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Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Flawed

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One of my favorite movie lines ever, impeccably written and delivered so that it has stayed fresh and funny for me every single day since I first heard it 30 years ago:

"We saw the new Lina Wertmuller film.... I loved it. Phil thought it was flawed."

-- Patti (Lisa Lucas), the 15-year-old daughter of Jill Clayburgh's title character in "An Unmarried Woman" (1978) by Paul Mazursky

BTW, I'm struck that studios hardly ever make mainstream movies like this anymore, naturalistic, humanistic comedy-dramas about adults who look, talk and behave like adults -- or like15-year-olds, depending on the circumstances. "An Unmarried Woman" is flawed, and I love it. (Clayburgh's shrink still drives me up the wall, but I never doubted that she was a dead-accurate caricature. Now I think she's hilarious; I used to just feel outrage that she was so full of shit and granola: "Guilt is a man-made emotion.... Turn off the guilt.")

Even if the movie plays like a '70s period picture in some ways (and it did then, too -- because it was made and set in a recognizable '70s New York movie-milieu), it's as smart and honest and observant as ever. Almost shockingly so, given what's passing for adult drama on big screens right this minute....

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