All About Eve

USA | 1950 | black and white | 138 minutes

CREDITS

Directors Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Notable cast Bettie Davis, Anne Baxter

Production company 20th Century Fox

The film  All About Eve presents a meaningful look at mentorship, particularly in our growing culture of celebrity worship. Bettie Davis stuns as the distant by kind Margo Channing, an actress whose stardom is on the decline, while Anne Baxter brings a subtleness to her portal of the fanatical Eve Harrington. In the film, Eve’s aims for fame bring her falling to great lengths as she plots, ploys, and schemes her way to the top using Margo’s pedestal as her platform. The film examines the boundary between admiration and obsession, asking viewers what the costs are for crossing that sacred line.

IMDB

Watch the Trailer

note: classic movie trailers are either ridiculously dramatic, painstakingly slow, or completely unrelated to the actual story of the films themselves.

 


Commentary: 

All About Eve has some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard in a film.  The characters are sharp, smart, and full of wit, and the actors play it off with a mixture of charm, sass, and sincerity that sparks on the screen. While the film doesn’t address (and notably so) the role race plays in its gender and class critique, Eve Harrington is for all intents and purposes, the embodiment of white womanhood in play. With her “good” intentions and quiet ambitions, Eve strikes her way to the top, weaponizing her vulnerable position in society in order to participate in the system (the male dominated film/theater industry in this case) that so shut her out. Eve’s act may have won her fame and accolades, but it’s the audience and Margo Channing that’s left standing once her curtain falls.

 classic film fur bette davis cheap all about eve GIF

Side note: Marylin Monroe is in this film. If you’ve seen her performance in this film, then you’ve pretty much seen 75% of her movies. The girl has no range, but at least in this film, she’s at her best.

Similar Films:

 

Working Girl (1988)

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Working Girl follows Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) a receptionist looking to advance her career as she navigates the realm of office politics under her boss Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). When Tess’ idea is stolen by Katherine, she becomes determined to build her own road to success, one that exists  outside of the sterile pathways of the office. Dawning Katherine’s position and prestige, she initiates a major deal with an investment broker (Harrison Ford) that has Tess falling in more ways than one.

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I’ll be honest, the first time I saw Working Girl was exactly three days before I wrote this. I caught a glimpse of it on TV, and I managed to record and watch it on the next showing. After watching the film, I kind of have to say that I’m obsessed. I pretty much loved it, except for that awkward and entirely uncomfortable scene where Tess wakes up in Harrison Ford’s bed unsure of what happened to her the night before. (I’m still not sure what happened there…). Tess’ initial admiration for Katherine as her boss and as a woman, and the disillusionment that occurs after she’s betrayed, addresses an interesting element about mentorship that many of the movies avoid: What happens when the person you admire disappoints you? How do you react, how do you move forward, and most of all, how do you come to terms with relying on yourself?

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Working Girl is funny, cute, but above all sharp in the way the film is structured. In the beginning of the film viewers are discontent with the quiet knowledge that Katherine really isn’t a mentor for Tess, but by the end, they can feel a sense of pride knowing that Tess will be the mentor she always needed, for herself and others.

 

Chicago (2002)

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Roxie Hart is a “STAR”, or at least, she dreams of becoming one. When she’s arrested and charged for the murder of her lover, Roxie finds herself on death row along with stars like Velma Kelly, a Jazz performer who Roxie once worshiped. In Chicago, stars don’t shine as bright behind bars, and the line between fame and infamy is blurred as Roxie and Velma dance and sing circles around the chopping block.

 chicago musical murder broadway renee zellweger GIF

Chicago is witty, it’s funny, and the musical numbers are a blast. Queen Latifah stuns as Mama, the corrupt prison warden whose kind gestures come at a price, and Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones shine as Roxie and Velma, their snarky banter always keeping viewers on their toes. The film portrays greed, backstabbing, and the antics of the most conniving in society,  in a way that cleverly skirts the line between glamorization and condemnation. The cast is exceptional, and while I could have gone with less Richard Gere and more of Lucy Lu (like really, only a small cameo? How you gonna play Lucy Lu like that Chicago?), the film starts and stops with a bang.

 chicago musical murder broadway renee zellweger GIF

 

Strangers on a Train (1951)

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Trading murders sounds like a good idea, until it doesn’t. At least, that’s what tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) realizes when the proposition somehow comes up (like really, when does this happen?) during a conversation with a stranger on a train. When Bruno, the stranger with sinister intentions, actually goes through with the murder plot, Guy finds himself being blackmailed to fulfill his side of the deal.

