Saturday, February 9, 2019

13, 14, 15... a continuation of yesterday's post...

Although it wasn't looking like I'd manage it, I did see two more movies yesterday.  I also saw a film a few days ago that I forgot to add to yesterday's list of twelve.  The two movies I watched yesterday both featured Molly Ringwald.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I've even mentioned them in this blog before.

13. Fatal Love (aka Something to Live For: The Alison Gertz Story)-- I was in Armenia the first time I saw this made for TV movie starring Molly Ringwald sporting black hair.  We were in the U.S. Embassy restaurant and AFN was tuned to this film from 1992.  Alison Gertz was a New York born Jewish socialite, the only child of wealthy, doting parents.  In 1982, when she was sixteen years old, she had sex with a bartender she met at Studio 54.  The barkeep, who looked suspiciously like a less muscled version of Fabio, happened to have AIDS.  He was the type of guy who screwed everyone who came across his path, too.  Six years after their unfortunate encounter, Alison got sick and spent a nightmarish time in a hospital.  Her family doctor never thought to test her for HIV, since she didn't fit the profile of someone with HIV.  Once Gertz was well enough, she started visiting high schools to tell her story.


Fatal Love-- a pretty good film, with very stark, jarring background music by David Shire.  I think the film would have been better without the horrible music.  The story is very compelling, and Molly Ringwald is a crowd pleaser.  I remember an early episode of Beverly Hills 90210 was based on Alison Gertz's story.  It was made before this film was.

14. Surviving-- This is another Molly Ringwald made for TV vehicle.  It aired in 1985, but I remember seeing it for the first time in 1987 or so, because I remember being a sophomore in high school.  I distinctly recall a woman who was in my homeroom class talking about this movie, because River Phoenix was in it.  River Phoenix, as you may know, was quite the hero to people of my generation.  Heather O'Rourke, the angelic blonde girl from Poltergeist, was also in this movie.  Both River and Heather died long before their times.  River's death was due to a drug overdose and Heather's was due to a very bad intestinal infection that caused her to go septic.  She went into cardiac arrest.

The fact that these two very talented actors died so young seemed kind of ironic to me, since this movie is about teen suicide.  Lonnie (Ringwald) and Rick (Zach Galligan) have well off parents and live in a beautiful neighborhood.  Their parents are best friends.  Lonnie attempts suicide and is hospitalized for months, then comes home and starts a relationship with Rick, whose father is pressuring him to become a doctor.  Rick is interested in opera and photography, not medicine.  And his father, who is a doctor, is a liar and a cheat.  With his burgeoning camera skills, Rick has managed to get clandestine pictures of his dad with another woman.

Rick and Lonnie begin spending a lot of time with each other.  Their parents object, and try to forbid them from dating.  Naturally, this means they have to commit suicide, which they do sitting in a running car in a garage.  The teens' suicides threaten to break up friendships and marriages.  It's all very emotional and powerful.


In all seriousness, this is a very good movie about teen suicide, even though River Phoenix is a bit of a ham in this film.  The cast is particularly talented.  Ellen Burstyn plays Rick's mom, while Marsha Mason plays Lonnie's mom.  They have a big fight that is raw and believable emotion.  I had forgotten what a wonderful little actress Heather O'Rourke was.  It's such a shame that she died at just twelve years old.  She was so talented.  Even though this movie is 34 years old, it's truly excellent.  And... as a bonus, it offers good music, too.  Burstyn plays a concert pianist and she's always playing beautiful pieces on the piano.  They also threw in some good rock songs of the day.

15. Keeping Secrets--  Actress Suzanne Somers wrote a bestselling memoir about growing up the daughter of an alcoholic.  Naturally, it needed to be turned into a made for TV movie by the same name.  I grew up watching Suzanne Somers playing Chrissy Snow on Three's Company.  That show made her a sex symbol, even if as a woman, I never saw her that way.  But behind Chrissy's snorting laugh, there was an intelligent, talented woman who was abused by her alcoholic dad.  I probably should have liked this film more than I did, since I grew up somewhat similarly.  My dad probably wasn't as big of an asshole as her dad (portrayed by Ken Kercheval of Dallas fame) was, but I heard a lot of the same messages she did.  Suzanne's father told her she was nothing but a big "0".  My dad once told me I'd never make more than minimum wage.  


A pretty good movie about being an adult child of an alcoholic, Keeping Secrets also stars Michael Learned and Kim Zimmer (who was on Guiding Light for years).  I like Suzanne Somers less in dramatic roles, but this is a good story for those of us who know the pain of having an alcoholic parent.  I remember reading the book years ago and liking it better than this movie, but movies are more convenient than books are.

I've got one more day to go before Bill is scheduled to be back.  In about 24 hours, he could be here drinking coffee with me.  And then, he'll no doubt be exhausted, which will suck.  But, in a week, we'll be back in France, drinking wine and eating croissants.

I may spend today reading or maybe watching more films... if I can find Small Sacrifices or The Burning Bed, I may have yet another addition to his list.  As it is now, I kind of miss where we lived before... I don't miss the house, but I miss knowing my way around.