Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Sterile Cuckoo

I have no idea what this title means, The Sterile Cuckoo. But since I’ve written a bit about movies lately I though I would research this one. Stacey and I have seen it on t.v. a couple times just recently. Never heard of or seen it before. I really enjoyed it. I think Stacey did as well. It’s cool. It’s a world totally unknown to me. It’s 1969, in upstate New York, higher education, it’s all foreign to me. But some how romantic. And you never really figure out just how damaged Pookie Adams, Liza character is. And maybe she’s not damaged at all, one never really knows.

I wish I would have written this piece, I think it is spot on and perfectly descriptive of this movie.

I saw The Sterile Cuckoo by accident in 1970. I went to the movie theater to see True Grit because John Wayne had been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. The double feature that day included The Sterile Cuckoo and it changed the way I would view movies from that day on. I loved every second of this achingly beautiful story about first love for a gangly, awkward, pushy, scared girl and a shy young man. Liza Minnelli is so incredible in this role as she conveys the desperation of a woman who has probably never been loved and can’t understand that it scares people away if you hold too tight and reveal too much. She has no game to play and it costs her. She is the whole movie as all the emotions of the part are captured in her beautiful, expressive eyes. Her monologue in the phone booth near the end of the film should be required viewing for anyone interested in persuing an acting career. Few before her or since have pulled off such a challenging feat with such seamless realism. She was fantastic in Cabaret because it showcased the full range of her talents but this is her best work as an actress.

So I dug a little deeper and learned the title is from the book the movie was adapted from. It’s the name of a poem Pookie wrote and recited near the end of the book. Anyway if ya like movies from the 60’s and 70’s you should check this out. It’s now one of my favorite films.

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