 movies art thegoodfilms alfred hitchcock strangers on a train GIF

Strangers on a Train is chilling. I remembered being entirely engrossed when I first saw the movie way back when. Now, I’m finding myself looking back to the film, questioning the role women played in it as props to men’s ambitions. I don’t know if the film tackled these questions (knowing Hitchcock, I doubt it), but notwithstanding these uncertainties, there is an excitement to Strangers on a Train that never dies down. The film poses the question of whether a crime begins at the conception of the thought and takes it to interesting (if not fully realized) lengths.

Mariah Carey’s Obsessed: not exactly a movie, but I’d consider it the theme songs of all these movies

 mariah carey obsessed thisisnotmyfairytaleendingg GIF

For my next post, I’ll look at Beyond the Lights, but if you want to read about Creed, Kitty, and the other films featured in my mentorship series, click the links below!

Creed

Kitty

Mentorship at the Movies Overview

Creed

USA | 2015 | color | 133
minutes

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CREDITS

Directors Ryan Coogler

Notable cast Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan

Production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, New Line Cinema and Chartoff Winkler Production

Creed is a unique prospective on mentorship in the genre of sports films, because it’s a film about lineage. It pits Adonis as the son of the great boxer Apollo Creed who, because of his death, exists in Adonis’ life as a mentor only through footage of his previous fights. In the film, Adonis finds tutelage from his father’s rival Rocky Balboa who, once a student of boxing himself, now finds himself in the position of being a mentor. As their relationship develops, the film showcases how mutual respect, admiration, and understanding, can make a partnership out of the traditional mentor-student relationship.

Watch the Trailer Here:

Sources:

http://www.warnerbros.com/creed

Image Source

Commentary:

I saw Creed in theaters recently and I have to say, I was completely blown away by it.

The cinematography is glorious. It captures the characters in their most intimate moments, and renders Philadelphia as not just the setting of the film, but as a character itself. Watching the film, I was as invested in Adonis’ journey as I was in the growth of the community he found himself in.

Michael B. Jordan,  is spellbinding as Adonis. This is a film were even if you recognize the main actor, if you know their face and have seen their other films, you’ll find yourself wondering whose life it is your watching on screen. Adonis may be a character, but Michael B. Jordan makes him a person.

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I love this movie. I was moved, uplifted, and pumped up. It’s one of those films that leaves you hungry. It isn’t just the future of the character you’re excited for, it’s your
own goals, your own dreams, and ambitions that you want to chase after.

For me, this film is another reason why representation in media is so important, not
because Adonis looked like me (I wish I looked like Michael B. Jordan), but because the team that came together to produce such an amazing film, is as beautiful and black as the world depicted in it. If you want to box, it says, if you want to write, or direct, act or produce, then do it. You might have to take hits and undergo beatings, but if you’re willing to fight, there’s a place for you in the ring, and we’ll be here—coaching you along the way.

 

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Similar Films: 

So, I’m not going to reference any Rocky films here because…I’ve never seen a Rocky movie. I was inspired to after watching Creed, but then I got in the car and realized Adonis wouldn’t be in any of them. I pretty much lost my motivation to watch them after that. But hey, maybe one day.

Remember the Titans (2000)

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Remember the Titans is one of my favorite sports movie. No question about it. It stars Denzel Washington. Denzel, Washington. DENZEL, WASGHINGTON. Need I say anymore? He’s brilliant in this movie as Coach Herman Boone, brilliant and complicated, and raw.

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Based on a true story (that’s all I ever need to tell my mother to convince her to watch a movie. Hey, mom, want to watch American Hustle? It’s based on a true story. Mom, let’s watch the Hunger Games. It’s based on a true story…), the movie follows Boone as he attempts to integrate a segregated football team. Filled with laughs, sorrow, and emotion, there are ups, downs and every other direction as  the team navigates they’re way to a win..

*IMPORTANT NOTE. I just found out the Ryan Gosling was in this film. My life will forever be changed.

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Jerry Maguire (1996)

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Jerry Maguire is nobody’s mentor. He’s selfish and conceited, a sports agent who cares more about money than the players he represents. That is, until he has a life changing revelation the night after one of his players receives another near death concussion. Born again, McGuire leaves his job (though, not quite so voluntary) and begins his career as a free agent, with only one client under his belt. What precedes is a lot of laughs, and stress, and gut-wrenchingly emotional moments.

