Friday, November 19, 2010

Movie of the Week

This week,


Starring- Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Nothing says Thanksgiving like the adventures of a prep school kid and a blind, alcoholic Army colonel. Set around the upcoming holiday, this film is funny, charming, touching and inspirational all at the same time. As Lt. Colonel Frank Slade, Al Pacino delivers one of his greatest performances, as does a young Chris O'Donnell who plays the naive prep school student, Charlie Simms. The two get paired up when Charlie agrees to take a job taking care of the blind Col. Slade over Thanksgiving weekend to make some extra money.

It becomes clear that Col. Slade has big plans for their weekend together, and he forces Charlie to help him travel to New York for a wild time that will serve as the lonely man's last hurrah. As Slade wines, dines and dances his way through the big city, Charlie struggles with keeping the Colonel under control as well as with some disciplinary issues that await him back at school. Charlie learns a lot about life from Col. Slade over their time together, but as Slade prepares to kill himself, it is Charlie who teaches the older man a valuable lesson. Through their time together, Charlie is able to help Slade realize he has something to live for, despite his handicap.

Once back from their tour in the Big Apple, Slade returns the favor, and helps Charlie avoid expulsion for his involvement in a school prank. The final scenes in the hearing have become iconic. Pacino's gruff, impassioned defense is what I am sure cliched him his first Oscar for Best Actor. It makes you wish you could bring Frank Slade along with you to argue parking tickets, just so you can hear him take the opposition down a peg or two. O'Donnell is a stellar foil for the loud, brash Pacino and makes you feel real emotions as he struggles with his predicament.

If only every Thanksgiving could have Frank Slade around to tell stories about threesomes and juggling hand grenades. Hoo-Ah! That would be something. If you can't get the real thing at your Thanksgiving table, put on Scent of a Woman and enjoy the humor and the drama of a great story.

Things to watch for-

The Tango
Mr. John Daniels
Bradley Whitford as Randy
Baird Men

"Are you blind? Are you blind?"
"No, of course not."
"Then why do you keep grabbing my goddamn arm? I take your arm."

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