously having a lot of fun.
Much of the appeal is probably that we all have a mixture of the Puritan (sorry, Catholics won’t like being called that) of Smith’s Mother Superior being wonderfully Professor McGonagallish, and the strict old nun from the wilds of the north, and the gluttony for the glittery material world of Goldberg’s nightclub singer. We’re timid but harbor the secret longing to be able to belt out pop songs like Makenna’s earnest novice nun and no matter what our job we’d love to let loose with a jive dance like Najimy’s Sister Mary Patrick. Besides, don’t we all imagine ourselves – at least all of us teachers – going out into the slums to reach and lift up the kids in danger of sinking out of society entirely?
And the music. Who can resist that? Nobody, evidently. Not me, for sure. With the added uncomfortable but humorous twist that pop songs like “I Will Follow Him” and “My Guy” can so easily be turned religious. There’s a point here.  The need in our romantic world to find and Love the One and Only is only a step away from believing in God.  Pop culture money makers and churches have been encouraging and exploiting this for centuries.
Oh for heaven’s sake, this isn’t a political movie! Well, yes it is. Everything is political. But for now I’ll just go with the flow and enjoy the fun.

3 ½ * of 5

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