My sister always said that Tom Cruise is more of himself in Jerry Maguire than in
any of his other movies, and that’s probably the reason why I love this move. Jerry is DRIVEN. He’s a bit manic, slightly crazy, and entirely loveable. His passion exudes off the screen and because of it, you want him to win, even when he shouldn’t.

Cuba Gooding Junior SHINES in this movie. Like, where is my Rod Tidwell movie? Why hasn’t that happened yet? In an era of prequels and sequels, why hasn’t anyone in Hollywood drafted this script?

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With probably the most romantic scene ever made in a movie–in a sports movie none
the less–the best supporting characters to ever grace cinema’s screens, (Cuba Gooding Jr., Renee Zellweger, need I say more?), and an amazing script, Jerry Maguire is an impression of what a perfect film might look like, if there ever was such a thing.

 

Populaire (2012)

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While not a sports movie, per say (I don’t know about you, but typing is a pretty exerting sport to me), Popularie is as intense as one. This intensity isn’t in long montages of characters sweating, or marching, or yelling, though there are plenty a typing-montages in the film. Instead, the passion the film renders is between its two main characters, Rose and Louis. Popularie is a romantic comedy, but the slow burn of the relationship sits up there with the most gripping of romance films.

Rose and Louis have so much fire in them, so much passion, and as they butt heads, the audience falls in love with them—before the two get the chance to fall for each other.

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Populaire is fun. It’s whimsical, and curious, with a flavor of weird that leaves you wanting more. A period drama set in 1958, when competitive type-writing was at its peak, Populaire weaves a seemingly random plotline with a cast of funny, and interesting characters, brought to life by Romain Duris, and Deborah Francois. If you liked Coco Channel (how can anyone just like Coco Channel), and loved Amelia (adore is more the word), then Populaire will fill that gaping hole in your heart before it leaves you craving more.

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Bend it Like Beckham (2002)

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Bend it Like Beckham is pure, unadulterated, sickly sweet fun at its best. Sure there are some messages in there, about friendship, tolerance, culture, and identity, but at its heart, Bend it Like Beckham is about joy. It’s about being unapologetic about the people and things you love. It’s about taking pride in who you are, where you come from, and what you want to be.

The film follows Jess Bhama (Parminder Nagra), as she pursues a career in a semi-pro
soccer team (football for those of you who live in…well, basically everywhere else in the world). What starts as just fun, slowly develops into an obsession and then, a passion. Eventually, Jess finds herself having to hide her new ambitions, and her growing romantic feelings for her coach, from her parents.

This movie doesn’t ask you to take it seriously. It isn’t looking for praise or even acknowledgement for what it is. Instead, it takes everything—from its messages, to the East Indian heritage of its main character and her family, and the largely female cast—and runs with it. It leaves viewers either eating its dust, or hurrying to catch up with its cast of charming characters and upbeat story.  This isn’t a movie for YOU, it’s for US, the movie declares. Celebrate our difference, or get out.

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Kitty

USA | 1945 | black and white | 103 minutes

CREDITS

Directors Mitchell Leisen

Notable cast Paulette Goddard, Ray Milland

Production Company Paramount Pictures

One of the many iterations of the Pygmalion narrative, Kitty diverges from the crowd of Hepburn musicals and the teenage makeover flicks in its wiliness to depict the more sinister side of the mentor and protégé arc. Kitty is a comedy, but it’s as sharp as it is unforgiving. As Kitty is passed from suitor to suitor, all beneath the watchful gaze of her stricken mentor Sir Hugh March, questions of grooming, emotional and physical abuse are left out in the open–even if they aren’t addressed directly by the film. Charming, funny, and filled with subtext, Kitty presents viewers with compelling arguments about the nature of the mentor-protégé relationship.

Sources:

IMDB

Image source

Read more about the Month of Mentorship Below


Commentary: 

Kitty was the first black and white movie I fell in love with, and though it was only made in 1945, I’ve always felt it was much older because of this distinction in my memory. My favorite insult will always be “Gutter-snipe”, and I’ll always burst into laughter whenever I think of all the scenes in which Kitty’s husbands meet their demise (their deaths were always so random, so ridiculous, that you couldn’t help but laugh). I was never a fan of Sir Hugh March (it’s hard to romanticize that mess of a person) but I’ve always loved Kitty for being strong and for taking no prisoners.

Similar movies:

Rather than similar movies, here are a list of other renditions of the Pygmalion story for your viewing pleasure. Most of these have a lot of the issues and themes that Kitty seems to have/bring up, but they’re all very fun in their own right, at least, from what I can remember.

My Fair Lady (1964)

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I love this Hepburn musical of course, but I’ve always felt like Kitty was the stronger character, or at least, maintains a stronger sense of self throughout her transformation. It’s hard to compare though, and I’m not sure if it’s a fair comparison to make. At the end of the films, both women are so brutally sculpted into the image of a “finely bred woman”, that they seem like shallow renditions of their originally sassy selves.

That being said, I like to give their characters more credit than their source material lends them. Though it tries to fashion these strong women into demure pets for their mentors, the girls always seem to maintain a bit of that spark that made them so strong in the first place.

The Story

Basically, My Fair Lady follows the story of flower girl Eliza Doolittle as she transitions from resident gutter-snipe to a proper ladydoll, equipped with shinier dresses, a brand new accent, and inoffensive manners to go with her.

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Why do I feel like the people who made this product wrote these movies…

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Jokes aside, I love the costumes in this movie, along with the music and of course, Audrey as Eliza. Though not my favorite Hepburn role (that goes to Roman Holiday thank you very much), it’s a fun one, with a grand score to go along with it, even if the voice wasn’t Audrey’s herself (they replaced her singing without telling her initially. Can you believe that? or at least I heard that somewhere…)

(who knew there were so many My Fair Lady memes, I must use them all now…)

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She’s All That (1999)

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A modern rendition of the Pygmalion story, plus a parody of basically every makeover movie ever (or at least, I think it is, tell me its a parody, I hope it’s a parody…) I don’t remember much about She’s all that, just that it was funny, and she took off her glasses and suddenly, she was a goddess, but did I mention it was funny? Also, early 2000s rom com with early 2000s actors, what more could you ask for?

Story

Um…see above..

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Nodame Cantabile (2009)

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Okay, so I don’t know if Nodame is a variation on Pygmalion (I didn’t think it was when I first watched it but now that I look back I guess you could say that it might be. Maybe. Kind of?) but it’s a great movie.

The Story

It follows Nodame, an aspiring pianist who falls in love with Chiaki, a senior in her school whose talent for the piano almost outweighs his arrogance (almost). The movie follows the two after the TV show’s conclusion, but the duo are still a lot of fun to watch as they bicker and plot in this two part film. Before the movie though, you should watch the show. Also, Nodame’s love of food is my love of food. That is all.

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Clueless (1995)

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Rather than an iteration of the Pygmalion story, Clueless is a modern take on Jane Austen’s Emma. Clueless, is of course, hilarious. Cher is arrogant, entitled and spoiled, and I should hate her but I don’t. How can anyone I ask? With her style, and her good-ish intentions, she’s the lovable rich girl that you can’t help but love.

The Story

Clueless is about her misguided attempts to hook her friends up with one another. If you haven’t watched it, then you’re one of the lucky ones because you get to see it for the first time, and then watch it a second time so you actually get all the themes that its touching upon. I still don’t think I’ve caught onto to it fully, which just showcases how timeless this film really is.

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For my next post, I’ll look at Creed, but if you want to read my original overview of this season, check out my post here and my update here.

 

 

All About Eve

USA | 1950 | black and white | 138 minutes

CREDITS

Directors Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Notable cast Bettie Davis, Anne Baxter

Production company 20th Century Fox

The film  All About Eve presents a meaningful look at mentorship, particularly in our growing culture of celebrity worship. Bettie Davis stuns as the distant by kind Margo Channing, an actress whose stardom is on the decline, while Anne Baxter brings a subtleness to her portal of the fanatical Eve Harrington. In the film, Eve’s aims for fame bring her falling to great lengths as she plots, ploys, and schemes her way to the top using Margo’s pedestal as her platform. The film examines the boundary between admiration and obsession, asking viewers what the costs are for crossing that sacred line.

IMDB

Watch the Trailer

note: classic movie trailers are either ridiculously dramatic, painstakingly slow, or completely unrelated to the actual story of the films themselves.

 


Commentary: 

All About Eve has some of the best dialogue I’ve ever heard in a film.  The characters are sharp, smart, and full of wit, and the actors play it off with a mixture of charm, sass, and sincerity that sparks on the screen. While the film doesn’t address (and notably so) the role race plays in its gender and class critique, Eve Harrington is for all intents and purposes, the embodiment of white womanhood in play. With her “good” intentions and quiet ambitions, Eve strikes her way to the top, weaponizing her vulnerable position in society in order to participate in the system (the male dominated film/theater industry in this case) that so shut her out. Eve’s act may have won her fame and accolades, but it’s the audience and Margo Channing that’s left standing once her curtain falls.

 classic film fur bette davis cheap all about eve GIF

Side note: Marylin Monroe is in this film. If you’ve seen her performance in this film, then you’ve pretty much seen 75% of her movies. The girl has no range, but at least in this film, she’s at her best.

Similar Films:

 

Working Girl (1988)

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Working Girl follows Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) a receptionist looking to advance her career as she navigates the realm of office politics under her boss Katherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). When Tess’ idea is stolen by Katherine, she becomes determined to build her own road to success, one that exists  outside of the sterile pathways of the office. Dawning Katherine’s position and prestige, she initiates a major deal with an investment broker (Harrison Ford) that has Tess falling in more ways then one.

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I’ll be honest, the first time I saw working girl was exactly three days before I wrote this. I caught a glimpse of it on TV, and I managed to record and watch it on the next showing. After watching the film, I kind of have to say that I’m obsessed. I pretty much loved it, except for that awkward and entirely uncomfortable scene where Tess wakes up in Harrison Ford’s bed unsure of what happened to her the night before. (I’m still not sure what happened there…). Tess’ initial admiration for Katherine as her boss and as a woman, and the disillusionment that occurs after she’s betrayed, addresses a an interesting element about mentorship that many of the movies avoid: What happens when the person you admire disappoints you? How do you react, how do you move forward, and most of all, how do you come to terms with relying on yourself?

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Working Girl is funny, cute, but above all sharp in the way the film it’s structured. In the beginning of the film viewers are discontent with the quiet knowledge that Katherine really isn’t a mentor for Tess, but by the end, they can feel a sense of pride knowing that Tess will be the mentor she always needed, for herself and others.

 

Chicago (2002)

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Roxie Hart is a “STAR”, or at least, she dreams of becoming one. When she’s arrested and charged for the murder of her lover, Roxie finds herself on death row along with stars like Velma Kelly, a Jazz performer who Roxie once worshiped. In Chicago, stars don’t shine as bright as they do behind bars, and the line between fame and infamy is blurred as Roxie and Velma dance and sing circles around the chopping block.

 chicago musical murder broadway renee zellweger GIF

Chicago is witty, it’s funny, and the musical numbers are a blast. Queen Latifah stuns as Moma, the corrupt prison warden whose kind gestures come at a price, and Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones shine as Roxie and Velma, their snarky banter always keeping viewers on their toes. The film portrays greed, backstabbing, and the antics of the most conniving in society,  in a way that cleverly skirts the line between glamorization and condemnation. The cast is exceptional, and while I could have gone with less Richard Gere and more of Lucy Lu (like really, only a small cameo? How you gonna play Lucy Lu like that Chicago?), the film starts and stops with a bang.

 chicago musical murder broadway renee zellweger GIF

 

Strangers on a Train (1951)

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Trading murders sounds like a good idea, until it doesn’t. At least, that’s what Tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) realizes when the proposition somehow comes up (like really, when does this happen?) during a conversation with a stranger on a train. When Bruno, the stranger with sinister intentions, actually goes through with the murder plot, Guy finds himself being blackmailed to fulfill his side of the deal.

 movies art thegoodfilms alfred hitchcock strangers on a train GIF

Strangers on a Train is chilling. I remembered being entirely engrossed when I first saw the movie way back when. Now, I’m finding myself looking back to the film, questioning the role women played in it as props to men’s ambitions. I don’t know if the film tackled the questions (knowing Hitchcock, I doubt it), but notwithstanding these uncertainties, there is an excitement to Strangers on a Train that never dies down. The film poses the question of whether a crime begins at the conception of the thought and takes it to interesting (if not fully realized) lengths.

Mariah Carey’s Obsessed: not exactly a movie, but I’d consider it the theme songs of all these movies

 mariah carey obsessed thisisnotmyfairytaleendingg GIF

For my next post, I’ll look at Beyond the Lights, but if you want to read about Creed, Kitty, and the other films featured in my mentorship series, click the links below!

Creed

Kitty

Mentorship at the Movies Overview